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Colleagues: George Richardson – Movietone

George Richardson came to Movietone by an act of nepotism.  Nepotism is not always a bad thing and George was to prove it.

His step mother Miss Mary Holmes, secretary to the Managing Director, Sir Gordon Craig, was also known as Mrs. Mary Richardson.  She was George’s step-mother.

Mary was an astute person and she knew that George had the makings of a good cameraman.  It was she who recommended George to the Movietone management.

Newman Sinclair camera at the Tyneside Cinema – picture ©Colin Gallacher

George joined the company in 1949.  He had recently been demobilised from the Army and had been based for some time in Holland.  George was something of a rarity in that he spoke fluent Dutch.  Of course, he was not able to make much use of it in England, but, on rare occasions, he was asked to act as interpreter.

In the fashion of Movietonews, he was given a camera, probably a Newman Sinclair, and some basic instructions and sent to gather moving pictures.  He proved to be good at it and he was given his first major job as part of the crew covering the Remembrance Day ceremonies of November 1949.

George was always a jovial soul, somewhat overweight and built on the lines of Paul Wyand, although not quite so heavy.    On several occasions, he was in front of the camera in amusing news stories requiring the presence of a slightly overweight character. George served Movietone well for around six years when he, like so many others, left the newsreel in favour of Independent Television News.

His last work for Movietone was in August 1955.

Auricon 16mm Motion Picture Camera with Angeni...

Auricon 16mm Motion Picture Camera with Angenieux Lens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At ITN, George made a name for himself as an ace sports cameraman.   He specialised in cricket coverage.   I worked alongside him in the early seventies when I was filming the one-day internationals for the Prudential and he was working for ITN.  He would use a pro-600 Auricon camera with an Angenieux lens.  He would use a 1,200-foot magazine, with the intention of filming every ball.   In the take-up part of the magazine, he would use  a daylight-loading spool to take up two hundred feet of film.  If, having shot 200 feet nothing of note had taken place, he would open the magazine on the take-up side and remove the spool and discard the film into a bag.  The object of this exercise was to limit the amount of film passing through the laboratory.  It was really a matter of time, Less film, less time.    It was George who was left to decide what went through to the lab.

George developed heart problems and was forced to retire early.

© Terence Gallacher and, 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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For more articles in the Colleagues series click here.

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