Saturday, 22 November 2014

Memorabilia Show November 2014

We had a run out today down to Birmingham to meet up with some friends we've come to know over the years. The Memorabilia Show is run twice a year at Birmingham NEC and also has a slot in London. This year it was teamed with a Comic Con - one of those conventions where a sizeable proportion of the visitors dress in costume. There were super heroes, manga characters, Jedi knights, Tuscan raiders, Jawas and a couple of Princess Leias from Star Wars, a few Jokers, a lot of Harlequins (some quite sexy, some quite gross) and a plethora of Poison Ivys from Batman and er... a couple of Lego men...

There were also lots of Gothic horror characters from the likes of Twilight, Hunger Games and so on. Apart from all the weaponry, there were acres of flesh on display, much of it concentrated on just a minority of people... eeeew! Costumes ranged from slinky, to really authentic looking to... yes, well, there was at least one made of painted corrugated cardboard.

It made for a much more geeky Memorabilia than when it was teamed with a sports theme, but we were there to meet some friends we've made over the years, most of whom were first met at such shows.

Caroline Munro (Career highlights [will follow this approach for all artists below]: The Spy Who Loved Me, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Journey To The Centre of The Earth, Dracula AD72 etc) has been a friend since 1997. We first met at a quite early Memorabilia show, when she was sitting with that other lovely star of the big screen, Ingrid Pitt. I remember her days as a model who appeared regularly in Amateur Photographer and Practical Photography in the late 1960s. Then she won a ten year contract starring in adverts for Lambs Navy Rum.

She was the female lead in Golden Voyage of Sinbad and became the only actress contracted to Hammer Films, appearing in Dracula AD72, I Don't Want To Be Born (aka The Monster) and Captain Kronos, Vampire Killer. She memorably eclipsed Barbara Bach, the female lead in the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, playing Naomi, the beautiful assistant to the villain Stromberg. She is memorably killed when pursuing Bond and Russian Agent Amasova when her helicopter is blown up by a missile fired from their submerged car-submarine. Her wink at Bond as she flies past him is always included in the top Bond film sexy moments.

We've had the pleasure of showing Caroline some of the better places to eat in Blackpool and whenever I'm in London we try to meet up for a drink and a natter. A nicer person you just couldn't hope to meet.

Martine Beswick (From Russia With Love, Thunderball, Dr Jeckyll and Sister Hyde, One Million Years BC, A Bullet For The General, Slave Girls, etc) I met Martine through Caroline and spent a couple of hours one afternoon acting as her minder at a signing. She was one of the fighting gypsy girls in From Russia With Love and met a sticky end as Bond's colleague Paula Caplan in Thunderball. She was the brunette counterpart and main rival to Raquel Welch's blonde in One Million Years BC and was the female Hyde to Ralph Bates' Dr Jeckyll in Hammer's Dr Jeckyll and Sister Hyde. Few men would disagree that her dance in the Hammer film Slave Girls (aka Prehistoric Women) is something every man should see before he dies...

Carole Ashby (Chariots of Fire, Octopussy, 'Allo 'Allo, Bergerac, Minder, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman etc.) Carole is probably best remembered as Louise of the Communist Resistance in TV's 'Allo 'Allo. She was one of Octopussy's gang of female circus gymnasts. A real character is Carole - she once had me sitting on her knee for some photos with Helene Hunt, one of her colleagues from Octopussy - how could I refuse...? The first time I met her, a sound technician was feeding a mini-microphone up her shirt and out of her neckline. A tough job, but someone has to do it... She's a delight to talk to.

Shane Rimmer (This could take all day even sticking to the highlights: Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, The Saint, UFO, Rollerball, Space 1999, Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, The People That Time Forgot, The Spy Who Loved Me, Superman, Hanover Street, Secret Army, Superman II, Ghandi, Superman III, Lace, Out of Africa, Whoops Apocalypse, Coronation Street, Lipstick On Your Collar, Batman Begins, etc etc etc...) A modest Canadian with the oh so recogniseable voice - yes! Scott Tracy from Thunderbirds!!! He has an amazing list of 154 credits on the Internet Movie Database going right back to 1957 (remember Hawkeye and the Last of The Mohicans? I didn't mention at least three other James Bond films and he was in just about every TV series in the 1960s including Danger Man, Dr Who, Orlando, The Saint, The Persuaders, The Protectors, Quiller, Hadleigh... - the man is a legend!

He was in The Spy Who Loved Me with Caroline so I got to know him as he was often sat next to her and we'd chat when she got busy with other fans. He was telling me he has even found time to write a book, a thriller called Long Shot. You can buy it as an Kindle book at Amazon.

Now, this lady I hadn't met before. Margaret Nolan aka model Vicki Kennedy is probably best known for playing the masseuse, Dink, in the early stages of Goldfinger. She too has a list of credits as long as your arm, including A Hard Day's Night, Crossroads, Carry On Cowboy, The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery, Witchfinder General, Nearest and Dearest, Carry On Henry, Carry On At Your Convenience, The Persuaders, Steptoe and Son, Carry On Matron, Budgie, Carry On Girls, Carry On Dick etc. Very friendly and the beauty of that 1960s glamour girl is still there shining out!

Fenella Fielding (Carry On Regardless, Doctor In Love, Doctor In Distress, The Avengers (TV), Doctor In Clover, Carry On Screaming, Drop Dead Darling, The Prisoner, Lock Up Your Daughters etc.) The legendary vamp who played up her man-eating image in a couple of Morecambe and Wise TV shows, Fenella Fielding is the only person featured here that I didn't meet through the Memorabilia shows. I first met her at one of Ingrid Pitt's birthday parties-cum-fan club dinners when, to the envy of all other men in the room, I found myself sitting next to her for the night. There was a very glamorous blonde sitting opposite me too - either Ingrid was looking after me or she was trying her best to get Miss Franny sore at me... Anyway I spent the evening acting what I like to call "charming and witty" and what others like to call "like a prat"... I've met Fenella a couple of times since and she always remembers me - hopefully for all the right reasons! Sorry for the awkward pose, there wasn't a gap in the tables at this point and I wouldn't expect a lady to climb over...

Wow... Wish I could write this sort of article every day lol!

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