The Shadows Move – the 1930s

Alas, although Dyer’s idea had been quite sound, and they believed it to be a ‘sure fire’ hit, they had overlooked one significant point. The characters, the stories and backgrounds were excellent, and even the muted results of the Dunning 2-Colour System were tolerably acceptable, but no one had anticipated the effect that the ponderous beat of the verses would have on the action. Holloway’s lugubrious delivery of the lines of the monologue worked perfectly well on stage and radio; but when the artists came to animate the Sergeant walking ‘on the beat’, they found they needed 48 drawings to complete each steps The pace was pedestrian in both senses of the word, though many cinemagoers preferred it to the frenetic pace of imported productions.

“At least in the opening sequences we show we can get a move on”, said Dyer apologetically, “And we are improving with every new production”.

‘ALT, WHO GOES THERE was followed by SAM’S MEDAL, BEAT THE RETREAT, DRUMMED OUT and l½ D A FOOT. The latter involved Sam as a carpenter holding out for ‘three-ha’ pence a foot’ when Noah came to him to buy the wood with which to build his ark.

Through no real fault of Dyers, the series failed to recoup expenses quickly enough to satisfy Nettlefolds Accountants. They advised their employer to cut his losses and pull out. THE LION AND ALBERT had just been completed, but was never released. Acknowledging that no blame could be laid at the studios door, Nettlefold allowed Dyer to keep all of the studio fittings. And the studio personnel, perforce reduced in numbers, stole away to set up camp in the Riverside Studios at Hammersmith. There they concentrated on advertising shorts under the name: Conquest Films. Because their production costs were covered by their sponsors, this new venture prospered. A series for Bush Radio was followed by a series advertising Rinso washing powder, and there were many more individual productions.

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Sam and his Musket

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1½ D a Foot

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