Ray Elton

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Interview Date(s): 
16 Nov 1988
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Interview notes

nterview extract, on his start:-

I had an uncle in Nottingham who owned quite a few small fleapits so I asked him if there was any prospect of getting into the film business and he said he knew one or two people. I wrote to various studios and the manager’s secretary used to make appointments for me to come and see them but inevitably whenever I got there the manager was busy or out and I had to come back another time, which was difficult because I lived in Cardiff. My family were just about broke but my father’s bank manager was very nice and saw that I would have to come to London so he allowed an overdraft of £50 to see me through a few weeks looking for work. 

    Eventually, I was given an appointment to see Julius Hagen at Twickenham Film Studios, which I found with some difficulty, not being a Londoner. And to my amazement I was asked immediately to go up and see Mr. Hagen. So I knocked at his door and walked into the traditional film mogul’s office - he was sitting about half a mile down the carpet smoking an enormous cigar  - and he eventually looked up and said, “Who are you?” and I said, “I am Ray Elton, I have an appointment with you, sir.” Whereupon he said, “You’re not the Elton I’m expecting to see, but now you’re here what do you want?” I said, “I want terribly to work in your lovely studio” or words to that effect. It was quite obvious I didn’t know anything - I was only a boy - so he said, “All right, start Monday, thirty shillings a week. Goodbye.”

    That was it. I was in. They started me in the negative cutting room carrying tins. I was there for about a week and the women got thoroughly fed up with me because when I labelled tins, nobody could read what I’d written, so they said they thought they could do very well without me and I was very pleased - I found it very boring and I wanted to be “on the floor”. In those days, it wasn’t difficult. They pitched me into the floor staff. I did the clapper board now and again and I unwound the cables. I became a sort of dogsbody to any department that needed a hand, to carry a camera or push it around or move the boom or anything else.


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Ray Elton  0:04  

to November 1988. Ray was interviewing Ray, interviewers Bob Dunbar

Bob Dunbar  0:20  
ba calm and he asked me When, when, when and where were you born? 30 years or whatever, right

Ray Elton  0:31  
I was born in Cardiff in 1914. And spent my earliest years at the local schools. I was then sent off to a minor English public school or grammar school, call it what you like, in Cambridge. And after several attempts, I managed to pass my matric. I then went to the University of Wales in Cardiff, sincerely believing that I was a brilliant chemist and would have a career as an industrial chemist. I soon discovered that all this business about playing about with chemicals of school is a waste of time. And that it turned into mathematics and trigonometry and all sorts of things that calculus which I couldn't understand at all. And so I got virtually zero marks, asked at the end of the by the end of the year, and the universities suggested that I was probably in the wrong profession, I agreed and left then there was the problem of what to do. There was a major slump. By this time in Wales, this would be around 1932. And I couldn't think what to do. I used to go to the cinema, of course, to the centre de shows for six months and watch the serials. But I didn't have any great desire to become a movie maker. So I spoke to various scattered members of the family. None of them had any very bright ideas. But I remember that I had an uncle in Nottingham, who owned at least Brunson and it turned out that he had quite a few actually small flip bits. So I asked him if there was any prospect of getting into this thing called the film business. And he says he would try and help and that he knew one or two people and being an exhibitor, they were never rude to him. So I wrote to various studios, including shepherds, Bush and others, the manager, Secretary used to make appointments for me to come and see them. But whenever, whenever I got the manager was busy or when he was out, and I had to come back another time, which was difficult. Because I lived in Cardiff. My problem was, my family were just about broke. My father made the mistake of opening an expensive shop just as snapping down. But his bank manager was very nice. And he saw me and realise that I would have to come to London. And so he allowed me to open a banking account, with an overdraft of 50 pounds to see me through a few weeks looking for work. Eventually, to my astonishment, I actually was given an appointment to see a man called Julius Hagen or Hargan at Twickenham film studios, which I found with some difficulty not being London. And when I gave my name to the girl in the telephone box in the hall, she said, Just a moment, I rang up and gave somebody my name. And to my amazement, I was asked immediately to go up and see Mr. Hagan. So I knocked at his door and walked into the traditional film moguls office. He was sitting about half a mile down the carpet, smoking an enormous cigar and eventually looked up and said, Who are you? And I said, I am Ray l I have an appointment with you, sir. whereupon he said, but you're not out and I was expecting to see. But now you're here. What do you want? So I said, I want terribly to work in your lovely studios or words. I didn't keep me very long. It was quite obvious that I didn't know anything because I was only a boy, it must have been 1933 hours. But

so is it all right. Start Monday. 30 shillings a week. Goodbye. So that was it. I was in. I found a room above a cafe in Richmond, which gave me breakfast and supper, I think, and laundry and everything for 30 shillings a week. So there's no shortage of bus fares and pocket money. Which wasn't too bad. They started me in the negative coffee room carrying tonnes for obviously, after about a week, I think. And the women there got thoroughly fed up with me because when I labelled tins, nobody could read what I'd written even in those days. So they said they thought they could very well do without me in the cutting room. And I was very pleased because I found it very boring. I wanted to be what we used to call on the floor. Well, in those days, it wasn't difficult. They simply said right out to the cutting room and pitch me into the floor staff. Not there's anything in particular. But I did the clapper board nine again and I unwound the cables. And at that time, Ernie Palmer was believed us. So stanbro still man, Benham hamriyah on sound with Ching alias Carlo Manzini as his side, as a second recorded, Monte Berman, and various directors, one of whom I will tell you about in a moment. So I became a sort of dog's body, to any department that needed a hand either to carry the camera or push it around or move the room or do anything else. And also, to actually work the boom at times, and indeed, to, to focus at times and load magazines at times, and so forth and so forth. Because that was the way it was. And we worked. I suppose many small studios were working in that way. In those days, we were working on kurta cookies for arco. And I am just stand that we were paid a pound a foot for our product. So the quicker they were made, the more profitable it was. So we were making I think it was 7000 switches to 7000 pounds. In order to make any kind of real profit, I suppose. We started in the morning, sort of eight o'clock or whenever.

And but there was no end of the day. And in fact, since we only had one stage, somebody had the bright idea when I'd been there a while

that we could get a day unit and a night unit and make a different film that night with different actors who were not obliged weren't working in the theatre at that time already known as resting. And by redressing the sets a little bit, we could make two films of fortnight instead of one film of fortnight. The result of this, as far as all the staff were concerned was that it's very frequently the case that you've finished your day shoot, shall we say, worked for the day at about seven o'clock in the evening. And you had to get out so that they could redress and get the next lot of actors in for the other film. And somebody with doppio in the hall and say our rainbow that was my nickname at tricking him the Christian Rainbow and that name stuck with me for years. You will have to work on the camera on the night crew tonight because Georgia zil Burt hasn't turned up or somebody has broken his leg. So instead of going home, you're joined the night crew. And I remember very well how warm the camera was, it was a super powerful debris. And when you opened it up to load it for this new production, the motor was still quite hot from running because we ran film, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot shoot all day long. On one glorious occasion, we've worked all day and we're going to work all night. And we've done this several times over the weeks. And we looked at pretty sorry, crew. And the night film was going to be made. And it was to be directed by George Pearson, who always wore his hat. And he came on to the stage. I suppose it must have been around eight or nine o'clock that night and looked around at us all. And you didn't need to be very acutely sensitive to see the state rules. But after studying us all for a moment, he held his script up into the air and looked around at us individually. And he said, You know it's rubbish. I know it's rubbish. But this is what's giving us a living. So can we get on with it. And we did. So we worked all day. And if necessary, we worked all night. 100 hours a week was not unusual. I got along very well with bainham Henry, who was chief of sound. I liked him very much he had a very quick manner. And he and Gene used to hold me in their hands, as it were one each side because I hated electric shocks. And they would touch one amplifier on the right side of the mixing room. And Ching would touch the amplifier on the other and leave me yelling in the middle because they didn't mind the shocks at all. I hated that I was reasonably popular on the sound crew particularly because when we started the night dubbing system, dubbing on film by the way, we had a four channel machine, which required threading, like four projectors in the central joined up together to massive equipment. In those days, I think it was called rise of tone. And I became the night dubbing cook. Because the studio in those days this is before the union started. Although they paid us virtually no money, they gave us our food for nothing. So we had big lunches. And if when we worked all night, we had dinners and all that all thrown in for 30 shillings or 35 shillings a week. And the food was all provided at night. But there were no cooks on duty. So that became my job. And we shifted enormous stakes and have no model. And that made me reasonably popular. This went on for a while and I gradually began to learn a thing or two and was able to pull focus with reasonable accuracy and eventually was moved to j h productions. Julius Howard computer is at boreham wood. They bought that studios will where I was camera operator to a camera man called court Courant who was an Alsatian and he had very picturesque English which had been taught to him by some particularly from as electricians. And he didn't realise what he's saying of his time. However, he was a very dapper, slight man

Unknown Speaker  14:42  

Ray Elton  14:43  
passionately involved in his lighting. So I became his first operator. And, at that time, I'd already develop very severe The backdrop so wild caught was lighting. I tended to sit down and rest rather than bend over and look through the viewfinder all the time, I think was still using the abrasive because I was asked for. And he would come to me and say rainy, what do you sit for? And I say, Well, my back hurts. Well, if you have pain, you said if you had my pain I check you out. So I say yes, go and go back to my camera somewhat beaten down. My salary by then was about four pounds a week. And he was earning I think it was 120 for lighting, because he was not English. And in those days, anybody wasn't conditioned with the lighting camera man could earn a fortune.

Just the word about still man at trigonum, who also worked at gh stanbro. Union was rumoured called a CT, and everyone got very excited about it.

And we all decided to join, I suppose it should be 3435, maybe 33. I don't know. When upon the studio manager got us all into the theatre, preview theatre, I wasn't asked to come because I was too lowly to be bothered with. But Ernie and Billy laugh and all the senior people that packed into the seminar. And there is Hagen said to them very briefly, I understand that you've joined this thing called AC T. Well, I can tell you this, that you can either join that or work for me. And any one of you who doesn't resign for me AC T can consider himself fired. Well, after the meeting, everyone I just was read formally joined anything anybody really it was all a bit chaotic. But the only one who flatly refused to have anything to do with resignation was zero standard. And he dared the studio to do their worst. They did nothing. And he remained a member. And we all went on working and I think we all stayed in the image and sending about it. However back to Quran. He really trained me to understand the operation of a camera and what it meant in filmmaking that he believed that whatever the director was doing was a very little importance by comparison with his lighting. So we'd have perhaps a big set and he there'd be some chandeliers are and he would put some lighting effects up near the top of the set where the practicals work and he would say to me now rainy, you see them shutters up I put on top there the lovely lights and say yes, you get them in the picture. Yes or kill us I'd say yes. So I put on a 35 millimetre lens or something and make a beautiful setup showing the chandeliers and his lighting effects at the top of the set. And it was wonderful. And Morris Lv who was directing I remember on this occasion would come over and look through the camera as the Rambo What the hell do you think you're doing? I say, well, it's a sort of long mid shot you See? I told you I wanted a half figure. Yes, sir. Well do it. Yes. Right. What lens have you got? 35 I put two inches and move in and I want a half figure and no further back. Right sir. So I did it. Correct comes back. Look through the camera and says what you do what you do best you you work for me not from draft law for that big there. You take the camera back. So I take that clip, here's the direct I don't care who he is. I am your boss, I tell you take the camera backside start moving it back. More Salvy would come and and shout at me and between the two of them and surprised that I didn't go berserk and eventually Because of all this business of current wanting the camera tilting up to see the beautiful effects of the double zet and Lv wanting it tip downs as you can see the actors. There were many times when having made a setup to LVDS approval. I had to hand him the keys to the headlock, or the debris head had a Chilton pan lock, which just slipped off and on Squared ends, and he would walk off with him in his pocket. And then cook would come over and say the same story all over again. So I would have to send somebody to the camera and we had to split their head, readjust the camera trying to split the difference between current requirements. And the director Morris Lv. It was not a very happy time, although in some senses it was

and he was passionately fond of pretty girls, current laws and when we had a sort of a crowd scene or a dinner thing with perhaps 3040 extras usually started off by doing a long shot from the rostrum to get the production value and please the art director and more business he would say to me, you see dead Brian, the blonde now 6789 table down as as you go, see if she has nice teeth. If she has nice teeth, you say her Quran? That camera man will give you a lift to London tonight. If she has no nice teeth. You don't tell her that. So off I go. And I say that exactly that her current lighting cameraman has told me that he knows you've got to get back to London from Elstree station, which isn't very amusing. And he wondered if you'd like to lift Oh, thank you very much. I'd say well, that's in there. And you know, you can meet in the hall after the shooting. What they did together, I never knew, however,

it was fun. But like all good things that came to an end. Although I think after the receivers came in, I'm not certain that I didn't go back to work at the home studio took him

because there was one film for which I have a section of memories that I'd like to tell you about. It was definitely before 1937. Anyway, the studio decided to make a film called dusty ermine, which was going to be the story of smuggling, either currency or gold or something either across the Alps by skills and so we set off for kids build where we went up, funicular railway, and along snow road pulled by horses and sledges, until we got to a hotel called the air bath. And there we were, with all our sound gear, the riser turn equipment alone must have taken about eight or 10 or 12 wooden crates about half the size of the human coffin debrief super powerful things to shoot things sound booth in the snow. And all the assembled gear was also a second unit consisting of an Italian and no expert camera man and his gigantic German assistant. And the film was to be produced by a very distinguished and elegant gentleman called Heinrich soco who I believe produced the white hill of pits pallu and had considerable experience in Alpine filming. At least that's what I was told. And I see no reason to disbelieve it. The director was Bernard vorhaus and Henry socata was calm, gently spoken. Very elegant. And Bernard has was a excitable, panicky, and so forth, and probably with reason. One day we set off bravely with all US ledges and we had all the margin guides and kits built carry the stuff off we went deep into the mountains to film where the snow was virgin, and where there were no other skiers in sight. And with some difficulty the debris was set up on snow shoes as I remember. So the tripod didn't disappear because the snow was fairly soft and very deep with a rough drum drop behind the camera. So the director and anybody could stand there without getting their feet frozen. I had snowshoes on as well as standing on the rostrum. And it was getting late into the day. And we were at least an hour and a half from our hotel of difficult terrain. When the actors were performing a scene about 1015 yards from the camera. They were standing on skis, of course. And it was sound and we were running the Bri and so forth. And suddenly vorhaus shots cap cap cap in his funny voice now now and soco was standing nearby on his skis, said, Ross. I think it is now time to stop. We must go back. The sun was beginning to get awfully near the peaks behind us. And Rojas said no, no, no, I must have one more. Hammer that thing he ran forward to talk to the actors. He had no snowshoes on no skis, and he disappeared up to his armpits in the powder snow. Well, this of course brought the house down. Pervert got him out. But by then it really was too late to continue. So we packed up and went back to the job.

But it was fun. To take a recession we took a numb ran into financial trouble. Jays productions were closed and at Twickenham. They said that they were going to have to make some people redundant. But by then I'd been working on the camera and bits on sound Sorry, I suppose for years and decided that with four years experience, there was very little more to be learned about anything. I knew it all. And just at the time they were seeking redundancies, I saw an article on either a newspaper or magazine about the rigours of dunraven, South Wales dunraven was a castle on the coast. And they used to put out false lights, direct sailing ships, and plunder them as they came ashore. So I decided, since I was from Cardiff, that I ought to make a film about this. And that it would be the beginning of a great series of the myths and stories of the happenings around the coast of the United Kingdom. So I volunteered for redundancy. And my offer was accepted. Without further ado, and I told the management, what I was going to do, and they exchanged pitying looks that I missed them I think at the time. But up in the loft above the camera room, there was a sort of door place. And in that door were a lot of samples of film stock sent by people like gave it an act for this and there were quite a pile of 400 cans. Add also a big, beautifully varnished box with a very large brass gate, outside it. And when I looked into this thing, it had an electric light bulb holder on his insides and the lever which enabled you to pull the light nearer or further from the rear of the gate. And the gate was constructed with very long claws. So that it would take at least to that as a film. So, I assume that was a printer, which indeed it was. And it would just turned the handle and it went chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, but it worked. It was beautiful brass and mahogany and whatever. And the studio didn't want it so they gave it to me. I was working at the time on a film with Henry Edwards. He was directing and acting and doing everything else. And he had a 400 foot wooden debris, complete with tripod and a couple of lenses, which he did wrong. And he sold it to be for I think it was 20 pounds, or 25, something like that. I'd met a young man at a cafe in Richmond, whose name was George. And he'd been left a couple of 100 pounds by his grandmother. And I told him about my great scheme. He knew nothing about Tommy Thrall he was just a bloke hanging around a cafe. And he decided that this was a great opportunity to become rich in the film industry. And he threw his 200 pounds in and we were to be partners in this great enterprise, financial and physical he was going to help and so forth. So the next thing was we had a camera and we had a printer.

And before doing anything else, I shot a little bit of film on the debris which was hand cranked at that time. But it had on its speed counter. It went up to 26 or 28 frames so I thought well then it will run at 24 if is persuaded to do so I shot a little bit of film of some trees I think and sent it to him and asked him to return the negative with a print which they did. So I then had what I consider to be a perfect example of negative quality and a perfect example of print quality. And these were going to be my standards. I then decided that we simply could not afford to use rubber trees. So we bought not only describers oil drums I think they weren't 40 gallon maybe they were only 20 gallon but they were they were simply steel drums which they were in scrap yards nobody wanted them and for very little money. We had them cut in half longitudinally. And one half of the of the steel drum was fitted with little legs so they would stand level on the table and the other half was given a lip so they could be put on the lid. We also had made for a bad Carpenter some slatted drums which would fit in to the base of these steel drums and with a handle attached to them which came out through the lid, so as you could wind them round and round these drums, the drums and the containers and everything. We're given about five coats of anti sulfuric right enamel and we set off To find a way of getting the camera, motorised to run at 24 friends local garage, said they would do it for us. He had no, I think it was an oxygen seven Dynamo here, which he said he could make run as a motor. But it would probably take a lot of current flow, it didn't matter where he was right, it did take a lot of current, and he put the motor onto the crank handle spindle that's duck out of the door. So just stuck up the side of the camera. And it ran onto a rose. But it exhausted a car battery with enormous speed. So we had a coffin made containing I think, 412 volt batteries connected in parallel with one another. So we still had 12 volts, but we had an awful lot of amperage available so that we could last a day or two without recharging. We then bought a car for about 30 pounds, I think it was big old saloon, loaded everything in and went off to Cardiff where I still had a few friends. And we found a room behind the shop, which they didn't use. And we set this up as our darkroom and use the yard for washing the negative. And we tended only to use the room at night because it wasn't totally like proof. And obviously, these drums had a limited capacity, which I hadn't quite occurred to me earlier. But fortunately, the debris have a little button in the front. And when you press this button, it nicked a piece out of the side of the film, it was a punch. So we've measured how much room we could get onto these drums, I think it was about

30 3030 feet, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. So it was quite obvious no setup could run longer than that because it couldn't be on the drum for developing that cutting it net wouldn't do in the middle of a shot even I knew that in those days. So we restricted our running time per scene to the capacity of the drums. And we bought a little darkroom clock and safe light. And I had discovered because I had a still camera in those days that there was a good developer called d 76. And there was another one suitable for positive film. So we bought some positive film, which was quite cheap codecs and we had all these samples of negative

and we set off bravely as film producers. Trouble was that I had decided that the film should be made as a full scale reconstruction of the events of the past. mento required actors required costumes require the sailing ship to be wrecked. And amongst other things, I required a scene in which the Earl of dunraven has two children appear to drown on the testicle rock about a mile offshore because his chief of staff hated the oil and made the boat slip away on the tide. And watch the children as they were swept off the rock and drowned. So that was the problem. Now, the local police were very helpful. The Chief Constable said Oh yes, he said I'm sure a lot of my chaps would be very happy to help. There was a particularly ugly fishmonger in the fish market, who had no piece of tool and a face like the back of The past, and he agreed to play the villain. And various mums. Were happy for me to use their offspring as actors. There were two children who were really contrasts when there's a of great, or whether they were young they, they got all certificates and god knows what. And one of them's eldest sister was an ex Olympic swimmer or something. And she offered to be the lifeguard when we did the drowning scene. And so the mums made the costumes and the police dressed up as pirates, and they carried the batteries, and all that sorts of stuff. And we set about making this a fully fledged acting film. My experience as a film director was zero.

What I knew about editing was, I suppose, double zero. But somehow that we got through the making was one only one terrible moment, though, by the way, the shipwreck scene in which they all slid into the water. There's my one technical triumph, I found a sort of sailing ship in Cardiff, docks, it was tied up alongside and the people of board seem to think over started staying mad, but they didn't seem to mind. For a fiver I think they'd allowed us to use the deck and all that. And so by putting the camera on its side as it were, and throwing some buckets of water over members of my cast, and pulling their legs gradually over frame, it looked just to my eye, as if they were sliding into the sea in a violent death. So we got round to shooting the drowning scene. And off the beach at Porthcawl was a rock not very far from the shore. And I knew because of my childhood, it did get watered up over it at high tide. And so we all assembled the camera on a nearby nearby rock rock sticking up rather higher than the rock we were photographing, of course, so that we didn't get drowned as well. And the, when the water began to rise around the rock, the two children laid it out climbed onto the top, and they were instructed to stay up there as long as they could. And then finally, as the waves rolled over the top of the rock, to make a big thing about being swept away, to sweat and badly for a few moments, then disappear below the water to look as they've been drowned, and then pop up again when they couldn't last any longer and swim to the shore, or walk ashore, whichever it was. Well, it was very tense waiting for the tide to rise. And I was very itchy finger the beaver down by the way to last roll of film, and it was loaded into the camera. And I was very itchy fingered and nervous. And I thought I better test that camera. While the tide is still quite aware that at least

45 minutes ago. I switched it on. And it had been wider in reverse. And the film went back into the magazine. We had no changing bags. The Bay where we were working was a protected area. So there were no houses no cafes,

no nothing. I opened the camera took the magazine. We weren't allowed to have any cars or anything on this particular area and ran to the nearest group of houses, which I suppose was half a mile. I don't think I've ever read it fasted on my life.

And I came to a house and I hammered on the door like a lunatic and a woman came to the dorm not sure whether I was the fire brigade or rock

and I explained it was puffing and blowing and begging to be put into the cupboard and others There's just a few moments because this piece of film has gone into this Benghazi we're making a film down the road and oh, I was back via tears. I don't think she understood what I was talking about and I'm not sure the value but she pushed me into the cupboard under the stairs, shut the door. And I wiggled the film out of the magazine, tapped on the door, she opened it. I thanked her very much in the bottom my arm and ran all the way back to the unit.

Ray Elton  0:02  
And then of course, I realised we heard from these drums up horizontally above a small electric fryer to dry. The result is that at the bottom of each turn, there were about five frames covered in lime, I

Unknown Speaker  0:20  

Ray Elton  0:22  
Border spots. And they said, You can't possibly print this as it stands out, otherwise, you're going to have every 18 inches or so every foot and a half, you're going to have these blobs all over the screen. So they said, I think the only thing we could do shorter throwing it away is to rewash it at your risk, I suppose the right thing I can do about it. And first half of them, they did rewash it and cleaned it with Shammi leathers and god knows what afterwards. And it just got rid of 99% I suppose of these watermarks. So we had to print. I was very proud of this thing. And I thought I know what I was doing now. Go back to tricking them and show it to Julius. There was no problem arranging the thing. He remembered me Rambo quite well. And he gathered the senior people into the theatre. And they laugh early Palmer and various others, but me alongside him. And they projected my masterpiece. And the lights went up. It was a facial silence. Harlan took his cigar It was nice to me and said, my boy, you have got a lot to learn and walked out of the theatre. right he was.

Unknown Speaker  2:01  

Ray Elton  2:03  
I found a distributor I think they were called Zinni films. They agreed to release this epic. Because they believed as I did that it would be very popular in Cardiff xerneas in 2025 minutes long. But they decided to have a go at it. And strangely enough, it was advertised in Cardiff papers. And because it was made in Wales, and it was about Wales and everything else, although it was on with a terrible feature film. word got around that this was a real wealth building full of rich people in belch actors and God knows rub off. And they had queues right around the block. But of course, that was not enough to cover the production costs. After about six or seven months of release, I think we made either one print or two candles. I believe the total returns to the producers were about 11 pounds. Gross. Well, this meant that I had some debts to pay off, particularly to this very kindly gentlemen, who lent me the money for the sound. I can only tell you that it took years not months working as a mostly unemployed freelance film technician, to collect enough money to pay everybody back, which was eventually done. So clicking them shut down. And I was unemployed, I

suppose. When

a chap called Frank Bundy, who was then with a British Council, we'd known each other I think, for some reason, I don't know how we got to know one another in some sort of film, making around wanted a fairly cheap film made about happy British children in the British countryside. And he didn't want to go to a proper film camp because they put 30% loading or whatever it was only in a profit. So he thought of me because he knew I liked being a one man band and said, Look, right. Would you make a film for the British Council? I said all my jobs, of course. What about some money down? So he said, Oh, that's right. We've got a reasonable budget. I can't remember how much it was, but it was reasonable for the time. And he gave me an advance. So I rushed around to humans in class, waving my chequebook

and they made me

Unknown Speaker  5:00  

Ray Elton  5:02  
Very short, very short time I bought a camera. Not sure if I paid for it before but anyway, was that camera

made the film paid for it. And so I was then unemployed, freelance with my own camera equipment. Which information of course I passed around the trades as much as I possibly could.

And a man called john Dean telephone me, and his inimitable Scottish voice said that he heard that I want to come forth and so forth on the way was quite good at making short films. So I went to see him. And he said, there's an African tribe called the Ashanti want to present a silver Bell, a gold plaque to a warship called the Ashanti, it was a destroyer, that it would be sailing from Plymouth to tacoronte. Then the captain of the officers, going overland by train, to a shanty, and he wanted to film made about it. And I think we agreed a fee, including a camera at the bottom, I suppose, three times a week or whatever it was. And then he said, Now, of course, you'll be wanting money for expenses revenue, giving me one of these sly looks. And I said, Well, yes, I mean, I've got to live, I got to get out. And he said, Well, you'll be living in the wardroom with a Navy. I've agreed to pay for that. So you wouldn't have anything to pay at all for your trip. But I tell you what he said, Here's five times. And when you get back, I want a detailed account. And I want the change. So I set out for West Africa with five pounds on a warship. And sure enough, we got tackled rd where the key side was crowded with 1000s of Africans cheering as we came spanking it. The Skipper was a very enthusiastic grad Welshman. And he was determined to demonstrate how to bring into the store alongside that a minimum of effort which he did to such a degree that we gave the dockside an enormous rack. And I think we'd bet two plates. And then he decided to demonstrate how happy we all were to be in West Africa. And let off a salute of Governor's bomba Bofors firing blanks. And what he didn't realise was the last time these people have heard gunfire was when they were being cut down by the British some years before. The results of this welcoming blast of gunfire was the full population ran the screaming away from the harbour and were never seen again. Well, eventually we set off for Ashanti in the governor's train. I'm delighted to say that in the last courage, there was a bath and I spent most of the journey lying in this bath with lukewarm water because I suffered terribly from the heat. But we got to a shanty. And there were all these chaps in their plumes chief kneeling down and messing about and I was leaping around with me. Newman Sinclair on a uniform set of graphing lists. Well, ladies voice behind me, said, Hello rainbow. What are you doing here? I was transfixed and turned around. There was a lady called Winifred shutter,

who was an actress with whom I'd worked at Twickenham. And I said to her when I'm doing it Are you doing? And apparently she'd married the colonel in the West African rifles or something. And so I was up there for this debacle. I was given some hospitality by somebody, I can't remember who because Evernote tells me, he

was part of the five pounds I'd bought before I left England, I think, a box of what was then known as tropical pet chocolates which are sealed in rather like a sardine can but five times the size so that the bugs couldn't get in it. And I presented that to my hostess. And back we came. And I did give john Dean back the change, I had no option because it was all just chocolate so much, and so on and so on. And that was that was the end of that. I did make a foray into directing. I think it was after that. Show the good offices of the camera man called Cliff Pennington Richards. He got to know Paulson at the studio in I think it was Croydon, rumba religious Film Society. And he had a problem how an enormous cabin wished

Unknown Speaker  11:45  
he'd been

Ray Elton  11:48  
given the job of photographing two films. One was called me call Samuel. That's right. And the other was to be the Good Samaritan. And he was asked if he could produce a director. And he had not been quite fun because we both loved old Bentley's. And he rang me up. So what about directing a couple of films as your machine? He said, Well, it's part of your deal that you've got to provide a cutting copy as well. Right? I assumed that the an editor you see, and that all I would do would be to say to

him, we'll join this up, let me see. Hello. I ran into terrible trouble straight away because everyone working through religious Film Society, except Kenny and myself were volunteer amateur labour. The people building the sets could only come

after they said their prayers or finished a day's work. They built right in the middle of this comparatively small studio, they directed the full scale church organ. And some they got some Bishop into to ordain the place, I think it's more or less anyway, I was heard protesting in standard studio, a land bridge, about the state of two sets where we were supposed to be shooting, and was pulled into the office by the production controller who was wearing a clerical collar and informed that abuse, the fact that the building had been sanctified or such language was not permissive. Right. But we started growing. And I decided, although I must admit, there's not a great student of the Bible, in fact that never read it. But it did seem to me that at the time that these things were happening. The individuals would speak to each other in a normal voice, they didn't know they were going to be sanctified or turned into saints or whatever. And that if they came into a room, they would say, Good morning, they wouldn't say good morning, as if they were in church. So I started shooting in this way, and of course, a terrible, colossal homicide. They didn't say that this sort of how did anybody know that? This is a saint. I said, Well, he wasn't a saint at this time. Because the Madison didn't know he was doing anything in particular except helping somebody was like in the ditch. Anyway, we fought our way through it and I think I run in the end I stuck to my guns and made them speak plain English. And then suddenly, it was all shot. I remember I think I got the flu, but then Penny rang me up and said, Hey, Ray, you know

What about the rest cut? He said that jumping up and down here isn't the editor getting editor getting on with it is what

it is no editing is part of your deal. You've got to cut it. About the only thing I'd ever cut in all my life was the edges of some stills of a river size. I had no idea about anything except that. So I went down there with Kenny was there to help wine go home. And I just cut the thing according to the scripts that joins us join us join the love, it was dialogues. I managed to sync it up somehow. And during the course of that one half day I spent did a complete rough couple films hung out every single day around the cutting room. Quite a lot of leftovers as I've just covered that. Much in the film itself, all the rest is outtakes and should have no trouble. But I didn't realise that they should all be marked and numbered and put in some sort of order. I just stuck in that box chuckling in the bed. Unless the two cans on the counter. Mark ruffcut call of Samuel and ruska good medicine. Whenever there's a purpose 20 turned out as a bad flu. So we don't suddenly come from a lot of whiskey. And that was the end of my service for the registered nurses out there. I never knew whether the film's ready to show or not. Perhaps over time went by what how I occupied myself for jobs I had. Not sure but I did a day's work for this one on that one and the other one. The Porsche people that documentary wouldn't employ me because I was too expensive. I expect to be paid something like this to raise eight, eight times a week and a bit more from the camera. And they thought this was scandalous example of capital's thinking. So the GPR Film Unit people in real documentary analysis that I did Dog Days and a company called educational and general services. They were known as e. g s.

run by commander hub while Navy retired. and Mrs. Morgan had a beautiful house in Highgate provided the money How do they go home to me? I still don't but they did.

I think it was because I had done the Ashanti film and was by then considered an expert in deep water naval photography, although I felt terribly sick and I hated going to sea and I never wanted to do another film about the Navy. So they said we have a script which was written by another naval commander who worked with and called our island nation. We got Stanley Holloway's and Diana shattered his script reads like he would do it. Location records see and then LP studio are critical if we're gonna start with the exteriors because the Navy are holding this spring manoeuvres starting next week And you've got your camera. So we want you to go off as and

take the script to get whatever shots you can have the ships and see which can be cut into the body of the film. Fine.

So far I go. I was given a birth on a battleship, I can't remember which one or better cruiser or something. And read the script. And there was one scene, which has been burned on my memory forever. It's a long shot. HMS Rodney. shells are falling all around her bracket. This might be faked in some way. There was I was supposed to bring this Oh, my gosh, I just sterics laughing ridiculous. But hopefully, was quite big in those days. It hadn't been sunk. There were an awful lot of ships. And luckily, but no, luckily, although they killed me. We ran into a really foreflight nine

came North Atlantic Gale. But I'm usually I'm usually it was brilliant sunshine. So there were these monstrous ships in line, the head line, the stern line, whatever.

appearing and disappearing. Water flooding all over in brilliant crackling sunshine. Absolutely wonderful to behold.

Well, I came back with all this stuff. And then I can try to do the studio stuff. Without a poem I read belongs to stores that we've decided that we, Stanley Holloway thought it was supposed to be on a ship fast and I can't remember the story. But

there was a lot of dialogue on the deck of this particular ship. And come on my hand and said to me, Well Ray, as the director, I don't really think I need to come to the studio. I think you'll be much better at it than I would. So over to you and your chat. So as the director, he never did come near the actors or the studio. And let's get to meet and lighting director I just thought this was all so good. I fell in love with the mother was almost set with her and she was very beautiful. And that was we also had to do a location in Portsmouth Harbour with a super province and more dialogue. Maybe we could accomplish other reasons. But I do remember saying to the camera system after we've been shooting for most of the morning sure we don't need to read like this is ridiculous. Footage canvases. Or 100 feet been used but we've done about 12 setups as this is monstrous. Because what I didn't know is that he didn't realise there was a right way and a wrong way of putting the plug in the camera. And we've been running forwards and backwards all morning. Double exposing every shot the shot before the shot after

So we went back and did it again. company we kind of had to shoot, ship on fire from which diner and Stanley was great. But commander rang me in Portsmouth and said that they had run out of cash. And that because the

electrician, and things would need overtime, something or other they would just have to take that out of the script or since the whole point is the film was this film was shipped. I persuaded him that I thought I could get the shot done with either no expenditure or minimum. And I'm happy to say the boys gathered down we we had a ship in the harbour, and some smoke pots in the house. And in about an hour, we did a sort of amateur exercise rather like the one we did. Right. So I'm on a couple of buckets of water the camera on its side, and sliding them sideways towards the ship's rail. So it went into the film. Then, to my surprise and delight this show, I don't think I ever saw it. But somebody must have seen it the presser because it was right on over.

I think that was

one of the 70 times he was at times or both. gave him a home page the banner headline, magnificent photography. I've moved off from this girl I am made. So I brushed rabbit everywhere say I am a great photographer of all time read that. never listen to recovery press. And then I regret to say nothing much happened to me. Until Jim blood made his famous announcement that we were at war with Germany. And that is my pre war story. Take a full stop for a minute. I'll come on. Ready? Go. It is now after lunch. War has been declared.

Unknown Speaker  28:16  

Ray Elton  28:20  
recovering the problems of the past is becoming increasingly difficult.

Unknown Speaker  28:29  

Ray Elton  28:34  
having good wall I thought I should do something about it because I didn't like fascism. So I tried to volunteer to the army. And I was interviewed by an officer who said you ever swivelling the cover of her fellow? Wow. Could you do something useful and learn to tie a hydrant? No, sir. Very good learning type. patient will come back and see me when you sort of have made up your mind. But eventually I went to into a factory making machine to and tried to learn how to make rows

which were drawn through a gun bow to make them straight or numbers something I never learned properly to censor broken relays. result was that all approaches I made before you curve will considerably curve. So, I suspect a

lot of people behind the lines who but regarding barrels of which I was a part of was shot entirely by accident from round and round like a boomerang well I found myself frustrated, I couldn't fight fascism. Anybody really and some reason or another, not your time, got in touch with me. This was an American monthly magazine programme run by a man called rush mom. And was very, very British. And March of Dimes said to me, will you be a war correspondent in the Western Hemisphere, I know that will work for both worlds because I agree. So, they have read the boss brush. And I grew up with a lovely uniform British officer with WC on the badge on the cap WC shoulder taps so I became a WC which some people would call warcross from people go by different names.

So I then had this lovely uniform. And I was asked to go to a place go from

which I did. I got, I think, to LA where I grew up into a train, I was with another man.

Another walkers from he was the he was a property writer from Toronto zetagram naturally I had my numeracy clay with me know Miami.

And so read regarding to retrain. And we went I was told to report I think it was to add me on.

There we travelled. Nice. And we arrived, Daniel, before dawn in the pitch. I put my head out of the window. Being a packer Englishman. I demanded in den for you for a portion. And then there was a strange silence for a moment. And then people said and ripples down. And that's not like I realised on the platform was what I thought was the time to train Xiaomi

and they have about at this English reporter in the middle of the night, they were waiting to go the exact opposite way, which we can

Unknown Speaker  34:56  

Ray Elton  34:58  
they did have been covered. We went through streets around New York. And we found the hotel eventually that we were supposed to think it was Jimbo Richard plump one was in the war, there were masses of baggage. And he said hello, who are you and I survived rail march of time and you should have a bit of chocolate candy sorry to say it was all the food available as drivers

in that meal

or they gave me a room all by myself beautiful Ross go perhaps I didn't know what they were and I packed all my luggage in my to forget that. Oh, now for a lovely meal from God for me. I'm sorry. I may have discovered there was no water neither hot nor cold. And this glorious bathroom with prolonged really short and luxurious brothel licence? No girls, so I went to bed. And I'm not sure that I'd actually says me eyes or not. before somebody said, right, everybody, our jammies are coming one end of the time and you're at the other end, every level of a hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, get up, get up, get up, get up. So obviously I did, I may not be captured by the service. Particularly because much time it said that whatever happens if you can muster your identity cards away. Because the Germans know, we are wrongly anti Nazi and British. So if you're captured, get rid of all your identity documents including your Walker's licence or rubbish anyway.


apply got the RESTful web


into a car. And off we went. with of course, my beloved Newman and we travelled I suppose it would be SAS to blog where we were incarcerated, I think the right word, because the British war correspondent is happy to have and there's scoresheet analysis or whatever they did. And if the sporting officer was there, you have to plan if you weren't there, either. So that we were into law in new

Unknown Speaker  38:52  

Ray Elton  38:54  
we were told that this situation was confused, which I suspect was the understatement of all time. The British GHQ didn't really know where the Germans are, where we were where anything was. And so they gathered this together knotel with armed guards on the jaw and told us that under no circumstances represent any directors to run without granting censorship in order. In point of fact, we got rid of what the hell was going on. My camera was locked up in the police station and there it was. Well after jail so I went out trying to buy some cigarettes because I'm in investors

from the town strangely deserted however I was wandering about trying to get these cigarettes when my escorting officer arrived found me in the street he was puffing and blowing cuz he's obviously run the wrong way

I said oh my god and a few other things where have you been? I said absolutely nowhere is that we are leaving I said leave

Unknown Speaker  40:58  

Ray Elton  41:00  
he said we are leaving groove on nicely when he said now so I said all right then what about my equipment issue that was solved that you just get on the bus Get on with it

well, I went down the street and fortunately for me a few days are there are some times more money for expenses which I had at the time was deserted. I knew that my equipment was in the police station which was empty. There was not a problem in breaking down the door to the office where it was stored. And there was my beloved Newman sick tripod and the lenses and the case of everything.

So I thought I'm gonna get this to the bed and he said that you got no time at all. You got to get on to the book because I think it's the last book leaving from line

and we will pick up your equipment from the hub I said, No, no, your bloody well mine is mine. So I took the 50 pounds, the March of Dimes sent me and was turned into Frank which was a lot of money. And I found a dive where there were a lot of old boys

67 drinking and I said, Who wants these held up a lot of contract ropes. And that's what everybody wanted them. So I said right, come with me. Which they did.

They took a case, my personal credit again, camera, tripod, magazine, everything right on that roll may browse to the drop. So after we went to the docks, they went up one gun by the process, roll my gear on the deck down the other game way. enough that you're blind

Unknown Speaker  0:01  
Ray also

Unknown Speaker  0:03  
cassette to

Unknown Speaker  0:06  

Ray Elton  0:11  
As I remember we were in Berlin and

Unknown Speaker  0:24  

Ray Elton  0:27  
war was not going very well, although war correspondents like myself, but kept in total ignorance.

Unknown Speaker  0:36  

Ray Elton  0:40  
the chap I travelled up to me with whom I'm sorry, let's be grammatical, was whom I travelled up from avea who was the walker sponsors? I think the Toronto telegram asked me if I ever been to see where Napoleon said, when he was looking out over the channel to conquering. I said, No, I had. So he said, Why don't we got the this evening and look out over the channel and see if we can see the and see if we go running and see if we can see the lights of Britain over the water when appropriate. So I said sure, why not. So we climbed up the hill. It was dark, of course. And we lit cigarettes and we looked at over the sea. I must admit, we didn't see the lights of Grover or anything, because they have blackouts. Anyway. Anyhow, we did see an aeroplane, which was sticking around. More or less overs and a little below us because we were very high up and never a couple of bangs. And we realised that this aeroplane must have been hostile, presumably German. And it was dropping bombs. below us, not very many bombs and not very big ones. At the same time, and enormous noise began behind us. It was quite opposite an anti aircraft battery, firing in all the wrong directions. But we were quite amused by this and we were smoking our cigarettes peacefully and quietly weren't quite suddenly a hand came down my collar is nearly strangled me and did the same to my friend from the Toronto telegram which I think was the name of his paper. And it said in French, here are two spies, smoking to attract the enemy. And we said Debbie's stupid, but he took no notice. And he said, You come with me. And he dragged us both.

Unknown Speaker  3:14  

Ray Elton  3:18  
There was a wall behind us with a door. And he dragged us through this door and handed deserve it to the anti aircraft battery squad, who are going Bang, bang, bang all over the place with very little effect. And said, I have two spies for you shoot them. And they were very enthusiastic about this. And perhaps is not unnatural. I began to feel that since my outcome I want to pay first. So I said to the gods who surrounded just Of course in French, I spoke quite reasonable French. I need to urinate and they put me up against the wall. And one of them I heard a boat go into the rifle either or help his talker to believe that I beat and I did my will. And they said right. You come with me and they locked us both into a room into a shed I say with a revolver hanging on the wall in a holster. And I said to my friend, look out I think this is very dangerous. I think we better get this revolver out of the shed. Because if we don't there gonna be trouble we could be shot trying to escape or some other nonsense. So I created a hell of a ride and got the guard back. And I agreed to take the revolver and the holster away from the shed. And I demanded in my very best fridge, that we see the officer in charge. They were not overly enthusiastic about it because as I said, You're a couple of spies by the hash. Why the hell should we bother with you. However, willy nilly, by continual pressure on the surgery, we were allowed to leave the shed and march in to the office of the commander. Who is not there's usually ask about either us, as he explained, in French, of course, the beavers responsible for the war, that if we hadn't done this, and that the war kebabs epidemic epidemic, and finally, he said, You claim you're British? How do I know you're British? I said, Well, ask me some questions. So it started off by asking me where Piccadilly Circus was, which I didn't find very difficult. But he was still not convinced. So finally he pulled up he opened the drawer in front of his desk, and pulled out the biggest revolver I ever seen in my life. It must have had a battle of assemblages log. And he said, Zoo da, Hua Zhu Li Bray, which in Welsh means I will liberate you or I will shoot you. Now, I thought this was a joke. So I love that the French have no sense of humour, and he'd be extremely upset. However, he forgave me my laughter. And after convincing him that I knew were Piccadilly Circus, and various, absolute, totally idiotic questions. He said, Okay, you go. And so we left the anti aircraft battery, and walked back to our hotel. The next day, I was looking for cigarettes. I forgotten to mention that my camera equipment had been confiscated. Because the British considered that people who took photographs were very dangerous, and might not be sensible. And it was put into the police station. But I was out in the town which totally deserted as I found looking for cigarettes. When my escorting officer caught up with me in the street. I've been looking for you everywhere.

Unknown Speaker  8:06  
Where have you been?

Ray Elton  8:07  
I said, I've been looking for cigarettes. Oh, I must tell you so see. You've got about 20 minutes to get onto the boat. Which is the last boat leaving for blind for London. And if you don't get that you've you've added as a robot. Oh, my gear. Oh, see. The army will look after that will come out in the next boat nicer or Lola? Not I hope. So. I took my French francs I went down. I heard some singing in a dive. And I said the assembled company of drunken French. In French, of course. Who wants some of these? And I just had my expenses from March of Dimes. And there were these 1500 franc notes. Well, obviously, nobody present in the pub was not interested in 1500 franc notes. They said, Oh, bravo and so forth. And I said, right. You come with me. And you get all these friends knew there wouldn't be much good in Latin. So they came with me and they went to my hotel. And some of them gathered up my clothes and this and that. And we went to the police station. We broke down the door because nobody in it. And they got my equipment at my beloved new music and all the lenses and everything else. And off we went to the docks. And we went up one gangway. Up and down the next. And I paid them off at the head of the game where, with all the francs I had, and arrived in London, broke but happy with my beloved camera and all the bits. Well then, I had a problem, which was to account demand of time for my expenses and having a sort of warped sense of humour. I wrote a letter to the accountant was named Miss Siebert, I think, yeah, nice man. See, but and I said, to Porter's to the docks with equipment, the equivalent, I suppose it was 50 or 60 pounds. And he rang me up and said, Look, Ray, is, you know, march of time. I've always been very, very reasonable about expensive, but 50 or 60 pounds of Porter's we wonder about it. And I said, Look, bring up movie term. And a couple of paths, a stepmother Newser companies, and find out how much gear they got out of France through per line. And he said, Oh, I see. And that was the end of that. And they were quite happy. Because it didn't cost them a family. And I was the only one who got the gear up from France. Hooray for me. Now, when I'm on it during the wars and had a boring war, it was Yes. Because I never saw a gun fired in anger. I was a walkers man. I had WC on my cat, which most people most people refer to as water closet. But everybody saluted me because it looked like a friend in general. and serve. Oh, yes, that's right. I got this damn ship. On came back to London. Well, at that time, there was a big flap about Hitler invading Britain. And we were all going to be Nazi FIDE or slaughtered or whatever. So I thought it'd be a jolly good idea. To join the Home Guard, which have got reason I'm looking at I had nothing to do in the evenings. So I had an officer's uniform. As a Walker's moment.

I was also of course, a civilian. And when I joined, joined the Home Guard, I was a private and add rifle. And neighbours used to observe me as people across the road, using financial filler comes out in the morning as an officer that in the afternoon, as I said, the Lynn and the evening he turns up as a private must be something wrong with him. Which actually was so I had regular visits from the Special Branch. He's knocking at the door, these large gentlemen and raincoats and say, I owe right out and I'd say Yes, sir, please. Can we come in? Yes, you received my passport. You see my dirty knickers if you want to. And it took a long time to persuade the that actually I was just ordinary, quiet living scissors, tried to do his duty. And so they used to go away again. And then a few days later, they turn up again the cert went on all the time.

Unknown Speaker  14:23  

Ray Elton  14:26  
I got a telegram from Grayson Gerson whom God does overview, the great guru of documentary and it said would you accept if offered, I loved that if offered. Captain drank commit Canadian Army. I discovered that when involve playing British tax on the income and then When I was working full time, so I said, No, thank you very much. And so I was struck off that true documentary thing once and for all.

Unknown Speaker  15:15  

Ray Elton  15:18  
lots of time, decided to back the British, all odds against the Nazis. Well, they'd done that before, that they really did this time, they decided that they would throw everything they had, but hide the British effort to defeat the Nazis, which suited me fine. I wasn't terribly political. But I must admit, I did not like at all. Well, we got a telegram from the rush now to the London office of magic time to rush my being the big boss in New York, which said, cover battle North Atlantic, torpedoed if possible. Signed regards to Rosemont. Wow. That's a reasonable thing to ask a camera man to do? Is it not? So when went to the ministry, or whatever it was at that time, and they said, Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, we can get you a passage on an empty molasses tanker. But since molasses don't blow up. If you're Peter, john, this is a sugar compound, you're not likely to burn, I said, lovely. The crew got together and decided that since I was making a propaganda film, to try and save Britain from the Nazis, I would allow be allowed to break the fundamental rule of the sea, which is when you get to a lifeboat, you just go into this close, you stand up. And they said, Look, in this case, you can get into life. But if we're torpedoed with your camera, your lenses and your magazines, noses. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I'm much obliged. And they gave me a birth in the tin shed on the deck where I was very handy to like bits. This tanker with a molasses tankers I've said and we set out from somewhere, Heaven knows when Scotland or somewhere in a vast convoy of ships to cross the Atlantic. It was a very, very, very rough crossing within 24 hours, or 36, or 48 at the most. My tin hat on the deck was flooded. I didn't have any dry clothing. I put the camera and equipment as high as possible. So that was pretty dry. The rest of me was cold, wet and frozen. When I got out onto the deck, I realised that we were in North Atlantic's dorms, the lack of rich, those who haven't experienced them can never imagine. There was not another ship to be seen anywhere. And when I asked the captain, I said, What's happened to a convoy? He said, convoy, my dirt chap that was scattered during the storm last night, all over the North Atlantic. So we're on our otherness assumed that will not be long before Mr. De Rushmore was able to have his story, and that we will be torpedoed. There was no reason why we shouldn't have been we had no protection, nothing. So I got my get near the life but I also volunteers not quite ready because my camera alongside Louis gun, which was the worst weapon ever invented, because he kept on Jeremy, in case we were attacked by aeroplanes, so I mounted the camera alongside a Louis gun. Having never fired one of course, I had no idea The moment I find it, the Java on the camera would have

rendered the pictures. totally useless, however, doesn't really matter. The fact is that by some extraordinary circumstance we arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia all by ourselves. And there is a lot of pack guys. And there we were safe hands down. And there I heard that a man called Jimmy Davison, who had been the production manager on the film were made in Austria, which I think was called dusty Omen that dry was in hospital. So I just said he had fallen into the pack ice between two ships, trying to get from the ship that brought him to a sort of cloud or somebody take him ashore, had fallen into the water, and he thought had drowned. But Jimmy used to be able to drink unlimited pints of beer. And I'm quite certain that he wasn't drowned. He simply drank Halifax Harbour. Anyway, I want to see him and he was more or less alive. There I was in Canada, working for the march of time, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. So it seemed to me reasonable that having risked my life, as they say, to serve the company, the least they could bloody well do is to invite me to New York. So I suggested that and they said, Jolly good idea. come to New York as our guest. Well, in Halifax, I checked in that day, I think was the Nova scotian had done I'm not sure it was the only one.

Clark said to me, gives me a major. I said, Are you a major? Major? I'm a walker from honorary captain. Is it human measure, but this lady said,

when you check him, would you please Jonathan? He must be joking. But I did. And it turned out to be quite a handsome brunette from London who was waiting for her fiance in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that was very frustrated. And jumped into my bed that night. And when I told her I was going to Montreal, said, Can I come with you? And I said, Well, my dad said no.

What about your fiance was coming tomorrow? Who was in somebodies Navy or other Anyway, she kissed him goodbye at the station. And we stayed in bed, all the way to Montreal. And even to this day, I remember as a very happy experience is really nothing to do with at all. However, I haven't got to module. I thought well now how do I get to New York? You must remember that America at that time was neutral. I was wearing British army uniform. Although it had WC on the epaulettes and on the badge. We can ask you people call water closet as I go walkers. So I went to the airport at Montreal. And I said, I've been invited to go to New York. But I have a problem. I've noticed a built in clothes. And said when I told him all about myself, don't do it. Don't do why. And he said when you get to LaGuardia,

which was the airport in those days, gives a guy who meets you this card and he wrote on the back of his card, a message

I said thank you very much. He said, you won't have no problem. And when I read it, it said, Show. This guy ain't in nobody's army. Sign out today. But so when I got to New York, and my fancy uniform, I showed this card to the immigration officer at LaGuardia, no problems as he come in for Europe. And the taxi driver, who took me too much of time offices, refused to take any fare. He said you from that neural

learning here, these

guys you're fighting a war, you're not need to get me any money. So that I was in New York, because I see as the guests those amounts of time, which was pretty good. And then I, I'm sorry to say that I fell in love with the Hawaiian girl who was dancing in the hotel. But what not allow me to go further and stroke her hair. And I stroked it and stroked it and stroked it to the actress crackled all around the bedroom. And my underpants fell off. But we didn't get any further than that. And I developed tonsillitis. And the wonderful thing I remember about March of Dimes, a cancer button was that I went in there before I was due to go back. And I explained I'd had doctors fees, my toe was I was spending, I spent too much money on my wine girl. And he looked on this message and he said, Wow, why he said, you're involved in a war. And I guess the best thing to do is keep it and he drew a line right through my expenses, and said habit on us, which I thought was terrible. While I was there, they were doing a sing about the FBI, march of time. And they invited me to what they call a scoring. And all the material relevant to the subject was assembled by the library at all the big bosses, and me as a visitor, sat there and watched all this material, which ran much too long cause

and they decided what line they were going to take. And the staggering thing was, the next morning, they were all through the night. The thing was assemble roughly and gradually put into shape, day and night and day and night. Until the man with the extraordinary voice called voice. And today,

the march of Times had a fantastic voice was brought in. And the thing was completed in about three days and three nights of continuous work without break. And that was called a scoring. But because when I was there, they were doing something concerning the FBI. I met these guys. And so they were intrigued by me with my Walker's burns uniform. And they wanted to know, I mean, what the hell you're doing up and you know, what's it like over there? And there's a war going on all this sort of stuff you see? And I said, Yes, that's right. There is a war. So let's have a look. At when I explained to them. I tried to the war correspondent with the persevere in violet. You had a badger neuron that said Walker's pendency weren't supposed to be shocked. And you were, as it were. A non competent, I think is the right way. And they said odd. She says, Yeah, read you say you're in a war and you ain't got no gamma nothing. I said well, this is the way it is. If you're pure workers in a large carrier Ah, got that all it says, you come with us. So they took me down to the museum. And they said, We have this for the compliments, and move on to the biggest revolvers I've ever seen in my life, which I think belonged to Al Capone, it must have been a footlong. It looked like three feet long for me, because I've never seen such a thing. And I said, Look, it's very kind of you. But officially, I'm a non competent, I'm an observer. And they were very positive about this nicer video going back to a warren garden. And I said, in any case, if I took this gun off you and the ammunition, I'd be arrested before I got out of New York, to find it, they would convince and they put their heads together and decide they had to give me something before I left New York. So they gave me a signed portrait of a which I think is still in the bottom drawer somewhere. Anyway, so time came to come back to United Kingdom, the roped off my expenses. To Hawaiian go, kiss me goodbye. But without any genuine intercourse of any kind, simply has strokey until I went potty. And back I came to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Where I was delighted to hear I was booked on a first class passage to the United Kingdom on a ship called the SS Tortuguero. Well, I went to harbour and there was the SS Tortuguero leading, as I remember quite heavily over to the right, about 10 degrees, I suppose, a 10 degree list at least. And I thought, Oh, that's a hell of a third passage. So boarded the torture ghetto I did with my Newman Sinclair equipment and all that.

Unknown Speaker  32:22  

Ray Elton  32:26  
they'll go, listing as she was to starboard design, remember, as the right thing. When choking off to London, escorted do I remember by a large number of other Merton ships and destroyers and all kinds of Ron lavey bits and pieces that flew around us all the time. Meals consisted of various foodstuffs, all of which had results and various other kinds of disagreeable objects. Which you could leave if you wanted to read if you left, the wave of that wasn't much left. And, astonishingly, perhaps you've lost right Friday. Nobody bothered to Peter the damn ship.

Unknown Speaker  33:24  

Ray Elton  33:28  
we got into a Scottish law, which surprised me. And what surprised me even more. The motorboat came alongside and asked for me by name. I can't think that anybody knew that me. Oh, who I was. So I was taken off the SS Tortuguero. Pardon me, by rope ladder in the Scottish law. And thankfully, and happily returned to London, which was very nice. Father, I can remember, I don't think my passport was stamped or anything, but there was so there was back in London, in one piece, complete the Newman Sinclair camera. And everything was lovely. London, I think, at that time, was probably being bombed. Because I remember shooting some shots in of Regent Street. Wear a bomb and for nama. Building there was a farm and carrying a woman with no skin off my body, I suppose is never forget. And I happened to be around the corner in dentistry with my camera. I heard the bomb dropped, rushed out and came upon this terrible sight of a skinless woman in the arms of and I thought but war is no good to anybody. It doesn't matter who wins and who loses. It's a disaster. keyswitch offer Mr. P. Na.

Unknown Speaker  35:45  
You remember that?

Ray Elton  35:49  
I forgotten the story about the Russian My New York but it doesn't matter.

Unknown Speaker  35:55  
Which one was it? Were he? Well, I

Ray Elton  35:57  
got about to rush my new running. Right wrong. I haven't got a microphone as I have. Started, I'll ask you the question.

Unknown Speaker  36:12  
Are we running?

Ray Elton  36:14  
I think you forgot to tell us about de Rushmore in New York. I did. I was warned by Boris Lancaster, who was the rather posh fixer. A real gentleman. Not like me, I was a sort of rough and tumble cameramen technician, that

the Rushmore would invite me to dinner if I ever got to New York during this thing I've told you about before. But strange things might happen. But I mustn't express any surprise or astonishment or anything. I thought this is weird. However. there we were, with a vast round table. God knows who was there. I was sitting next to Russia who was delighted to see me and was honoured to see me and was very flattering of that my blood for the amount of time and risking my life and all this rubbish. And he was a bit slurred when he sat down rather like I am now. However, why? My suppose you've gone mad you have before. aperitifs but served in considerable quantities. And regardless far, I think this halfway through the first course. When the rational suddenly his head fell on the table. And I was sitting next to him, I'd already been warned by Morris and Lancaster not to do anything. And I thought, well, that's the funny thing if your house collapses, surely you miss Russia was rescued, but I contain myself. The waiters were already gathered around the table. They slid his chair back. They took him away. They closed up red chairs. This is a bit nearer. And the conversation went on, as if nothing had happened. And most Lancaster's said to me Look, Ray, if you come to the office in the morning, as I'm sure you will, which I needed to do to get by expense allows, you will find the Jewish my blessing is you. But don't let that worry. And that is what happened. I went the next morning to collect make sense to Lance, the Rushmore madman records, and wondered who the hell I was. Right End of story. So, now, we must move on to the return to Britain. In the SS Tortuguero. God bless that ship. I have a picture of her. She was leaving on one side when we left Halifax Harbour, and she was still leading leaning on the same side for we got to Scotland. How she got to the Atlantic, I don't know. I think the Germans must have decided there's a ship there could lean like that was worth torpedo. So back to London. And the war was still going on of course. And the Special Branch visited me from time to time I was living at With my mum in those days because I was a good boy and sexual affairs, I had rose outside the home. And as a result, because I was working for March of time, but has also been doing some of them nonsense, I don't know. But every now and again, the doorbell would bring him in mum's house. And Sundance gentlemen and raincoats have appeared and say you're out? And I'd say yes. And say, we've had report that you are moving your cars and communicating with the animals. And I say, Oh, for God's sake, however, finally they went away. But more of them later. Now, there was a thing called the Battle of Britain, which you may remember. So the rough camp man whose mouths telegrams saying record request coverage, Battle of Britain, were upon, I was summoned to the offices in the street,

and told that the idea was to cover a thing called the Battle of Britain. Well, obviously, bombs are falling all over the bloody shop by then. And I had no idea how to cover this because I was one of these people who had never seen a gun fired in anger. I've been brought out of berline. I had enormous faith in the British forces and the British Air Force and the British Navy. And I thought I was invincible. And I didn't realise that people actually got killed I know sounds terribly naive, but I didn't realise that anybody with a camera could possibly get killed. That seemed to me quite ridiculous. They were to record for history, and therefore you were involved. So okay. The Russian was telegram cover Battle of Britain. So, Maurice Lancaster, who is the fixer, the office in in deed Street. said look, right. We fixed up to you to go and see the Ministry of whatever it was in those days. It wasn't a Ministry of Defence. I can't remember there were all different ministries at that time. And we want you to cover the best of Britain knows. Oh, lovely, absolutely marvellous. Great fun flying. Can we just

Ray Elton  0:05  
Okay, where were we anyway? Yes.

Unknown Speaker  0:08  
How did you cover the Battle of Britain? Ah,

Ray Elton  0:11  
well, that was a tour de force. Did I not have a Newman say glad? I did. Did I not have total faith in the British Air Force?

I did. Did I have any experience of combat in war? I did not. Did I realise that people actually got killed? Not really, I didn't, in spite of the Spanish Civil War, which has taught me differently.

Unknown Speaker  0:43  

Ray Elton  0:44  
I set out to cover the Battle of Britain. The first problem was that aeroplanes fly in the sky is a no. And if you're going to photograph and fighting each other, somehow, then you've got to get into the sky. So I trotted along to what was then I suppose the Minister of aviation, I don't know what the hell it was called. I suppose it was not be the Ministry of Defence. I can't remember these names. And I said to them, Look, I need an aeroplane because I want to photograph the Battle of Britain and they said, aeroplane my Dell Philips. Well, I'm very short of aeroplanes, you know? And I said, But look, I was at an airfield in Wales a couple of weeks ago, photographing Spitfire pilots learning to fly Spitfires. And watching them crash one after the other, because they weren't awfully good. And they're on the airfield. Lying in the inner corner. was a brand new, blend them painted yellow, I think. And they said, Oh, you're not supposed to do that. That's a state secret. Well, I said it may be a secret. I know it's there. No, it's not doing anything. So they said, oh, oh. So they made a few phone calls. And realised that I was in fact correct. There was a plenum sitting on the airfield at what I think was Athens in Wales, I think it was called some definitely could be wrong. And they said, we're all right. And they provided a pilot who had recently qualified. He was the most junior type of Pilot Officer that is on the agenda. He had half of one stripe or something. Nice young project has to be in all 19 or 20. And they said, but we can't give you a crew and you know, this is a war on mister Oh, my says yes. I'm aware of that. That's what I'm supposed to be photographic. And they still can't give you a crew.

Unknown Speaker  3:23  

Ray Elton  3:24  
all right, you have the bladder. So I was the crew of the plenum and used to wind it up and start the engines and my own pilot Morales blended ar mancoll O's in the ship rose. This damn thing was brought up. We flew it up to London. And I decided it would be rather splendid to have a shop of a dozen. Spitfires taking off in line of breast blind or breast travel them in the line? Because in those days, they could take off on grass and on resumes of golf. And I thought it would be rather splendid. So after some argue boggy with the Ministry but most of all, the most cooperative for the Polish we get north. They said yes, lovely will take off in line abreast for you. And so I said well, I tell you what we'll do. We'll fly in against the wind as slowly as we possibly can because aeroplane virtually falling out of the sky. How'd it come down to is nearly dead get to Grand level and will struggle back till it's almost collapsing out of the sky. And when we get alongside you, you will open up an old trial Spitfires golf together with us. longside you hands will be a marvellous shop and the Polish lads said magnificent, but there was a Polish word is that the way to do that? So me and my blend him flew in against the wind.

The hands were on the right hand side. The Spitfires on the left. They were all engines running, of course, and roving up and we flew in North feet, as it were, as her blood adversity Hey, this

Unknown Speaker  6:02  

Ray Elton  6:05  
As we got alongside them, they all opened up. And there was a shot of a lifetime 12 Spitfires in line a breast all taking off together in the middle of my Newman Sigler viewfinder. And suddenly they weren't there anymore. And I thought, That's funny. And I look up and there were Spitfires above, but I looked down and there was a bit far below me. I looked to the right, there was a Spitfire on the right hand look to the left, there was Spitfire on the left, what had happened was that when we came down, literally hanging out to the sky, we had not realised there was a crosswind of some sort between the hangar sheds. And as we carried on across the airfield, you get strange effects of wind ran big buildings. And quite Suddenly, there was a gust like you get random buildings in, in London skyscrapers and they make their own wind. And my blood was blown across the front of these drugs, Spitfires taking off. And instead of crashing into me, the Polish government got quite fond of me in a way because I thought I was mad.

Unknown Speaker  7:48  

Ray Elton  7:50  
that they would peel off in every conceivable direction, which they did. And they went up, they went down, they would sideways, everywhere all over the bloody sky to miss my bloody blood. And so that was that. But while I tell them what I was supposed to do, which was to cover the Battle of Britain, having survived this with no crashes, not one of them was killed. No Spitfires for damage. They said, Well, why don't you let us take you for a sweep over the channel? I said what a marvellous idea.

And they said Look, you've got nothing to worry about. Her All I had was my ordinary civilian clothes. And they said you can't fly like this is ridiculous. So they got together and one of them found me flying suit Modern Family, some gloves, a man fry me some boots and they'll find me a helmets. But the only thing I didn't have of course was a radio. Because anyway, I had nobody to operate it. And they said you don't have to worry. We'll take off from North hub. And we'll fly the busy bee to this day. We fly tight Roger, you got nothing to worry about. You will have you will have se inside of you. And you will have half a dozen Spitfires above you half of us blow and all you've got to do is get your pictures. You don't have to worry about anything. Nobody's gonna hurt you. And they taught me to say if anybody if you do happen to get in trouble and somebody says Do you speak Polish here? They have to say Janya movia pop Polska Hey, brothers that it means I do not speak Polish. So

I'll be back from north. And I think the whole wing went up with me

36 as a way, I think all I do is

and never felt sick. It was half right to half the left half just the PAP.

And so we flew over something and over the channel, then the Wing Commander gave the signal, and we turned

Unknown Speaker  10:45  

Ray Elton  10:50  
Back over is how to regroup. And then we bit drive to get and flew out towards France. And then we turn Roger came back towards the end, we kept doing this, should we be short of fuel. And then we all landed both help. And I was declared a hero, because this excursion wishes that for my benefit, I literally didn't see a signal enemy aircraft. Apparently, the Germans had decided that this was a major incoming data lights sweep into northern France. And they put up something like 1000. Meg's, or whatever they would call. And the whole German Air Force was in the Air wasting millions of gallons of petrol.

Unknown Speaker  11:49  
And so

Ray Elton  11:52  
my Polish friends and myself, patted on the back for once, in the course of a great British victory, I'm now going to blow my nose

Unknown Speaker  12:07  
and ask you and you tell us what did you get in the way of shots for the marked of time out of this enormous exercise?

Ray Elton  12:18  
I'm sorry to say virtually nothing. There were just shots of aeroplanes flying along in a nice sky. There was no action of any kind, of course. However, a great opportunity was offered to me. Would I like to join a bombing raid on ardra. And I said, of course, having no idea what it is all about. And I had my yellow painted plenum with my young pilot, but we had no radio, we had no intercom, we had nothing. If I wanted to talk to him, I had to come up from the toe where the camera will imagine walk forward and talk to him in his arrow. So we would tell them, we're going to be a bombing raid on the arm, and we were given authority to join it. Prime said I, let's go for this. And there was a rendezvous, which we were given at 70,000 feet, angels, oh, one, five, whatever it was. And off we went. And my pilot said to me, he said, right. How the hell are we going to meet this rendezvous? I said, but I don't know. He says, is your problem, mate? I said, Take pictures. He said, but we've got no navigating got nothing. I said, I know. He said, I tell you what we'll do. There's an airfield down the bottom of the Thames somewhere. I can't remember what the name was. But the Americans are and I think I can borrow radio from them and a direction taking and everything. So I said great, but let's go in there, which he did. And they said, Well, I don't think we've got anything which is compatible with your things. So off we went again, and quite obviously not having a navigator and not having a radio or not having anything else. We simply flew round in circles with him looking at his compass and hoping for the best. And we never found the bombing Squadron that we're going after bomb love and justice as well. Because as far as I can remember, none of them came back. And then our unarmed yellow painted Glennon. I would certainly not be here recording this today. But then, in those days, the Ministry of Defence as it's called now was probably as stupid then as it is now. And none of the people in offices, nor indeed me, because I'd never seen a gunfight in anger had any idea what warfare was about? So they'd say yes, well, here's a ticket. If you queue up at three o'clock eaten, go with the rest. It had no idea what it was about. So we missed that rendezvous, I'm happy to say. And we came back, all in one piece, because we were a long way from France. However, I decided it would be rather nice to have shots of Spitfires attacking an aircraft. And so

Unknown Speaker  15:57  
I think that

Ray Elton  15:59  
must have been instant lessons, I suspect because I seem to remember it was ever the Bristol Channel, where there were a whole lot of dfcs. And every commanders and God knows about decorations across they're just more than EDR min. They'd all been in tremendous actions have been decorated and decorated and decorated, and they were really resting. But the idea of shooting down a camera man will pretend you appeal to them very much.

Unknown Speaker  16:27  
So about

Ray Elton  16:31  
a dozen doesn't spit for us and me and my blend him took off from some lessons around dusk. And we climbed in till it got too cold for me. Because down below, it was now dark. But wherever we were 510 1000 feet, we had, I suppose what people would call the magic. And I had a long conference with the chaps before we went up. And the idea was

that they should fire tracer bullets at me in my little turret, but aiming off just enough to miss me, because I had enormous

their accuracy. They couldn't believe these guys could possibly make a mistake. And so we flew up over the channel at this magic of because shooting film. At that time, I knew I had to have enough light to see. But not so much that the tracer would simply be strict on a black screen. And so it was a great and they peeled off one after the other and attacked me in my blender. And I didn't realise them. Because I didn't know much about Einstein and his theory of relativity. I always thought the bullets went straight across they don't. Because we were flying. as it were that way to the right at 200 miles an hour over the hill, the sound blending would do. They were diving down at 300 miles an hour. And they were firing at me but the whole thing was quite surreal because in fact, nothing went straight. All is traceable. It's described an extraordinary curve pass me where I was sitting with my stupid numerous sigplan a turret of an old plenum. It was quite extraordinary. I never realised what relativity meant until that moment. However, there it was, and they die one after the other. It was all very exciting to watch even through the viewfinder. When below us suddenly a whole lot of light flashing went on. And never Of course, one realises what goes up must come down. But since they were diving on me everything they were fine with live ammunition both also went down and down billows the Bristol Channel was a compromise and there would be expressive with these bullets. From aircraft they couldn't see and they were most upset and they were flashing their lights and doing this and that. And so that little exercise with called off but it was fun. However, it wasn't such a central one whose name I can't remember things can remain yeah After what was doing the same trick as I was asking aircraft to attack with tail of the bomber in and one of them came to close and cut the tail off. And he went straight down excuse Kelly was it

Unknown Speaker  20:18  
No, no,

Unknown Speaker  20:18  
he was a gentleman in

Ray Elton  20:22  
there so that was a survival number one now yes then

Unknown Speaker  20:35  

Ray Elton  20:38  
Time went on as the saying goes and for some reason I can't tell you why I left march of time I think they ran down their British office I don't know perhaps they fired me perhaps they were bored with me. I don't know. And so I went to Verity films dot blessing. They are they agreed to take me in which I think they had done before. But they really did take me in as a director, camera man, whatever.

Which was then film Producers Guild in Sint Maarten opposite Martins lane. And they took me on as a director, cameraman whatever, just make movies, propaganda of course. And one day I got a telephone. I was told by Alf Berlin's was a lovely man, the managing director. Although he was an accountant, he was really a really lovely person. that a man called Arthur Elton's. No relation wanted to see me at what were you now? What was then I think called COI. It was some kind of propaganda. Mo Ico I did.

So I went to see Oscar. And he said, I want you to make a film for us. And I said, Oh, yes.

About a script. Oh, he said, I've got a script for you, dear boy. As you know, lovely. That makes a change. We said there's your script. There's a piece of paper on which was one sentence. A battleship is a city. So I looked at it. I said, Okay. Okay. Understand. Fine. Thank you. Cheyenne, back to our bonus and he said, we've got the script does is yes. A battleship is a sissy. Oh, he said. That's not very specific. I said no, but I think I know what they mean. So I was given a beautifully engraved grave card gold lettering to invite me to beautiful ship, King George the Prince of Wales as well, it was a bit of a ship anyway. And it was the sort of card that you I keep going bus misses and just fill in the details. And off I went Scapa Flow system, which was amazing in those days. Bless us. But he liked me was not in the army because those were considered dead last for some reason. We had nervous stability. What was his name? No, it wasn't yours. So anyway, the moment the anchor chain rose, on the ship, we were sailing on. He began to feel ill. And he was taken was looked after by the surgeon until the anchor chain went down again. At the end of the voyage. He suffered from nervous stability. And although I felt awful in seasickness, he simply couldn't get to he was put to bed. My assistant was before we left Scapa Flow, and didn't get out of bed. It was time to go So, we went to I don't know where the hell we went, I think we went to project a convoy on the way ships on the way to Murmansk, which is in Russia, as you may know. And the weather was a poorly, absolutely palling. And I remember seeing and photographing a aircraft carrier following us, was it the glorious perhaps it was with green water running down her flight deck, put her nose in and push, the water would come over and run them. absolutely unbelievable. quite wonderful to look at awful experience. Anyway, this convoy patrol seemed to be a great success, because we didn't see any other ships whatsoever. And we turned around and came back. Apparently, the idea was to remain invisible, invisible, in the hope that the German fleet would come up and attack the Conway. And then we would Russia and defend them over the horizon. Fortunately, Germans didn't consider this convoy to be much importance or whatever. And nothing happened, which was a great relief to yours truly. So I played bridge with a surgeon commander all the way to what I assumed was somewhere near Murmansk, and all the way back again. And I did quite well, I was quite a good bridge player in those days. And this body joined us to make a fourth. So the murmurs convoy was a great success. Now, I then continued with Verity films. And one of the problems at that time was that because I'd left much of time, of course, as I was making as either as a director or as a camera, man, there's

I can only call them rubbishy short films. Perhaps they were important at the time, but identical. And every time I rang up with Katherine Martin Park, and said, Can you tell me what's happening to the cut the visible as of as somebody would say, Oh, well Veronica's dealing with that size picture, Veronica. And she said, Well, I'm awfully sorry. But I haven't got all the rushes in yet. And you can't expect the cut until you've got the rushes in and broken down and examined and thought about them as areas. No prep was went on for quite a long time. And finally, I said to myself, I am going to see this bloody Veronica that keeps on holding everything up, but man is bloody dictator. So I went and sitting on a stool at the end of the cutting room was this female, over ICA and I introduced myself and she gave me a pretty sharp reception. And I looked at her and I thought, if I ever get married, I think it'll be you. But she didn't seem very impressed with my thoughts, because I hadn't expressed them alive. Anyway, I went off and lived with another girl for a year or two or whatever. And by one means or another, this stupid woman actually seemed to like me. And in 1943, Veronica was dragged out of Merton Park, and married by me and became Veronica Elton, instead of a Riker Newman. Simple. Then we have a really wonderful sort of Mad Kansas traffic. Protect your love affair because I was About 80 and she was nearly 70. And as a result, she found herself pregnant. Just at the moment when Verity films decided to send me on a film with a San Michele documentary director did not bloody hell he was doing. The film was go, Tinker Tailor, Soldier, sailor. And one of the actors in his Now, some of us do with BBC. I don't know what, nevermind. So this damn film was to be the story of a heroic convoy through the Mediterranean to Italy. So I was hard. I was told that was going to be to me. So off I went, I can't remember the name of the director. I'm very sorry. Alexander Shaw, I think it probably was your brilliant. Anyway. There we went something so the Mediterranean with lots of dead bodies floating in the water. And the those of us who survived and the ship company would fire machine gun bullets at them to sink them as they were floating around in life jackets, but they were dead. And said, we went to Egypt. And we went to it today. And we went to town called Barry. br. And I had a few pounds in what was called, I think, British military money of a beam, clinic currency. It was printed on stuff looking at laboratory paper. But it was the only currency that was worth anything at that time because that Chaldean lira was not worth aiming cancelled. But as long as you had British military money to buy things, well, I knew that I'd left a little bun in the oven. And there were no trends in England. And there were no wedding cakes, and there were no sugar. There were no this never know that. And when I got to Bari, to my amazement,

the Americans have been there a few weeks or months, weeks before, the only thing they had in the town was millions of pounds of sugar. And some trams in bring the brands, so I went to the markets where, of course I speak no Italian, but I love Italian opera. And I thought, must be good lime when they gathered round because I was outside with WC on my cap. And I was gone, obviously in an arms and not my knees, great heroes. So I attracted quite a number of people. And I said, finito, Benito. And that caused a great laugh. And everybody thought I was absolutely splendid. Because it did. Benito was finito. And then I pointed at the window of a shop which was locked up. And I said, camping like meal bambino ended in England terror or something like that. tried to quit the dialogue, drum trigger letter, but they understood that I had a baby and then you're always gonna have one. So they got the shop, proprietor and he opened the shop. And he took my British military money through lovely little clam, like a little tiny racing car. And then we marched, ran to a call on Patty's every night explain me, feminine bambino. Oh, no, no, no, that was meant vaguely. I'm gonna have a baby in England. And they said,

Unknown Speaker  34:24  

Ray Elton  34:26  
And the next morning, I came back and there was a beautiful, luscious wedding cake like a Brit. You couldn't have found anything. And for me, it was all packed in boxes. Well, now, that's fine. But we were in a town called Barry in Italy. And there was a war on believers. But everybody was very nice. And the chat loaded, the parameter of frame

Unknown Speaker  34:53  

Ray Elton  34:57  
and to Alexandria, we went They carried the shore bless their hearts to the water on their heads. So neither the cake nor the time got wet. And surprisingly, as they say in a chat is saying that in marhaba ledig two

Unknown Speaker  35:19  
will go got home

Ray Elton  35:21  
avek cake and pram which was one of those wartime miracles. And when john Elton was born in 1944, he had a pram waiting for him. And his mother and myself had a wedding cake to eat. So, very few films look after me very well. And Sydney box joined him.

Unknown Speaker  35:56  

Ray Elton  36:00  
the war I think we're still going on. I can't swear to it, but I think it was we had to make a film about the steelworks in the Vale, with a trainee directors off balance and said to me, look, Ray, if you've got this nice young chap who wants to be a director, I mean, I don't think about him. So you Mr. Guffey, Miss run the bloody thing. And I said, well, who is he? He said his name is john Krish. But he just joined us and you must look after him as he doesn't put your foot in it.

Unknown Speaker  36:37  

Ray Elton  36:37  
we went off to Weber Vale where we spent months and bloody months. And john Chris was a nominal director. With me being his sole supervisor, which is a weird thing to be. However, we came in at the North Gate with the colour stuff. It's or isn't arare Yes. With the iron ore, and other bits and pieces, and about three or four or five or six months later, we came out at the south gate was the template complete. So Hurrah for us. The war I suspect must have been over by them. I'm sure it was. It must have been. So this is not personable, must be personal. And I went on location to make a film. And the five times to be produced, which was produced by Humphrey streetlamp, whom got preserved in Utrecht, and directed by Terry bishop. And we virtually finished it. I think we had maybe one day's work to go. When Ken African who might have done for a long time, for one reason or another, rang me

and said, Tell me, he said, Would you like to photograph Miranda? I said, What's that? If it was a feature film?

Well, I said, Boy, how marvellous is it? We got the star in a week's time. And I understand that you're in the middle of shooting a film. And I said, Well, don't worry about that. Can I ring out burns and my managing director and talk to him. And he was a lovely man. He was really gorgeous. So I rang out, and I said, I've only got a couple of days left on this. Epic. I've been offered the chance of a lifetime, which is to photograph a feature film. Will you let me do it, please? And he said yes, of course. And I kissed him over the phone. And we put the baby and the pot into the old car we own and we drove to London, trying to sing all the way. The trouble was john l had by that time discovered the word

Unknown Speaker  39:34  
oui oui.

Ray Elton  39:37  
And about every five miles he decided that he needed to we would simply wasn't true. So but we had to stop. So the journey from the five times to London took an unbelievable amount of time. But there it was. We got there.

Ray Elton  0:02  
Go and shoot running. So Ken and Ken had rung up and offered me the chance to like Miranda, which is going to be my first feature lighting job. And our brothers in the managing director of Verity films, being the lovely man he was, released me and said, Good luck, go ahead and do. So we sang songs all the way to London.

And I arrived at his ringtone on the do morning, and realised that something was wrong. Because although I hadn't let any features before, I had lots of interiors. And I knew by the position of the lamps and everything else, that somebody had lit the sets before me. But I didn't inquire about it because I was aware that there was a thing called studio politics, and always been my motto, to keep out of them. So I simply got on with it. And although the sound crew and indeed everyone was exceeding the hostile, I just thought, well, I can't help it. It's not my fault. I'm done anything. I've been hired to do this damn thing. And do it. I will. And I did. And so we made a thing called Miranda. And we went on and made a couple of other films, all of which for

Bob Dunbar  1:56  
unknown balls. If I might interrupt rate, and I think you've got to tell us what why was that the lights? were all there and what what it was all about? Because you've started something which we must know the answer to. Yes, indeed,

Ray Elton  2:12  
roll the lights at all the years before. And it was quite obvious that there had been another director, because I knew Ken was as new to it as I was. And they'd been another cameraman. But for some reason, I didn't know and I didn't choose to enquire. Whoever had been using these sets before. had been fired if you like or whatever. And now it was up to us to use them and get on with the film. And I simply decided not to ask the sound crew were exceptionally hostile. They would always wait to light finished lighting. Then they'd put the boom in and say oh, well, you obviously haven't written features before. So you don't realise is a microphone and I said look, there was no reason to put the boom that side where the art was supplied the day like why did you put the other side? Well, you know, you've got the amateurs and so on anyway, I struggle through it. And we've made Miranda for better or for bloody worse.

Unknown Speaker  3:25  
That was the film about a mermaid

Ray Elton  3:26  
Yes, the one was a towel.

Unknown Speaker  3:32  

Ray Elton  3:35  
No, it wasn't caught. There was a film called a boy and a girl in a bicycle of which I can remember absolutely nothing which had been made it as an inker and I being so quirky chap, had invented my own kind of lighting equipment. So that I could reduce the circus Amanda women's eyes consistent really have a counterbalance boom, rather like a microphone boom. Which you could put just as a friend with a little tiny rinky dink on the end Tony's lap, which I would encourage apps or whatever, try and get these females to look better than they were because my instructions are lighting cameramen in those days was all women must be beautiful. Whatever the coaches are playing, which got me as a terrible trouble because I didn't believe it. However. I was coming down Western Avenue from somewhere near bekins field where we buy them we bought this little tiny farmstead, I suppose you could call it and I was travelling along, Western Avenue on my way to visiting and doing a comfortable 7580 miles an hour My beloved Joe, with absolutely nothing in sight anywhere. I was going sites as it were, and I could see some lights on the cathode ray coming north, which is great, but he's a member of dual carriageway. And there were a lot of bushes in the middle of the road so that any oncoming traffic appeared and disappeared behind the bushes. And as I approached North out entrance, I saw the nose of a vehicle come out from the northbound cave to cross and go into North. And the way it was moving, told me it wasn't going to stop. And I knew that I couldn't stop in time either. So all I couldn't remember his putting the steering wheel of my beloved Oh, but they hopped over to the left, because he was coming from the right. And saying to myself, alright, I'm not religious. I said to myself, Jesus Christ, this is it. I put on the handbrake and the foot brake and turn to the left as I was going in and also myself, but he hit me smack in the middle. And eventually, I woke up in a hospital with a very nice young man who had a lancea this travelled to denim while I was going to his LinkedIn. So he was going north, I was going south. And he looked across as he was going and saw the wreck of very familiar car stopped very kindly and found out that the guy was driving it was believed to be dead. But dead or alive. He was in a hospital nearby called I can't remember Hillingdon hospital. Vernon sure god bless him. So he actually turned up and I was sufficiently conscious to be able to talk to him. And I tried in my own sort of simple way to explain. There's a lot of broken teeth and everything and he was very sweet. And he took out the teeth for me and put them on the table in front of me and said, Don't buy our tell your wife or whatever. And he did. Well, I was eventually released from Hillingdon hospital. I had a room full of flowers, they naturally kept me apart from the people in the British Airways crew bus who had driven across the carriageway without ripping. And I've been left for dead in my girlfriend. And those little bloke on the gate said to Ronnie when I was released, he said, I thought the only way this guy was going out was in a box.

But I didn't write in a box. And a bent especially this rebuilt My beloved car. It was insured for 450 pounds. insurance company sold it to me for 25 pounds. And he said don't worry, right? We can. He came to see me when I was at home after being released from hospital. We can rebuild this obsession at some micro we can rebuild this for you. And he did. And it was wonderful. Anyway, Time went by and while I was mending myself, Gainsborough shut down. And the bush I think shut down. And they wrote to me and said, this was after filling my room with Lars typical film industry gestion your contract ran out four weeks ago, whatever. And we're not renewing it. And will you please send us by return a check for the excess salary that we've paid you. Yours faithfully, PPP productions or whatever the hell they would call them. They And so I rang jaw delvin because I hadn't I hadn't got a penny. And they candy he lent me enough money to pay them back the month salary they'd ever paid me off my contract. I didn't send the flowers backers are all dead by them. And like everything else eventually recover. And I was offered a chance to light the film call the last holiday with one Alec Guinness to be directed by Henry Cass, with whom I'd work during the rubbish years of propaganda films at McGill. And this I did. And they agreed with my agent that I would accept five pounds a week less than he wanted or eight pounds a week listening or whatever. Because if the film, if they were happy with my work, they would give me a year's contract. At the end of the film, they said, Well, we think it looks a nice, but is used too much electricity. And we've decided we can't afford him. And so we won't give him the years contract. Because it's too expensive in that respect. So they got their favour a week off my pay. And they didn't renew my contract. So I was upset again.

And then john guillemin

was to make a film for the problems brothers, called sound Paris. And summer as they go on to me, I think they thought probably thought I was jolly cheap or something. And we did this, Walton. They were so shocked with money that we were down to about the last shot on the film, which consisted of two people getting into a taxi. And I said proudlock was the taxi. And he said, I'm not getting this taxi. And I know we can shoot it is we got to finish at 520 sharp, we're gonna pull the plugs. As your book is five minutes past five. There's no taxi. How is it? Well, you'll just have to light it in your mind. And it says enough time to get the taxi. hackus afford to get a taxi, keep him waiting. Anyway, I said, Look, I'll be ready for heaven's sake, go and get the capital. So I licit my imagination. We had a front door bill in the studio. Now this in my imagination, the tech should be there and the light accompany the front door and all that now we're getting about five minutes to go. He arrived at a taxi taxi driver very bewildered, it was going on back into the stage. Putting on the marks the lights for virtually ready. I think we put a jelly in one of them or something we shot the damn thing. And five 910 it was over. And john guillemin said great as the last shot. Thank you very much everybody off you go. And so it was and that was how that particular film was made. It was made always on the last farthing guillemin was very good in that. The shot before the taxi was quite a big ballroom scene. And we had about 14 minutes to do that if we were to get the taxi. And he said, Well, what about around us have a look? If you don't mind me screaming at the electricians while we're screaming while I'm spirit while you're screaming at the actors. We might just well make it which we did. So that was the sort of pose and I was offered a piece of the picture. A percentage whether it ever made any money or not, I never know. I think it's unlikely but certainly I never got any pieces any picture. So then after that unemployment again, not unusual. But this was unusual in the sense that there was a major slump as I Remember,

a lot of studios closed down. And fires I could, there was no hope of being employed as lighting cameraman on movies. So I tried selling secondhand cars or anything else I could do.

But it was hopeless. And we had a mortgage in the bank on our little farm and farm common. And the bank manager who was so charming when we bought it call Mr. Helps decided that he was no longer prepared to be Mr. helped. And that he wanted his money back.

Unknown Speaker  15:55  

Ray Elton  15:57  
he said, I'm sorry, but there it is.

Unknown Speaker  16:01  

Ray Elton  16:03  
you've got to sell your house. Well, I was a bit frantic with I was lucky in that chat bot knew was the head of the Gold Coast unit. And he wanted somebody bright, like me to direct and photograph movies and also to train African technicians. And also, if he could find such a person, a good editor, to train technicians to edit Well, what an ideal combination, Veronica and rails, the ideal team. Well, we applied to the press advertisement and so forth which are essential. And we were hired me to make films and drain camera crews and whatnot, and ride to edit and train editors. And so we went to the Gold Coast. And I had to to a contract which were two choices of 18 months each with I think it was six months leave on each. Well, it was very successful. We were very happy to relight the crew eyes to bring him round to the Bangor round. They brought the debris superpower which I bought at the denim sale. I also bought a crane that and they used to come around to the house and I would show them how to take this damn thing to bits and put it together. And it was very nice. And we were coming to the end of the first part of our it's called tours in what you call it colonial pilots to tours raging Nazis, when I was told that I would not be invited back for my second tour. But if I wish to appeal, I could go before I tried to. So I did. But they were not permitted. Or they would not make up Remember to state the reasons for my contract being as it were broken quite legally in the middle. So I decided to appeal. And I went before this tribe your own all white men on typical British colonials. There were some colonels this and that. And I said, Look, can you tell me why I'm being fired? And they said, No, no, we can't tell you anything. You You must make a statement. If you want to be we can't divulge why your contract being broken. They said we will tell you one thing. We have no complaint to make about your professional competence or integrity. So I said, Well, what that means Surely, is that you are firing me because I'm too friendly with my African crew. no reply. If you've no complaint against my professional integrity, how can you fire me? It's ridiculous. no reply. So we came back to London. We had either three months or six months. I can't remember what it was leave on full pay to go. And we wandered around belsize Park So notice outside this very house that said mesonet Let no calls at the house. So I called house and after a lot of aRGy bargy, we managed to rent this floor where we're now sitting and the one below the five pounds a week, which didn't worry me because I had my leave money. But no job. Ronnie went back to work and met in part as an editor to look after loving husband

Unknown Speaker  20:42  

Ray Elton  20:46  
work for Ronnie Riley and various other Bob's there. And then one day out burlison said, Well, look, we've got a film I think you would make, you could, you

know, it's going to be produced by us, we'll scale back. So I went back and almost go back had recently come out of hospital, after which I didn't know and I didn't know why, but he came across me. He's had his varicose veins done. And he was a very explosive man with whom I'd never had any content. And he said, we got this film to be made about Hovis bread. And nevertheless, so I said, Okay, fine. For some reason, or either he had to go off, either back to hospital for some reason or another. He was away for a while. So I got together with a client who was charming and delightful, intelligent man. Got Allenwood was the advertising manager of harvests. And between us we wrote a rubbish script, about two children romping in like corn, for harvests. And obviously, the children turned out to be his children. And the farm where we shot it was his farm, and so forth, said we wrote this ridiculous script, skill that came back. And I'd left a copy of it on his desk, and I was asked to go and see him. And he had a long, thin office, as long as the room you're now sitting in perhaps 10 paces or 12 pieces for mandolin. He had a desk at one end, and the visitor's chair was at the other. And he was a bit flushed when I went in. And his office had obscured glass up to about nose level, the rest was clear. And he said, What the hell is this and to the script out of the window, I said just because I've been away you've I know what he meant. You treachery and all kinds of words works. I just set that I never mean says price normally. And he says script up in the air. Then he finally took it tore it and pieces, he opened the window nice straight out of the window. I've never been so betrayed norm, I love it know what the bloody hell he was joking him. And then he sat down and disappeared, completely disappeared behind the desk. He'd made a great deal of noise. And various people began looking tiptoeing and looking for the cliff guards. And then I was sitting at that interview, right in the office, and there was no sign of skill, but at the other end. So somebody went and got Henry cast who had known me for a long time, we've made films together. And he came and somebody helped me quite short, to look through. And he saw the scope it was missy. And he saw me sitting at the other end looking well puzzle this at least the word and he decided, because he knows I'm very quick tempered that something very serious that happened. So he went to see a person who is the managing director of Verity films, and he said, Look out I think Ray has killed skill but what is wrong, there was a chapter around the office, and you know what race like he gets as he gets killed skill, but also skill but so I didn't know all this. I was just sitting there. The dorms and outbuildings put his head down the door. And he looks at me. And they look from the office. And he can't see school, but it is Ray. That's happening just go away. I said, I don't know if I said, I've been sitting here for the last 30 minutes. I said he got in a terrible state. And then he disappeared down behind the big desk. And I haven't moved to see what's the matter with him. All I know, it was a terrible sort of app drawer that he created all by himself. So as tiptoes across the room, looks down behind the desk, and see scope back down on the floor under his desk, holding his leg which is covered in blood. And says, What's happened, as he also says, My varicose veins have burst again, you see, so they get an ambulance.

They caught him off. Because his stitches had come up that he got so excited and so bloody minded that he burst himself. So anyway, that was the end of that. I made the film of the client. It was great fun. He had a lovely daughter with whom I fell in love. But she wouldn't have anything to do with Mickey. She was too young. And so they were then one day, not long after that, because I was only on that one particular film, they didn't hire me on the payroll. After let's see me and said, there's a thing called commercial television starting. I said, What's that? He said, Well, you make advertisements sort of lasting a minute or 30 seconds or whatever. And they're going to put him on television. I said, is that effect? And he said, Look, Ray, let's face it. I've got two difficult, impossible people on the staff. You are one. Here Latimer is the other. So I've decided to make in latam as a producer of guild television services. And you are to be the director of TV commercials. I said, but now how do you make a film? Last 32nd visits example than that to get through the bloody door? Well, is that something you'll have to sort out? So they formed a separate company called guild television services. In no time at all, we were making so many goddamn commercials they had to get a new building with they got off the strand called exchange court. And I became a director of TV commercials. And I did some of the classic ones like fries Turkish delight, where the girl falls out of a carpet, a terribly sexist thing and gives the Turkish delight to the Sultan, and all that rubbish and lots of others. And we run lots of prizes and everything was splendid. But doing two or three commercials a day or whatever it was at Merton Park, which is where we shop more. I found that my feet used to hurt an awful lot. And I got very bored with all this rubbish. And young man who was sort of producer Gill was desperately anxious to direct His name's Peter duffle. So I said, Look, Peter, you want to direct? I'd love an office desk, right? My feet don't hurt. Why don't we swap? So we went to the managing director for Bill Williams. And we said look, Bill, there's bugger all you can do about this. I am going to produce and Peter Duff is gonna direct if you don't like it, you will love it. But since he didn't do anything, it had nothing to do with anything. There was nothing to do except accept it. So Peter came in the director, I became the producer. And I took the clients at lunch and put on five stone in five days, eating rules and all the other mountains restaurants in the west end with all my old mates who used to be in documentary but when our clients and so I suddenly discovered how marvellous food could be, instead of eating a studio canteen. I never realised that such sort of food existed. Indeed, Peter plaskett summed it up magnificently. He was an old documentary bloke who went to an agency and we was sitting in rules in January. And he said to me, you know, Ray, there's only one thing I've got against the advertising industry. said Peter, what's that? And he said, the strawberry season is insufferably long. Because at that moment, the trolley derived, and there were all these wonderful strawberries in January. And I thought, well, that's really what it's all about. Hello. One of the prize giving things at Cannes Festival. I was coming down the steps from the theatre when a very large man five times as wide as it was in spite of rules, and all the other restaurants was coming up the steps. And he said, Go lame. Yes. Come with me, says he. And he plopped me down at the cafe at the port of reception, bought me a coffee

and said, Now young fella nobody called me that for a long time. I was a young fella back and Pass was him. I want you to come work for me. Oh, I said but then. What exactly do you mean? Is it well? No, I am my said no. No. Is it well, my name Lytle I run advertising and CJ Lidl advertising. Now I want you to come and join me as director. I'll give you a direction of the company. And you must be Director in Charge of television. Watch as I really, they should definitely play hard to get with me. I said, But look, I've got responsibilities. I'm in the middle of various productions. To guild television. I must finish them. There is a guy who played too hard to get with me but is running on a mafia. So I went down to the beach where I found my Managing Director, Bill Williams. And I said, Bill, I've just been offered a job in an advertising agency. Twice the money you're paying me. And they're offered me a direct ship. And I must tell you, it sounds very attractive. I don't want to do it. But, you know, what could you do for me was ring out bosun and see what can be done. So a couple of hours later, we met on the beach again. And he said I spoke to Ralph. And he said you tell Railton as long as he got his holes in a hole in his answer, never pay more than 50 pounds a week. So I said, well, I've been offered double that. And he said, Well, there it is. But I said, right. I'm going to take the job, which I did. And I stayed there for a year and learnt a lot about what not to do and what to do.

About towards the end of the year, Gill rang me up and said, Why don't you come back? And I said, Well, why don't you invite me back, which they did. So they invited me back as again, an increase in salary over what the increase. And I went back to guild television, which made me very happy because I hated the advertising agency. absolutely awful. And there I was sitting in my office, quite happy. Because not being a pompous type. anybody wanted to come and see me or just could walk in the reception issues to ring up and say, Joe Bloggs says never send him a man who the hell cares? It doesn't mean you're not gonna do anything. And she's a young man. there's a there's a gentleman called Nigel Melanson wants to see as I send him up for Christ. So it becomes a young fella he was even younger than I was rather suave, had a suit on. I saw another one wants to get into the movie business. So I said, Well, God, man, what can I do for you? Oh, he said, I hope you don't mind me saying sir, Mr. Allen, but I was hoping I do something for you. Change. He said no, really? He said, Do you know who I am? I said no. I had no idea. Oh, he said, Do you know Mr. NET? I said no, I don't know. He said he's the managing director rank advertising films. And I'm his personal assistant. Oh, I said that's very nice for you both. And he says he is authorised me to come and ask you if you would consider joining Ryan rank advertising films because organisation has rundown over the years. Nobody comes to us for production anymore. The TV commercials systems scene has changed. We want somebody to rebuild us and put us back into the market dabba dabba dabba number 500. Well, nobody ever lost anything by listening to proposition. So with better so I saw his boss. Now I thought over there. They're building. I told his boss to bill and that was very nice man. I said, Look, this place looks as if it was born. before the age of product brickies. I said the moment you get out of the executive offices into production, second, the walls are filthy. The equipment's worn out. It's absolutely awful. And the modern young agency producer is not going to come and work here. Whatever you pay him, whatever you do. Who is there? Oh, dear, dear, well, what do you think I said, Look, if you want me to come and work with you, you've got to put up a lot of money to refurbish this place and re equipment. And he said, Oh, yeah, well, I can't do that. That's got to go before the board. So I said, well, that's your problem, not mine, because I'm very happy where I am. He put it before the board. To my amazement, they passed the capital some. And I refurbished the whole goddamn place, and brought a lot of new people in. And it was marvellous until john Davis decided that the investment was not earning the amount of profit that it should do, and decided to shut the place the production unit down, I don't blame him in his way.

Unknown Speaker  37:14  

Ray Elton  37:16  
I had the rumour that there was going to be trouble and below net, Toby was really sweet that they were going to have to reduce the overheads of the production unit. As if what you mean is you're gonna have to fire people. He said, Well, I'm afraid so. As a result, you must realise that the only asset we've got, are the people making the movies. Sure, start finding them, you'll have nothing left. You'll be able to make more profit in the week you've fired them. But the week after that, they're working on a fall after there's nothing. I said no. Anyway, if you decide to do that I've been with you now for I can't remember how many years. The only favour I've got to ask you is if you're going to make staff redundant, that you put me at the head of the list, and fire me first so that you don't leave me sitting at my desk, in an empty office with no staff, and no prospect of doing anything. As the only favourite. I've got to ask you, he said I understand that perfectly. So a few weeks went by. And everybody was busy working.

Unknown Speaker  38:34  
And we had the

Ray Elton  38:36  
stage at Hill Street and there was a commercial on the stage and everything. When my internal phone rang and somebody said, Would you come and talk to Mr. net, which I went up to his office? And he said we're I'm terribly sorry to tell you, it has been decided that we have a list of redundancies.

And in accordance with your request, we have agreed that since you've asked us to do so you're the first person telling and As from today, this person, this one, this one, this one, this one, this

is one that is going to be redundant. We're paying redundancy fees and all that. And so that well so I went back to my office and I took that painting away, which was hanging on the wall. I cleared my desk and I came home letting myself in with a key. And my beloved wife was sitting there looking at television. And I came in and said hello Ron, no reply. And I thought is funny. And she said, I said Ron sheesh, I looked at the box. I saw a man leaping about in a strange sort of way.

And it was the man landing on them. Moon. And suddenly it was over. And she said, What's the matter? What are you doing here? Originally? I arrived just at the moment that the first man ever landed on

Unknown Speaker  40:14  
the moon,

Ray Elton  40:14  
but quite rightly, she was transfixed by it. And I said, I've just been fired. Who would have Mr. Shi? There was and then after that, it all runs down in the sense. There was a young man, a director, ranks who made documentaries called Jeff Inman. He had a group of powerful friends called Bob man person, others in a company called Michel Mancos, the moment they had I was fired. Henry Howard, who was a businessman said to me, look, Ray, you've got a marvellous reputation of being disinterested in the years, you must set up your own company. I said, Oh, come on. No, no, really, is that we've got room in our offices. We'll provide the initial finance. We've got a couple of commercials on the books you can have to profit from and listen that he was enormously helpful. And so I said, well, unwillingly. All right. So I think or rail and partners limited was formed to make TV commercials, documentaries. And it lasted for quite a long time, and we did very well. And I realised I was getting more and more out of date. And represented another world as time went by. I knew that I was no longer what the advertising industry were looking for, was looking for. And so Mary Jo bought me out and took over the company. I left the end of four or five years and decided to go into Limbo

Unknown Speaker  42:11  
knitting, that's

Ray Elton  0:00  
You're gonna definitely so are you ready Ray out and again. So Barry Joel, who used to be a protege of mine is a talented young man and an artist took over the company, and is still running it is now called Barry john associates very successful it just do. For me, I thought, this is the end of my professional career. And Ronnie, as I call her, whose proper name is Veronica, and myself set up to find a suitable hovel, somewhere in the United Kingdom, where we could settle and remain like Darby and Joan, for the remainder of our days. But we couldn't really find anything that seemed any better than flat. We were living it. But we did try. But I printed a sort of miniature biography and sent it off to lots of people, not without any hope of reply. When extraordinarily, Doris Thomas, who was head of shell International Film Unit, who I didn't really know. And I didn't think I was sort of at the market enough for Shell anyhow, rang me and said, Ray, are you busy? And I said, No. So she'd come and see me, which I did. And she offered me one or more films, one after the other, to direct and or produce for Shell International. And very nice. It was two they paid very good money. They were delightful people to work for. dollar, although superficially excessively tough, was really quite a charmer in her own way. And I made a few films for them of those thoughts. And the time came when shell said, on the phone, your medical has run out, Ray, do you mind coming in on Wednesday, and having a new medical so that you can go on doing whatever you have to do? I said, No, not at all. sauna wins Wednesday. Don't ask me the date. I went through the whole shall medical department eyes his nose wrote this that the other finishing up with an old Doctor Who said Oh, it's you again? Oh, yes. How are you? I said, I'm fine. Oh, that's good to see. And kept me over a few places and said, well, you look pretty good to me. And I said, Well, I am pretty good. And then the fire bells went, and there was a trial evacuation of the building. And I was on the fifth floor. And they said, Oh, now's our chance. Should we take it down the stretcher I said, that'd be ridiculous. So I walked down the five floors gathered on the pavement with everyone else. And smoked a cigarette I regret to save. And finally it was all over and the rehearsal was declared a great success. Everybody was evacuated. Absolutely marvellous. So I went back to the office for a few minutes, came home, had lunch, had me often sleep. And we were going to BAFTA that date to the cinema. And I walked down the garden past two that was in our garage at the far end of the garden, and got the card. And my beloved wife was closing the doors. When I shouted out, please don't close the doors. I need help quickly. And I had the most awful pains down in the lower part of my abdomen. Well, right hold me back into the house. And I was kneeling at the side of the bed for a while while she made telephone calls to doctors. And finally one turned up and thought I had colic or something like that because I'd had tummy trouble before and said, Do you want me to give you an injection to the pain which is likely to come back? Or would you rather go to hospital? So I said Well, I think I'd rather go to hospital. So he said all right, he called the ambulance and I was shunted shoved off into the wrong free ad though I was having burst rot is known as the aorta artery that runs down from the heart to rest of you. That of course I didn't know The point of the story is that the next morning, this is Thursday morning, the Secretary shall rang Ronnie and said, Ronnie, I've got good news for you. Ray has been past fit to work anywhere in the world. And Rosa well as lovely dews, I've got news for you. He's in intensive care, forget about having almost died. Much consternation. However, there was an after a certain time, and recovers from these things to the skill of the surgeons, and the marvellous treatment of the intensive care outfit. And I decided that that was the end of me. But strangely enough, Dora Thomas decided that if I returned to the land of the living, she would give me more work. And by God, she did. And so

I was in not really set to direct, I don't think, but to produce, which is easy, we just complain about what the rep is doing. I made some sort of technical films for but then time moves on door retired from shell. And they decided that their film section was costing too much for total, too little visible profit. And so I decided that it was time I gave up. And so I retired from the film industry, the AC t were kind enough for some reason or another, I never understand, to give me a fully paid up membership, which I thought was really several of them, considering they hadn't done demo, really. And so it was, so I became an X film industry, which gave me certain privileges, I was able to join the veterans, whatever it is, and go to verse animals without pay. And that was very nice. And so that was the end of me. On the other hand, re I'd like to, to mention about how all the way through this fascinating life you've been telling us about, you've also been a considerable painter, we've done a hell of a lot of hard work, not a painting. And in a way, that seems to me, pretty important. It ties up with your work as a cameraman, it seems to me, does it not? Well, I suppose in a sense, it does that. You can't really be a cameraman, if you don't have a sense of composition, and all this and that, and, and so forth. Why I started painting, I suppose was simply because in 19, gosh, it was so long ago, in the 1940s, perhaps. We knew some painters. And I was intrigued by this. And I couldn't help thinking that this was rather nice, rather good stuff to do. And so I began working as a painter, and ran back 1940 567. I can't remember something like that. And I've carried on ever since. And, interestingly, I suppose enough, is that I found that the busier I was, and the harder I was working as a filmmaker, the more I could work as painter. And I was able to stay working into way into the night when I should have been asleep, I suppose. painting. And when I was over work, it was very difficult to go and painting. One thing seemed to stimulate the other. And I've been at it now for what 40 odd years. done a lot of shows. Some of my work, some people will say is actually rubbish advice. Other people think it's wonderful. I don't really mind. I just go on doing it. And now and for the last, why don't how many years. But since my official retirement as you like, I've been a whole time painter. And that makes me very, very happy. I thank you for listening to all this rubbish. I hope that the archivists and the researchers in the year 3000 get some pleasure out of all this nonsense that I've been talking and good night to you all. Thank you

Unknown Speaker  9:55  
for asking me. Thanks.