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Manny Yospa 0:05
This is a BECTU history project. The number is an interview number is 344. Graham, smart, many, yes. The date is the 28th of February 1995.
Graham Smart 0:41
Right, I'll just quickly read something from a book which actually is probably easier. Actually, this is a film we made for Imperial Tobacco. It was the first programme and it was 73 that one that was mediaeval that. Yes, so
Unknown Speaker 1:01
Unknown Speaker 1:02
so we're gonna start learning the second one Christmas.
Unknown Speaker 1:04
She's just going to sound level two now you're
Unknown Speaker 1:06
just getting a sense
Unknown Speaker 1:10
that by Christmas
Manny Yospa 1:12
Okay, so when you're ready the
Graham Smart 1:14
time's right, we'll make a start.
Unknown Speaker 1:19
Hello, Graham money. Well, could you tell us something about your background, your schooling and when you join gateway and then follow it through? good money. So have you got over two grand right.
Graham Smart 1:34
When I was born in what was then the bearer of Southgate in 1938, the ninth of may 1938. And I lived in Southgate, then for a great many years going to school at a school called honours School, which was honours county school then now change its name to Broomfield. And I was there, taking my GCS and things. And I belonged at that time to the school photographic club, when I was very interested in photography, and I was at that time there was a quite a well known school comic called the eagle run by a chap called Marcus Morris. And I entered a photographic competition in this and I won second prize, which gave me the opportunity that one of the prizes was to actually go around Kodak Hara, we'll stone go round the photographic farms and we went there for the day we went rounds, entertained, and adjusted schoolchildren, we were still taking round the whole trip of seeing how films were made, and the whole process and at that time, they were still processing their Kodachrome. So we saw the filming was naturally good and semi dark, the processes that went on and I found it fascinating. I thought, well, this is really something I would like to do when I leave school. School time, had to leave at 1954. And I just didn't know where to go. I started applying for jobs as a darkroom assistant, and I did actually get a job as a darkroom assistant. Working for Vogue fashion photographer. I never took the job up because prior to that, although I was given the job, the headmaster at the school chapel Walker, he was associate Rotarian. And he said, your interest in photography, aren't you? There's another Rotarian who's got a business in Palmers green, and you live in palms green. He wants somebody to work as an assistant for him, would you be interested in going? So I said, Fine, let me so I came along had an interview with the Rotarian who at that time was Hugh Baddeley. And who badly had started gateway, I think, going back in 1948. And he said, Fine, you're the sort of person I want, you know, come along, so I never did take up the job as a darkroom assistant. So I joined in August 1954, at Gateway, and my job at that time, was really a bit of a chat making tea, of course, because that was the most of some of the most important things to be okay with us. We made I made tea and also as a messenger going to the various laboratories. And at that time, the laboratories were draped laboratories on the sacred road, they did all our black and white processing, and colour film services, who now moved to Portland close, but at that time, they were in a sholden Street. And as I was on the underground, saw almost every day, on the bus, going, taking reels of film either for processing or whatever. And at that time we were using black and white reversal stock classics and triax and things like that and also Kodachrome Cobra one and the Kodachrome one. The only people who could process Kodak Kodak and one at that time were Kodak. So I was on the underground again off to herro where I'd first my trips around and used to have a red star on the box. We used to come back in the next day normally, that was the fast turnaround they gave you in those days. But that had to be pre arranged to have these red stars put on a box. So I was backwards and forwards at laboratories. I was also because at that time gateway consists a few badly chap called Ted ball who is a regular sound recordist and subsequently went on to make friggin films like black beauty and things like that. He was our sound recorders here. But of course, at that time, we were just working on quarter inch tape. That was all we had. And we had a sound mixer, a lady who did sound mixing Plus she was Secretary of the valley as well. And a cameraman Brian Tucker.
We partner again, part of my duties was assisting all those people in various things. We've made educational films quite a few educational films that time and the first film I worked on was a film called Stonehenge, which subsequently went to schools were sold to schools. And I remember holding a photo floods app, trying to make the model look lifelike with the sun moving around, so I had to move it around in the way that the sun moves around. So you could see the stone circle and where the sun came through on Midsummer's day. What else happened then the we educational films were, I suppose 50% of the programmes we made.
Unknown Speaker 7:06
The education firms, I believe, who had a special partner who has something to do with the education news especially the doctors data, possibly that drivers
Graham Smart 7:16
Yes, his name this well, he badly when you set up gateway he, three of his or two of his partners were check with Edgar charge who ran the local camera shop and craft the camera craft. And still there today. Edgar charge EDI ga r ch AR D. Yeah. Yeah. And he ran this camera shop and the other chat was a chap called Clem bending. And he was a local history teacher when he first started with you it subsequently subsequently he went on to become the visual aids officer for Middlesex. But that was a marvellous combination, because claim bending had intro to school teachers, whether they were history, geography, whatever biology, whatever he knew the teachers to go to, to get and say to them, what do schools need in the way of films? What would they require? And they were always looking for films that were right in the middle of the curriculum, fairly basic titles. And so gateway made those titles with cooperation with teachers. And it was a very clever thing because 50% of the time they were making what we would call corporate programmes nowadays sponsored films as they were then. And rest the time when there was any downtime. We weren't sitting around at all. We were making educational films, which subsequently were sold and obviously the revenue came back to help us make a few other programmes. My first sponsored film I went out on think was I film for Glover and main the, at that time, we were the only people in I think in the country, my gas metres. So we went to a race smelly factory in Edmonton, where level of bellows were made. And we there was my first introduction to industry, I think, I wasn't really impressed with that. But I was the chap who, at that time we had banks or photo floods. That was our lighting. We had a bank of 50 photo floods with reflectors on and these had to be assembled and so you're screwed up the lamps reflected onto the thing and him screwed in these number one photo floods. And then we had a big switch panel that put them on them first and then on to high. And you had to make sure you didn't put them on high first because if you did that blew the photo floods. So it was a very responsible position.
Unknown Speaker 9:49
I interrupt once again. Speaking as a cameraman, yes. The reason you use photo floods was because there are daylight black daylight thing and Kodachrome During that sensitive, edgy use blonde, red hair, that would have been the wrong colour temperature mother they were available. So a photo of photoflash ideal. Yes, from the point of getting the right colour temperature,
Graham Smart 10:13
that degree and they were that dry, although we did use 2k spots as well. So they were tungsten, of course, just a threat mixture there, I think. But the results seem to was all shot 16 millimetre. And the camera at that time, a speciality here was the codec special, we had two of those which gave you codec special mark to get a special mark two, and a full wind of the camera spring, gave you 40 foot and then just at the end, it went in just before you knew you had another five foot before it ran out. So actually, that was a very remarkable camera and it was used also with Well, obviously it only had prime lenses on but you had two lenses on the front. So you could actually had a turret so you could swivel these prime lenses around. So we had a wide angle, and standard layers. And then we also had a long focus lens as well, which we could screw in if the opportunity arose and we needed it. So that was all Kodachrome when we shot that. And again, I made films for let star is that was another industrial film I made and a paint. And one of the educational films we made using the codec special was a sound film, because mostly they're all sound films, but they will shot mute, and a sound added afterwards. But for the sounds where we made it was called a string trio. And it was for school children to learn all about the instruments of the orchestra. And we went on to make flute clarinet, bassoon and timpani and things like that. So it was a series of films but the string trio brought us a lot of quite a few problems to start with. Because the codec special being a motorised camera, it was no easy. Plus, even with the electric motor, which we had, then it was a sink motor. But it wasn't really framemaker as we call it these days. So we had to build a blimp. And there weren't the blimps that we knew. So it was two big boxes with foam inserted and clipped together, made it a cumbersome piece of equipment, but it worked and had to double glass on the front, which must have detracted from the optical. So that time, so we shot that and you had to have front end slides. Because the sound was recorded on I think an MIT 51 at that time, which was a quarter inch tape recorder. And so it slipped the sound did slip. So it had to be when you came to edit it by using your front name clappers. You managed to keep it in sync, a bit of judicious editing. So, normally the front end. So those were interesting times. We also because he badly had been one of the first commission jobs he got was a film about the building of the falls dam in Uganda. And he'd been out to Uganda done this filming. And while he was out there he made contact with I think was a Public Relations Officer of East Africa Rosa harbours who at that time ran the railways and harbours obviously for Kenya, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. They the Kenya railways are supposed to be like British Rail had had not fantastic public publish the press right apps, they tend to break down quite a bit. And so they wanted to do a bit of public relations. So they decided to make films and they decided to press what they could do is have what they called an annual film magazine, which told the general public who at that time, of course, were mainly colonial, British and German people like that out there, what Eastern railways and harbours were doing to progress the railways. So we started making of finishing off for them material which they shot out there. They had a camera man out there, and we made films for them. And as well as making these films, we've made it from 1954 right the way through to 1960. I think so those films continued for quite a few years. But some of the funny occasions I remember where we made a film called accidents which was to train the African staff. How not to stand between railway coaches when they were shunting them because otherwise it made a bit of a mess of you. And so they shot these out there they shot
these films, accident prevention films, and they used models dummies to see them being squashed between coaches to try and shock the Africans. Because we had to put on all the screams. And we dubbed all those screams on in the building we are in now in green lanes. And at that time we had neighbours next door. And of course we in the film industry, we're always working to tight deadlines, so we were working too early in the morning. So we were filming doing these screams, I think at one o'clock in the morning, and of course, the police turned up on our doorstep because the neighbours had said that they thought somebody was being murdered next door to do a bit of explaining to the police what we were actually doing. At that time, we also threw that Easter from Arizona harbours connection, made contact with Armando makalah. Dennis, who at that time were one of the first people on television to produce wildlife films. And Armaan was a Belgian. And they wanted they got the contract with the BBC to produce these half hour programmes. But they needed to cut back occasionally to Armando mikaila in a studio situation, explaining what they were doing so late, if you like top and tail with Alma McCarron at various places in the programme. They had them just talking to camera. And we filmed that here, the first few for the series we filmed here, again, mainly early in the morning. And because that was the quietest time of the day, we had a little Sound Studio, which unfortunately, wasn't totally soundproof. But middle of the night it was wasn't bad. And we filmed them with a BBC producer called Ellen sleeth. And he came and directed that we did about eight of those introductions over a period of two nights. But Subsequently, the BBC obviously took over and did those at their own studios. So that was an interesting first introduction to television. I think, at that time, also, the one of the other directors who ran the camera shop, he was a keen Methodist. And one of his church friends said, I've got some interesting film, I think it's interesting film, he said, I've got about 40 of these film cans in my loft. I don't really know what they are, except they say something about William Booth says, Would you be interested in having a look at it. So Edgar charge, got it and brought it all here. And we looked at these films, and to horror, found that they were all nitrate films, which combustible, but they were fascinating material. And they were all as the Early life of William Booth. When I say it was beginning end of the last century,
Unknown Speaker 17:39
interrupting you, William William Booth
Graham Smart 17:42
was the founder side William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army.
Unknown Speaker 17:46
Good Chad was the manager or owner
Graham Smart 17:51
reviews rfqs. That's right. So we had we had to look at this film, but it was very difficult to look at it easily. So a good shot again found a hand cranked 35 millimetre projector. And I don't know what terrible risks we took here. But we hand crank this material through to look at it all to find out what was important and what wasn't. And subsequently that went to rent laboratories, who put it onto a stack printer. Because the film was probably shot at 16 frames a second and those those are hand cranked. So that
Unknown Speaker 18:27
Graham Smart 18:28
the century it was infected got must be 1890s effectively got Victoria's Jubilee on it. So this Hank, this material which had been hankering to originally was put on a step printer. And I think what they did they print printed every frame, I think two frames and then one frame two frames in one frame to bring it up to sound speed. So eventually, this film was made into a film called William Booth God soldier, it lasts for about 45 minutes, and is still shown today by the Salvation Army because it's the only material they've got of William Booth as he was and it shows the whole history of William Booth,
Unknown Speaker 19:09
that film must have made a fortune Muslim, when you think of all those years since it was made. Bringing in the knowledge base
Graham Smart 19:16
not to gateway, unfortunately, but because obviously, I suppose in a way they it started out that way. And I think obviously the other rights are with us our rationality, but interesting material. About 1957 and I can't remember the exact date, but it was I think probably about December 57 I got it now HMS letter, which said that the Queen needed me and so I went off to do my two years national service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Most people when they go into the service went into services. If they asked their job, they were given something totally different changing if I was given initially at Java Clark, but then The I was told that I would be useful as an experimental unit experiment not far from all the shots. So I went there as a Clark but being told that I could also probably be able to do some of my film schools. There I met a chap called Ivor callings as AI and d a r. Au Li ns, and found out that he had been editor of worldwide films. So between us, we he was an officer. So he was interested, I was also in the film industry. So we decided wherever possible, we would keep our interest going. And so we made several films on behalf of the army and utilising our skills. And so it was the two years didn't go too badly for me anyway. I came back in 1959 years ago from 59 to gateway. And that time gateway had expanded. It's changed considerably, but we're still making educational films, which was more professional than it had been when I left and the equipment was get better. We got now got an aeroflex st camera. And so things were moving on. Whew badly said to me that one of my first jobs would be to accompany him to Botswana, which is what at that time was Bechuanaland and to Rhodesia. And that was to make a film for the United society for the propagation of the gospel. So we hopped onto a plane and landed in Rhodesia, were met by the Archbishop of Central Africa and taken to his residence where we stayed for a couple of days, while Hugh sort of found out what the film was to be about, because although he said we're making this film for view, SVD he said, I don't know quite what the subject will be, we'll find out when we get there. And he'd taken his portable typewriter with him. And he got as much information as he could. And for two days, he sat there typing out a script that we could go and shoot. And then we set off in the Land Rover, to into the bedroom on the land, stayed for three weeks in the bush with at that time, who was a missionary, who wasn't definitely a missionary, preaching to the people, but also trying to teach them agricultural skills. It was the accommodation was very rudimentary. And on several nights, we just slept in that house with the various insects and things around but it was it was fascinating.
Unknown Speaker 22:56
interrupt you this was silent choose Nope, nope. Because this was cheating. That we could have at that time, a phi chord recorder with a tape
Graham Smart 23:07
tape, tape commentary. So sound effects we recorded on this phi chord, it was a portable quarter inch tape. The real problem we found, though, was that we were three weeks, we're actually in the bush, we got an aeroflex. We'd also taken the bellhouse 70. Dr. camera with us. That study remembered that you have a problem with an aeroflex that requires batteries. And universal has no electricity. So we had a problem that we did have a very slow charger, which we could charge from a Land Rover that wasn't really sufficient for a day shooting. So more and more, we became reliant on using the ballyhale which worked extremely well and lovely Taylor hops and landed on the phone. But it did get us out a lot of trouble when you took the sound effects with the five chord and brought those back into this road. And a lot of interesting because, okay, on our way back from Rhodesia, we called in to Tanzania. Tanganyika was it was at that time to Daraa Salaam to visit the East African Airways and harbours people just to make sure everything was okay the services we were providing were fine. Because what was happening was they were shipping back the film to us and we were editing the programmes and then sending them the back the final prints. One of those films, they said one of the big films I want to produce is a programme called permanent way which was about a historical film about building of the railways in East Africa. So we found out all this information and we started when we got back to London we started receiving this film and it was quite a fascinating project in that the they addressed a lot of people aren't paying old costume and they showed the building of the railway and how it got to Nairobi, and was a full sound film country had Frank Phillips as the commentator wonderful. And one of the sequences they had shot where they got an animal trainer in to bring in two lions because part of the history of building the railway was that they were having trouble with the lions who kept eating the workers on the railway. And two chaps apparently had spent the night in a railway carriage and these lines or got into the railway carriage and actually drag them out to the railway carriage and eaten them. And so it put a stop to the workers were away for quite a time, they wanted to reenact this, so they got an animal trainer to get the lions. And they filmed it at night with lights and they got it all back. The problem was that apparently the lion, it was actually the male line that actually killed the people did it, not the female and they'd only got the female going in and dragging out the dummy they'd used. So when it came back here, we had to get the original Kodachrome film out and touch up the film frame by frame with looping ink. That time to put a mane on the line of the female law says that when he was showering, it looked as if it was a male line. And this, he does he works but it's the main is flowing somewhat. Quite interesting to change that. Then some other pri then started doing more camera work. And as you're going out on projects myself, in a way doing direct to camera work, and we got some of the sponsored films we got were films for overland tours, they were global tours. And I went to Spain and Switzerland. And we have lead lighting metres out there the locally lighting people and we had actors. And we filmed these tourist films, which were shown at village halls and things to people and show them how good the hotels were. And so we made several of those who badly was also at that time making another film for about a dam, this time for the Aswan Dam in Egypt. And we were showing how this hydroelectric scheme was going to produce power for the whole of Egypt. So we had to go to Sweden and Switzerland to film the components being made all the generators and things so we we filmed that as well as travel around this country because quite a few of the components were made in this country. So that was a really big project. I was then sent back to Kenya again for the Methodist Mission Society this time. And we filmed a programme called Kenya mountain which was again about the missionaries working in Kenya at that time. This was just before Kenya independence. So there was still a few problems with cuckoo human moment Mao Mao at that time, but it was not not too much of a problem for us. But we had to be careful where we went.
At that time gateways, equipment have changed again. And although we could reflect on things, our sound sides have developed quite a bit, and we'd got what was then a very advanced piece of sound equipment called a Boma, which I think the only other people in the country have had it with colour film services. And it was a rock and roll sound system with four channels of sprocket it magnetic film, and a record channel and a projection channel. We had this fitted up into our sound room. Bo Mar, it was Italian. And it was such a large piece of equipment, we had to take the window frames out to get it into the building and the crane to put it in because it went in onto the first floor of the building, then all had to be rigged up. And of course it didn't use transistors in those days it still use valve that eventually was transistorised. But it worked for many years ago, about 20 years of service heavy equipment. Amazing. All our sound, of course then was on sprocket in meetings film and we got steam back by that time. And I was also doing editing on Steam x.
Unknown Speaker 29:21
Did you ever get involved in these school travel services?
Unknown Speaker 29:25
Unknown Speaker 29:26
You went with this team to Russia, etc. You speak.
Graham Smart 29:32
I didn't go to Russia at that particular time. But I did go to Belgium and to Holland and to Hugh went to Russia. And he made a marvellous film out there called school tour to Russia, which was for a local company called school travel service in Enfield. And we made something that 20 films for them over a period of years. This film though, in Russia, they went with the cooperation of interest. And while he was out there, he said, Well, it's such a marvellous opportunity. I'll make an educated Film as well. So he shot, not more material. And when he came back, he made an educational film just all about Russia, and about the Russian Revolution. Russia as it is today sold hundreds of copies of that programme. But yes, at that time I was going, I made films for the school travel people. In France, which was Junior schools, I did one for them on skiing as well in Austria. I made a couple in Austria for them. And one of the fairly large projects we did was at that particular time that the Salvation Army of gamble one of our clients, it was their centenary. And they were obviously celebrating it in many different ways. But some of it was to produce his history film about the army, which we'd obviously got a lot of material from William booths film. So more material was short for that. And I made a film for them called salute was aerations century, which was purely a musical film of the Salvation Army Band was about a 14 minute film. But it obviously, they were actually making recording. So what we did, we didn't actually recorded at the time, we went to the EMI studios where the Beatles recorded and the band recorded their the whole programme that they wanted to film. We brought it back, worked on it overnight and edited it because at that time, bands, they didn't run through the recording studio said stop START STOP start, we had to edit it into make it into a continuous performance. Then we went to the Regent Hall in Oxford Street, where we had three cameras set up with a big sammies crane, and I had a girl who could read sheet music. And we'd worked out from the shots which cameras had to be on which instruments at which time, and the we shot it all to playback. So we played the recording to them and the band did to playback and they mind the whole thing, but quite quite an ingenious thing. I really sympathise with the television directors nowadays, we have to be on the right instrument at the right time. Quite suddenly, you've got to know what you're doing with that. We also made fairly large construction, as well as the dam project we worked on, we worked for the cement and concrete Association on the building of the Midway bridge, which was the m two extension which went over the river midway. And that took about three years and we had continuous trips down there to see the progress always and you had a good head for heights on that. Because when the wind blew there, there was no safety harnesses or anything. And you were often seven minutes.
Unknown Speaker 33:05
You mentioned earlier that when you went to Botswana, you did a lot of typing. He wrote the script very quickly. Now, my knowledge of you is that he was a very early embracing many of these techniques, he seemed to know everything. And in particular, his banking experience, I found it was wonderful because he could add up figures like not try, I wonder if you could say something about him himself as a first
Graham Smart 33:32
as a person. Sheep as he was a brilliant, brilliant person. As far as I was concerned, he was a hard taskmaster, a great boss to work for. But he had this technique, we didn't have any script writers, no scripts, who wrote all scripts for almost every programme. And he could just go and see a client, take a brief come back, sit at his desk. He wasn't a touch typist at all. He was a two finger typist, but he typed out the scripts. And okay, they may not have been correct, you know, 100% of the time, but at the time, the client did see them and things they were they were fine. And he was a genius at that he was a great raconter as well, you know, he he picked up all these amazing stories when you travel around the world and he could elaborate on them was not as much of us bring these out. He was a brilliant film editor too. He was. In fact, he wrote several focal press books on the art of filmmaking, which I believe is still sold today. And I still recommend one called How To edit which is I learned an awful lot from just reading that book, as well as what he taught me. You're just gonna have a slight break from that.
Unknown Speaker 34:51
Okay, so I was going to ask you something. I can't remember what it was a terrible Thank you. Yes. You said he was a brilliant editor, and a camera man, I believe Oh, yes,
Graham Smart 35:06
yes. I mean, he, I don't think he was fantastic as sound. But as a cameraman, he was very good indeed. He knew how to stop and start shots, he knew about getting different angles. You know, time we didn't have zoom lenses or anything like that. So he worked out device tracking shots, all sorts of things, which actually added to the movement of a film. And he was a, what I would call a PC editor, you know, he never let things drag on the screen, he always just kept the moving. And so that was, you know, an art, art in itself. Some of the people we had, gateway at that time had a staff about 15. With different directors cameraman, one of the people who came to join us at that time, was a chap called Michael winner. And he didn't stay very long with us. But he, I think it was one of his first jobs in the film industry. And he did some medicine here and learn some of the art I think, and obviously subsequently moved on to make a name for himself.
Unknown Speaker 36:13
You You mentioned earlier about the South great Rotarians. And I seem to recall some story he told me about a Korean girl who needed an artificial leg and the South Gate Rotarians obligingly whipped up the money. So this girl could have a new league that tries to rejoin society I
Graham Smart 36:36
try. One of the films he made was a film for the leprosy mission. And he went out. And again, he went out without an idea really how to what the storyline was going to be or anything. He went out, wrote the script on this spot, because he met this girl who had because of leprosy had lost her limb because she had no feeling in it. She got trod on something sharp, she didn't know she trodden on it, she got blood poisoning. And so the leg had to come off and be amputated. And in the third world, people without limbs are pretty useless, really. I mean, they're, they can't do and they keep. And they become particularly with somebody who's had leprosy they become outcasts. So who made this started making this film and eventually, he, the film ended with her waiting for a limb. One knowing that one day she would get a limb and he came back showed this film to his local Rotary Club. And the Rotarians there said, Well, we can't let this happen. We must do something about it. So they collected money, enough money for her to have her artificial limb. And that money was sent out to Korea. And he went out subsequently in that she made an end to the film, which shows her being fitted with an artificial limb and her walking off down the road at the end as a member of society.
Unknown Speaker 38:13
Pardon me to pat on the back from the Rotarians is
Graham Smart 38:16
absolutely because the rotary is so much good. And they've that shows that how much they do. Do how
Manny Yospa 38:23
excellent Well, we can
Manny Yospa 0:12
Interview with Graham smart side two Graham. You've told us a lot about Hugh. Now I know that at some time you met gateway and he seemed to be taken over by somebody, I wonder if you could tell us what happened,
Unknown Speaker 0:31
Graham Smart 0:34
gateway, in the sort of middle 60s had achieved a bit of fame that had got a large educational catalogue of films and films which were sold not only in this country, but overseas. In fact, it had something like 400 titles, one time, not all produced by gateway, but majority were. And he was approached by a joint company which was owned, I think, 90% by Imperial Tobacco, and 10% by Philips of Eindhoven. And this company said, Look, we want to get into education, and we think that this is the future would you be prepared to let us buy you out, you still work for us. But we would like to take over this and market you properly and fund you so that you can produce more films and do better things. He was obviously very tempted. Times have been hard. He got a staff of 15 people salary bill there that he had to find every month, which was obviously a bit of a worry, because sponsored film market was up and down. Okay, the educational market was right. But nevertheless, it was a bit of a worry at times. So I think he thought, well, this is not a bad idea. Because we will also be able to update our equipment and get some better equipment and we were looking at that time to make some more acting films for the schools. One particular was one about Shakespeare and one about mediaeval society. We needed a bl camera blimp to be L camera for that. And so he thought, well, let's go with it. So this conglomerate bought out gateway. Q was still managing director, I was a director. And we still kept everybody things didn't change for quite a few months, we got new equipment in.
Manny Yospa 2:33
But what was the name of
Graham Smart 2:35
this company was called ESL Bristol limited. They were based in Bristol
Manny Yospa 2:41
educational systems learning
Graham Smart 2:42
something like that. And they were headed by an imperial man. And we got involved with Philips as well, because at that time, Philips brought out a machine, which they called a pip projector, which was meant stand p IP, which stands for programmed interactive presentation, the first interactive thing on the market, I think it was a ingenious piece of equipment that was controlled by an audio cassette tape the Philips Compact Cassette, which had pulses on it, and 16 millimetre size eight millimetre film, which super eight millimetre film, which moved on frame by frame with each pulse. unfortunately couldn't do, you could only give you short bursts of movie about 60 frames a second. Hugh said that this equipment would never take off the ground. He said it was you know, a waste of development money and didn't want to get involved. However, the powers that be said we should continue with it. He was proved right and long term. But unfortunately this who then started having one or two disagreements with the powers that be because they wanted him to do other things. And I think he thought well, why should I do this? I can, I can make films myself, I can still do it. So he said, I think enough is enough. I will leave and so he set up on his own
Manny Yospa 4:15
interrupt you. by other things you mean not things in the film business things outside, like management or whatever.
Graham Smart 4:24
Yeah, so though I think he always wanted to films I think you'd ever dragged him away for film. I think he was probably interest in lots of other things. But film was his real love. And I don't think that he just said I will go away make the films I want to make, not what somebody else should dictate. So that's what he did. And he set up who bid badly film productions and which was went on for until about 1990 and 1991. Till he died. very successfully again he made educational films and sponsored programmes didn't ever like video. It wasn't something he really took to sums. He agreed that sometimes films had to be sent out on VHS cassettes. But I mean, that was.
Manny Yospa 5:13
If I can interrupt again, could you tell us something about film loops, I made one for the government conglomerate about the mating habits of separate finches. And I made it on the basis of my costs plus a share of whatever profits weren't many of those. But I imagine that this film loop business was quite an enterprise spreading fast.
Graham Smart 5:46
This was not much more successful than the Philips system, it was actually devised by technicolour and it was called the concept loop, technicolour came up with this TV like device with a fairly large screen, which all must be so 30 inches or so that everybody in the class could see all the children in the class could see. And it used standard eight and super eight mil film. And it was a continuous loop of film, no sound. And so it just went on and on and on for as long as the teacher required. So many of the subjects that we use were things like, summer and winter. So you could actually show the pole and the earth rotating on its axis and how it tilted and with the seasons. Rainfall, the one you did on the whole range of things that were, as they call it a concept. And so the teacher could just talk about it and and say, Well, look, hang on a minute, it'll come around again, in three minutes time, it'll come back again. So we can look at that bit again. And marvellously and 1000s of 1000s 1000s of these loops are sold. And we had, again, property 300 titles produced on different subjects history, costume science subjects. And they were low cost. We're schools we're looking for local authorities were looking for at that time. And it gave the teacher a chance to interpret it themselves and put their own. So it was brilliant.
Manny Yospa 7:18
Slightly historical point. And one of the things I the thing I found astonishing about his business, both at Gateway and his own business, was he he was involved in the printing of films. Presumably he made a film at whatever cost. And then the film sponsor ordered the prints from him. I never seen this done anywhere else hadn't. And I wondered if it was unique. But it must have been a great benefit to
Graham Smart 7:52
Oh, yes. Obviously what happened was he kept the masters. I'm not saying that if a client had said to him, I want the Masters but most of them were didn't realise they just came back for copies. And so maybe 16 millimetre copies were made from the lab, and we paid the lab fee, and he put a markup on it. And that way, he was also able to produce more programmes. So he didn't put a massive markup on it. But it was a useful income. Yes. And in some cases, obviously sold hundreds of copies sometimes for have a particular title.
Manny Yospa 8:27
Very generous. That mess that is is is a point worth noting for students of film, that film production consists of making films and some examples. Yes, and it must be an object lesson to some producers to realise there is money to be made. In selling afterwards,
Graham Smart 8:47
I tried. I think in many cases, with the ones where he had a lot of copies ran off. The revenue was more than the actual production costs. For the copies.
Manny Yospa 9:02
On the subject of prints run off, I was involved in a film called Angel, the bushy beard, which I understand was highly successful. It was about the Salvation Army's work in Calcutta. And I believe David Frost spoke the commentary. So Graham, could you ever have any recollections of that film? And
Graham Smart 9:23
yes, I wasn't actually on the shoe, but it was shot by one of the director, film directors who are working here then called john sarsfield. And john went out to Calcutta and filmed the story of this. I can't remember his name now, but he was marvellous character. He was an ex army officer, British Army officer who'd been out in India serving his time and didn't really eat been bad to Britain and couldn't settle. And so he thought he would go out and help the poor of India, and he came under the auspices of the Salvation Army. They help him and helped him set up. What was I suppose soup kitchens, we would call them other than that to feed the the hungry of Calcutta, which, of course is an enormous task. And he is set up these kitchens have failed the people every day, he didn't miss a date Christmas Day, right the way through the year, he never took a holiday. And it was a remarkable story. And Johnson also went out to film this and David trust took an interest in this. And so and I think he'd actually been out to India and met this British army officers, so he decided that he would be very pleased to sort of top and tail it and introduce it. And that's what he did. And I think you filmed the introduction to new vine
Manny Yospa 10:45
I filmed in India with john sarsfield, because you
Graham Smart 10:50
had to remember who the cameraman was, I apologise. Okay. Can't remember the officer's name.
Manny Yospa 10:58
Major, something major something? Yes.
Graham Smart 11:01
I think it was really a major or not, we're not sure. But
Manny Yospa 11:03
it's a very good illustration, in my view, of the work that the Salvation Army does in a very methodical way. People got food if they had the right ticket, and also a very good illustration of the good that both the Salvation Army does and the film does in promoting the Salvation Army's Yes. Because in a film of 20 minutes, you can encapsulate everything, no book, talk or anything can do it. So admirably as soon
Graham Smart 11:37
as you were actually taken out there. Weren't you visually taken out to go? Yeah, just saw the deprivation that was there. Yes, as much of course, as the Indian government would allow, because at that time there were very sensitive.
Manny Yospa 11:48
I don't think they put us put in any obstacles in our shooting. We used to go around on a run in a Landrover thing around all the posh hotels in Calcutta, getting the food that they're not used during the day. And we go around with the poor women in the various feeding stations, not in the centre, but on the roadside. And some are ladies had nothing whatsoever, but a salary. And this major, we put a handful of food into her salary, and she scooped it up. All she had was a loincloth. It really shows what what valuable things films are, in my view. That's right.
Unknown Speaker 12:36
Graham Smart 12:41
How are we doing time anymore? Obviously, we gateway as well as the Salvation Army. We made films for a whole number of different charities, Baptists, Methodists, and one of the programmes I went on was one to four, the Baptist Mission Society, we went to Brazil, filmed in Brazil. And so I was away for three months from home where we filmed six weeks in Brazil. And then we went on, again, because it was a charity film, we tried to get as much work out of it as possible and went on to the Caribbean for the Methodist Missionary Society and made a film for them in the Caribbean. And Hugh, who was still there with us at that time suggested what a good idea if I also on my way back, stopped off in New York and made a loop film about New York.
went over waste a penny you've got to stop off somewhere so why not stop off in New York and actually make a loop for which I did.
Manny Yospa 13:42
One thing has come to my mind, who always took still photographs for slide presentations that he had a business equivalent to films of slides and slideshows and things that this could you tell him wherever he
Graham Smart 13:57
went and where we went, we were always told to take still pictures, colour transparencies of everything we took. And from this, we were able to make up film strips, which schools again used and they were 3036 frame 48 frame film strips, which again, are totally silent, but enable the teacher to the head guidance notes for the teacher. And again, they may have shown agricultural land or people's habitations in various ways. So it was again, a way of making money from a trip
Unknown Speaker 14:33
Graham Smart 14:34
worthwhile. So everything was utilised, nothing was wasted. Why not do when you're there, why not take a camera with you and take some pictures and so we obviously carried on making once you'd left we continued with the backing of Imperial and Philip store to make films and we made one film was called mediaeval society, which should be initiated and did most of the work on. And that was a big costume drama. With people we had big feasts and things and not saying no expense there. But it was a cast of several 100 people in that programme. And we did ones on Roman provincial society and with Magnus, Magnus and and I think they were, there was Roman, quite a lot of history of ROMs because they sold extremely well history films. They didn't they it seems strange to say, but if you made a biology film or a chemistry films, I think things change history, unless somebody finds out something. And those films just went on. And some of the early history films that you made 30 years ago, I believe are still selling today. Because the history, the concept still right. We made as well as those films. We made that because we're proud of Imperial, they said, well, Imperials got other attachments. It also had a company called Imperial foods at that time, which owned a lot of household names like the impairing source, HP source, golden wonder crisps. Smedley is trying to think a little bit more buxted chickens, Ross foods, and the director of Imperial food said, Let's make a corporate film all about Imperial foods, which was wonderful. I mean, those we can't make those sort of transactions today. And so we did, we started making that programme we went through Ross foods. We went out and trawlers in the North Sea, went around their factories in Grimsby and saw the fish lines being done. Baxter chickens, we saw the chickens coming in and being plucked and put in plastic bags for the supermarkets. Liam parents we saw the Cooper making the barrels that the sources stored in gold, Wonder crisps obviously
still going today. And so we made this whole programme which lasted about
40 minutes It was called living like lords and was really showing how people today can live life in law by utilising the modern food techniques that are around us. on that one, we had to do an aerial shoot in the helicopter. And they wanted us to film the chicken sheds somewhere out the a one the A Peterborough I think or hunting done something. So we hired a helicopter and took the door off. And that was one doesn't strap yourself in and went off with this American pilots who was I think it just come back from Vietnam. And he didn't really care. And I think he was working his passage back and he didn't really care about rules and regulations and things like that. And so I sat I had a camera man next to me with his legs hanging out the door. I had a map on my lap trying to and because he was American, he didn't know his way around. And so we took off from Elstree and worked our way up the one now the a one of those days was just a dual carriageway with lots of roundabouts. And really, I just got totally lost. It didn't I'm found Stevenage that was okay. But after that, I got lost. And I say I'm sorry. I don't quite know where we are. We need to find Java. He said, Well, don't worry, we'll come down. So he came down, he actually came down on around about on the a one match to the consternation of all the traffic. And we looked at the rest signpost right signposts fell exactly where we're in took off again, I think it's a civil aviation ever heard about.
So obviously, things changed. By about 1980, Imperial had broken away from the Phillips side of things. Imperial old, was still Imperial Tobacco, they weren't getting a good press from point of view of smoking and health. And they decided that perhaps the fact that people have noticed that we were part of the period tobacco group didn't help our sales. And whereas shell in the old days used to sit make educational films and just had the shell on the end, there was no way that schools were going to allow film into their classrooms with the impact of the back on or anything to do with it. So they decided to shut us down. But they did say well, would you like to do a management buyout? So in 1980, we said yes, please, we will do that. And there were really two divisions of gateway at that time, a distribution division, which Imperial had moved to Bristol, and they were
distributing all the educational films run by a chap called Derek little child and he did that
extremely well. And he would, he'd set he was a winch lived in winchmore hill here in North London, but he'd moved to Bristol and set up this division for them and The production division, which I ran, and was really now about eight people, just producing films. And so they split it and direct took the distribution side and I took the production side. And I went to Barclays Bank and said on my knees and says, Would you help me and Barclays were generous at that time, banks have changed subsequent lending habits, but we were able to get what they called a starter loan, which was partly government backed at that time, and set up and do a buyout for Imperial and they've actually Imperial were very good to us. They were very gentlemanly about it and gave it to us at a very reasonable cost, I think. And so we took it over. And with my colleagues here, we worked we at that time video was coming in. So we had the problem of what do we do? Do we change the video? Why don't we so film and video went along side by side for quite a few years, gradually changing but videos fantastic in many aspects, but the real thing with it is it whenever you buy a piece of equipment, it's obsolescent, before you get it up and running, there's a little Japanese man dribbling away somewhere producing a better piece of equipment. Whereas with a film camera, you could still use a film camera that was made 20 years ago and come up with exactly the same images that you may use in. But, you know, if it had been the other way around, as somebody who started off with video and then found invented film, everybody say what a marvellous invention film is, but it didn't work that way.
Unknown Speaker 21:43
Graham Smart 21:44
we've adapted and very little of our work now is unfortunately on film. And I suppose the majority of it is now shot on tape. Budgets are much lower in real terms than they were years ago. Crews are much smaller. We obviously work with two men, three men, sometimes one man crews. Whereas before we have five, six people on on the shoot. And probably when Think about it, sometimes you needed it on those big shoots where you had lights and five kilowatt lamps to hop around, which took two people to put on a stand. So that's where gateway is today. struggling to keep up to date with all the various equipment. Unfortunately, we can't keep all those equipment, now you have to hire it in. Whereas philosophy was in the decades before was always to have our own equipment and have it on hand and hire it out to other people if they wanted. It's changed. And we now have to hire and most of the equivalent, yes, yes. But we still have our own edit suite here video edit suite and do some of the work here ourselves.
Manny Yospa 22:50
I think it's pretty remarkable. When you think that gateway started in, I think it was 1948. So here we are in 1994. gateways didn't still in being it still in the same shop that it started off described in US memoirs, where he was displayed as a baby in a photographer shop. Afterwards, he took over the shop, move next door where we are. And gateway is still carry and long may continue. I think we all hope and believe it will continue. So it doesn't matter. No one
Unknown Speaker 23:34
Graham Smart 23:36
Who knows? I've done it. I will probably be wrong, wouldn't it but anything about the future and really, in a way sort of historic for people who want to listen to it in a couple of years time or some they'll say well, he was a follower. Didn't he realise that CD ROM was coming along and didn't he know that everything's gonna be interactive? Didn't you know it was all gonna go down fibre optic cables
Manny Yospa 23:58
is terrifying. These changes are developing all the time. So far as we're concerned, my wife and I, we can't keep pace with them. You know, we don't even buy a recorder video recorder because we can't work out where the buttons which buttons to press, you know, we've tried to tries. It's very difficult. But I am sure that when stability returns, which it hasn't done yet. People will need to be educated more and more by these classroom, video displays and they need something to put in the back of it. Yes, it shows you a picture. And I was I shot a film once with Glaxo and we did it because this was Athos Glaxo had come to the point when their annual report was about several inches deep, and no shareholder to ever possibly read it. So some clever dick decided to put all of txo on a 20 minute film. And everything had to be shot, the view that that particular brands might be sold off, you see, and we had we went, went to Murphy's and Phil Murphy's pesticide. And before the film was finished, they loved it after so many years. So we want to return to sequence all the time. But this this film, in 20 minutes, put the whole track SOS work. And when you think there's this word, music, pictures, and the atmosphere of the cinema, there's nothing like it. Yeah, I mean, whether it's on video of film of old train video or films, incidental trying, but you have work which is really about I think, ever to work or maybe professional,
Graham Smart 26:03
very little amateur work. Although Christine who you met downstairs. She's a key member of Potter's bar, city society. And she's actually a fellow at the Institute of amateur cinematographers or something anyway. And so she keeps in touch with amateur world and she does a lot of work with amateurs, and she's a judge on many things. And so we don't do a lot of work for amateurs, although they bring in occasionally bring in films.
Manny Yospa 26:28
Everybody be a camera in every video I try
Graham Smart 26:31
and get. I tried. That's why in fact, we now got video editing services up on the front there, because we've now got a financial person who said, well, let's utilise it. Let's get if people want to come in off the street and they've got the holiday film they wanted edited. Let's do it for them. So we do do that. Yes, it's amazing.
Unknown Speaker 26:51
Graham Smart 26:54
It could be you see, I mean, people go around, they shoot it things and then they suddenly realise haven't switched off the camera and they shot their feet for five minutes you've got so you want to take that out? I mean, of course you can't physically calculate your Cooper films.
Manny Yospa 27:08
is a future episode.
Unknown Speaker 27:12
Would you tend to have a cup of coffee?
Manny Yospa 27:15
I bet you many