Tuesday, 17 May 2016


#‎toocooltuesday‬ : On May 29th 2000.... just a few days after Peter Cushing's B'day... Bray Studios, the home of Hammer films was once again buzzing with the actors, directors and technicians who had once worked there and helped produced some of the finest films in the Hammer heydays. Only on this day, there was no film or work. Hammer had long moved on...

All the guests had gathered under the watchful eye and co-ordination of documentary maker, DONALD FEARNEY. This was the second of his BRAY Studios Garden Parties..Don went on to do one more even bigger event there...held on the lawn of Down Place, the very scene of the tussle with Peter and Christopher Lee in 'The Mummy' of 1959. The event was a hot ticket...only 200 places... if you were lucky to get one. It was also the 50th anniversary of Hammer films with all proceeds going to ‘The Ralph Bates’ Pancreatic Cancer Fund’. Over a staggering 80 Hammer guests attended, and the fans were kept busy collecting getting mostly free autographs and having snaps taken with the cream of the industry. Here is the roll call of just some of the guest who attended on the day: Veronica Carlson, Ingrid Pitt ,Freddie Francis, Julie Ege, Yvonne Monlaur, Andrée Melly, Michael Ripper, Suzanna Leigh, Caroline Munro, Oscar Quitak, Martine Beswick, James Bernard, Ray Harryhausen, Ian Scoones, John Forbes-Robertson, Francis Matthews, Aida Young (Hammer producer), Eddie Powell (Christopher Lee’s stunt double), Freddie Francis, Renee Glynne (Continuity Manager), Ralph Bates’ widow Virginia Wetherell (DEMONS OF THE MIND), Edward De Souza (KISS OF THE VAMPIRE), Dame Thora Hird (THE QUARTERMASS XPERIMENT) and many many others.

It was a day of glorious sunshine, though ironically, thunder and lightning finally struck at the end of the day. Very spooky, but how very appropriate and very cool! ! The perfect end for a perfect day at Hammer Studios. Sample the atmosphere of the day in this tv news report broadcast of the event. Were you there?

Footnote: This was sixteen years ago, and at that time the shaky future of Bray still being used as a production facility was as ever in doubt, but it had been just thrown a life line, which kept the studio open for a further fourteen years. Sadly, the studio lots have now been torn down, the studio is no more and in recent times the mansion house and grounds have been purchased by a private developer. The development of several apartments is on going, Down Place is also now in private ownership.


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