Sam Williams

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Interview Date(s): 
28 Nov 1963
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Interview notes

with Bert Craik (see also #119) & Alf Cooper (#62)

Very much about Unions this interview. Plus all three foresaw a future for rented 8mm films in the 1963 interview. Nobody mentions video tape even though it was embryonic at the time. The dangers of predictions.JH


Started in laboratory in 1919 as hypo boy at Kays Laboratories.Bert Craik started in 1928 at 35 shillings per week as hypo boy. Became printer on a De Brie printer mostly women staff. Working conditions at Williamsons very primitive. Alf Cooper also started in labs 1931 making up chemical baths.Fulminuanate process. Very crude conditions in early days. Developing film was all an individuals judgement. Early film was tinted. Work shifts sometimes more than 12 hours.Trade unions improved conditions in labs. printer and developer feuds ended. Alf Cooper tells of practical jokes played. Women were subjected to some harrassment. All film was nitrate. In some labs they had coal fires.Physical health was a problem in early labs due to chemicals.!937 Technicolour introduction. Alf Cooper joined Technicolour in 1937. Technicolour labs were very automated. Alf was taught by USA technicians. Divorce of Lady X was Alf Cooper's first film. Conditions at Technicolour were much improved as against other labs. Sam Williams on colour at Toning Ali Baba film. Bert Craik retired before colour came in labs. !935 ACTT started Lab Union work first agreement in 1939. 1945 ACTT made the Labs agreement after a big overtime ban. All three talk of the lockouts and problems at the time. March 1954 total lockout of lab workers. Alf Cooper talks on Technicolour difficulties. ACT supported by other Trades Unions. BFPA provided lots of support. Sam Williams on Trade Unions. Alf Cooper first Union member at Technicolour. George Elvin Gen. Sec. of ACT played a big part. Cinema's closing a problem for labs. All three talk of what the future will bring in film.