SIR SYDNEY SAMUELSON, CBE
7th DECEMBER 1925 – 14th DECEMBER 2022
And as we heard that Sir Sydney Samuelson had passed away on December 14th 2022, we realised it is the end of a great era of the Samuelson brothers; David, Sydney, Tony and Michael.
Fond Farewell to the last brother, Sir Sydney who lived to the grand age of 97 having devoted his adult life to the industry. Sir Sydney was the first British Film Commissioner and former head of BAFTA amongst just a few of his many accolades. He passed away peacefully and is survived by his sons Peter, Jonathan and Marc and along with the family’s 8 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, the dynasty is in good hands.
TRIBUTE TO DAVID
Staff will be sad to hear the news that David Samuelson passed away on Wednesday 28th October.
David Samuelson, the eldest of the Samuelson brothers was not only a great newsreel cameraman but also the inventor in the family.
David, was a part of the Samuelson dynasty and their name continues to be held in high regard in the film industry.
David’s father, Bertie Samuelson, was a pioneer in the film industry. David compiled and researched his father’s history leaving a record of the part his father played in the early years of the film industry and the subsequent influence he had on his 4 sons. David, Sydney, Michael and Tony set off on the pathway to running the most successful equipment rental company of its time. David was in his element as a cameraman at the head of some of the most spectacular events, such as Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. His love of invention led to his proudest moment when he received an Oscar for his part in creating the Louma. From 1954, the combined talents of the four brothers made up a formidable team in running Samuelson Film Service, to go on to become Samuelson Group plc.
David attended the reunion organised in 2009 and felt moved that staff had shown such loyalty in getting together at this event. He realised that many of the staff who attended were forever grateful to the Samuelson brothers for the start of their very varied careers in the film industry. It is with these sentiments that our condolences are sent to the whole family at this sad time.
David died peacefully in hospital after a long illness.
The funeral will take place at Edgwarebury Cemetery, Edgwarebury Lane Edgware, HA8 8QP at 11.00 a.m. on Monday 2nd November 2015.
Sad News – Mickey Gratton
We have been informed of the sad news that Mickey Gratton, from early days Managing Director of Samuelson Communications through to Finance Director of the Group, sadly passed away on Thursday 9 July. His funeral will take place at:
On Friday 17 July @ 11:30.
In Memory of Johnny Goodman
15 December 1927 to 30 January 2015
A British producer whose career began in a studio mailroom as a teenager. Johnny worked as a dialogue editor and assistant director before finding great success producing hit British spy TV series including The Saint (1962-1969) and The Persuaders (1971-1972)! British TV was mainly dull and rather spartan and utilitarian at the time but the programmes Johnny was involved in were exciting and looked polished with the use of Samuelson Film Service’s equipment, of course!
He’ll be greatly missed but is remembered with a smile, as he could really deliver an old joke with great effect!
Truly Wide Screen Experience
A consortium of European movie theaters have banded together to host a touring slate of digitally re-mastered, widescreen motion pictures from the vaults of Cinerama Inc.
Click on the link to find out more:
Interview with Sydney on the In 70mm website:
Panavision is raising money for Stroke Association – please support them raise money for this great cause by donating directly to their fundraising page JustGiving at the following weblink:
JustGiving sends your donation straight to Stroke Association and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.
Thank you for your support!
David Samuelson Archive
Coming soon will be a new section called the ‘DWS ARCHIVE’ this will contain the numerous articles written by David along with research papers and memorabilia from his early days at Movietone, Granada, Samuelson Film Service and retirement. To kick things off we have two documents that may be of interest:
A British anamorphic wide screen system developed in 1931 and the forerunner to Cinemascope and Panavision. Use the link to read the article in from the Illustrated London News and correspondence with E.S Hinds who used the system to make a demonstration documentary – use the link to open.
Press clippings from 1953 to 1959, for anyone writing a history this would be a good starting point. The document is divided into four parts and has been scanned from an original Xerox copy – They are large files so be patient – Click to open!
MIKE DONAVAN FUNERAL DETAILS
Friday 24th January 12.00 at:
Kew Meadow Path,
Richmond TW9 4EN.
FOND FAREWELL TO MIKE DONOVAN 6th January 2014
Mike was a Camera Car Driver, Camera department Prep Tech and Client Contact in his time with the company.
Our thanks to Paul Lake who worked with Mike and has sent in the following fond memories:
“One morning Mike was late and Jack Evans and I found ourselves putting the gear into Mike’s van in an effort to get him to Wardour Street on time for a 7am delivery. Mike showed up bleary eyed and hung over and got a fearful rollicking from Jack for his tardiness. Mike muttered something about being up all night with Bridget Bardot then screeched off down the Edgware Road at great speed!
He always seemed in a bad mood and mostly unfriendly. He was younger than most of the other “career drivers” who were all keen to work their way into the camera department where we would learn the inner workings of those amazing cameras.
Within the year we had both been promoted to the camera department and being rostered shift work, Mike and I found ourselves on the same shift and soon became friends. It was not long before he introduced a Socialist work ethic into a somewhat Conservative work environment. This started with the aluminium tea pot which I think he picked up at Camden Passage for 50p. We had to have tea 4 times a day, usually with a Digestive biscuit. Everything stopped for tea.
This was followed by the attempted introduction of the “Camera Department Cat” – A ragged old Ginger Tom who seemed oblivious to Mike’s attempts to get him in through the window for a saucer of milk. I pointed out that the cat lived at number 3 Temple Road and belonged to the little old lady that we used to watch hanging out her washing whilst drinking our tea. However this did not deter him.
I’m sure Mike introduced “earlies away”, which was when the late shift, on a quiet night, took it in turns to leave a few hours earlier than the scheduled finish time.
He argued that because he lived in Putney and his journey home was the furthest, that he should be able to leave earlier than the rest of us!
He loved his rowing, Pompey Football club and Hampshire Cricket team and especially his cats. I remember one called Trevor with fondness. It was named after Trevor Jesty the Hampshire captain. In Mike’s opinion the finest Cricketer never to play for England. He was also very fond of my girlfriends! Always giving advice on what he considered to be their finer points and where I should take them for a dirty weekend. He could be quite generous though and I do remember he bought me a pint in the Dukes Head in 1986 after the Head of the River race.
Mike was a truly talented artist and I am privileged to have a few sketches and his hand made Xmas cards. He introduced me to the War Poems of Wilfred Owen and we even made an attempt at a short film on the subject, shot over a couple of weekends, to disastrous result.
Over the years we were in contact on and off. On my return to London we would meet up and go out for a curry. Always my shout as Mike would assure me I was rolling in it. We would just take up as if we had only seen each other a few weeks earlier. Mike was always entertaining, controversial and full of hair-brained schemes. The last time we saw each other was in November 2013. Jane and I met Mike and his good friend Sheila and we shared a Curry in Teddington. Sheila had warned us that Mike was quite frail but that night he was on great form. He even picked up the bill.
The last words he ever said to me were” Lake you owe me a Lamb Biryani and don’t you forget it” I miss him already.”
From the Burroughs to Samcine House
Added to the YouTube channel is a short film from 1963 showing the transition from the Burroughs in Hendon to Samcine House in Cricklewood and the topping out ceremony with the directors and staff of Samuelson Film Service. Use the link to play the film.
Film ’69 Exhibition
Added to the YouTube channel is the full colour version of the Pathe Film ’69 Exhibition showing the Samuelson exhibit and DWS testing a Samcine Limpet Mount. Use the link to connect to YouTube.
The Antics of David, Michael, Sydney and Reg Sutton at Movietone
We have added a Movietone playlist to the YouTube channel featuring the antics of David, Michael, Sydney and Reg Sutton, who along with recording news events, were more than happy to appear as drunks to shoppers. Use the link to go directly to the playlist.
Bray Film Studios Threatened with Closure
Part of the Samuelson Group and the home of Hammer Film Productions from 1952 to 1966. Bray Studios is still used today, for TV programmes, movies, commercials, music video shoots and concert rehearsals.
In July 2010 a proposal was put forward to convert Bray Studios into housing. The main house Down Place will be converted into a family home or flats, and the remainder of the studio buildings will be demolished.
A grade II listed building, this piece of England’s history, disappearing into the hands of the developers.
STOP THE ROT, SAVE THE LOT!
We are looking for sponsorship of any part of the website and the reunion. If you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for details.
For the Record
At about the same time that Cilla Black had a hit with ‘Anyone who had a Heart’ in March 1964 the sound department struck their own disk ‘Samuelsons’. Gail Samuelson dug this out and it sounds as though it features the many talents of Reg Sutton. If anyone has background on this we would love to hear from you. Use the link or go to the screening room to hear the recording.
New and Updated
This website has been updated with many new photos in the Gallery. The Archive includes the 1965 Equipment Schedule and Dubbing Rates and The Oscar Scrap book. We have also added more movies into the screening room. We would be interested in any media that we can include on the website including film and video. If you would like to contribute please contact Karl: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Fond Farewell to Eddie Price
Message From David Johnson
11th Jan 2013 – Eddie Price died in hospital after suffering a fatal heart attack; he was 73. Eddie worked as a camera technician in the camera department at Samuelsons Film Services during the 70’s and 80’s. After leaving Sammies, he went on to work with Tony Covell and Take 2. He retired to live in St Agnes in Cornwall. His wife Jenny asked me to let people know on her behalf.
Message from Peter Clayton
Just a New Year note to let you know that I am still up and running. All systems seem to be working, with the odd squeak, creak and groan.
I know that you are hoping to update the website one day – I have photographs of the numerous units that filmed the golf match (Variety Club – MEWS inspired) at Radlett and I guess a good many of the lads would be recognisable to their contemporaries. Also a copy of a Variety Club ‘Thank you’ letter from MEWS to my friend who helped on the day. (We all got letters, but mine was lost in a move years ago.)
I still have my SFS photo ID card – though cracked across and Sellotaped (should never have put it in my back pocket and sat on it!). Also still have my SFS enamelled lapel badge – and two corgi camera cars!! Can photo (or scan) and forward if required.
Please let me know as soon as there is any chance of the ‘mini-reunion’ being re-planned – if it happens I am determined to be there if at all possible!!
With all good wishes,
Return to Samcine House
On an off chance the ever resourceful Debbie Nyman popped into Samcine House and was given a glimpse of the old place, prior to its conversion into a storage facility. As you can see the results are rather sad. The gallery contains more shocking images.
All-industry Tribute to Sir Sydney
Thursday 22nd September 2011 saw a gathering of 450 people at the London’s Grand Connaught rooms for a lunch organised by the British Cinema and Television Veterans as a tribute to Sydney. After an excellent meal, with so much talk that you wondered when it would ever stop (!), we were treated to a big- screen video tribute that included a 15-minute film, specially commissioned for the event by BAFTA. The film, which took several months to make, covered Sir Sydney’s 86 years of life in film and featured a series of personal recollections and praise from his three sons and numerous industry associates and colleagues.
The Chain Gang – Restored
Barry Measure managed to rescue the original negative from a skip and with the help of Jilly Ticehurst at Sky TV and the Frame Store London we have transferred the film in HD. Click the link or go to the Screening Room to view the restored film in all its 35mm glory. If anyone has any film or video however old and tattered we would love to hear from you.
Message from Debbie
VAL ROUGHTON passed away on 12th October 2011. Val was Our Favourite Lady of the Wages! She went through every medical op you can imagine and battled on with a smile. Sadly we are having to say goodbye to this lovely lady, who many will remember well. Our condolences to her daughter Debbie and all the family.
Message from Dee Slade (nee Wynne)
For some strange reason I was on google and decided to look up “Samuelson” – I am so so sorry to have missed the 2009 Reunion and knew nothing of it. I was at Samuelson, NW2 from about 1966 then known as Dee Wynne (the one who got into trouble for wearing “hot pants”. I worked in the accounts with Denzil, did the Panavision contracts for then “Mr Sydney” and have such fond memories and the Christmas parties had to be the best……we also managed the “Load of Hay” in Hendon as well. I then work for the lovely Sid Roberts at Samcine Sales…
Please include me in any updates or Notice Board details.
In fact my daughter, now 24 has just finished her degree from Wimbledon College of Art in Film & Stage Set Design and is doing her best to break into the industry! Not an easy task.
Legal & General Assurance Society Limited
(Bulk Purchase Annuities)
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Surrey KT20 6EU
Message from Paul Lake
Thank you for contacting Mike. I sent him a load of old pictures last week and he said he was really pleased to hear from you.Good news on the delayed get together as I might actually be there in August. Still TBC finances pending. Mike had talked about moving to NZ once his Mum had passed away. Ironically she is still around and Mike to unwell to even contemplate a move now. Thanks again and hope to catch up next year.
Memories of Tony Samuelson
Here’s a great message from a chap called Peter Clayton who was at Sammies 1965 – 1969:
Thank you for that Debbie. I had not heard that Tony had gone as well – from what I have read it must have been since the reunion, which I surmise was sometime last summer? I remember NAWS taking me up in his helicopter once, from Elstree aerodrome I believe. I can’t remember why we were both there – but I remember him being very good and letting me take (some of!) the controls whilst he pretended to do paperwork. He might have done some – but I bet he was much more concentrated on what I was doing!! He was a very nice chap, with a super dry sense of humour – people will miss him very much.
I particularly remember Michael not just, obviously, from SFS – but for all his work for Variety Club. He often needed a gofer’ (sometimes upgraded to ‘assistant’!) on Variety projects and I got a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure from being able to help out. One (never to be forgotten!) occasion both NAWS and MEWS were involved. Variety’s Chief Barker (Sefton Myers, if I remember correctly) used to have a party for underpriviledged children once a year at his elegant ‘gentleman farmer’ establishment south of London. NAWS was to use his helicopter to give rides, but would need to be able to refuel. MEWS made his cadillac available, and the trunk was crammed full of large cans of aviation spirit at Elstree and taken to the party site. I drove it! Goodness knows what and how many regulations were broken that day – but all went well, and it was in a very good cause.
There are so very many crystal memories of those days (how thrilled Sydney was when he got his first Rolls Royce – and the delicacy with which the initials ‘SWS’ were added to each front door in tiny gold letters). All the memories are so very cheery (except two appalling ones – the dreadful shocks of the loss of Joe Payne and the loss of the Alouette helicopter with all on board) – it would be great to be able to reminisce with others if the
chance arises one day.
Kind regards, Peter.
Speaking to DWS yesterday, here’s the real story about the Transatlantic Air Race in May 1969, which Tony took part in – Tony did it in 21 hours 31 mins.
Apparently everybody did the obvious to go to the main New York airport, La Guardia, to clear customs. Tony realised he would lose precious time waiting at customs at the main airport, so he went to the local private aerodrome. He flew up to the Canadian border and cleared customs fast, as he was ahead of everyone else! Hence he gained that time and won! Being a modest man, Tony actually pushed his co-pilot forward for the publicity.
Fond and Funny Memories of Tony Samuelson
John & Rosie Rendall
That is indeed very sad news. Obviously sudden and so soon after seeing him at the reunion, where he seemed fine.
Many happy (and interesting!) memories of him at work. We also met him at the Hampton Court Flower Show a couple of years ago where he was standing by his exhibit, namely the upended Bentley with plants growing out of it.
Thoughts of Tony Samuelson from: Max Browne
Sad news indeed about Tony but the Reunion was a reminder of happy times in a great family company that thrived in a way that probably couldn’t now with the ruthless dominance of accountancy driving the multinationals!
Thoughts of Tony Samuelson from: Debbie Nyman
No-one can think of Tony without a smile and a sudden remembrance of a funny moment.
Walking through the main desk area, I passed by Tony and said “Good morning. “How are you?” He didn’t reply, so I walked on.
Two days later, walking through the main desk area, Tony was there and turned to me saying, “I’m very well, thanks!” And the time he decided to run as an MP up north. In order to drum up some publicity, he got hold of ‘Swampy’, who with the aid of a few friends, managed to hoist the vertigo suffering, Tony, to the top of a huge tree by tying one end of the hoist to the back of a Volvo, whilst Carol Samuelson and I, hiding in a car, watched in horror!
There is no-one that comes near to Tony’s remarkable exploits.
Tribute from Karl Roberts
I’m very sad to hear of the death of Tony, if he had not crashed landed a helicopter on me dads farm I would have never made it into the film industry! Who will ever forget the Production Village, The Magic Hour and the Hogg’s Grunt? He had a fantastic blog that I guarantee you’ll find interesting:
Tribute from Bob Campbell
When I came to Sammies for my interview the late great Karl Kelly took me upstairs to one of the offices at Cricklewood and Tony came in, cake in hand.
He asked me a few questions while munching his cake and a small mountain of crumbs began to build up on his jumper. He didn’t quite understand why I had left Rolls Royce in Scotland and moved 400 miles to work in London!
This was my introduction to the British Film Business and what fun it has been through all the ups and downs. It was and still is full of amazing characters. Sadly another great has passed away but I won’t forget him.
Message from: Gary & Cynthia Davis:
We have just heard today about the Samuelson Reunion and are sorry that we did not know that it was happening. We are delighted for David, Sydney and Anthony and of course the many ex-Sammy’s employees who attended that it was such a success. Please do send our very best wishes to David, Sydney and Anthony and let them know that we think of them often with very high regard. Cynthia Davis – ex-secretary to David Samuelson and Gary Davis – ex Samuelsons/Samuelson Sight and Sound/Samuelson Communications.
Dear old Reg Sutton has passed away at the grand old age of 93. He was with the Samuelsons from Movietone days in the 1950’s, when some of us were just a twinkle in our parents eyes! Ah…. he was a nice man.
He wanted to get to the reunion – now 2 years ago – but at the time was living with his daughter in Castleknock, North Dublin. He was a proud father, grandfather and great grandfather.
And here are some extracts from his amusing emails as follows:
Am following your website and all the messages with great interest. give my regards to son of brad, last time i saw him was in the mid 60s. i remember with affection all the fellows i had in my sound dept over many years and it is with regret that i shall not be there to meet some of them and sink a few pints. i am at loss for words for my caring for the samuelson brothers and families, i had 27 years of sheer delight playing my part in the growth of the company. one story – even before we started at the burroughs i sometimes moonlighted from movietone when sydney, still at bushey askd me to do sound with him on one of his private jobs. he always said “how much do you want?” I always said ” how much do you want to pay me?!” He would tell me and i accepted. He would be interested to know now that it was always much more than i would have asked for!
Out in the sticks I am enjoying reading all the messagessent in by the Sammites, bringing back many happy memories of my years with Sydney, seems like yesterday !! I am sorry that I shall not be able to make the journey to Elstree, the spirit is willing but the body is weak though something like Johnny Walker I keep going (with his help). I shall look forward to reading all about the rave up and even watching a film if you can find someone to keep it in focus. OK for sound !
And after the Reunion:
By the sound of it you all had a great day on Sunday, I was thinking of you all whilst watching the wombles in Wimbledon. I can name all the folks on the Burroughs dvd and now i remember it being made back in the early sixties.
And the last email I received……
Just having a wee tot and thinking of you all. luv reg.
And here are just a few tributes and memories of the late great Reg Sutton:
From Paul Lake
We used to talk Football. It was 1979 and Reg used to send me home 30 minutes early on Thursdays so that I could attend training.
Its funny how small acts of kindness stay with you. I will always have fond memories of Reg.
From Karl Roberts
That is sad to hear – I remember his cigar filled office and the banter between him and Celia & Sylvia.
From Richard Bradburn
Sad indeed. Fond memories of Reg
From Andrew Holland
Well that’s a fine old innings – Gawd bless ‘im !
From Roger Watling
That is so sad, the end of another era
From Richard Wareham
Sorry to hear this. He was a nice bloke & very genuine.
From Simon Broad
A grand age to reach.
From Don Brown
It would be 39 years ago that I met Reg when he offered me a job in the Sound Maintenance Dept.
From Maureen Godfrey
That’s sad about Reg, I remember him on my first day at Sammies and he was really kind. It was just a pity he couldn’t make the reunion but I bet he was glad it took place.
Another Party’s Over
Message from Mary Barrett:
I am so disappointed I could not make it, I suffer from migraine and of all the weeks I had a particular bad bout last week still not 100 percent.
I will be checking the website looking for familiar faces no doubt I will feel a ting of sadness, I was so looking forward to meeting old friends and chatting about the good old days.
Message from Gregory Bruce:
thank you for a great day debbie. i have fond thoughts of my times at
sammys and think it is such a shame that time has to move on. shirley is a
great friend of mine and think we both salute you. greg
Message from Kit Greveson:
Apologies for taking so long to thank you (and the rest of the
committee) so much for organising last Sunday’s beanfeast. It was
great and you should feel proud that your efforts were so rewarded. I
thoroughly enjoyed myself and, although never actually employed by Sammies, met lots of people from way back when. Really good to catch up with Hilary and Anna amongst others and of course Jane. Didn’t really get an
opportunity to chat with you but you were always dashing about making sure
everything was going well – which it was. Please include me in any other ‘do’. And thanks again.
Message from Graham Twyman, son of Syd Twyman:
I found the Samuelson website by chance today and thought I’d drop you an email.
My Father Syd Twyman, worked at Samuelsons for over 30 years. He was based at Cricklewood and then at Greenford after they moved. Sadly, my Dad passed away 2 weeks ago. He always spoke about Sammy’s with great affection – Having spent the majority of his career working there. He would have been delighted to hear of the reunion and I’m sure he would have attended.
Message from Sue O’Reilly:
I just wanted to thank you for a great day on Sunday, it was so lovely to see the Samuelson family and everyone.
Posted letter from Brian Mason:
On behalf of Dick Sadler and myself, I would like to thank you and all involved in the organisation of the “Sammies Reunion”.
So many old friends who had lost contact since retirement were reunited (and I was able to recognise without name tags even with change of hair colour or in some cases loss of it) and are now going to keep in touch from all over the country. Many times on Sunday glasses were raised to absent friends – Marshall Martin, Len Watts, Fred Smith, the Helps Brothers, Tom O’Carroll, Mick Johnstone, Don Harris, Dennis Rossario, Doris Irvine, Karl Kelly, Harry Taggart, Bill Woodhouse, Bill Vickers and my apologies to those I have not mentioned. I’m sorry I could not put this on your website (but feel free to do so if you wish) but I still have trouble with a mobilephone, let alone a computer…. sorry my mind is begging to wander as the Tesco lady has just walked in and I’m sure the belt on my trousers is wider than the skirt she is wearing!
Must go as my hand writing is getting shaky!
Thanks again, Brian Mason Staff No. 66
Reply from “The Guvnor”
Nice to know there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight!
Message from Jeannette “The Queen” Charles
I enjoyed the day, what a lovely gathering and our Speech was a well-kept secret and seemed to go down very well. Any rich people there that need me for a job in the future; A Party of some kind?
Message from Eddie Dias:
Debbie and the Team.
First Class job done by all In the words of MEWS Thank you, Thank you , Thank you. Sorry I did not get the chance to chat with all my old friends, just not enough time.
Message from Roger Watling:
Well done team, what a great day. Would love to stay in touch with
everyone, my email address is email@example.com
Telephone message from Hilary Schneiders:
Just rang to congratulate you on a really enjoyable afternoon Sunday. I
think you did a wonderful job, you and your crew. It was really, really
good and I think everybody had a great time.
Telephone message from David Samuelson:
Debbie, You must be very proud and pleased with yourself with the success of yesterday. It was really fabulous and what I thought was so good was
everybody seemed to be enjoying all their fellow staff members and I think
that was marvellous. Very, very successful. Anyway congratulations and a
very, very big thank you. I look forward to the next one.
Message from Chris Determann:
It was good to see you and many of the others last Sunday, and I’m glad I
persevered with getting my shift changed to able to attend. The two who I
was thinking would definitely be there, Dave Paige. and Richard Gleeson
(Rich told me of the thing in the first place), were not; but then there
were so many others (eg. the Faley clan) and news of others who I did not
expect or forgot about, and it was good to catch up with them!
Thanks again for all your efforts in getting the whole thing together, and
sorry to have had to go quite so early, but I had 4.30 am start on the Monday.
Gone are the days when I could just go through (or late into) the night, and
be perfectly fine for work early the next day! Too sensible now!
I loved your comment about having had the do when you did, bearing in mind
the advancing years of some!!
If you missed out, we have a 2 DVD pack for sale at £20 which can be obtained via firstname.lastname@example.org
“Carry on Again Sammy’s” compiled by Karl Roberts and Steve Campbell :
First DVD includes the following tracks:
“Carry on Again Sammy’s” hilarious soundtrack to archive footage of The Burroughs, Samcine House and The Heist, as well as a gallery edit of some of the photographs from the website. The Chain Gang filmed in Cricklewood Broadway, Clapper Board Parts 1 & 2 – 50 min documentary made by Granada, Samuelson Corporate Video 1987 – Presented by Emma Samms.
Sad News – Gerry Down died December 2010
One of the British Navy’s finest, dear Gerry Down has finally given his last salute to us all. Gerry passed away early in December 2010 in Southampton Hospital. Shortly after his wife, Rene, died, he left Sammies and moved to Lymington, where he lived very happily to the end.
His ruddy complexion, huge smile and meticulous attention to detail were Gerry’s trademarks, along with a good bottle of whiskey and very long telephone conversations!
Larger than life, he will be missed.
Message from Harvey Harrison:
So sorry I didn’t make it, I tried desperately but when arrived at the M25 by the A3 it was completely at a standstill and people were out of their cars on the motor way so it I would have been stuck in a jam for I don’t know how many hours, so then I tried to go around the back and couldn’t get through Hampton Court because there was a ‘blooming’ flower show on so I got stuck in a jam there – so at this point I had to give up – I really did want to be there and I’m choked I missed it.
I do hope you all had a good time and thanks once again for asking me.
Hope to see you soon one day, all the best
Message from Reg Sutton:
Dear Debbie, Many thanks for your message just seen and for the DVDs you are sending. By the sound of it you all had a great day on Sunday, I was thinking of you all whilst watching the wombles in Wimbledon. Seventy years ago last Monday I was married (eloped) so my thoughts were elsewhere that day. back to normal now- time marches on. I have looked in at the Queen, one needs to hear the voice for the full effect. You and your team did a mighty fine job and deserve much praise Thanks for keeping in touch, love Reg.
Message from Richard Wareham:
Glad it went well, real shame I couldn’t be there.
Aside from those I knew who were attending, were Bill Ross, Steve Evans, Max, Nick Kulman, Mark Warner, Daryl Corbett, Barry Measure there?
I do & I don’t want to know the answer (coz I’ll feel even worse!), but tell me anyway.
Left Holding the Baby!
Did you hear the story involving the late, great Philip Measure? On his way out of the building, he was asked by a young staff member, if he wouldn’t mind just holding her baby for a few minutes. After some time, Philip got rather bored and went back upstairs and looked around. He was about to give up when he thought he’d check out the viewing theatre. He found the young lady in question but she was rather busy going through the kama sutra at the time with a game young man!
No names, no packdrill…..!
Message from Nicola Ross:
Unfortunately i cannot make the reunion as I will be away on a much needed girls weekend but I wish everyone all the best and hope that you all have a fab day.
I always think back fondly on my start at Sammy’s. I was a freshfaced 16 year old helping out at Samfreight and luckily for me, the girl I was covering for decided to leave for a job on the hire desk and Shirley and Andrew asked me to stay on. Originally I was a bit scared of Andrew but soon learned that he had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone, as would Shirley. I did used to make him cross though, always sneaking out to have a chat with Mary, Joan and Kathy on the switchboard!
The only thing I hated about Sammy’s was staying behind to type an urgently needed carnet – boy was that place spooky at night!
ATTENTION ALL STAFF:
Have you claimed your entitlement to the Samuelson pension scheme? If not you can make a claim by contacting Legal & General. For benefit details you should therefore contact:
Legal & General Assurance Society Limited
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Surrey KT20 6EU
Message from Michael Matthews
I was one of MEWS’s camera assitants from 66 to 72, Andrea Goodman was Michael’s PA at the time. Philip Measure actually trusted me with a float. Gerry Gosling introduced me into the company. Other assistants were, Tony Browning, Paul Hennessy, Barry Brown, Ron & Dave Drinkwater. It is said that we were a bunch of tearaways, and looking back that was probably a fair description. Bill the lens worked upstairs. Peter Clayton was on the desk. Len Randall & Danny ??? were drivers, Sharon Gold was in charge of the helicopter (Gilbert Chomat!)Drummond Challis arrived on the scene in my later time with the company.Terry Gould was sthe cameraman who mentored us and turned us into mature people!
Message from Drummond Challis:
Have been busy with lambing and the farm in general. It sounds as if you
have organized a great day at
Elstree. What fun. Unfortunately I cannot make it but do give my best wishes
to all the team.
Message from Paul Sharkey:
Look forward to meeting some old friends from many years ago.
Haven’t seen Dick Sadler and Reg Sutton for 30 years probably.
Great Web Site.
Message from Tom Conlon:
Mark Moody kindly passed on the details of the ‘Sammie’s reunion’, sadly I’m working, so can’t be there- you might remember me as Bob Golds & Brian Kings Engineer before taking on the beastly GE Light valve. Now running a small ( but perfectly formed Video Projection Hire Company) with Ollie Phipps here in Essex. I hope you all have a fantastic day and suffice to say I’ll always look back at the Sammie’s Days with fond memories- much nicer people in the business then !!!
Message from Bob Campbell:
Looking forward to seeing all the youngster’s again!
Message from Gerry Down:
I’m very sorry I won’t be able to be with you. I know you will have a wonderful day. Give my regards to the nice people I know.
Message from Karl Roberts:
A scary fact has been pointed out to me. Do you remember that great big orange computer that ran the accounts? The ICL 2900 machine had only 2MB of memory! Looking forward to seeing everyone on the 5th July. Any images you want posted email me at: email@example.com.
Message from Ray Fisher:
Dear Samuelson’s was such a massive part of my life it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to celebrate what I still consider one of the greatest companies a person could work for, although I didn’t realize it at the time.
Message from Bill Ross:
It looks like it could be a heap of fun….
It is interesting thinking back to my time at Sammys & it also brings back some sad memories about those that have passed on.
Message from Martin Cayzer:
Sounds like a real hoot, and scary to compare some of those pictures from the 70’s and 80’s to the how we are now!
Message from Guy Green:
It’s in the diary!
Message from Ray Fisher, (Australia):
I am incredibly disappointed at missing out by one day. I look forward to seeing the party pics. Good luck with it all; it must be a logistical nightmare.
Message from Sharon Gold
Is Samuelson Aviation Mentioned ? Hurricane aircraft used as camera platform plus 2 x helicopters….
funny eh ??
Message from Graham Anderson:
Thanks for that. I have put a mention on my Face Book and will let as many people as I know when and where. Looking forward to it.
Message from Anne & Arthur Wooster:
Have put the date in my diary and am looking forward to it.
Message from Simon Broad (Lighting):
Unlikely that I will be able to get there – although it is the day after America celebrates Independence, particularly poignant in an Obama election year – but I passed the link on to others such as Lloyd Saunders who works in our NY camera servicing department.
Message from Anon!!!!!:
It does leave you in two minds about whom you should let know i.e. should I let my ex-wife in on this!!!
Message from: Reg Sutton:
Out in the sticks I am enjoying reading all the messages sent in by the Sammites, bringing back many happy memories of my years with Sydney, seems like yesterday !! I am sorry that I shall not be able to make the journey to Elstree , the spirit is willing but the body is weak though something like Johnny Walker I keep going (with his help). I shall look forward to reading all about the rave up and even watching a film if you can find someone to keep it in focus. OK for sound! My best wishes to everyone for a most happy get together in July. Reg Sutton.
Message from Sydney Samuelson:
Dick Greaves used to be with the Household Cavalry before he came to Sammies as a driver, then was made Transport Manager and was called coq-au-vin (as in Big shot in the van) and later known as Grievous Bodily Harm! (Sydney)
Message from Andrew Holland:
May I propose a round of applause and rousing “hurrahs” for Debbie and Maureen !. It now sounds very exciting, and for the moment, the date has been entered within my “not so crowded” diary (lol).
Message from Bill Ross:
I was made redundant by Panavision end of Oct 08 & joined Ginger Creative as Business Relationships Manager end of Nov 08 & thoroughly enjoying it. I’m only working 3 days a week at the moment, which is also good. There’s only 3 of us in the company, 2 designers & me, which is also very good.
Message from Don Brown 1972-1982:
Nice to see someone has done it and built a site, thought about doing it last year after contacting Sydney and Tony.
Best days of my life
Message from Peter Sullivan:
Hello, I was at Sight and Sound then Samcom from 1982-87, firstly on the second floor at Cricklewood Bdy then up at 120 Cricklewood lane. I was an AV technician working with the likes of Mark Moody, Steve Beschi, Andy Edwards, Stevie Warne etc etc. What great days and I still see Mark, Steve and Stevie regularly, we’re all still out there freelancing in our various fields. I’ve got some great photos and will email them in a week or so. Please register me for use of the site and also keep me up to date with the reunion.
Message from Eddie Dias:
Work wise still touting lights! Now Panalux, Panavision Owned , AFM , Lee merged with AFM Management !!
Message from: Sydney Samuelson:
Doris Samuelson did all the admin when they started and she had the children there too. When Johnny Goodman phoned to hire equipment, he heard the children in the background and asked whether it was a film equipment hire company or a nursery!! (Sydney).
Still fighting the good fight, just not one of the young guns anymore, more part of the establishment! Seems funny that MEWS has been gone 10 years this year, where does the time go?
Message from James Byrne:
I used to be the junior manager at The Production Village and recently Eddie Dias (formerly the manager at The Production Village) contacted me to make me aware of your planned summer reunion and of this website.
Message from Jane Curtis:
Thanks for letting me know. It’s a wonderful thing you are doing.
Message from John Venables
This could be good fun. This will span from the sixty’s onwards.
Message from John Rendall:
Great web site.
Message from John White:
I heard on the grapevine re this party for Sammies old boys and girls. Also that there is a website with some piccies on but have been unable to find it. Give us a clue as to how to log on to it. A Sammies old boy.
Message from Kevin Selway:
What a hoot! Really looking forward to seeing all the old cronies, and the really old cronies!! Last time I saw John Harding he was in Bristol. At that time he had a video and sound rental company that he was running with his son.
Message from Martin Cayzer:
Sounds like a real hoot, and scary to compare some of those pictures from the 70’s and 80’s to the how we are now! I don’t think I’ll be able to make it – I’m planning a trip back to the UK in September to coordinate with IBC in Amsterdam. However, plans change, so you never know. I’d love to combine it with a trip back to watch the Pom’s beat the Aussies in the Ashes series in June/July so I can stop all the abuse from the locals!
Hope all’s well, it’s 34 degrees and sunny in Sydney (sorry, just sort of slipped out…….)
Message from Paul Lake:
What a great thing to do but sorry to say I won’t be able to make it. I was in the UK over Xmas and just could not make another trip so soon. I’m at Panavision in Auckland. Enjoying a wonderful summer (not work) but still missing the old country, snow and all.
Message from Richard Wareham:
Yes I’m looking forward to it with a mixture of excitement & trepidation!
I may have a couple of old photo’s which I could post on the site.
Message from Simon Broad:
Unlikely that I will be able to get there – although it is the day after America celebrates Independence, particularly poignant in an Obama election year – but I passed the link on to others such as Lloyd Saunders who works in our NY camera servicing department. Hope you are having more fun that we are at present. I hold the current SAG negotiators in contempt after so many months of feeling the impact of their actions – or lack of them.
Message from Steve Warne:
If I manage to find any old photos in the loft where should I send? See you at the reunion.
Message from Tony Covell:
I worked at Sammies in the Vicarage with Bill Vickers, Karl Kelly and John Buckley to name but a few. We all became lifelong friends. The years were 1967/8/9. I was a Sammies employee on location on, Under Milkwood; You can’t win them all; Papillon; The Message; Til 1972. I have lots more history of Sid Roberts [sales] Dennis Rosario [stores] I still have a Doris mug!!
Message from Sharon Gold:
Loved the invite !!! really is a great idea !!! Let’s do it whilst we still remember we worked for SFS. By the way when Jon Shepherd contacted me I said tell me what SFS stands for so I know you are the guy I think you are!!! Who would have thought it – SFS – being used as ID!
Message from Mick Donovan:
I remember when I was on the main desk in about 1986 Sammies made a promotional/anniversary film on a Panaglide camera; Michael sitting on the back stairs, looking glum & in Chains, Barry & Guy locked into their office etc. etc. & the soundtrack was Sam Cooke singing “Chain Gang” or similar, good fun though. I just wondered if anybody might know where it might be-if it still exists. If it turns up it might be fun to show it, although I realise you must have your plate full-but you were a good secretary were you not!
I was very sad to read of Michael’s death. I think of the amount of people that he gave their first chance to, untold I should think. I thought he was a bit of a spiv, however that was what I liked about him [I remember Liz Fraser the actress waiting for him on the loading bay with her dog!]. His language could be terrific, especially at 8 am in the morning or when arguing with one of the other brothers, great stuff! I still remember the day he told me I was going into the camera dept. while driving him to the West End in a camera car-he wasn’t fussy sometimes. [I was called Mike in those Days-amongst other things.]
Message from George Gibbs:
l look forward to the party at Elstree. l won two Oscars and three BAFTA`s for films l worked on at Elstree Studios. It has been a lucky Film Studio for many of us in the industry.
Message from Greg Apprey:
“I got onto the website and worked my way through the archive material and laughed my head off! Don’t know what the neighbours thought…..
Message from Maurice Picot:
Look forward to seeing old friends on Sunday 5th July
Message from Harvey Harrison:
Thank you so much for the invitation! Would love to come it will be great to see everyone.
Message from Agis and Renos Louka:
I would love to attend the Sammies Reunion at Elstree. Looking forward to seeing many friends there.
Message from Brian Mason & Dick Sadler:
We are both looking forward to meeting old friends
Message from Derek Lee:
Looking forward to seeing many old friends at the Sammies Reunion 2009.
Message from Max Browne:
Looking forward to meeting up again.
Message from Tim Chester:
Looking forward to the Sammies Reunion.
Message from John Gainsborough:
Thank you for getting in touch about the SFS Reunion, what a good idea. I am sure you will have big response. I recall there were so many people working up there at Cricklewood in the 1980s and there was our little Guild office tucked away to one side but still firmly in the middle of all the activity. I also particularly remember the film club and feeling very privileged to be included as one of the select and tiny audience!
I am looking forward to the Great Reunion.
Message from Roger Watling:
Looking forward to catching up with everyone
PRESS RELEASE FOR – SAMUELSON REUNION 2009
BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!
Friends are reuniting at the up-and-coming Grand Samuelson Reunion 2009 on Sunday July at Elstree Studios.
The company, known as Samuelson Film Service (Panavision), started from humble beginnings in a house in Finchley, and with the expertise of the four Samuelson brothers, Sydney, David, Michael and Tony, it grew to a force to be reckoned with in the rental of motion-picture film equipment.
Staff and people connected with the Samuelsons, are celebrating the many years of working with them and for them, in a ‘one-off’ grand reunion at Elstree Studios. Many of the employees went on to develop their careers and become well-known names in the industry.
The list of invitees reads like a “Who’s Who” of film and television. The day will be packed with film footage of many of those who will be present and no doubt, will bring back memories of a time when film reigned supreme.
This celebration has all the ingredients of a day to remember with friends made over the past 30 plus years. We may be that much older but the camaraderie built up over the time has stayed young and the event will just cement those relationships well into the future.
The invitation is to those people employed by Samuelsons and who had a good connection over the years. Do get onto the website www.samuelsonfilmservice.co.uk to obtain further information. We’re looking forward to seeing you on the 5th July.
© 2023 Samuelson Film Service & Samuelson Reunion All Rights Reserved