KEN HOLT – laboratory worker; special effects; studio manager, head of film unit at ATV.
Interviewed 13 June 2013
Interviewer: Sean Holmes
Camera: Andrew Dawson
DoB: 14 February 1930
Family background: Youngest of five siblings of working class family; born Uxbridge. Father cabinet maker; family originally from East End.
00:02:49 Schooling: war disturbed education.
00:05:27 avid cinema goer; often three times a week
00:06:27 Career aspiration: wanted to go into films; left school aged 14; no vacancies at Denham Studios but interviewed for Denham Labs.
DENHAM LABS, 1944-51
00:08:48 Junior clerk in offices of Denham Labs; transfers to technical side; George Barker boss; Sensitometric Dept; uses a densitometer
00:14:08 Grading. Handling newsreel rushes for Pathe and Gaumont; D-Day footage. Working during air raids.
00:18:22 ACT film I Know Where I’m Going. Denham lab described;
00:26:05 lab hierarchy
00:27:35 women in labs
00:31:34 describes work of neg cutting dept
00:37:47 dupe negatives
00:42:10 shooting back projection
00:43:05 working with studios
00:45:49 lab social relations
00:47:00 workers and management
00:50:28 a staunch Churchill man.
MGM LABS 1951-59
00:51:57 leaves Denham in 1951. Moved to Boreham Wood, 18 miles away; Thomas Howard, received Oscar for Blythe Spirit special effects.
00:56:32 Much smaller than Denham; his work described.
01:06:17 Eastman Color arrives.; is now a contact man.
01:10:10 unions at MGM described – ETU, ACT, NATKE, NUJ.
01: 11:52 labour management relations. Miniatures for 633 Squadron; Stanley Kubrick takes over special effects dept
Studio manager. Slough Trading Estate. Full of young talent
01:19:39 responsible for day-to-day running of studio model making, puppet makers, editors. Also involved in Captain Scarlett 150 employees.
Lew Grade pulls plug on Thunderbirds
BACK TO MGM
01:30:09 Life of Dickens documentary; other locations around the world.
01:36:47 Assistant head of film, running film unit.
01:43:21 biggest achievements.