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Colleagues: Pat Wyand – Movietone

Photo of Paul Wyand’s Wall camera courtesy of the Tyneside Cinema.

Pat Wyand was the younger brother of cameraman Paul Wyand.    He joined Movietonews in March 1934 as a sound recordist. He claimed that he became a location sound engineer after only three weeks training.  Like other sound engineers at Movietone, he was called into the Royal Navy, but his departure would have meant that Movietone had no soundman in London.  It is thought that the Ministry of Information stepped in to prevent him going. He worked as a sound engineer in the Sound Department within Movietonews. He became a sound mixer whereby he would operate the equipment to re-record the music and commentary for the newsreel.

Flight Of The White Heron

In 1954, he worked on the sound tracks of “The Flight of the White Heron”.  This film was shot in CinemaScope and stereophonic sound.  The requirements of stereo sound had seldom been done before and never at Movietone.  Pat Wyand was one of the sound engineers who prepared tracks for subsequent recording on to the four magnetic tracks of the film.

He was a personal friend of mine and when I told him that I was intending to return to England after a few years in Australia, he wrote to me in May 1960:

Dear Terry,

Many thanks for your letter, sorry about the delay in replying, I hope you got my card which should have explained the reason.  Unfortunately I don’t know the Italian for Australia or did I send it from France ?  No matter.

Hope the addition to our already overpopulated globe arrived on time without undue hardship to your wife.  I expect you bit your finger nails right up to the elbow, but boy ! you just don’t count on these occasions.  God bless the women for being women and saving us all the fuss and bother..

The newsreels (Pathe and MT) are surviving the storm.  They now rank as “quota” and that should encourage more bookings.  The firms are now entitled to “Eady” money. Also a help, but you may be sure the union will swallow that up in wage demands.  Sir Gordon has packed up – David Samuelson and Reg Sutton leave next month – so one by one  the old hands go – shan’t be very sorry if I have the opportunity to joining ‘em, but when you are 50 – jobs aren’t easily come by and I’ve left it a bit late.

There is no possibility of transferring your “card” from Australia, but you should bring, if possible, a recommendation from your Australian Union for presentation to A.C.T.T. Nothing can be done until you arrive in England but Bert Craik, the newsreel organiser, says, off the record, that there should be no difficulty in you getting into A.C.T.T. at all.  With your record, I should think you’ll be quite O.K.  Don’t be too inclined to write off Movietone too quickly – you may be pleased to get a job there, even if only to tide you over a sticky period.  Although our editorial staff is fairly static at the moment, there have been many comings and goings over the last two years and maybe you could fit in for a while so that you could get your breath back !  I understand  that it is not yet necessary to have a ticket to get a position with the B.B.C., but you don’t just write in for that, it’s quite a performance in itself.  Anyway they are short of editors, especially in places like Manchester, so I’ve no doubt you can land something somehow !

Best wishes,

Pat.

His correspondence kept me up to date with the happenings in Movietone during my absence.  He helped me to make up my mind to return to Movietone once back in England.

He became Chief Sound Engineer on the retirement of C.P. (Pat) Sunderland in 1967.   Before retirement, he was appointed Assistant Manager of Movietonews.

© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For more articles in the Colleagues series click here.

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