NB Ezra had some notes about his ancestors and about his early life which he felt impelled to read from during the first half hour of this interview.
Born September 1905* [says he is 87 but he is 86 but also says maths was never his strong point!], London’s East End, father a designer and craftsman. Early life in London, memories of the First World War, Barnstaple, Peterborough etc. Precocious 10-year-old artist, bored at school.
Training: Regent Street Polytechnic (Drawing, modelling, sculpture); Royal College of Art (Etching and Engraving; Gold and Silver-Smithing); to Italy – (Drawing, Photography and Coloured Glass).
Work: Industrial potter and research, Chesterfield. In charge of the Design School at Nottingham School of Art and taught pottery and decorative plumbing. Flashback to firework making as a boy.
More on schooldays and Nottingham School of Art. 1939 he was in charge of the art student evacuation from London; war-time Nottingham. Applied and accepted for submarine service, but instead joined Larkins, 2 Berkeley Street, and spent next five years as artist and model-maker, and animator, making high-level technical films for government departments. At the end of World War Two, joined Halas (2 Soho Square) and worked with Alan Crick on scripting, drawing, animating for several years. Then went as writer-director to Coal Board, doing his first live-action directing. Description of dangers of filming down the pits etc., etc.
More about Larkins, and the Coal Board, then started as freelance writer-director. Long piece about filming at Short and Harland’s on the making of Seamew aeroplane. Medical films – he’d started medical training at Nottingham. Then long periods out of work, interspersed with non-film work model making, dioramas etc. Started own company for stop-frame filming (first film was about the weed Charlock). More teaching, at Central School of Art & Design. Eventually back into films with A.P. Films at Slough Trading Estate and worked for five years model making and in special effects for their Stingray and Thunderbirds series for US television [probably misremembered, as these were UK programmes. DS].
[About 30 minutes only]
More about Thunderbirds. A & P go bankrupt. Back to teaching pottery flashback to working at Associated-Rediffusion as designer etc. Memories of his various inventions and modelling all the armour for Cleopatra. Present work – writing a children’s story, plus making a video of it using his own models of invented animals, working at home.