FEATURES: KENNETH MORE REFLECTIONS – A FAN REMEMBERS…

Kenneth More fan, Carolyn Jones is a research scientist at the University of Manchester, where she still works as an Honorary Research Fellow

Kenneth More fan, Carolyn Jones is a research scientist at the University of Manchester, where she still works as an Honorary Research Fellow

“When I was a teenager, probably about 12 or 13, I saw Genevieve and Doctor in the House at the cinema.  While all my contemporaries were rather smitten with Dirk Bogarde and other leading men, I was enchanted by Kenneth More.

There was something about his rakish personality that appealed to me.  For some reason or another, I wrote to him several times.  I cannot now recall the content of those letters, but in one I must have asked him about the colour of his eyes because he answered my question telling me they were trout’s eyes!

Kenneth More signed photo and response to fan Carolyn Jones

Kenneth More signed photo and response to fan Carolyn Jones

I know that I also wrote asking for photos of him in a Night To Remember and he sent me a card back telling me where I could obtain them.

Kenneth More response card (cover) to fan Carolyn Jone

Kenneth More response card (cover) to fan Carolyn Jone

Kenneth More response card to fan Carolyn Jones. Note this is an address card from the family home he shared with wife Mabel Barkby and daughter Sarah

Kenneth More response card to fan Carolyn Jones. Note this is an address card from the family home he shared with wife Mabel Barkby and daughter Sarah

Kenneth More signed photo to fan Carolyn Jones

Kenneth More signed photo to fan Carolyn Jones

I was so overjoyed when I got replies, and very touched that he would reply personally.  Sceptics told me he would never have signed them himself, a big star like that, but I am sure that he did –  the handwriting matched his printed signature for a start.  What a kind man to answer some stranger in that way, especially a young girl.

In my later years, when I look at those photos and his notes, I am always deeply touched and impressed and count myself extremely lucky. I was so sorry to hear of his death in 1982 and wanted to tell his wife how exceptionally kind her husband had been to me, so wrote a letter of condolence telling her of my experiences as a teenager.  I got a lovely reply back.  I treasure all these mementos of Kenny More, even though I am now well into my 70’s and a grandmother! I think he was a very special person and he will always have a place in my heart.

For me, his best film will always be Reach for the Sky, possibly because I have always loved Spitfires, and I found it so inspirational.  Last July I actually flew in a Spitfire at Duxford –  we looped the loop and did a barrel roll –  it was a dream come true!”

All images courtesy of Carolyn Jones

'Reach for the Sky!' Fulfilling a childhood dream; Kenneth More fan Carolyn Jones gets ready for take off in a 1940s Spitfire at Duxford.

‘Reach for the Sky!’ Fulfilling a childhood dream; Kenneth More fan Carolyn Jones gets ready for take off in a 1940s Spitfire at Duxford.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: A TALE OF A TWO CITIES

Kenneth More on set for his last film performance as Jarvis Lorry in 'A Tale of Two Cities'. Photograph taken by Angela Douglas

Kenneth More on set for his last film performance as Jarvis Lorry in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Photograph taken by and courtesy of Angela More

One of the most unique objects captured in The Kenneth More Preservation Libraryis a little-known walking cane belonging to Kenneth More and used during the filming of his final screen role, as Jarvis Lorry in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

Sir Charles Blake Cochran (known also as C. B. Cochran), was a great impresario of British theatre, producing some of the most successful plays and musicals of the day during 1920s and 1930s. The cane originally belonged to Cochran until his passing when it was bequeathed to celebrated British actress Evelyn Laye CBE. Known to her friends as ‘Boo’, Evelyn is best remembered for her work on the London light opera stage, as well as stateside, appearing in multiple productions both on Broadway in New York and Hollywood, many of which were staged by Cochran.

Evelyn became close friends with Kenneth More and Angela Douglas during the 1960s, along with her husband Frank Lawton. Evelyn later gifted the cane to Kenny on September 20th 1969, only a few months after Frank Lawton had passed away at the age of 65.

In later life, and struggling with the onset of illness, Kenny found the cane invaluable for his balance during the filming of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, so much so it made it into the film as an actual prop for his character.

With Kenneth More’s passing the cane was donated by Angela Douglas to his beloved Garrick Club. It remains on the wall in the club’s lounge to this day.

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Silver top of walking cane with the inscription: Cockie’s Cane. Kenny from “Boo”, September 20 1969. Images courtesy of The Garrick Club

Kenneth More's beloved Garrick Club

Kenneth More’s beloved Garrick Club

Walking cane images courtesy of The Garrick Club. Visit The Kenneth More Preservation Library here