Saturday, 20 May 2017

WHEN VINCENT PRICE SURPRISED CHRISTOPHER LEE, LEE SURPRISED CUSHING AND CUSHING SURPRISED LEE!


#HAMMERFILMSATURDAY: NOT A POST ON A HAMMER FILM as such, but certainly the emphasis is on shock and surprise! All three actors in this feature, relied on the power of surprise and of the unexpected, those golden rules were also the glue that held a television show like, 'THIS IS YOUR LIFE' together, and made it such a thrill to watch. The big question, after the initial netting of the programmes 'victim', was who was going to walk through the door and appear in the studio next?


THERE CAN'T BE MANY who have never seen the show, which was originally screened in the USA and  hosted by its creator and producer, Ralph Edwards. Christopher Lee was chosen as the shows subject on 3rd April 1974. At 51 years old, Lee still had a very long way to go and several major career defining roles at this point in his long life. The guests included  his wife, Gitte, daughter Christina, his mother, sister, brother, and fellow actors Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Patrick Macnee, and Sammy Davis Jr. Lee who sometimes could be a little stiff and guarded in personal appearances on tv, looked relaxed and having a good time, thankfully a position that we would eventually see him adopt more often, as he got older.





BECAUSE OF WORK commitments, Christopher Lee was unable to attend Peter Cushing's 'The Is Your Life' tribute show in 1990. But he did record a message for his friend, whic was played to Cushing, during the recording of the show.



THE 'NO-SHOW' at the studio, for Peter's programme, surprised a few people. Often the show had a habit of showing a recording of a guest who could be there, for whatever reason.. and then bringing the same guest on from around the back...they were there all the time! But, sadly not in this case. The show was a great success, with much laughter from Peter, who waqs obviously enjoying himself. Maybe, a Cushing This Is Your Life should have happened sooner? Peter looked frail, many  guests who could have contributed much to the story of Peter's life, had long passed. Having said that, Joyce Broughton, in several interviews, always made the point of, Cushing telling her, 'If that show gets in touch, tell them no. Under no circumstances, no!' It''s worth noting that, Cushing DID know about the  planned recording weeks before, when he became so suspicious of Joyce's behavior, she had to tell him. If that was a good thing or not, you decide... 


RALPH EDWARDS APPROACHES, Price in a bookstore and says, 'It's good to see you are autographing a copy of your own book, 'A Treasury of American Art' ..and at no point does Vincent suspect anything is a-miss. 'Yes, that's right.' says Price, 'It's a wonderful book!' 'Well..' says Edwards, 'I have another book, with your name on it, right on the front cover!'....and at that point, starts to pull out, the BIG book from a plastic carrier bag. 'I REALLY don't believe it!' howls Price. And, another one heads off to '...a studio, just a few blocks away' to meet his family and friends, before the cameras. Price has a wonderful time, and his genuine warmth and love for the guests who appear, is plain to see.


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