FEATURES: KENNY AND HIS CARS

Kenneth More with his Ford Thunderbird in the 1950s. Still by Cornel LucasOne of Kenny’s pastimes was driving his latest car. He changed it every year for a brand new model and had, over time many of the most popular cars of the day including: a Ford Thunderbird, MG MGA, Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia, a Rolls Royce (tended to by his chauffer, Beint), Mercedes sports coupé convertible, and even a mini.

Angela Douglas: “He loved his cars. He wasn’t the sort to tinker about under the bonnet, he just liked the pleasure of driving a great vehicle. I remember how we drove to the South of France in the Mercedes convertible one Summer. We brought with us one of the very first portable record players which we used to listen to our favourite songs on. His MG coupe was one of his personal favourites and the last he drove” (he was proud to show it off to the media after purchasing it in 1970).
“Yes, it’s a far cry from “Genevieve”! Kenneth More, the
star who trundled to fame in that 52-year-old car, now drives this
100 m.p.h. car of the future. Says Kenneth, “I’m mad about cars.”
He has just finished playing Douglas Bader, in Pinewood’s
“REACH FOR THE SKY.”
Still by Cornel Lucas

Kenny even drove a 1909 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for The Transport Trust’s Cavalcade Of Vintage And Veteran Motorcars event on 11 May 1977, stopping to be photographed outside his home, Bute House in Notting Hill.
Of course to the public the only car he will ever be associated with would be the one used in the London to Brighton run in Genevieve (1953).

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!”

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: POOH, PIGLET, KENNETH MORE & ME – ANGELA DOUGLAS

Kenneth More and Angela Douglas

Kenneth More and Angela Douglas

In the first of a series of articles focusing on digitised items from The Kenneth More Preservation Library, Angela Douglas tells the story surrounding a very special treasure.

“This book is very personal to me. Not so much the story, but the memory attached to it. Winnie the Pooh was one of Kenny’s favourite books growing up and he kept a copy all throughout his adult life. One day by chance we happened to talk on the subject and I replied somewhat timidly how I had never read the story. ‘What? It’s a must!’ Kenny replied. ‘We have to get that corrected!’

Not that long after a copy was presented to me and I have had it with me ever since!

 

“No “Shrimp” can ever go through life without having discovered Pooh, Piglet and co…”

Kenneth More

We had got together the previous year and our love for each other was instantaneous. It had nothing to do with who he was. In fact I remember saying to him ‘you could be Joe Bloggs for all I care!’ He laughed, ‘I am Joe Bloggs!’ From that moment forward this was the name which he chose to sign off cards and mementos to me. You will see that from his dedication in this book. It’s the first time it has been seen by the public.”

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Visit The Kenneth More Preservation Library here

Angela Douglas’ debut novel, ‘Josephine‘ is out now. Find out more here