Black Cats audition for acting role

black cat

This charming film clip from 1953 is of an audition for a black cat to perform on the West End stage. The role isn’t very demanding and there are no lines to learn. The pay is £3 per week plus food and milk. The turnout of hopefuls would match any human casting!

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Beautiful portraits of actress Ellen Terry born On This Day in 1847.

Ellen Terry

Dame Alice Ellen Terry,

known professionally as Ellen Terry,

was an English actress who became the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain. She was born on 27th February 1847.

Ellen Terry
image credit: Getty Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
From Wikipedia: Born into a family of actors, Terry began performing as a child, acting in Shakespeare plays in London, and toured throughout the British provinces in her teens. At 16 she married the 46-year-old artist George Frederic Watts, but they separated within a year. She soon returned to the stage but began a relationship with the architect Edward William Godwin and retired from the stage for six years. She resumed acting in 1874 and was immediately acclaimed for her portrayal of roles in Shakespeare and other classics.

Ellen Terry
image credit: John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1878 she joined Henry Irving’s company as his leading lady, and for more than the next two decades she was considered the leading Shakespearean and comic actress in Britain. Two of her most famous roles were Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She and Irving also toured with great success in America and Britain.

Ellen Terry
image credit: George W. Baldry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ellen Terry
image credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1903 Terry took over management of London’s Imperial Theatre, focusing on the plays of George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen. The venture was a financial failure, and Terry turned to touring and lecturing. She continued to find success on stage until 1920, while also appearing in films from 1916 to 1922. Her career lasted nearly seven decades.

Ellen Terry costues
image credit:By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Ellen Terry Costumes Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
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Long running musical opened on Broadway #OnThisDay in 1964

Hello, Dolly!

On January 16th 1964, the musical “Hello, Dolly!” opened on Broadway beginning a run of 2,844 performances.

The show has become one of the most enduring musical theatre hits, with four Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into the 1969 film Hello Dolly! that was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won three.

The film clip below appears to be someone’s holiday cine-film of a trip to New York in 1966.

So a couple of years into the Hello Dolly! run.

It’s an amazing bit of film and the cinematographer certainly had an eye for a good shot.

No connection to Hello, Dolly! but a great film clip!

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The longest running British stage play opened in London #OnThisDay in 1952.


The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie.

The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End on 25th November 1952 and has been running continuously since then.

It’s the longest running West End show with over 26,000 performances.

Agatha Christie herself did not expect The Mousetrap to run for such a long time.

In her autobiography, Christie reports a conversation that she had with Peter Saunders, the theatre impresario and producer of the show. Saunders thought the show would run for about fourteen months. To which Christie replied, “It won’t run that long. Eight months perhaps. Yes, I think eight months.”

The original West End cast included Richard Attenborough as Detective Sergeant Trotter and his wife Sheila Sim as Mollie Ralston. They took a 10% profit-participation in the production, which was paid for out of their combined weekly salary.

The murderer’s identity is divulged near the end of the play in a twist ending. By tradition, at the end of each performance, audiences are asked not to reveal the identity of the killer to anyone outside the theatre, to ensure that the end of the play is not spoilt for future audiences.

We went to see the show years ago but I can’t remember what happened in the end, so I can’t tell you anyway!

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Goodbye Love Film!

film projector

We’ve been subscribed to Love Film in its several incarnations for years.

But Amazon sent an email a couple of months ago to inform us that the DVD-rental-in-the-post that we’ve enjoyed so much was coming to an end.

Yes, we have Prime and a subscription to Netflix and are overwhelmed with choice. But there was something about Love Film which made it special.

We rarely used it for trying to view recent films. It was the back catalogue we particularly liked.

And our final Love Film DVD has been brilliant.

“In Celebration” is a 1975 film directed by Lindsay Anderson.

It’s based on the 1969 stage play of the same title by David Storey.

Storey’s modern classic took audiences by storm and established him as one of the country’s most powerful playwrights.

The film’s director, Lindsay Anderson, also directed the stage play at The Royal Court Theatre in London.

The cast of the film is the same as the cast of the stage play.

Not strictly autobiographical, but rooted in the playwright’s Nottinghamshire mining background, “In Celebration” is set in a family home on the night three grown-up sons return somewhat reluctantly to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary.

The film stars Alan Bates and was shot in the Derbyshire mining town of Langwith. The Shaws (Bill Owen, Constance Chapman) are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and their three sons have returned home to take them for a night out at an expensive restaurant. Mr. Shaw is a coal miner of 49 years, who married a woman from a higher social class. He’s only one year off retirement. Mrs. Shaw urged her sons to abandon their father’s mining heritage in pursuit of corporate careers, but the results have not been positive. Andy (Alan Bates), the oldest, became a solicitor, but abandoned the work to pursue painting. Colin (James Bolam) was a former Communist party member, who has come to enjoy material (but not emotional) success as a labour negotiator for an automobile company. The youngest brother Steven (Brian Cox) is a teacher, married with four children of his own, who is writing a book, but has not produced any notable published works. The film examines the tensions which develop as the family reunite over the course of one evening.

The film was produced and released as part of the American Film Theatre, which adapted theatrical works for a subscription-driven cinema series. The play was re-rehearsed for three weeks before shooting and location scenes were filmed in the colliery town.

The sound quality of the film is flaky now but the acting is strong and powerful. The themes of the play still resonate strongly today and overall, we enjoyed the film adaptation of an excellent drama. Michael actually saw the original production at The Royal Court and was fascinated to watch the film and revive his memories of the original production.

We’d got several old films on our Love Film waiting list and hopefully we’ll be able to track them down on one of the streaming services.

But we’ll miss our DVD in the post and say goodbye, rather sadly, to Love Film!

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