Cy Young

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Interview Date(s): 
12 Jul 2012
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Cy Young started as a Film Editor and graduated to a Film Researcher . He describes many fascinating insights as to work practices when Videotape took over from film He give many interesting insights in how to find material for the archives. His list of TV credits are many in the early days of ITV. Cy Young is also a Governor of the BFI and wrote many articles for the news media.

General Outline follows:

Cy Young interview outline 1965-1968 background in cinema management on Odeon/Gaumont circuit


Granada Television's London office as personal assistant to Leslie Halliwell, ITV film buyer viewing purchased prints for technical quality (eg. grading of 16mm rationalised reduction of 35mm anamorphic/Cinemascope feature) and content (synopsis/critique), television pilots eg. 'film research department' one man and a dog - Cy was dog to Graham (ex-COI ) Murray's man on ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (wef c. 1961) looked back at '25 years ago this week' via deal with Pathe, schools programmes PICTURE BOX (Norman McClaren ),THE MESSENGERS + booklet on themes and subjects for discussion, studio drama 'film inserts' for beyond budget images eg. car crashes (CLAPPERBOARD 1971- devised and edited 16mm pos.cut / sep.mag)


35mm B/W dupe neg and print 'papered up' for overnight laboratory processing at Humphries end of the black and white 'scratched print' (basic anti-piracy spoiler) era


Fact [Non-Fiction]     3 cinema newsreel companies, + IWM, COI, BFI

Fiction          Halliwell's purchased distributors' feature packages (eg. Rank, Twentieth Century Fox), vaults at Elstree, Pine wood etc.

2 x private collectors for PD or rare (involving double payment eg. Film Finders' fee + copyright owners royalty) titles

BBC (no embargo)

1985 onwards


A changed world at Thames, direct 'attended' telecine of 35mm sections, eg. Halliwell's purchased prints for C4 transmission, to 1" VTR compilation of clips for LE [Light Entertainment] shows like LOOKS FAMILIAR* for drama and documentary productions made entirely on film (eg. THIS WEEK), 16mm broadcast standard long since, overnight reduction neg / CRI and work print 'matching key numbers' on edge of stock, Visnews the lab for much-improved Kodak colour with no 'grain loss' on 16mm to 16mm, mixed media process for Buster Keaton documentaries - interviews on film, library footage onto 1" tape with 'BITC reproduced bottom of fi*ame on telerecordings, creative editing on film, EDL chart for 'auto-conform' to time code (ie. equivalent of final 'neg cut' to key numbered answer print) in a V T R s u i t e


Television now feeds on itself, with ABC and ATV telerecordings stashed long ago for overseas sales unseen until now* and (even today, 2008 ) uncatalogued, 'tit for tat' arrangement with librarians for fishing expedition along shelves and complete log of content (not just selected extract) once viewed, similarly with 2" colour transfers

New additional responsibilities

Clearances / permissions / residual fees to actors / writers / musicians under 'live tv broadcast' repeat agreements (originally applied to complete non-film programmes, with a 'loophole' for extracts from eg THE SWEENEY, but later tightened up), important liaison with Production Managers


Increasing amount of archive footage now from videotape masters. Thames used MII for a while, the BBC D3, with short-lived 1" (edit-friendly, fast forward in vision, unlike 2") succeeded by DigiBeta.


Buried treasure

Granada's 'itnsource' computer database nominally represents anything from Gaumont Graphic silent cinema newsreels to Channel Four's current output, but over the years of transferring story information / shot lists from index cards to electronic 'keyword' search programmes, moving film cans physically around the ITV network (from Manchester to London to Leeds, eg. of CLAPPERBOARD* for Elstree Screen Heritage project), and mergers / take-overs of whole libraries, much is being lost in the process. ATV's programmes c. 1955 to 1980,25 years' eyewimess accounts of Britain - how we lived, what we thought of importance - evidenced in documentary, drama, 'sitcom', educational /religious/discussion genres, pure gold to social historians interested in the 20"* century (especially the 'watershed' years of the 1960's): all remain substantially uncatalogued.

Successively owned by Lew Grade's ITC overseas distribution company. Polygram, Universal, and broadcaster Carlton Communications - until absorbed by Granada / ITV, where the buck stops, this huge resource needs investment to render it accessible to programmer makers 100%. Criminal negligence?

'Colour prejudice' amongst Commissioning Editors and Schedulers against monochrome footage, with no allowance on budgets for B/W telecine, results in a false historical balance and distorted perspective on docs like SEX ON TV; 'cut to the chase' is the cry, never mind what importantly happened between 1955 / 1970. Archive footage expected to be readily available on VTR, hence 'same old clips' DIXON OF DOCK GREEN ('take off that uniform') / Z CARS [Friday Night) re-appear because easy to hand.

* cite "all-film" [i.e. shot on film]nepisodes temporarily lost, whilst unsaleable / unlicenceable 'KRS-approved' release round-ups and clip-heavy themed / historical episodes appear on database (but no great detail to this effect) eg. Tallmantz Aviation for CAPRICORN ONE offered as 'stunt flying in the movies' half-hour.

Don't believe what it says on the cards

ref. REEL TRUTH x 4 episodes for Welsh C4: onger language than English /commentary anecdote - re-cut pics? PasT [Programmes as Transmitted - logs held by TV companies may give] mplications of two [differing] versions.

examples of fakery:  [Airship] R 101, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Black and Tans rounding up IRA suspects (judging by the angles and shot changes, either there were 3 cameras on this Pathe newsreel shoot - not [so] - or one camera 35mm photographed the same action in 3 different takes; hence incident was staged): of Pancho Villa's Mexican Revolution and World War One (Somme etc), cameraman's p.o.v. [point of view] would - if true - place him in harms' way / line of fire, hence is shooting exercises / manoeuvres behind the lines.

Re-enactments / reconstructions in Liverpool parks and Welsh mountains of Boer War engagements / skirmishes (with hand-painted / scratched-on gun flashes, 'hat in air' misdirection) and early century attack on a Chinese mission - aka film-maker's villa abode in Hove. And the sister ship Olympic doubles for the Titanic at Southampton (although not at Harland and Wolf, Belfast).

Strange requests

HOC GOONS - coverage of Suez Canal opening, a year before movies were invented ! Sir Winston and Lady Churchill in bed together - with cigar, even better; George III;  anything at all on Hitler?

Optimistic request:

A coloured Pullman car attendant being struck by lightning;

Impossible request:

Titanic arriving in New York: Gaumont Graphic re-prints of 'jerky' Captain Smith on the bridge, painted-out ship's name on tugboats

Life-saving requests

A Piper Cherokee light aircraft exploding into smithereens on tarmac

example. of the film inserts for 1960's/1970's drama productions when television production budgets not enough for the kind of stunts and effects that in tv movies of the 1980's/1990's came to be specially shot: hence for car crashes, explosions, airports, railway scenes (especially 'period' ie. turn of the 19th into 20^ century) we used World Backgrounds stock shots, ABPC/Ealing feature film unused second unit. Index for generic footage of the natural world (ex BP and Shell documentaries), and Movietone.

British Movietone I was poacher-tumed-gamekeeper about 4 years ago. Until then. Film Researchers had manhandled huge ledgers the size and weight of tombstones, leafing through alphabetical generic categories (politics - foreign - elections, traffic - streets - night, theatres - interior - opera, etc.) with a single 35mm frame of the opening shot glued into the page - opposite can reference and key edge no's of the roll. A laborious process, but rewarding to visit Denham - gasometers and trains over viaduct BP plate of several minutes for HOC HANCOCK - suburban monotony in Sunday Afternoon at Home. c. end of 2003 I spent 6 months in the nitrate and safety vaults pulling out and assembling into 10 min reels for xfr * (to DV Pro only alas) the original camera negative cuts from the many features made at Islington, Denham, Shepherd's Bush, Pinewood from the 1930's to the I960's/I970's - interior and exterior, colour and black and white, ie back-projection plates and second unit location footage (and studio sequences with anonymous, unidentifiable extras eg. long shots of ballroom dancing) of all sorts - from Afghan tribesman attacking a military train, to a horse and cart milk float delivering in a quiet street of semi-detached houses.

       *Details with new 'SS' refs entered on Movietone's keyword search database amongst the cut stories. Long overdue investment, on the initiative of Barry Florin, who knew he could sell more of this stuff if made accessible. Barbara Heavens and I made it so. Satisfaction

.Serious, not unreasonable, requests

Neville Chamberlain outside Number Ten announcing to Press that "we are at war with Germany" In fact, no photo opportunities or interviews on the doorstep in those days, and NC was too busy inside preparing his radio broadcast etc. so the cinema newsreels actually show King George VI coming to him (NC), arriving in Downing Street to consult with his Prime Minister.

footnote: chance gathering of crowd at Croydon on return from Munich: waves paper, "well done" from lady at the back.

Lateral thinking department

SBS David Bailey - John French profile in LOOK AT LIFE (then Movietone-handled, now Granada /Carlton) - an un-catalogued (as yet un-famous) Bailey in red sweater

Same programme: for DB's National Service I950's Singapore - dog-eared old COI catalogue on shelf led to IWM doc WINGS ON HER SHOULDERS, about WRAC/WAAF [Women's Royal Army Corps/Womens Auxiliary Air Force] in Far East - hunch that guys would feature somewhere (specifically in light tropical kit, not blue serge) paid off .

Tail wags dog' department

The best producers/directors are open to 'Film as evidence', ie learning from discovered archive footage volunteered by a conscientious Film Researcher exploring around the subject, eg on RIVER THAMES - 6 X 30 mins oral/social history docs for LWT, Gavin Weightman - author and historian - had laid out his chapters - the bridges, the trade, the working lives, the events, the pageantry - in advance: but when shown atmospheric Pathe News b/w footage of drilling tunnels under the Thames in dangerous-looking conditions, he decide to add another chapter and sought out retired engineers to interview, so enriching the programme. *

Probably the last major series where all archive footage duped onto 16mm colour neg (used Eastman stock irrespective of whether original in b/w, to match geometry etc for editing) and cutting copy workprints (logged by sources ** and key numbers by the Film Researcher, because of the volume of material and assistant film editor not yet on board). Result was that processing costs absorbed such a % of the overall archive budget for previews/transfers that not enough remained to pay actual royalties for using the acquired footage. (PM -Production Manager- says 'but you're not going to use all this' - ignorant of creative process, editing (not a ready-made/self-contained extract /clip show), analogy with 3:1 ratio for original SS [Stock Shot?] rushes, standard principle always in ordering library. Gavin Weightman got more cash from LWT ('too far in to abandon the production - they can't say no') and the ends - 6 excellent eps -justified the means.


Direct shelf access / fishing expeditions (last chance saloon) to partially catalogued (title and one-line synopsis only at National Maritime Museum, and un-catalogued random neg/print collection at London 'Museum in Docklands' with enthusiastic local co-operation.

Tea clippers at sea, Baltic Exchange interiors (Port of London Authority official film), red-sailed barges etc, etc.

* other p/d's [producer-directors] who responded in this way, and therefore represent 'the best', would include: Garry Hughes on THE GREAT BRITISH BLACK INVASION (eg?), SEX ON TV lady, retired ill, her 'wow' reactions to eg. IT'S DARK OUTSIDE binned by 'nipple count' philistines, John Fisher Steve Humphries mention?

Finale TBA


Transcription PDF: 

Bob Geoghan is interviewer
CY My name is so Cy Young I was born in Bristol on the 5th of December 1941. slightly avoiding Pearl Harbour Where did you live. Oh blimey I don't know.
Cy Yes. Yeah. Well I went to school in Bristol at the grammar school I went to was called Queen Elizabeth was a grammar school. Of which the most famous old boy was William Friese Green. So I was off to a good start. Then inference is correct.
BG Where did you first love films
CY My dad he used to take us through the pictures and when he got home he'd have mini quizzes I think know little puzzles and quiz questions based on his names and things like that. So the films because everyone in those days.
What's your favourite cinema?
Was my parents. We had one just round the corner down the road because there were so many. In a large town like Bristol you know called the Scala. I often wondered later why they named an opera house in Italy after my our local cinema. But I didn't know anything. But we went to see everything because there were three programs a week so we went down you know monday to wednesday thursday to Saturday and Sunday
BG What sort of time are you talking about
CY Early fifties early 1950s. It feels.
BDG What films stick out in your mind?
CY Really. How did that issue exist. The Superman serials many ideas is a long time before I mean recognizing people in the film has made them an idea that was just as well.
BG How did you start in films?
CY I left school I was about 14 because my father had died and my mother was too ill to work so I had to go out and get a job and because he worked for the post office I got a job as a civil servant with a post office. But I knew I didn't really want to do that. The rest of my life and one day there was an advert in the local paper with a big picture a sound of music poster and the local Indie cinema saying be a cinema manager missing recruiting. So I thought I'd have a go at it day. I ended up in a junior assistant manager at the Odeon cinema in Bristol and saw the sound of music for two tears nonstop. But so that's how I got into that pictures that way.
BG What did you have to do??
Cy Well it depends on the a big place like that I suppose everything was delegated but when I was at the smaller cinemas like the Odeon in Worcester where we had full employment if there was a vacancy on the staff and you had to do it so you could you could sell the tickets and some of the hot dogs is showing people to their seats. As a manager. If it's a quiet. That you know that was.
BG What about projection?
Then all the projectionist because they had to know not just other projects but into the heating system the boilers
BG How many people there were?
CY Well I mean the Odeon in Bristol I suppose there was a lot I can say maybe over 100
BG What happened then?
CY Well I think a lot of guys who were in cinemas on the Rank circuit thought it was it might be a backdoor into movies at Pinewood but it didn't work out that way. So I thought along all right with them but after a few years.I thought well I've always wanted to be in film making you know film editing directing or whatever.
And so I actually resigned I mean in those days you could put yourself where you could find another job people did. long time ago in the mid sixties.

There was a program on Granada Television called Cinema which was later presented by Mike Parkinson but it was a roundup of all the films they show. It's old and new movies and I thought they might be at risk. Someone I know knows about films you to help. And I went to Leslie Halliwell because his name was on the credits as film adviser and he just done the first edition.of

the Filmgoers companion at that time very slim volume but his day job was working for Granada. He was a film buyer buying the American series and ????? film packages. And then I just wrote out of the blue and he said you know We don't need anyone on Cinema but I'm looking for a personal assistant come and see me. So. A week later I was watching a films for Leslie know every week they gave me moneyit's rather nice. So I was re auditioning Prints for I'm for Americans. I got 300 Indian cartoons once on the trot.That was alright. And then and then I got into actual film research by accident because.There was a chap there called Graham Murray who was the film research department. I mean it is a very small dog thing and there is film research. Most companies just have one person who was kind of librarian or dogsbody. And then they moved off of it and I ended up sitting with Graham mostly I think I also found myself helping Graham do a bit more research pulling odd shots of that action in and in schools television programs came in and then we had a children's television program called the messengers which used touch and feature films to stimulate discussion about socialal issues and I helped out on that and then eventually that whole series of you writing the book if you listen to the clips we did a series on. Because youth unemployment is becoming a problem. Time we did a we did. A series about job jobs to talk to people. Well in electrical in the police you're a nurse. These two gates and Sweeney or whatever but we made to learn it.

And so it did appear that I really wanted to get into the more creative side and I did want to get into the cutting rooms. And then aftera few years there was a vacancy you can order Manchester from assistant editor on staff. So I applied for that and I did. And when I got there I was only there for two 2 1/2 years and I could see that I was never going to be an editor because. They're all very nice but they're all ladies and it would be an age before I got promoted

BG What programmes were you working on?
CY a bit of everything really only I knew when I was passed around from room to cutting room to another I worked on family at war. And yeah this lots of film inserts anyway.And documentaries BG What did you think of it at the time?
CY I was aware that long out there again. I thought it was going to be dead nonissues. I went back to London and then I went freelance as an assistant and then after a year or so there's an out fit caslled Greengow?? an agency in Birmingham to service ATV. Do you have any recruiting editors.So that's my chance to become a full time editor. And I went up to Birmingham and spent 12 years there. At least .
BG What's the programmes?
CY Using current. It was all local news and current affairs local news documentary news programs not the not the meatiy network stuff because all the staff just got the best if anyone says I. I just read this for 12 years I mean I have never been on staff. But. Yeah it was you do . I was the first film editor on Tiswas I like to do that was chaotic mad rush on a Friday night to get everything for Saturday morning show
BG Did you cut over night?
CY not literally over night but I mean very late you know putting the stuff together through the week.In the second half of the week
BG Were you cutting reversal?
CY cutting reversal you sep mag it.
BG Did you do other programmes. Local news could be quite hectic ?
CY I mean the film never came in for the labs until about lunchtime You just did it you know.I mean he just did it. very few things missed you if you actually spend the mornings cutting longer and sort of mini documentary items you do over several days and we're immediately topical and when we're ready they come out in the afternoon you were doing that night show items
BG What about dubbing.
CY Yeah. the magazine items were we cut through the morning we try and get them up. There's only four minutes still need quite a lot of mixing and music and effects about the subject.
BG How did they do the commentary?
Well this because you were are usually being recorded by the journalist on the film when the com

mag you lifted off to sep mag and play around with it.
BG Did you do a com mag cut?
CY Yeah yeah. You know we usually we usually com mag cut But you have to encourage you to sit down here in these magazine items because you knew you wanted to split the tracks and play around the sound and do all sorts of other things. Most of the things were shot in order to be edited com mag There's a story we did one night which was it was shot com mag but we had it lifted to sep mag so we had more flexibility putting the picture around and. So we set that set it up to broadcast the com mag sound was still on the on the picture that we used but it is no longer relevant because we cut the picture to the sep mag sound They didn't play the sep mag . Maybe they played com mag so words were cut in half and people gold fishing over in that. And I went out.
BG Who got it in the neck for that?
CY It well somebody in telecine
BG Any last minute ones that didn't go out?
CY And then every time I never once was with Spacey??? night I mean it is working right up to the last minute and I just got it off in time. But I wanted to add another shot on just to cover the last phase of music and I didn't get a chance to do it. So the music went to black for a second on air. That was a failure really I suppose it is usually a risk. We have we have ITN come in because if I had a bullet in the regional story. In the Midlands or something a reporter come into ATV cut it then send it down the line you know about nine o'clock something I know me to do that. Well I went to keep somebody out of college a long time ago to mostly read here.I use 10 percent of the time. Keith Hatfield Yes that was one.
BG What of the engineer?
CY Well I the ENG and news gathering and it was obviously going to use local news you know. And then. Since I was freelance I was ostracised. Now they retrained the staff to use it but because the staff weren't interested. Maybe they were just interested film. So you quit and say hey I went in couple of weekends away and

taught myself how to use it And. They came a time when there was no staff editors available during this new thing to do it was for me and I did it. And then. I carried on doing it. This is the thing I need to know because this things going to change you need to get. au fait with it And then I ran out of road I had a big.

dust up with teh supervisor which is another story by deciding to go back to London and eventually through really a lot of the journalists ATV and Anne Diamond I got into TVAM whihc was nationally. ENG one inch you know it I really wasn't happy because a lot of it was recording studio output or assembling Commercial know it not always editing in the sense that it will be nice to think you know a third of it would be proper editing i suppose and. Then.

Somebody in Thames television who heard I was back in town they would then be done to me. They to go and work on a day's notice going through something. So. I went back to film machine which then became when you started filming you had to change a lot then.
BG What werenyour initial thoughts?

Cy Lots of silly return stars come on like John Mccallum Angry with people. Yeah they showed them clips on films not necessarily they werein but they need to have to say about them. And a lot of. A lot of. Well I mean you just say I'm going to stop here because I think we really wanted to talk about film research didn't we it was in Granada before I guess something to say no going order before do that. Because I'm using a chip off it. So the difference between when I was a Granada when I came to television the year in the mid 1960s when I was doing film research in Granada. Which is a very primitive one minute drop operation and then they're were limited sources really I mean cutting news in movie chain to the Imperial War museum or. If you wanteda feature film and you wanted something cheap and before you go to peole like John Huntley Philip Jenkinson that was about it really. And then if you stopped ????? of it and then everything was on film of course everything was duped on to film
BG What was the process?
CY Yeah you get a viewing. You. Well the first thing to do if you're going to have Pathe Newsreel

was to go over to the office. Go through the index files . There were no. Computer screens with databases and key words here which is known as data it was just.Index cards in a drawer under a subject matter. Politics or whatever when a personality and you shuffle through who you can't have you get over them you can't give them a list of what you want.You know you go in and view what you wanted. The famous papering up space for a paper in the roll of film beginning of the sequence you want in another paper at the end . And so that when he goes in the laboratory they know which bit you copy and print. That's the mechanics of it.

BG What was Philip Jenkinson like?
CY Like I didn't deal with him too often. He was he was pretty waspish. And he has a really I have a two times two run ins I had with him. He's set up being nice in some cases about film and in return. But the second time later on my second research series in the 80s. And I got a hold of you would appreciate this I got a print from him a print of David ?????? I the print of something called Flip the Frog thinking of using in a program. And then. I have him saying I own the UK rights to the frog and I signed a contract with them years ago and fortunatley I had access to the library Congress catalogue. Which showed that the copyright had not been in use after 28 years ago. It was in the public domain and I was entitled to buy it from anybody. nor Did David or anybody else really gain from. JENKINS I think that I think all things he had a paranoia about getting stolen from his if anything he was hammered hammered that's between you and me.
BG What about John?
CY John John Oh he is. He's a marvellous character. I mean I'm very impressed one day when he said to me. Yes I've got this kind of film. I rescued it from a beach landing craft in Anzio something bloody hell. How old is this man. He'd been through the lot you know. Yeah. Just been through the war But he was one of those great expansive Dickensian characters wasn't he. A brilliant bit naughty. As we know that was his enthusiasm.
BG Sometimes his stories were a bit exaggerated?
CY It's very possibly I don't know about the beach only heard about it but it's you dealy with people like that.
BG Any any any stories about staff.
Cy Yeah. Well you did. I mean I got older and wiser I realize he had a lot of stuff that other people had as well. But you viewit there and get it from the copyright owner you know. But yes that's it. I'm. Yes.
it Would be up to him to say you know what you had to offer because they did eventually. have a system And it's like nothing on a database. It was all very primitive in those days
BG What did you feel about the Looks Familiar?
Cy And you just see lots of old movies and change that. And then. That was all about discovery really for the real world of private practice like as is. I mean I mean Jake? is an unknown but there's a whole community of you know public actors who did different you guys. You know Neal and I had been using for years on the series so I just fell into that and discovered people like yourself and your jenyy Suffret? you know. Like all is people in the world. Myself all these people are also the of it ends down sound because you have to be very scrupulous to be sure that if you've got a print of 20th Century Fox in you have to pay 20th Century Fox as well as what as playing caligari? it could work out expensive. You know that's what we did.Know when it went on channel 4 this time. That's on channel 4 became longer of the channel for more ambitious.And we were to use a lot of the Hollywood features that were purchased for transmission just on a promotional basis without paying. So that. Changed the nature of the program tonight. Was a bit better off.
BG Did you work on the second series?
CY Now. I mean I was a bit shy in those days I didn't I didn't really meet them into the second series when I was basic teddington. And they'd all lunch. They're doing two shows a day so you have two sets of parents around having lunch. The Dennis Gifford?. We have a 10 minute conversation with them you can really talk to them. Much if you weren't sure why you want to go with. It.
BG It changed when it moved to Teddington?

CY Oh no I wish it just happened to move to Teddingtonto know that there is no particular reason. And I went down there. And we stayed about general in the general film editing as well for. Programme programmes. It might be quite a documentary to it was rainbow or whatever you want to.

BG So you worked on Rainbow and other things?
CY Well it was really up. Odds and ends with a request I mean I was there for lots of really really. Any other odd requests. Like. An old ATV show with Des O'Connor as a comic because they were doing a tribute dies or something. They come through it just odds and ends It was really Yeah. Yeah. BG any funny stories about looks familiar?
CY Well I had to be a bit of a diplomat because Dennis Norden. who thought it was his program. But it was his program and I was caught in between. I never bet bit. It was kind of a mediator and there was one program we wanted to do on BBC announcers. We had Mac Hobley . Sylvia Peters I think it was very good. And we did a whole program based on BBC announcements and we we had a lot of fun use in BBC programs that you would remember the potter's wheel these kind of things He said this programme isn't going to work stop researching it we're not even going to do. We the pictures we all before we went to commercial break into or came out of it on the boat as well and it is still decided this program was going to work be able to do it. And he rang me up saying can you stop me surgery. I knew right. I told my lord he was the gift giver and he was my boss really nobody else. So I had to be a bit in it but I said well I'm sorry. This research is gone too far. Me with pathic is too far ahead of me. I'm going back to treating it right then. And it turned out to be one of the best programmes we did I think.
BG Any more stories about Dennis Norden?
CY Dennis Norden is a very nice man. I mean it's a very nice man. He yeah I worked for him later on. London Weekend Television about him you know a variety show a kind of compilation of. Royal and something don't forget used to. It's nice work for. He bought Everybody a present at the end of the production you know that who me as in some ways it was................... the thing about filmresearch and the change in the mix is the ages and I saw that because I was away from that to our viewers that change was very very obvious to me. And then in the early 80s when I went back tape was really becoming flavour of the month the film was on the way out unfortunately because stocks were improving all the time. But the investment was in videotape. And so. What happened was that programs with archive footage which otherwise would have been. Duped in the laboratory with some pretty grainy results. Well as you said that. Was transferrd to 1 inch videotape with no loss of quality and that's what you saw on the screen. So it saved lab bills I suppose. What happened with. The Buster Keaton documentary. So I guess we did the three part programme of Buster Keaton Which Kenneth Branagh gave a goood piece and they got the best of both worlds. They transferred everything into one inch tape because eventually it would have to go out on tape. And the quality would be optimum quality straight transfer It was 16 or 8mm home movies and Buster or. So if I'd been eating I would have went on to work. For the broadcast. But. The editing took place on film because. I think because film editing was a creative process and tape

editing wasn't tape editing as such was a very lumbering process carried out by people who were used to cutting together football because in a football match we didn't have that in a narrative sense any kind of sense.
And I think Kevin & David knew this. They had a film editing this film. So everything put on to 1 inch tape Wherever it came from was put back on to 16mm film with a burnt in timecode to match the tape. And it was edited on film since they know sep mag with the flexibility it provides in terms of cutting and. Mixing and so forth. mix the soundtrack as well. And then later back onto the one inch with the picture. And you know what I said is they got the best of both worlds.

And they could make a speech correct. The silent films I think they got the best of it and it was cool.
BG They were crafted films?
CY The programme I owrked on after that was six programs at LWT about the Thames an oral history of people who worked on the James on the times from Henley to Tilbury all classes great

great archive footage. I think so and so but that was all duped on to film But probably the last program that was you know they're making them on ENG now.That was a big change and a big change.
CY the big change. I mean I worked on this program with Dennis Looks Familiar with Dennis and then. all these movie tapes But by the 80s I mean television in the Fifties and Sixties

qualified ???????????????????. And so we got them to use for the first time bits television shows as well as old film variety shows So you know television is you know using it using its own history as well
BG and stories about people thinking y9u just ring up and it is there?

CY It's not easy. It's just you. Know. In those days you taken Looks Familiar as an example. I was lucky because I had a relationship with Pathe . They didn't show you any old film they had if they had it in their vaults and then they came up in conversation they had an ABC television show. Called Big Night Out which is a variety show lots of turns in it you know famous actors and then. They never looked at it . And they had all the negatives there and they let me look at it. You know there's this thing that I know. So they knew who was in each show and that was a deal you know they didn't charge me because I gave them a log of who was in the show and that's never been done. And we sort use them on some really nice clips of people like Ted Ray you know there's not much of him. And I did find him. So it's very it's a Martin Rooney show really Mike and Bernie Winters were becoming a double act So therefore as the years go by and television is you right up to date now you see all these clips showing we have TV or you read about you Jane or whatever and they're all using clips from earlier television programs.

And that raises a lot of other issues in terms of what it is because you now have to pay the.actors a repeat fee pay the writers and all that. So that. we were just showing film clips from the Cruel Sea or something you know pay the distributor. If it was a television drama production you'd have to pay the actors a repeat and so forth.researchers would get involved in this. Sometimes and have to phone the agent negotiate an Equity minimum and put it through that. So we became a much more complicated because you know all these pitfalls of them losing time and money. You couldn't just use a great television show. And then you could get a bit sticky because when it came in the 80s. We had this flourishing of independent production companies who were commissioned by Channel 4 and later the BBC and ITV to make programmes for them. People like Acme?productions or you know Barney Straw? production companies who actually make the programs and sell them to the BBC. But. The question is you had the rights to the material . It might be the BBC where it might be the production company. It might be a bit of each , each contract would be different. So you have to in the end you would have to say to the BBC you want to use this program. . But I knew it was made by such and such a production company. Do we. Do we pay them or do we pay you or do we need their permission or not you know. And so it became quite a minefield You can get caught out if you aren'nt careful

BG Did you pay all the companuies?
CY It might have been Hattrick productions I use an extract. I think it was a programming called. Anybody see my Pussy. Now this is a program about sexual innuendo in a sit com and I was chosen for this . And we went through a lot of stuff you know I got some naughty clips and everything. But it was one clip we used from a show that had been made by I think it was about Jake for Liberty? and we got the materials from BBC because they have the tapes the preview tapes and everything we we got the broadcast centre transfer the BBC same within you need to go to Acton? for anything. And I put cued everything I've written a letter to the BBC librarian saying we want to use clips of all these shows do we need permission from Hat Trick she never answered it. And since they sent us a contract for all those titles including the Hat Trick title. So we were covered. We asked the right question here. She hadn't. She answered it and they saw the program again and they saw the show go out and they were jumping up. and down. but we were covered it. So you gort to be careful there in the end you try to prevent this you know you phone the BBC to begin it and say what's the sscore Patrick. If he is a..
BG We were so how was the otehr programmes going?

CY Well.I mean one of the rae occasions he needs to know that I mean I'm one of the rare occasions when we get a job because somebody saw your credit on the And Looks Familiar and Tyne Tees who are doing a series called These Wonderful TV Times which are kind of celebrity quiz show clips on TV shows and they just phoned me up. We saw your name you come up and say yes you might be the right person. And that's one of the few occasions that's happened but it's a mess and because you get typecast in doing Light Entertainment. Nostalgia shows like Here is a Comedy. And I always like to remind people that I could do research anything researcher didn't do

BG but I did enjoy it
CY yes. of course And I did trying to find bits in unfamiliar you know.
BG Looney
CY No not that I knew was there. No because I did I would have got it.
And I can think of things that I would love to think would turn up one day. For instance there was a Johnny Speight one out play on television in the 60s with Michael Caine called the Compartment which is a two hander with Caine and Frank Finlay this business man Frank finlay Stuck in a railway compartment and along came another on this train . With this eccentric young man Michael Caine like ?????????. What you call many memorable Roger Moore. Saw it . bumped in to MIchael Caine said you're going to be a big star. Very important in his career . I never forgot it. But we made it in colour with Marty Feldman and threw away the black and white As far as I'm concerned I mean I've never found it thinking well we remade that we don't need the original . I don't, like Michael Caine. You would keep it wouldn't you and then at the other saying get it. Regrets. No regrets. I mean there's not much you can do about it. In your early days of colour television 1970 should we say BBC did. A series of productions of the old Rookery Nook and all that. Look no no no. With Richard Briers and ????????????? brilliant. Beautiful colour . Because of Equity agreements they could only repeat that program once within a two year period and then never show it again. So once that happened they dumped it. Now the only thing that exists is a black and white telly recording But it's not quite the same as seeing the original living colour. I think probably they wouldn't do that now. So a few things. One regrets but other things can turn up any time. I mean a few years ago I think it was the Barbados Broadcasting Corporation BBC only thing it ran which I'm currently in commonwealth countries telerecording was a British television programs. They're still finding them returning them you know all the businesses that come along. The dust is being pushed out. So things are churning up all the time. There's never anything really so that Michael Caine they might turn up one day you know like you I don't know.
BG Can you talk about comedy?
CY Oh yes you can. And actually. There was a one off which is about 90 minutes special which I wasn't involved with which you wish. Oh great. Craig is all great gets all the right here is the best. And I wrote to John Fisher the producer saying out the blue I'd love to work for you at these programs. He said come and see me . And then he said. We are doing a series here as a comedy . But before we doing a two part about rthe London Palladium would you like to work on that. So I did that with which Corner? presented. And that was my baptism of fire with John. John's absolutely magnificent perfectionist. And got very quick to know me. And I think I was a better film researcher when I worked for him than I was before because he wouldn't take second rate you know. But it took a while to win his confidence if you like that. So we did the two part . We played him that was alright and there was a company that did three series and in and it's. 18 programs is something you and I had the best again because we did Arthur Hayne's in here. Terry Thomas and people. I know the latest series. After I moved on they did people who were still alive and it wasn't quite that wouldn't be quite so interesting to me. The material being too easy to get you to like plays it was terrorism you know a like the old stuff that we challenge but I always try to put something in each program. People might say well seen that before

. And especially for another film researcher I did that a few times. Is. Not saying it is a comedy but it was a. Years and years ago with the COI information had it's own film library before it went to BFI which is now it will be fine. I get to watch somebody catalogue. I mean you had books. And it's not need a company it me think. So you were just looking through this old catalogue. And it

would be the Central Film Agency was it be the central film agency or central booking agency. that's where the films were listed. for hire in a 16mm print I suppose. And that was the information in the catalogues. And I found a film called Opus which is made in 16mm covered the arts activity in Britain and it had extracts from. The Persecution of. Mr Sade You know the Glenda Jackson section which might be the book a sequel so that they had Twiggy on a photo shoot you know. A real synopsis of the 60s in which people can really see I think about Bailey that's right. No. Well that's a good story David Bailey. I know. But of course now that's on the database it. anyone can find it right away. But the pleasure of digging it out and being in it for the first time is those you know not with the joyal that. David Bailey. I did a South Bank Show where David Bailey enjoyed it but he didn't do the same job and shows the value of lateral thinking research. I mean you look up David Bailey on a database you might find something you know nothing on movietone but Look at Life kind of magazine that went out and the cinemas. And Bailey works. When you first started as an apprentice for his name was John French. And he was a photographer at the old school like ????. And so I look up John French and it was a whole Look at Life about John French no mention of David Bailey. But when you look at the film. The light in the background is David Bailey. as he is on the plates. So maybe he's. before he was famous.
BG The moral is track a film down and not rely on data?
CY Yeah. Well yes. Yes. In case in case there's a good fighting chance he'd be there. And it same program same principle same catalogue same line. DAVID di his National Service and Singapore in the RAF. And I found a film called Winges on her Shoulders which is about a WAAF who did her service in the Far East. That's what it says I thought well I bet you there's some shots of the lads in that fraternising you know it says so in the synopsis you will see some RAF types as well. Sure enough there was all these guys near their top cockle? jet you know mending the plane or whatever operation it reigned on. So I got it kind of sideways.
It wasn't listed but it was there that kind of footage you know. Now that being in the database you know just key word punchy talking about databases punching One of the most satisfying things I had during the end of my career was I catalogued for a database. all the stock footage feature film outtakes that were held by Movietone now Movietone newsreel library. And they had 35 mm camera negatives of every film made at Denham nad Pinewood from 30s to the 60s. Some of it was tremendous footage you can you get stuff. land scapes in colour follow flora and fauna or whatever. Or industrial scenes and printing presses all sorts of. Invaluable you know tremendous quality 35mm And they hadn't anything catalogued they had an old book. with a card index with the subject matter. But so I physically opened the cans most of them in good nick some of it was nitrate . very little of it had gone off and I looked at the big reels I. Constructed the database you know and you can go there. If you want to stock shot of them.I don't know what you're talking about. You can look it up because the thing about constructing the index is as a librarian I knew what key words A researcher would be looking for. So I made sure I put those words in It's still not infallible because I mean there's so many different shots in an item as you said just there. And you look at it you don't really know what's in it but you give them the best idea of what kind of shots are there and some great stuff went forward.
Its shots of the princesses. I think Margaret and Elizabeth visiting the set of In which we Serve with Noel Coward Yeah. So that's unused stuff you know new stuff that's there.
BG You were looking at negatives not prints?SPEAKER: M4
CY And you know. Yeah. 3mm cinemascope whatever
BG Well just stop for a second.
Clappergoard This is a. To take one side down. And second take.
CY I did mention I spent. An interval film editing and that didn't do any harm. When I came back to film research I had an ete for what a reasearcher might need and very often I would give what would seem like a lot of footage. But where I was giving the production was sushes in my view stock footage you know Library footage rather than a cut story in which they could only use them take it or leave it. Which is why I enjoyed using Movietone to feature if you like stock material which is you know ten minutes of. The same shot. You could use it. So I thought I was always

trying to give the production of choice of footage and therefore over ordering fperhaps. During that time I thought that was worth. And. It didn't do any harm to know about. Laboratory processes of films You don't need to know because. It's all caught on videotape and.
BG In those day you would order 16mm dupe neg?

CY Well. Yes you would. You could come across. You get a view print of an Alan Whicker documentary or something like that And from BBC 16mm you know and you look at this print and then you pick out a section you want they key numbers with match obviously hopefully to the print. But it might be an A & B neg and therefore you'd have to make sure you ask for composite print. And then so that they dove tail chequerboard the A & B rolls to get your composite print from an AB neg You have you've got to make sure you said that. You to make sure you got what you wanted. I think. So. But mostly it was a coloury? wrestling thing . Which is the I think there's a 16mm version of a 35mm interpos I'm not sure they're ordering in policy of a lab that shallbe nameless. There's a 35 mm colour story from Pathe. We have warships with submarines at sea or something like that. And then they came out in colour It's more like pink. So you don't neccasarilry see the colours of the fine grain there when you print out the end of the day but you look at rthe fine grain so you don't get the sense the colour it's almost like a sepis. And then I sent this funny one to a lab to duplicate on to 16mm . And it cam back looking just the same pink they hadn'y done do anything to it. But yeah I raised the thing when I um this is all chronologists all over the place but when I first started in the late sixties we ordered stuff from people like the Imperial War Museum. First of all they send you what. We know as a scratch print you in other words to be a viewing print put in a camera scratch print you know deliberately down the middle of the frame. So in theory you couldn't use it. You could punch it. You have to buy a new print for the negative from the Imperial War Museum you know it's kind of a safety measure like a spoiler. And so a way right now I mean I've known a certain person but myself. Why can you libel the dead. I don't know anyway Phillip Jenkinson had a scratch print from the Imperial War Museum. I think it is series called Working. Anyway it was some kind of stagedoor canteen setup. We finished there doing a dance for the assembled American servicemen and he wasn't wearing a suit that we didn't worry too much about it. And there was a bit scratch down the middle of this film and Phil showed this fim on Film Night . Whatever it was he said don't worry about rthe scratch done the middle it's probably a had a bit of damage says and it's probably some shot by a serviceman in his lunch break. But anyway here it is. And he knew damn well where he was showing it is a row and John could be a bit like course John london? that because you're not me you have to know that you know there was perhaps someone else you should ask before you use this stuff
BG They didn't quite tell you the full story
CY No I mean. John used to cut the credit titles off these films that you pretend you didn't know where they came from. But it's up to you to find out who is covering it . Because this thing that film research has had to do in post-production was to log every shot nad to make sure how much footage you use? . And this is a meticulous process and it could take ages because I worked on a program. Called Not Half which is all about disc jockeys Alan Freeman Tony Blackburn all a jolly good programme a good producer. We're very fast cuts so lots of shots maybe a second or a couple of seconds long so they're going to be measured A with ways for you like to add them up. And they were scattered throughout the program and they declare the total footage cumulative to the copyright. So I mean it was a laborious process and then on I think it was I think it was the you know it's a laborious process. Cutaway. Process. But absolutely essential because sometimes you can look and you remember where you got that shot from you then need to check in at the best to know .
Bg How did you retire?
CY I wish more I realized. Well I worked on a couple of very good programs towards the end of the century because I don't no one was about that from Caribbean Immigration to Britain since 1945. Very serious subject. And I'm speaking you it has got me away from the thing with the state that it's. Used. Not a documentary for Thames Television documentaries. told a very good story about the importance of black culture in the West Indies and elsewhere on this country. And that

movie was in the last three for the Focal Awards that year. And. So we
didn't get them gong but we got to the dinner. So that was nice. A good relationship with producer

Gary Hughes. And then we worked again on something British film forever. Its a seven part thing BBC Manchester did the history of British cinema. And I thought this is good. But in fact I worked on the first half of the production London at TV centre as well as in Manchester when I saw the programs I wished they for The second half of the production they had a habit of making a mistake just like that It's sad that you don't. But there were mistakes. But it was a prstige sort of program I suppose and again we got in the last three but he didn't win the prize but I did get a good friend to Gary keep in touch. But after while I thought it's not coming through. I mean I don't know.

I'd better see if I can get a state pension or something been a freelancer all my life and I didn't really think I'd been home in 2010. But you do get something that is really you know about freelancers you know you're freelance you can't afford to get sick because they won't pay you finish your a freelancer And I remember let me interrupt It's like you know when you're freelance you probably know you're a turn up you know if you're sick and then replace you and they won't pay you. So freelancers don't get sick. So I spent all these years in you know freelancing around. And I said no way when I'm retired that'll be time enough to get ill. sure enough I got my wish. If it is wrong at the moment it's better but I've you know I've said why they said one agent was you know really all right. It can't be finished.

I was born here sir I was born.
I was born in Brazil with my name. Where are you. Why you. The point is it. What do you want. What is wrong. What was it.
So I think a little bit of things about me I think becoming a lot.
I mean so you're just shaking. Yes I will go.
There's no need to talk about from me to you. Thank you know it's all talk about CY When I first worked out here in terms of television one of the one of the private collectors have discovered is the community was Dave Wyatt and he enterd a pront of a film. Starring W.C. Fields called Million Dollar Legs And the program was made. He came up to marvellous and stood by my desk and said where's my Million Dollar Legs And I said inside you have seven and sixpenny jeans . And from that point on we were bosom friends.
End of interviewer
Audio after is for posterity but contains no information.


Open the pdf for Cy's take on standing for re-election as a governor of the British Film Institute.

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