MERV SOMMERS - GORE HILL - OPENING NIGHT

Recorded 15/8/2005

It was four days before opening night 1956. We were to put on a live production "The Twelve Pound Look". I had been there two weeks trying desperately to set up a small workshop. Ken Middleton came down and said "Production need a caption roller for the play"... Bill Kennard having freshly arrived from the BBC, was charged with creating the graphics for the aforesaid rollers. The days that followed up to late in the afternoon of opening night are somewhat of a blur but from tearing around looking for a small shaded pole motor, to turning the rollers on the small lathe from some 3 X 3 builders off-cuts, and then cutting a worm wheel to reduce the speed of the assembly - to say nothing of building a stand for the whole thing a few days I will never forget.

Before the play, the evening got away with Michael Charlton to compere the proceedings. This went off happily. The next event was a tour of the Telecine area compered by John West. A slow walk by John down to Telecine followed by a cumbersome tripod travelling over a semi-finished floor. Don Owrid was the Telecine Operator closely attended by Super Tech. Don Crowley. Don pressed the button, the projector wound up and pictures appeared - but alas NO SOUND. The Techs struggled for 5 - 10 seconds but alas they could not produce any sound. Apparently an amplifier tube had gone at that precise moment.

(N.B. No - Don Crowley later advised it was a switching error on his part).

Ken Middleton had previously invited us to have a drink "up at the Cottage" after the show which I think most of us accepted. Ken said a few words to thank all involved for their efforts. Mike Charlton stood and also said he thought the evening went quite well but we will have to live WITH THE BLOOD OF TELECINE ON OUR HANDS.

Merv Somers
Workshop Foreman 1956

 

Merv Somers joined the ABC as the Engineering Workshop Foreman in October 1956 - he resigned in May 1965. During the next 10 years Merv was involved in building TV OB Vans in different parts of the world. He returned to Gore Hill in March 1975 and retired in September 1985.

 

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