Tuesday 13 July 2010

The wonders of modern technology!

I am steadily making my way through the Lindsay Anderson named correspondence files.  I had a very pleasant day recently cataloguing the correspondence between Lindsay Anderson and Harry Carey Jr.  The son of Harry Carey, Harry Carey Jr. was, like his father, an actor in John Ford's Stock Company.  He starred in ten John Ford's films: 3 Godfathers (1948); She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949); Wagonmaster (1950); Rio Grande (1950); The Long Gray Line (1955); Mister Roberts (1955); The Searchers (1956); Two Rode Together (1961); Flashing Spikes (1962); Cheyenne Autumn (1964).  Harry Carey Jr. (also known as Dobe due to the colour of his hair)  wrote  a memoir of his time as an actor for John Ford Company of Heroes and this occupies a lot of the discussion in the correspondence between Anderson and Carey.  The correspondence starts in 1980 but we know they met earlier than this as there is an interview Anderson conducted with Carey in About John Ford in 1978.  

Insert sent to Anderson by Harry Carey Jr. with copy of Company of Heroes
© Lindsay Anderson Collection, University of Stirling Archives

About John Ford
© Lindsay Anderson Collection, University of Stirling Archives

The reason I said that this was a very pleasant way to spend the day is that Harry Carey Jr. just comes across as such a lovely man - the correspondence between them is warm, filled with reminiscences about John Ford and discussions of his films, but also some very vivid descriptions of Monument Valley and the surrounding areas which are great to read.

The first letter in the file from Anderson to Harry Carey Jr. is dated 6 February 1980 and in it Anderson discusses his latest purchase - a video recorder!  Anderson mentions this is correspondence with a number of people so it's apparent that he was very excited by this new ability to record films from the television and create his own film library.  Here he is filling Harry Carey Jr. in on his purchase:

"We've had YELLOW RIBBON here on TV recently , followed by LIBERTY VALANCE.  I indulged myself in a video-recorder before Christmas - so now I am building up a classic-film library.  So far, besides the aforementioned, I have MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE MALTESE FALCON,  Renoir's LE GRAND ILLUSION, LITTLE CAESAR and PUBLIC ENEMY etc., etc.  Little did I think I would have copies of such pictures of my own, available at the press of a couple of switches.  Modern technology at last pays off!" LA/5/01/2/5/2

Ah, modern technology!  I was going to say it's easy to take this technology for granted but, not having a sky box or any similar thing for recording of the television, and being too lazy to try and tune my video recorder to the TV, I don't take this for granted anymore!  I have to hope that any programmes I miss are on BBC and will be repeated on the iPlayer, or that they are available for hire.  Of course, I could just get myself a sky box or similar technology but that would be too easy, I usually wait at last a few years before catching up with the latest technology.  I'll get an iPhone one of these days but only having got an iPod in the last few years, after years of a personal CD player when everyone else had a minidisc player, and before that years of a cassette player when everyone else had long moved on to CD's I guess I should just accept to being slightly behind the times with personal use of technology!

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