Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Simon Lack in Cone of Silence

Simon Lack had a couple of scenes, for about 5 minutes worth of screen time, in Cone of Silence (aka Trouble in the Sky) (1960).

Bernard Lee plays a pilot who, at the beginning of the film, is reprimanded for bad judgement in a crash that allowed his co-pilot to die. In actual fact, the plane has design flaws, and when it's really hot (as happens in India where the film takes place) the take-off characteristics change for the plane. But Bernard Lee, who does everything by the book (and there's an actual book - a manual he checks) ends up being killed in another crash - presumably with the rest of his crew, including poor Simon Lack!) when the book gives him the wrong info for his next takeoff.

In Simon's first scene (in the creits he's just called "Navigator" but in the film he is called Taylor), he is figuring various kinds of calculations for the plane. While Bernard Lee doublechecks them, Simon gets in a wink at the co-pilot, and in the end of the scene when Lee tells him he's right, he has a nice little comic, "Thank you sir."

Then he's got a few seconds in the next scene, where everyone is in the cockpit, and he shares some new calculations with pilot Lee. Then they start their takeoff run, it's evident they're not going to be able to lift off, and they crash - but we don't see Simon's expression at this point.

Also in the film is a slim and trim, fiftyish George Sanders, and a slimmer and trimmer and fortyish Peter Cushing. An actor named Michael Craig is the star of the film, helping Bernard Lee's daughter clear his name.

I'll be uploading screencaps of those actors shortly.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Simon Lack in Cage Me A Peacock, 1948

In 1948, Simon Lack co-starred in a musical called Cage Me A Peacock, based on a popular book of the time by Noel Langley.

Music: Eve Lynd
Lyrics: Adam Leslie
Book: Noel Langley
London production opened at the Strand Theatre on June 18, 1948 and ran for 337 performances

Collatinus - Ballard Berkely
Lucrece - Yolande Donlan
Mercury - Bill O'Connor
Cassandra - Linda Gray
Sextus - Simon Lack
Dionysus - Richard Littledale
Volumnia - Mai Bacon
Octavius - GEorge Bradford
Britannicus - - Simon Traherne

Simon Lack far right as Sextus. Lucre (Yoland Donlan) far left. Man gesturing towards her, Collatinus (Ballard Berkely).

Bill O'Connor as Mercury and Linda Gray as Cassandra direct Sextus and Casso in search of Lucrece. Simon lack far right.

Simon Lack as Sextus plighting his troth to Althea (Lucrece)

Sextus and Althea in fond embrace

Sextus sees his bride with Octavian

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paul Temple: The Case of the Dueling Gilberts

Peter Coke starred in his first Paul Temple mystery, Paul Temple and the Gilbert Case, in 1954. FIve years later, the serial would be remade. Some actors remained the same - Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury, of course. Inspector Kingston was played both times by Duncan McIntyre, Charlie by James Beattie.

But some actors were different. Richard Williams, who played the character Lance Reynolds in the 1954 version, has taken over the role of Sir Graham Forbes (by an actor named Lester Muddit!) and Simon Lack assumes the role of Lance Reynolds.

In the video below, I compare the first two scenes (one in ep 1, one in ep2) of Lance Reynolds, as played by the two actors.

I think it's kind of fun to compare the two performances.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

David Spenser shares memories of Simon Lack

Check out my tribute to Simon Lack:

Radio (and TV!) actor David Spenser was kind enough to send me some memories of Simon Lack, whom he worked with during the 50s and 60s - not only on the Paul Temple series but on other radio shows as well:

Memories of Simon from David Spenser
"As I remember Simon, and I really liked him a lot. He was a very private person, always smartly and quietly dressed (well pressed trousers and blazer or sports coat) and so well behaved ( butter wouldn't melt etc,). We were in quite a few broadcasts together before I noticed the unmistakable twinkle in his eye when we were talking together, and from then on I looked forward to being in a cast with him. There were many times when we didn't have to say anything just the mere exchange of looks was sufficient. After one broadcast I remember going to his flat in Cork Street with one or two others: it was impeccably clean and tidy rather like a stage set; there was something about it that suited Simon's personality.

But that kind of privacy was only a part of Simon, the other was full of warmth and humour: I realised one had to earn that part of Simon, not through anything spectacular, merely to gain his trust. Somehow I did. I felt (and this was only a feeling not a knowledge) that he had been very hurt in his past either on a personal or professional level, and this had caused the careful private personality. I would never have approached Simon on any personal level. Probably if I had been older and wiser I might have been able to, but I was too young to know how to.

Simon could be quite a giggler, a quality in an actor that always appealed to me. My best memory of acting with him was in a short play that had a live transmission. He was playing the pilot of a passenger plane and I was his co-pilot. At the read-through, our performances were bright and brave. But afterwards, the author was not all that pleased because we had been too English and posh, and we were asked in front of the cast whether we could use an accent.

Simon offered up his Scottish which was more or less perfect; this was accepted; the rest of the cast waited with bated breath as they all knew how bad at accents I was; I offered up my Indian, whereupon they all fell about with laughter; it was suggested that I should be Australian. I offered to try. From that moment the pilot's cockpit was bursting with barely controlled giggles; Simon was helpless as I struggled to understand the controls with the most unconvincing Australian accent ever heard. Simon's face was bright red and he kept doubling up at the microphone as we bravely prevented the jet from crashing. I was in the same state. Apparently we were both too professional to let it show during the recording, even though the director was helpless with laughter in the box.

That was somehow the real Simon, the gentleman I always looked forward to acting with. I was deeply upset at his (to me, unexpected) death, and I still remember him with loving affection."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tom Baker's Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen

The year 2000: Tom Baker on This is Your Life. Elisabeth Sladen joking around with Tom Baker. John Leeson on the right.

Tom Baker has written of his memories of Elisabeth Sladen and you can read them at his website:

He ends with:
Those sweet memories of happy days with Lis Sladen, the lovely, witty, kind and so talented Lis Sladen. I am consoled by the memories. I was there, I knew her, she was good to me and I shall always be grateful, and I shall miss her

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Elisabeth Sladen dies of cancer

Tom Baker has written of his memories of Elisabeth Sladen and you can read them at his website:

Tom also wrote a brief tribute at his website, on the occassion of the passing of Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier):

Most famous as Sarah Jame Smith - companion of the third and fourth doctor's, and later in two series of her own - K9 and Company and the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures.

I always liked Sarah...especially her performance in "Robot" and "The Brain of Morbius."

She was only 63.

Elisabeth Sladen was born on 1 February 1948 in Liverpool, England. She attended drama school for two years before joining the local repertory theatre in her home town of Liverpool. She met actor Brian Miller during her first production there and they were later married after meeting again in Manchester, three years later. Early television work included appearances on "Coronation Street" (1960), "Doomwatch" (1970), "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em" (1973), "Public Eye" (1965) and "Z Cars" (1962). Between 1974 and 1976, she had a regular role on "Doctor Who" (1963) as Sarah Jane Smith, a part she has since reprised in K-9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend (1981) (TV); "Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (#20.23)" (1983); the Doctor Who radio serials The Paradise of Death (1993) & Doctor Who and the Ghosts of N-Space" (1996); the Children In Need skit Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time (1993) (TV); the spin-off video drama Downtime (1995) (V) and, most recently, in the new "Doctor Who" (2005) series.

Other work on television has included _"Stepping Stones" (1977)_, "Send in the Girls" (1978), "Take My Wife..." (1979), Gulliver in Lilliput (1982) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1986) (TV) and "Dempsey and Makepeace" (1985). In 1980, Sladen appeared in the cinema film Silver Dream Racer (1980). Since the birth of her daughter Sadie in 1985, she has spent most of her time being a mother and housewife, but has made occasional television appearances, including in "The Bill" (1984) and "Peak Practice" (1993).

Fan reaction of her reappearance as Sarah Jane Smith on "Doctor Who" (2005) resulted in the production of a second Doctor Who spin-off just for her, "The Sarah Jane Adventures" (2007).

Website tribute for Simon Lack the Actor

My website tribute to Simon Lack the actor is now ready. It's somewhat sparse, but I'll be adding to it periodically as time goes by.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Simon Lack in Danger Man: The Paper Chase

The same photos of Simon Lack actor I'd uploaded earlier, but cropped.

Joan Greenwood in Danger Man "The Paper Chase"

She can't be more than 5 ft 2 in high heels!

Joan Greenwood

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Michael Gough in Trog

In 1970, Michael Gough played the villain in Trog. He's a land developer who torments Trog, then lets him out of his cage. He expects him to go on a rampage, and indeed Trog does so...but not before taking care of him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Simon Lack Affair: Trog, with Joan Crawford, pt 1

Simon Lack, born in 1915 (although some sources say 1917), was 55 years old in 1970 when he appeared in the last ten minutes of the movie Trog, which was also Joan Crawford's last film.

Why was he in this movie - playing Colonel Vickers? By all accounts this was a lousy movie (although, frankly, it was just a B-movie, and if the makeup had been a bit better - the troglodyte had a good looking face, but the rest of his body was absolutely smooth, and tanned, so it just didn't make any sense-- it might have been an adequate little thriller for the time.)

Lack made his living on the small screen, and on the radio and on stage. He had very few film roles - a starring role in the 1940 The Proud Valley with Paul Robeson - but then he spent 6 years in the Army and never had a starring role after that.

But one would assume that since he was so popular in the other genres, he would not choose to do a movie unless he either got paid a lot of money, or was a friend with someone in the crew.

In this movie, all his scenes are with Joan I kind of wonder if he was a friend of Joan's....

Anyway, he's looking very trim and fit here...and short.

Here's just a few pics, will add more later.