Cat no. 1154

On Camera: Gone West Out East

Running time29:27 1966 East Anglia

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The influence of the American bases on the cultural life of East Anglia

Genre:

Documentary

The opening shots show an USAF transport plane landing at Mildenhall. People, mainly military personnel, disembark. The film introduces Airman First Class David Gordon who has arrived in England to serve with the USAF at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk. He is carrying his cowboy boots. There are shots of him walking through the airbase at Mildenhall and then standing outside the base dressed in his cowboy clothes. He explains that he comes from Texas where he is a cowboy. Texas is 170 times larger than Suffolk. The main crops are rice, cotton, corn and cows. David catches a stage coach being driven through the airbase. Aboard are Chris Perry and the Billytones, a Country and Western band. They drive into the forest. Chris Perry, who is also American, explains that he is now a professional Country and Western singer, having previously been in the Merchant Navy. At Toft, the viewer meets Percy 'Tubby' Cousins. He is a butcher and there are interior scenes of his butcher's shop. He visits his horse and introduces his daughter Margaret. She runs a second shop selling English and western saddlery, which Cousins maintains is far better for the horse. He displays a decorated Western saddle. Margaret displays chaps and blankets. 'Tubby' explains that the shop was his wife's before she was killed in a riding accident. It is very important to him. In the woods he joins the East Anglian Wranglers, a group affiliated to the Western Horseman Association. They practise western riding.

In Newmarket we see the interior of a music shop where Pete Sayers, singer and broadcaster, is demonstrating a guitar to three schoolboys. He sings a brief advertising ditty that he wrote when he was living and working in the United States. There are further scenes in the shop and Sayers plays a guitar. In the woods he joins double bassist Alan Smith to play a composition of his own. Sayers plays a zither.

At Ellington Dick 'Lucky' Lockwood, a builder and plasterer. is filmed restoring an old house before saddling his horse, Prince. He explains that his interest in the American West stemmed originally from Western movies in the local cinema. Later, he met an American who had been a cowboy. At the Ipswich Country And Western Club, the 'Sundowners' perform a number on stage. They are all members of the Albin family. Shots of them performing are interspersed with shots of them at work. One leaves school, Carol works in an office, another works in a bank and their father is a building site manager. There are shots of the audience .David Gordon is filmed brewing coffee over and open fire in the woods. He explains that he is 'half Cherokee, half pale face', and demonstrates using a long bow.

At Holland-on-Sea John Richard, the 'Cockney Cowboy,' practises gun play taught to him by his uncle, a Deputy Sheriff in San Antoine, Texas, where the Alamo was fought. Richards works for two organisations. The Old Western Trading Post was set up by his uncle to disseminate accurate information about the mid-west, and Western Saddles of America, a company that sells genuine western equipment. At Wyverstone, a western ranch being built into a theme park by Roy Montana, Reg Whymark calls for the 'Singin' Eights.' There are shots of people square dancing. Dan Packard of the USAF legal team at RAF Bentwaters explains that he only started square dancing when he came to East Anglia. Michael Sahm and his English wife, Myrtle, talk about their love of square dancing. There is a lassoo display and shots around the ranch. Roy Montana explains his purpose.The film ends with David Gordon in the woods, deciding that there are so many cowboys in East Anglia that he'll have to do impressions instead.

Featured People:

Carol Albin; Dan Packard; Hank Albin; Chris Perry; Slim Albin; John Richards; Tex Albin; Michael Sahm; Margaret Cousins; Myrtle Sahm; Percy Cousins; Pete Sayers; David Gordon; Alan Smith; Roy Montana; Reg Whymark

Featured Organisations:

Chris Perry and the Billytones; East Anglian Wranglers; The Ipswich Country and Western Club; The Old Western Trading Post; The Sundowners; USAF Mildenhall; Western Horseman Association; Western Saddles of America

Terry Steele

Douglas Salmon; Nina Powell (assistant producer)

Alan Neale; Lloyd Hobson

Terry Steele

Ian Brown

Bill Scroggie

Cast:

Chris Perry and the Billytones
Pete Sayers
The Swingin' Eights
The Sundowners

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