Ray (Ramon) Morse

Forename/s: 
Ray (Ramon)
Family name: 
Morse
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
296
Interview Date(s): 
26 Aug 1993
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
75

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behp0296-ray-morse-summary

SIDE ONE

Born 1907, Mile End Road, London. Doesn’t appear to have had any real formal education. Family emigrated to Canada after the 1914-1918 war. In school vacation went to stay with an uncle who lived in Los Angeles, where he worked on several three-minute silent films. He describes this period. Returned to the UK, worked as a commercial artist then worked on ‘Prologues’ for the Astoria circuit, then became a make-up artist working at Gainsborough. Then he talks about working on the Gloria Swanson Perfect Understanding. Worked in the Theatre, working on revues as a dancer, singer etc. Model maker for many trailers for big pictures. He talks about making models for Scientific Films in Kensington and also for GB Instructional.

SIDE TWO

He talks about his service in the RAF Film Unit, where (again) he made models. He was invalided out; when he recovered his health, he moved back to Vancouver, then he moved to Florida where he made ‘Pops’ [?] and painted pictures.

[Alan Lawson writes] Ray Morse is a man of many talents but unfortunately, he has forgotten dates and a lot of details about the many pictures he worked on. His first job was as a paper-boy, then a child actor, commercial artist, costume designer, set designer, portrait mask maker, film and stage actor, make-up artist, singer, dancer, film prop maker, potter, water-colour artist, portrait painter, photographer, writer, song writer.

Transcript

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Alan Lawson  0:01  
The copyright of this recording is rested in the back to history project. Ramin laws known professionally as Ramos, actor, set designer, model maker, makeup artist, a man of many talents. Interviewer Alan Lawson, recorded on the 26th of August 1993.Sign one.Right here we go.First.Right, when and where were you born? 

Ray Morse  0:41  
I was born in a public house called the Carlton arms within the Mile End road, I think it's still there was when you go up to Victoria, you go across one of those iron bridges. If you look down in the street, you can see this wretched pub on the corner of the street. Still there?

Alan Lawson  1:03  
If you think back,

Ray Morse  1:04  
no, no, never been back. However,

Alan Lawson  1:07  
what about schooling

Ray Morse  1:10  
by people who have owned a string of pubs, about 14 of them. So as shifted from one school to another, I never really had any education. All we had in my days was this slight, slight pencil and a piece of wet rag and one exercise book. That was it. I left school when I was 14. never really had any education. Now, if your parents went to went off to Canada in

Alan Lawson  1:40  
1919 Why was that?

Ray Morse  1:43  
Well, it was after the First World War. We lost a lot of money in over the air raids and bad business. And we say that my father was you know, a soldier and all that sort of thing. And we got that out and went to Canada. I was about eight years old. I remember all the air raids and that sort of thing. We had the pub called the Finsbury Park Hotel in those days. remembers the little boy playing on the bedroom roof. So the first day the idea raid on London was the formation of Gotha aircraft coming over to a big V shaped formation making a funny humming noise. problem in raid, you know, in daylight feed, you know. And our first saplings brought down one a cafe one office bar, and one below Ricky, you saw search lights on the wallet all lit up. You saw them burst out in flame, you saw the people dropping out with their clothes all on fire. And I was only about eight years old, you know, terrific sight.

Alan Lawson  2:55  
Now when you went to Canada, what what did you get to school?

Ray Morse  3:00  
Yes. What what happened there, because we had to start all over again, you know, take a bit of money out and start all over again. And we invested in a timber mill. And we we had 1000 acres of cedar wood trees in virgin land up in the mountains. There's nothing out there at all any mountain lions and bears and wildlife snakes and stuff like that. And the nearest school was two miles away. And as children, we had to go down the mountain and walk the rest of the way to school, the school was just a sort of hot on stilts, have to be on stilts, because when the snow melted on the mountain, it flooded over the low land just three schools on stilts to keep it out of water. And to get into the classroom, we had to go up a ladder and throw a trapdoor into the classroom. And the teacher was only a 19 year old girl and that was my first education. Really. Anyway, the the timber mill went bust in the end and we moved into Vancouver proper, you know, the city of Vancouver. And then my grandmother came out. And she has quite a bit of money and she invested in her hotel. And from then on, we eventually owned three hotels in the city. That was you know, at the start of something big that he had been well,

Alan Lawson  4:42  
when the thing I can't understand actually is where did your artistic skills come? Come when did that start

Ray Morse  4:49  
our way when I was a child, I was always drawing things, you know, sometimes rude things and that sort of thing. Children do and They're always got a pipe box in my Christmas stuck in you know those the paint Box of Crayons or something right now they're always drawing and painting. Even at school I was always the best one in the class at drawing. Stop right here in Ghana Yes.

Alan Lawson  5:24  
Oh my God wasn't that wasn't a nice the school is up in the mountains this must have been in

Ray Morse  5:30  
Vancouver I went to proper school in Vancouver called Dawson school and that I really, really learned quite well at Dawson's course right now school, but I left at 14 and I got a job selling papers, you know, because I had a crush on Gloria Swanson as a schoolboy as their own money, selling papers to get the money to go into the cinema to see Gloria Swanson. She was one of the Biden beauties in the Mac Senate. Bathing beauty thing. And I followed the trail through my life, you know, eventually became a makeup man, you know?

Alan Lawson  6:12  
And then then he also became a child actor. How did that How did that come about?

Ray Morse  6:19  
I used to have an uncle that lived out there was almost an American, you know, and he worked on on films. You know, in the early days, it was sort of an odd jobs man is to carry the camera about and do bits of crowd work and stuff like that. Because in those days, we used to get about two months. vacations recorded from school. And he used to take me down to Los Angeles and get me little jobs, on films on on the movies, you know, for so it was before the soy lately like we didn't even have electric light? Or, or was this wasn't a studio, it was a field, which we called the lot. It was just a row of outdoor stages, rather like a fanfare you know, the Cowboys said in an indoor dining room set in a shop set in a butcher shop or set and that sort of thing. You know,

Alan Lawson  7:14  
any remember any of the films you were in?

Ray Morse  7:17  
Oh, yeah, we're used to making that three a day really easy. I think it was that it didn't cost $8 million to make in three years to produce, you know, it's like, well, three a day. Family lasted about three minutes to see. And you know, cops chasing naughty boys and things like that silly things that no scripts is to make them up with who went too long. You say?

Alan Lawson  7:44  
Can you remember the name of the company?

Ray Morse  7:46  
Oh, there wasn't any company. There was this paper that had a camera and it's hard to set for the day, you know, went in and shot a film and sold it to somebody you know. I can only remember one was was I had to come downstairs with the dog right out the door quietly without disturbing mother in the kitchen and sneak out with the dog and go to the butcher shop. And I was supposed to get some get some meat or something while I was in the shop. sausages hanging down off the butcher's slab you say the dog gets fouled. First sausage, you see and pulls it down. He runs out the shop where they say runs out the road with this string of sausages goes after run out for him. And then the butcher runs after me with his meat cleaver. And then the village cop. He runs after me then all the rest of the population they ran out of the village Carpani. He keeps running around around all we do is running around around this set by as we run around we keep changing hats to make it look like different people asleep. Well that was the film we set lasted about three minutes. That was it. But the whole novelty in in films in those days was the fact that people moved. He didn't have to have a plot or anything like that just as long as you move that was it.

Alan Lawson  9:15  
Any idea how many you made? It's

Ray Morse  9:17  
all dozens of labour fellows presumably, we might about I was about three days three or three a day and we got $5 for the lot.

Alan Lawson  9:37  
Then then you went back obviously to being who would again carry on

Ray Morse  9:41  
there No. But after that I got a proper job as as the art world commerce arc, Eliot I got a job with commercial out as the bank over commercial. Now, I was just turned 14

Alan Lawson  10:00  
What kind of work were you doing?

Ray Morse  10:01  
Well, I hated it actually, because they used to give me all the lettering to do No, I hated doing lettering because it was boring looking at lettering, doing lettering, there's nothing creative about it. I just hated that. So I left after a while. And my dad thought I was very good at drawing and that sort of things. And he thought I'll drive a bit of tuition, you see. So he sent me to a private school remain an artist, you know, gate for sort of private lessons. And he had about 20 pupils is the end of this. School is saying when started drawing by founder the lack of paint better than he could just see. So he got me painting all these sketches is the same. Go on, keep it on pages. These are so good. I like to show your sketches to the other pupils, you know, to encourage them. You see, first what I did, I kept painting these pictures. And when I asked for the messy, he says, Oh, well, I'd like to keep them for a while and show the other pupils. And they get disappeared. And I never got any of the sketches back. He said, then one day says, I'm going to new Westminister as the next town to Vancouver BC I'm going down on businesses. He says Would you like to come for the ride would be a nice day out for you see? I says Oh yes, I'd like to come and see. So we went to New Westminister park the car along the Fraser River so is the Fraser River they say? he parked the car and he says I'm going off their own business. You see. He says you have a nice day walking around the town Nick doing a bit of exploring. And I'll meet you here at five o'clock and we'll go back to Vancouver BC so off he went. And off I went to explore the town is the source just I was interested in all the new shops to see and I found a lovely art shopping centre. They're all lovely all lovely paints and brushes and things that that what do you think it was all my pictures? Inside selling them all this time? No wonder I didn't get them back. It is selling all my paintings. Because I left left the outfield and immediately you know, never went back.

Alan Lawson  12:22  
Then Then he returned to the UK in 24 1924. Yes, aged 17.

Unknown Speaker  12:32  
You deal with this?

Ray Morse  12:34  
What do I do with this stuff?

Alan Lawson  12:38  
You save so much happened before you came back to England? What did you mean?

Ray Morse  12:43  
Well, I mean, going out there went out on the old emperors of France that have been a troop ship and all the rest of it and we stuck an iceberg and got lost in the fog and ripped out 22 portals. Wireless was reported missing and all that kind of stuff, you know, was living on mechanic keys to that the army had left behind in tins and all that kind of stuff in here. But we eventually landed in John's, New Brunswick. And because we have to cross the prairies to go from New John's St. John's to Vancouver. That was almost 14 days journey by rail in those days. Well, there was a terrible train accident. My mother was blonde in those days and had a mask wash coat. And everybody knew around the boat. You see this was the boat train. And it was this terrible accident. The train caught fire and everything. It was reported in the papers that my mother has been killed because they recognise the blond hair and the mask was coke. Firstly, we got on the CPR, not the Grand National there wasn't my mother's role. So we did get there safely. But we did cross the prairies and it took the protein days we went all through the Rockies and met which was a wonderful site. We stopped at Winnipeg, and did some shopping on the station. And it was Christmas time. And we bought a steak and a Christmas pudding. And we cooked Christmas dinner on the train because in those days each train had a kitchen at the back of the train and a negro servant that kept the style going woodstove and you could cook a meal and there's little tables that slid slid out. India can little compartment and he could sit down have a proper meal. That's what we did. We had a Christmas dinner on the train. Going through the Rockies. It's lovely

Alan Lawson  15:00  
Now let's get back to it come back to England.

Ray Morse  15:03  
Yeah, right.

Alan Lawson  15:05  
So when you came back to England, what did you do? When

Ray Morse  15:09  
I came back to a gym my grandmother came back to see going back on a ship called the meta gamma. And she bought a pub lauten in Essex, called the crown hotel, which is very old hotel is Dictor of an espresso. Anyway, lovely our place you'd have a most wonderful garden with beautiful Victoria plum trees NASA spent a lot of time there. And that's where I first took out music because she bought me a beautiful back Stan Piano Piano. And we used to get all the latest piano rolls you know, the dance music Nashville thing. And she bought me a saxophone she thinks she was nuts about sexual prowess. So she bought me when I learned to play it. And in the evenings I used to entertain the customers in the greenroom by playing the PNR with my feet and the sex of and at the same time. That was my first introduction to music as long before electronic pianos and electronic organs is right and after that I went back to London and became a commercial artist again is to house in the strained but I only started out for three months because the pipe payment pay the pay was very bad.

Unknown Speaker  16:44  
Remember the company

Ray Morse  16:48  
just got asked as to as to how

Alan Lawson  16:58  
I see on your your kind of List of big studios you worked in

Unknown Speaker  17:04  
flicker films

Unknown Speaker  17:07  
dealing with

Unknown Speaker  17:10  
what looks like a film

Ray Morse  17:12  
flicker films. Well, it was an old sort of glass as if it was like a greenhouse. I had no lights saved to depend on the sun, you know, coming through the glass. And I used to make those things that pay for things that you flicked the drawer and used to make them into the sex exercise book if I needed to remain in a room at six men and my grandmother used to live her ailing and this studio was an alien nice to go in there sometimes it was empty and asked to wander around and is to see these flicker things lying about on the bonfires all sorts of dummies and things line about anyway. Somebody rented it and cleaned it up a bit and we made a film in here and I got a little job in there. And we made a film in a room jack became this lady lady.

Alan Lawson  18:15  
Stop. Yeah. What What kind of job did you do on that? Do you remember?

Ray Morse  18:20  
I did the makeup on?

Alan Lawson  18:23  
That's the first time you did make Apogee?

Ray Morse  18:25  
Oh, no. You don't make up with Oh yeah. Well, I have to tell you how to start to do makeup. Because before that I was on the stage I used to do the feast or prologues for the Astoria circuit, I worked on all the greatest stories in the mouth. And the days of the big pictures when they had a prologue, a lot prologue on the stage. Probably lock was a thing where you took a scene from the picture. And you made up like this star and one of the same closes in the picture near you. You did the same from the picture. I'm not doing this right.

Alan Lawson  19:19  
But they were saying and they did they speak the actors actors do they speak on this island

Ray Morse  19:23  
mother silent?

Alan Lawson  19:24  
Yes. But I mean yes. I mean, on the in the prologue did this week.

Ray Morse  19:28  
No, no, no, no, he just acts as a scene from from the film in the same clothes in the same makeup. And then the screen would come down and say the same scene. Otherwise it would fade from the prologue into the into the picture if you know what I mean. When anyway, we used to do these I did this for about three years we stayed the plaza and all the different stories and then somebody from Girls birth guys for a talent scout saw me doing all these fantastic makeups for something one way we got to be for men too and another week I'll be somebody else so we do know these fantastic makeups the approach with Broderick hunter gains for us and help out with the makeup you see because up to them and they didn't have any English my cat man then it German makeup men from the lash no company is he said yes. How would you say sir? went against Varus and was under a German makeup man called Mr. Panzer. And from then on I became the first English makeup man and he wrote the films

Alan Lawson  20:51  
he worked on

Ray Morse  20:53  
objects The boy was I don't remember what the hell's your necklace? Love um, didn't have names at the time they're just numbers on clapper board you know, he didn't don't know the actual name of the film until it comes out in a but worked at every studio in England actually.

Alan Lawson  21:14  
Yes.

These are all these these are all one and one of the ones you know I certainly would love to talk to you about is when you were dealing with non perfect understand. Yeah. Yes. Can you remember much about

Ray Morse  21:35  
that? Yes. What were two she's my idol. Left boys wants to know which this is wonderful woman. And I said been married for six hours. is absolutely my lovely woman. She's so intelligent. You know, this is small. This is a small Ted, very tiny feet, you know. And she had her own dressmaker. And she just have a lot of addresses that actually made honour on the set used to stand on a box of beads mostly to stand on a box. The dress makers to come in with about a cloth and yards of damn empty and life and knickknacks and pins and that pair of scissors and to stand on this box than to drape all this stuff all around her and pins and things and is to make a frog Acciona while she stood there, and then they fell match. Then we'll come in again with a pair of scissors and cut it off.

Unknown Speaker  22:50  
Suddenly, yes.

Unknown Speaker  22:52  
Yeah, and

Ray Morse  22:55  
I see. As soon as this is farmer then yes, he's married to Michael farmer. Mrs. farmer. This is such a talented lady because apart from her act in terms of a good sculpture she's also had a very good singing voice is almost operatic you never say never, never used it in films actually sound is I think she only sang in one film the donkey's years ago that she's saying that famous, up to call swinging down the lane. Remember swinging down the lane. And proponents fail in Grand swing. Swinging down the line. Yes, but

Alan Lawson  23:40  
can you remember much about working on the floor there at Ealing on that film?

Ray Morse  23:45  
Yeah, remember the swimming tank? That the swimming tank Genevieve Tobin was on that gel nail that day and Noah Swinburne cast

Unknown Speaker  24:02  
live. Yes,

Ray Morse  24:05  
man. We did a lot of outdoor stuff at Leon saillant you know, racing boats and things like that in and that was fun.

Alan Lawson  24:15  
Because I guess because they eventually started Liechtenstein having a talking. They had to change who won the won the race.

Ray Morse  24:25  
That was his problem side of the house. The front, you know,

Alan Lawson  24:30  
can you can you remember the any of the crew or the crew on it?

Ray Morse  24:36  
No, no, no.

Unknown Speaker  24:44  
It wasn't current. I think.

Ray Morse  24:47  
Oh, yeah. Current, current. Current, current current current current. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah,

Alan Lawson  24:55  
it was started off actually by first they were started off about I forgot his name. But they didn't like his rashes and threw him off and English and the director Do you remember the director?

Ray Morse  25:12  
foreign bloke? I forget and then see my children now I remember she is to come is to come on the set very late in the evening after we'd already done the day's work there's no action and we'd already done a day's work then he come later knees and say right. Okay boys, let's get to work in the days where

Alan Lawson  25:48  
they are less. I would like to go back actually a little bit backtrack now to where and when you've doubled for Ivor Novello. This is about 1925 Yeah,

Ray Morse  26:00  
the larger lottery on the right, yeah. The standing in front.

Alan Lawson  26:07  
So you didn't have much to do with Hitchcock and these people

Ray Morse  26:13  
it's got filled with a lot

Alan Lawson  26:16  
of makeup. Yeah. So you wouldn't you wouldn't remember the cruise Really? Because,

Unknown Speaker  26:26  
you know there

Alan Lawson  26:28  
there was over multiuse. There's oh wait a minute I just wanted in the camera man. There was a man I worked with Baron Ventimiglia went live if you remember him

Unknown Speaker  26:42  
now then

Alan Lawson  26:44  
where where? Where whereabouts? Is your stage work come in was that running parallel with film?

Ray Morse  26:53  
Oh yeah three years with the with the you know the prologue things Yes. ways to do so.

Alan Lawson  27:05  
But that was silent days I'm doing about nine talkies in the talk is period what we were doing stage work then what kind of what kind of work was this

Ray Morse  27:18  
was supposed to sing and dance a bit really busy

Alan Lawson  27:23  
Where did you get good at dancing in front

Ray Morse  27:29  
nevertheless in malapa anything good Yeah. One of those things that come as your food you know I taught myself portrait or was a painting what sort of a you know torso music and when I bought my dog and I couldn't play it and now I can play anything up to 100 songs when I do my recording and everything

Alan Lawson  27:57  
but they also again another thing is he will prop me

Ray Morse  28:01  
up my props.

Alan Lawson  28:03  
When did you start making props?

Ray Morse  28:04  
Well, it's making sure the films that I worked on you know, even when you're doing

Alan Lawson  28:11  
makeup

Ray Morse  28:13  
where we didn't have any unions in my day yesterday I mean, that film I said hello frame that was a musical designed designed all the sets I did all the makeup I was in it I wrote the ballet I painted the set made all the props I did everything in it I mean they're all separate unions

Alan Lawson  28:42  
now and we're no no

Ray Morse  28:45  
separate unions nice

Alan Lawson  28:48  
it's all it's all together cut off a whole lot come together it's all now wishes but you know this is what we're doing now in a way in vector is is the is the animation of them all except the electrician anyway,

Ray Morse  29:04  
Rami now made that big like big either myself. Yeah. Huge, great thing Meadow chicken wire and plaster. which no one else could make it is to make it myself.

Unknown Speaker  29:18  
It's uncanny at uni.

Ray Morse  29:21  
Used enough was only 19. He was a little shy boy. They played two parts he played the Son of the Father. And the Father has given us some you know, sex talk is one of those things. What do you want to know dad? You know?

Alan Lawson  29:44  
I mean, the studios you worked in I mean, Whitehall, the Whitehall studio we

Ray Morse  29:52  
only made one film and what happened to that studio never never functioned anymore.

Alan Lawson  29:59  
That was the one that eventually became known as the gate studio to do a bite by the railway.

Ray Morse  30:04  
That's right right outside the station.

Alan Lawson  30:08  
It was it was started he was a dancer and the man who started that

Ray Morse  30:12  
write a film there with a man called Adele cumilla was the star

Alan Lawson  30:17  
yeah that's it. Yes.

Ray Morse  30:19  
Moo novum is

Unknown Speaker  30:22  
a document that

Ray Morse  30:23  
was just in the crowd and don't get me wrong but does do never seem different.

Alan Lawson  30:29  
It became the gates eventually became the gate studio and it was a dubbing theatre and much other things. Then kind of moving Crossley the road

Ray Morse  30:38  
you've got blackness Louis black Yeah, remember

Alan Lawson  30:44  
Jerry that that theory but

Ray Morse  30:46  
he was the man invented the tape recorder that

Alan Lawson  30:49  
was no that was his father. Yeah, yeah. But Lily black one I think ran the studio then Jerry took her. Sorry, here.

Ray Morse  30:58  
We did the musical

Alan Lawson  31:00  
BND were tiny little are being being deema down the road next door to be IP. Then they got burned down.

Ray Morse  31:12  
Loved the musical with all the old timers flatlay Desmond and Herman do rooskies band. Lovely band hemudu ski and Harry tape with moustache. Heavy tight. It's crazy gang. and wonderful.

Alan Lawson  31:45  
Then Melbourne studios, that's another matter but the studios

Ray Morse  31:52  
that our church our I used to work for Andrew Buchanan.

Unknown Speaker  31:59  
Yes, yes.

Ray Morse  31:59  
What are they still alive? lovely little man. I love love to him. I did love him to switch to make trailers. Yes. Remember when they said the big picture and they missed our trailer say come in next week the most gigantic film ever made, you know and that's all the thing you must Don't miss it all the rest of it was to make trailers. And that required a lot of model work is because you couldn't you couldn't mutilate the actual film because they're mostly assembled America was he couldn't cut lumps out the film. So we had to make improvise. Yeah, but we're making models and things like that. No. I mean, there's there's one film for instance, that was the Ginger Rogers film I think it's called New York USA. So what I did I made a model of the New York skyscrapers just say and there was a tune in it could do with a mess I made this model of this new york skyscrapers and I made the most way to the New York rhythm is the guys gave a slight slant to the rhythm and things like that. They made all these trailers This is lovely job. We made a lot of interesting things there. And they also did six documentaries of me of my work you know,

Alan Lawson  33:24  
that was sort of yes

Ray Morse  33:25  
well that was that was done at the Melbourne

Unknown Speaker  33:29  
GB instructional

Ray Morse  33:32  
and also did a very good thing making Paris that was interesting. You know the Egyptian propose Yes, I actually made it in front of the camera. As as Egyptians were using the same tools and everything. And they actually actually actually active flow of actually active so here actually had to

Unknown Speaker  33:52  
fly stuff in

Ray Morse  33:54  
Paris re reads from the Nile Fly, fly them over to the studio because they can only be made out of fresh, fresh cut reads you see not to do it in front of the camera and actually made a big sheet of this book flowers. In front of the camera is an Egyptian tool made up as as the old Egyptian now also dressed that was to Tang calm and I got pictures of that. You can even see those photographs.

Alan Lawson  34:28  
That Albany street

Ray Morse  34:30  
area. Musical they're really close. Birds of a feather with a thing I want to see you and the piano birds out of that little bass drive away stray away stray birds out the window get to get the sun Remember the too

Alan Lawson  35:02  
many you've got spelt with that lovely Elstree do styles. That was my home styles ADHD remembering Cricklewood

Unknown Speaker  35:10  
oh so lovely. So

Alan Lawson  35:14  
what did you do? Can you remember what your work on there?

Ray Morse  35:18  
Other things are walled off I think it was called racing racing.

Alan Lawson  35:23  
It was a quite a quickie that unfortunately did a lot of that

Ray Morse  35:29  
close down didn't it? Yes the style fair to close down to try to come

Alan Lawson  35:36  
yes there are men science films

Ray Morse  35:41  
that ever work for them.

Alan Lawson  35:43  
But was that what kind of work were

Unknown Speaker  35:44  
you doing?

Ray Morse  35:46  
Mostly model work. Was this very small studio run by the wolf wolf brothers Donald Wolford is three three wolf brothers.

Alan Lawson  36:04  
What kind of what kind of films were they human were

Ray Morse  36:08  
there scientific scientific films. itself kids

Alan Lawson  36:15  
and

wedding garden studios I

Ray Morse  36:19  
never worked nasteria we did two white arms with Carol crew same man that directed Ben Hur

Alan Lawson  36:31  
name he directed

Ray Morse  36:34  
he did Ben Hur the original anyway easy name

Alan Lawson  36:46  
to remember and whatnot or no before it became a you know mythos in large order. Did you What did you do that I can't remember what you did

Unknown Speaker  37:03  
remember that again? It'd

Alan Lawson  37:04  
be very what were what has probably makeup

Ray Morse  37:09  
would have been makeup and silver these films you don't know what they were because they're just numbers of a coat I'm on a knife on the clapper board

Alan Lawson  37:21  
or a name that got changed.

Ray Morse  37:23  
I don't know what they were when they finally came out and tweaking tweaking them flying full I gotta still have that as a rule about shipping bodies back to the land and they're always say that was a card because the boxes did contain bodies at all they contain gold bullion bank. I got to silver

Alan Lawson  38:02  
and Dean street studios that was downstairs.

Ray Morse  38:06  
That was that was the industry

Alan Lawson  38:08  
Yes. Wasn't it downstairs?

Ray Morse  38:11  
Upstairs It was a long long road or a long staircase at the side in a semi modern building. It was on the corner near the market.

Alan Lawson  38:25  
I didn't I didn't know that.

I knew another one which was downstairs but near a Jasper Avenue.

Ray Morse  38:31  
did a lot of work there did a very big model of big long tracking model ever. Coal fires prehistoric coal fires on the tracking model going through the forest you know you have to make every tree by hand because they don't grow like normal trees are different than the way they grew you know? No so did the Spanish you know the Spanish caves with the drawings of the animals and that well we weren't allowed to film those not the real ones because they said the lights were damaged the damaged paintings and so I had to reconstruct it in the studio and do the paintings in the street. Yeah. So I did a little mat What else did

Unknown Speaker  39:18  
I do?

Ray Morse  39:22  
Forget what I did. I did a lot of models there anyway. That was the GB instructional instructional films.

Alan Lawson  39:39  
When were you working when you when the wall came along?

Ray Morse  39:43  
I was doing stage stuff led down Rubin's

Unknown Speaker  39:51  
music goes

Ray Morse  39:52  
to reviews. Reviews.

Alan Lawson  39:57  
When you call it up immediately are good you

Ray Morse  40:00  
More or less, yes?

Alan Lawson  40:04  
Where did you you mentioned to the wrath but what has

Ray Morse  40:07  
went in is on the ground. First of all, where

Alan Lawson  40:23  
were we base?

Ray Morse  40:25  
I was I joined I joined the IAF in 1939. I was based in Dallas, in Scotland, and in an underground operations room as a plotter

Alan Lawson  40:40  
what actually was the job of the plotter,

Ray Morse  40:43  
plotting aircraft in ships and air raids and things like that on on a giant mountain giant map and the ground in a

Alan Lawson  40:53  
body he shot from our own

Ray Morse  40:57  
area right. Now,

Alan Lawson  41:02  
how long before you lay suddenly remember that you were a model maker.

Ray Morse  41:07  
But I did this nearly a year in this underground, plotting business. And then suddenly there was a notice on the, on the board asking for someone who could make models. I went to the CEO and applied for the job. And it was Pinewood

Alan Lawson  41:34  
Beckham

Ray Morse  41:36  
measly rush down to Pinewood You see, until as soon as I got there, I met teddy bear and all the people in the street just leave and say welcome. He got the job straight away.

Alan Lawson  41:56  
Can you remember who was in charge of the unit?

Ray Morse  41:59  
debit twist.

Alan Lawson  42:01  
Had you worked with Shrewsbury and you were

Ray Morse  42:03  
and let them work for twist? I've worked for teddy bear. never worked with Teddy twist.

Alan Lawson  42:11  
And what you came under the aegis of what free for you say the art department? Yeah.

Ray Morse  42:19  
It was given to john Howard. My officer. Had you worked for him before? No, no, no. I met him before. He was sort of the art director. He never did much.

Alan Lawson  42:34  
And I'm gonna stop there because I didn't turn out

Alan Lawson  0:02  
Ray Morse side two re wildly in that break viewers suddenly remember the name of jack Buchanan's leading lady.

Ray Morse  0:10  
Oh yes, it was Elsie Randolph yes just remember that

Alan Lawson  0:14  
now let's go let's go back to modelmaking now in the ref a minute Can you remember you know what the first one you were called on

Ray Morse  0:23  
to do? I think it was that big model

Unknown Speaker  0:35  
journey together

Ray Morse  0:37  
Oh no long before that

Unknown Speaker  0:41  
but the big pack

Unknown Speaker  0:45  
what was in the model

Ray Morse  0:46  
I think was for the balloon command

Unknown Speaker  0:56  
model of

Ray Morse  0:58  
one of the big balloons are very difficult models it wasn't it wasn't inflatable we say it was a solid model but that looked as though it was inflated in a very difficult model to make very successful I mean

Unknown Speaker  1:15  
these things that they have scattered right the way around

Ray Morse  1:17  
yeah Oh yeah. Oh, I can remember wearing one right outside my house in Notting Hill gate on a on a lorry in the mall over London wonderful site when the whistle when you see them all gain up. rise in all the same time all over London. currents in the sky in the wonderful side.

Alan Lawson  1:45  
Too much was the that was the journey together which was a beautiful model.

Ray Morse  1:50  
Oh yeah, that was the Lancaster that was a star the show really was was all about the Lancaster was about the life or the life of the Lancaster Did you

Alan Lawson  2:03  
have much to do is to get rid of rigid rigid Yeah.

Ray Morse  2:10  
Oh, nice to meet him in the car.

Alan Lawson  2:15  
But you came on the floor he went on the floor.

Ray Morse  2:17  
Oh yeah, of course. Yeah, check what limbers in it to the best The Love is the gangster bloke

Unknown Speaker  2:38  
not Leo again.

Ray Morse  2:42  
Man it used to be a gangster you know in the film of famous gangster

Alan Lawson  2:47  
Yes.

Ray Morse  2:49  
Deborah j Robinson native to

Unknown Speaker  2:53  
do the makeup on that as well.

Ray Morse  2:55  
Yeah. Oh yeah. There wasn't much makeup to do to say more or less natural space to be universes to bits. I had a little bit in it too. I was a Free French then you know a little bit in the jumping out of the window in order to play the joke on me you know they put both of water under the winner in the last stage attempted

Unknown Speaker  3:29  
was that appreciated by john bolton? Yes, and

Alan Lawson  3:40  
you had the sound recordings I will well remember your bill Sweeney.

Did you remember you

Unknown Speaker  3:51  
remember most

Unknown Speaker  3:53  
because you would have remembered Harry Weitzman

Ray Morse  3:58  
to suit all my models.

Alan Lawson  4:01  
He was a very very fine

Ray Morse  4:03  
very good cameraman. Excellent.

Alan Lawson  4:09  
Because I can I can remember shooting I think it was a I think it was a glass. I think it was a glass plate with kind of clouds on and underneath. That was your work.

Ray Morse  4:26  
Most German battleships hide in there that was a sheet of plate glass with a German battleships stuck on it. Then Vaseline for all over the glass. When you stipple it with a brush may say look like water. For the week. You stippling extra hard the back of the ships from height. It looks just like the ships going on in the water. This Sunday Vaseline is not walkthrough at all you do that same with aircraft I need it underneath you ever see the glass suspended and the formation of aircraft in an A V shaped formation painted on the glass then you have wind and smoke and music and stuff like that and the camera just goes slowly along underneath the glass It looks as though the formation is moving along you know not moving at all some illusion terrible wonderful illusion

Alan Lawson  5:49  
that you know of all the models you did on on the raft which was the most difficult one was it the balloon

Ray Morse  5:56  
as the most difficult one to make at the be made into house had to make it in clay first into house to match in house and make your plaster mould of each half. And then actively balloon was made out of organ D which is a sort of transparent dress material that ladies blouses are made of it was all cut out little squares and pasted pasted inside the mould layer after layer and it was dry lifted it out. So you got to thin

Unknown Speaker  6:35  
something like

Ray Morse  6:38  
like Papermaster neither the thin, many put the two pieces together, you know, very delicate gel, you know. So it's quite light, you know, it's like an inflated balloon wasn't the

most detailed model there was that for big model of Hamburg. I think it was supposed to be when bombs were in the water and all

Alan Lawson  7:02  
that was can you remember that? That was was that made for training? That's all you know?

Ray Morse  7:08  
No, no, I think it was actual film. I don't know what it was Saugus semester status of secret in those days. bums in the water of Vegas. If you tried to put the model Bellman Wharton blow it up. Doesn't get real big as the water goes out and whacking great blogs out of proportion to the model. You can't make module water three. So what we did we use condoms. We put like podiums and gunpowder and stuff, and have a detonator inside the condom. And we filled it out with French chalk and tried it out to say make it waterproof, put it in the water and then press the button for the fuse to go off. And the gunpowder stuff blows the friends talk through the water up into a plume. And it photographs like water. This is in proportion to the model if you can't make model is impossible. So what you're seeing is a plume of Fred's chalk going up not a plume of water. Now that is for the lovely model, because it's all in perspective. You notice all the detail of ships and cranes and buildings and stuff like that.

Alan Lawson  8:41  
You are responsible for the whole of that model.

Ray Morse  8:43  
Oh yeah, yeah, build every stative Really?

Alan Lawson  8:46  
How does that kind of say that but barrage balloon How long did that take you to make

Ray Morse  8:53  
better month thing is that you're working on several models at the same time not necessarily working on one model in doing all kinds of jobs at the same time.

Alan Lawson  9:04  
But that Lancaster bomber must have been very concentrated. How long did that take?

Ray Morse  9:12  
This is got real motors in it what we use. We use the monitor camera motors for the motors. Just the props have to work is these camera motors. sealed inside Microsoft to make them so realistic are not supposed to be models and yet they all have to be destroyed. You've got nothing left for the work when it's all done. You can't salvage any of it. And it's all destroyed. You see, it has to be so meticulously made, you know, our attendee well, somebody came into my workshop in uniform You see, and we had a long talk about the models and things like that you know, about half an hour discussing all details about the model. Because then one of the one of my boys came out a gun when the right boys came into the shop and said as you get on I said what do you mean? He said What did you say? I said What did you say? He said terrible

from making an American uniform you say I didn't know I've been talking to Tom cable for half an hour you don't know if they will you see this probably nearly four we don't expect to be filmed

we used to have all kinds of celebrities now this is the season sisters visiting the model shop

Alan Lawson  10:49  
also a lot of top brass

Ray Morse  10:51  
I've got a picture with all the top brass band back into the worst people in Miko van explosives and things like that. And then bombs to get arrested.

Alan Lawson  11:15  
When did you when you come out of the rat

Ray Morse  11:18  
stuck it for I think four and a half years and then became ill was then bleed it out. I've got seven six months a year. Six months a week

Unknown Speaker  11:30  
while pension

Unknown Speaker  11:34  
cigarette

Alan Lawson  11:37  
What did you do then?

Ray Morse  11:39  
Okay, came to Burton and we lived in our house and Apple rode there for a couple of years. I got well and then we went to back to Vancouver.

Alan Lawson  11:50  
What did you What did you do then?

Ray Morse  11:52  
I became a potter the pottery in the basement of my house we lived up the mountain Grouse Mountain Vancouver and a lovely view of Vancouver.

Alan Lawson  12:03  
And again this is something you've never been taught

Ray Morse  12:06  
Myrna teasers that were in the text was there anything out of a book or anything like that, you know? And I'll say some coffee before you go.

Alan Lawson  12:18  
About three years.

Ray Morse  12:20  
About about two years. I've made the pottery right Vancouver Vancouver's lovely city is a beautiful city lovely view of the mountain nor the thing I could look down on the Broward inlet and see all the boats go by as the boats go by to Vancouver Island you know I've been there lived in Victoria Vancouver Island that's the capital of British Columbia beautiful is decided Another one is down in the front garden if we had this view in England and we will as a million in a millionaire whatever view like this you know we had nothing we had this lovely view but if the rain a lot in Vancouver Scott Markov lovely lovely summer's never rains in all philosophy green room that you know we got a bit fed out with the rain as it is educator flowers Amen. So we went to Florida we went to St Petersburg first as further south in as further all the old people go I go there to die but they don't die they go on living in a beautiful place got a wonderful million dollar pair and all the rest of it you know beautiful signs and things you know, but there's no live in me there's just people for retirement you know you can't gonna live in there. So I said let's, let's go to St. Augustine, St. Augustine. I mean do you pronounce it St Augustine in every play? I call it's an Augustine there is the art colony as well like so nice would be in England you know, all the all the artists from America go there for the winter and paint because they obviously get the mail in America. We're the oldest buildings the oldest jail the oldest post office, the oldest school the oldest everything you know. So we went there is on the other side. Some Petersburg is on the on the Gulf of Mexico. So it is an Augustine on the Atlantic side. Near marine land, you know, Jacksonville subject Jacksonville is the next city to ferry went there and I got this old building in Everly Street, as he called it. It's in the Spanish quarter, which is the art art colony in older buildings, studios. With all the famous artists on it, they come from all over the all over the place from Cape Cod, New York and others. They spend the winters there because it's more painting and all those do it Got this old building and started this studio painting and I did very well. The studio is 500 years old because it is the governor of florida official residence time say was Nicolas Ponce de Leander lived in a he was the brother of john Ponce de Leon, the governor, the founder of Robert and he lived in this house because it was all made of Cypress wood. So it's more or less than distractible. And your call history to it and since I've been back, restored it to its original condition and is now a tourist attraction. When you come back to come back this mother was getting there. She wanted to die. He didn't want to die over there. He had to abandon it. Oh no, I was buying the place it would have been worth a fortune now. No sad is it'll build the next door which is to use to sell my pottery Nice to meet people from all over the world. So the baggies used to go by the terrorists and there's no no motorcars go by it was only a little narrow street with no sidewalk or anything. It was just horse buggies. You know, there's no build it was all covered with a thing called a money via nose dangle with pictures on it. So people could see them all. I used to be out in all hours as we painting midnight and that sort of thing is lovely at midnight, whacking great moon, the moon seem to be three four times the size of the one we get here in the studio is the cellar smell of jasmine and nor the tropical flowers, you know, Bluefin venier, and all that sort of things. You know, it's very romantic, you know?

Alan Lawson  16:52  
When you came back and did you do? What did you do?

Ray Morse  16:56  
When we're when I came back, I thought I was going to get another little studio. Like the one I've left in Cornwall or something like that, but they wanted millions for just a hole in the world. They've been in the family for 100 years. At an outdoor laboratory and no electoral law, it was worth millions sequela of the terrorist attacks in the outdoor have it I didn't bother about I

Alan Lawson  17:30  
didn't think of going back to films at all.

Ray Morse  17:33  
gave it all up. You went into music. Television thing in Florida. About Intellivision shelves sorry in the terrorists coming into myself and possibly making pottery and stuff like that. I did very well there nice to see a bit my pictures at the local gallery and all that sort of thing. You know, I used to meet people from all over the world in met my next door neighbour, heck was it not in El gatos lived next door to Captain Charles Dickens, a relative of the child and to our ladies came into my shop one day and I said oh your English on Channel says oh yeah, I said we're English to anime is Dickens sisters Well, my paintings are the must be all over the walls of PBS to buy them, you know, come from all over the world.

Alan Lawson  18:36  
I want to get back to makeup again. Did you have any difficulties with any artists you

Ray Morse  18:48  
not really know most I'm really grateful, you know, you sort of become confident, you know, because

Unknown Speaker  18:57  
this is your, this is my good side that

Ray Morse  19:01  
you get the love that, you know, nose is a bit crooked and things like that. I don't quite straighten it, really. They weren't there. They worry about their face a lot. But, I mean, it's the most personal job in the studio, because after all you have set away whether we know rooms, sometimes two to three hours, the film might last eight weeks or something like that. So I mean, they'd be become friends. Really, you know, and they tell you all their travels, you know, my family travels sometimes or not well and as they quite frightened about their part or where they go, when they're going to forget their lines or if they're going to get the job and things like that, you know, and they tell you all that travels and that sort of thing. You know, sometimes they like to rehearse their lines with you and you know, you become friends. You know, I've got all this certain photographs and all that, you know, they're very nice

Alan Lawson  20:01  
How did you how did you how do you go about making somebody? How did

Ray Morse  20:07  
you go about it?

Unknown Speaker  20:08  
Yeah

Ray Morse  20:09  
well you set them down first cover them up so not to be frightened have a cup of coffee

Unknown Speaker  20:23  
Do you do

Alan Lawson  20:25  
is the is the director ever involved was there a directory involved with you or the camera man?

Ray Morse  20:31  
Oh camera man is sometimes involved in a chromatic film when someone thinks that that you know but they know that about they're very much they must leave it to you because they get it you get a script

Unknown Speaker  20:46  
yes

Ray Morse  20:47  
you know what the character is what was supposed to look like and that sort of thing you know is continuity across here they get the same makeup on each day over there's an ageing thing you know we can start yeah and gradually gradually get older and older and older and that sort of thing you know as all that to consider you know for very difficult really

Alan Lawson  21:12  
what has been the most what was the most difficult kind of makeup for you to achieve

Ray Morse  21:19  
no no don't think that a difficult one

Alan Lawson  21:24  
well, one then put it another way the most complicated if you're like that I don't mean I don't mean difficult as far as the person is concerned is the concentration but getting the ultimate result in fact that you know me obviously got to change somebody completely. Perhaps

Ray Morse  21:47  
really had a difficult one member funny one we did on the Mauritania as the main cartels killed us and he played two parts he played a gentleman and and is battler pay both part and just to wake him up as the gentleman to make him up as the Butler and the makeup room was in the stern of the ship and where we assume is in the bowels of the ship sometimes we get him up in the bowels of the ship with made up of gentlemen then they suddenly say oh we want him as the bat let's get back to the gentleman that back there you know things that that most difficult ones really when you get someone that's really go gone off a bit you know some a middle aged and the eyes have gone on that sort of really got to make them you know a bit younger game you're now

Alan Lawson  23:06  
making a certain person

Ray Morse  23:09  
I mean Genevieve Tobin I mean he was gone a bit baggy and that sort of thing you know, you got to

make it look again natural thing you know, false eyelashes and white stuff are the most difficult ones really. First Person first person I ever made was somebody called IB freshman IB test she's the first star ever made

Unknown Speaker  23:43  
he can't remember the

Ray Morse  23:49  
standard map and I know what it was start at the time whatever it was in musical something or whether it's the army that is referred to as a made up Dooku costume and you can

Alan Lawson  24:09  
buy those during the war

Ray Morse  24:12  
man Darby and people like that, you know? Do you could lost his stupid Oh,

Alan Lawson  24:26  
yes, he was yes. I met him during the water.

Ray Morse  24:29  
I couldn't eat mostly done and had to wash the hands warm and dry a little head with a small head. Awesome beside that.

Alan Lawson  24:48  
Kind of No. Going back over it all. Which which is which is the bit that satisfied you perhaps the most

Ray Morse  25:10  
Do I really didn't like was getting up early in the morning and hated that all workman's trying to earn enough to get out to Elstree high mode or somebody like that and because they all the studios were out in the country in those days was right

go see I mean he didn't have time for breakfast or coffee and yet to get a cold studio before they put the lights on you know the procedures were freezing cold and now they put the arcs on you know, warm them out you know, he really felt sick and had to do all this artistic work to do felt sick you know? ship seven we can always now dressing over cold

Alan Lawson  26:01  
which would the worst studio for that was it was it Sound City weather because that was a bit of

Ray Morse  26:05  
sound so that was rather nasty

Alan Lawson  26:08  
we didn't have that

Ray Morse  26:09  
Colonel blood there. Yeah, make your own blood room Colonel grant thought about the stealing of the crown jewels you know lmJ is he was Charles and second it was he was a nice man. ip lipscombe was the producer.

Alan Lawson  26:28  
He was script writing imagined

Ray Morse  26:31  
he likes it I think it is Clive of India to the needed that one. I like to sound city

Alan Lawson  26:40  
in the old days it was a lovely place because it had them well it was a good service very lovely conservatory that's

Ray Morse  26:45  
right as we've never learned to manage the restaurant man what was the motto was the restaurant at a waterfall back where the bar was the rest of it it was real trees and that grain and because those were birds and things flitting about their gravel piles and stuff slightly

Alan Lawson  27:08  
in on that you know one of those press cuttings you showed me It said you know Ray Moore's agenda of all trades you know you are a master a lot of them which would you think you were the master of in the best sense of the word of which particular trade

Ray Morse  27:28  
model building respect I said a lot of patients you know because they had good eyesight nowadays like doing the most meticulous work you can do it now of course

Alan Lawson  27:41  
it's still I'm still amazed that happened not to have I had in the track proper training. Still yet they were doing these fantastic models.

Ray Morse  27:51  
I've never listened to anything as I said I left school at 19 left to go 14 I never learned anything in school leader as I say be on the other side as late painter we didn't have computers ready retinas and calorie calculators and that sort of thing that they do now i mean if they kept the power off now they cut their brains out and we had to learn to read and write and add up and all that our brain we didn't press buttons and things to do it

Alan Lawson  28:28  
would you like if you could start again Would you like to change it or change it?

Ray Morse  28:33  
Yes. Right do it again I'd like to be a songwriter I really tried to go into music and

I love being so business general you know designing writing music sort of thing you know do our designing for the Astoria circuit is what has been on the stage it is and a lot of the sets and things because this work for Lando and Ruby's latest.

Alan Lawson  29:06  
Did they did they pay reasonably

Ray Morse  29:11  
not not to raise steady will

Alan Lawson  29:16  
I suppose that was one that was an important in those days, wasn't it?

Ray Morse  29:21  
I was never I was never bothered about money. I'm not a money person. I live on nothing now.

Alan Lawson  29:29  
I know it doesn't grow on trees.

Ray Morse  29:32  
Well, I never I never did anything for the money and never went went for the job that paid them I also went to the jobs that are doing you know doing job satisfaction, satisfaction. turned down all kinds of jobs you know that pays better but I didn't want to do it. I've never bothered about money ever. never wanted to win money or anything of the world. A lot of money. I mean the man next door is a millionaire. Now I'm a full, but I'm happier than he is. is miserable devil. I'm quite happy, or you know I can make music but he can't.

Alan Lawson  30:22  
Thanks very much writing. It's great

Biographical

Born in public house Carlton Arms. No schooling . Spent early childhood in Canada. Worked in films in USA doing small jobs. Early days in silent movies. Films then lasted around 3 minutes and they made three a day. Art job in Vancouver . Back to England to take up music. Played saxophone in hotel. Commercial artist in London. Worked on flicker films. Made a film in Ealing doing make up. Gainsborough Films employed him as make up artist. First English make up man previously they were German. Did make up for Gloria Swanson. Made models for films like barrage balloons. Also Lancaster bombers. Employed special effects with glass screens and made many models for films. Made bomb models from condoms in underwater scenes. Talks of discussions with Clark Gable about model making in films.Became a potter in Vancouver, Canada.