Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stanley Morgan's tale : Part 1

As promised, here is Part One of a story emailed by Stanley Morgan, see photo.

I've added some links but, after much searching, have failed to find a picture of Morton Lowry who died in San Franciso nearly 20 years ago.

"Dear Anne,
Your smoke-belching Spanish fuse box brought back a vivid memory - and a torrent of empathy.
A quick anecdote, if I may.
In 1959 I was cast in a film titled 'The Sleepwalkers' (how apt that turned out to be!) to be shot in Portugal. In the month of December I travelled to Lisbon accompanied by a veteran British actor, Morton Lowry, a likeable soul who had tons of greasepaint but not a single practical cell in his ageing body.
The weather was appalling. Required to stay overnight in a Lisbon hotel, Morton got nicely sploshed on vino and fell off the tall stool in the hotel bar. I put him to bed.
At 4am I was awakened by a battering on my door. It was Morton, telling me he'd gone down to the bar for a 'nightcap' and on return discovered his room, his luggage, and all his possessions had 'disappeared'. He was terrified. I managed to calm him and eventually found his room, and possessions, on a floor different from the one he'd reached after his 'nightcap'.
The following afternoon and into the blackest night imagineable, in torrential rain, we travelled by train in a southerly direction, to a location we had never before heard of.
(It turned out to be Portimao, now extremely well-known). Morton managed to consume a quantity of beer en route, and he, at least, arrived happily at 9pm.
We were met by the producer's assistant, aged seventeen, and driven to a large, unoccupied villa located, from the close roar of the pounding sea, on a cliff edge. Suddenly, there were Morton and I, abandoned, in this creepy, cold, practically unfurnished house. What to do? Go to bed.
We each chose a room, said goodnight. I tested the rock-hard straw mattress, wondered how life could possibly get worse.
And then it did.
The lights went out.
Utter blackness.
A wail from Morton's room. 'STAAAAANNNN!!'
Fortunately, Morton was a smoker and possessed a box of matches! It contained six.
It took five matches to locate the fuse box, set in a wall in the cellar stairwell. I opened the cupboard. Eureka! A stub of candle. We lit it with our last match.
Smoke drifted from the fuse box. I could see the reason immediately. Littering the floor of the box were lengths of wire - no, not fuse wire- electrical cable of varying thicknesses. Someone, obviously as practical as Morton, had experimented with different colours and had decided brown would be nice.
I chose the thinnest wire, managed to peel off the insulation, and wrapped it around the terminals. Shoved in the fuse. Flicked down the switch.
I think Morton cried.
In a state of euphoria we mounted the stairs, reached our rooms, turned to say a relieved goodnight.
And the lights went out.
I think Morton cried.
May you and your husband dwell in a smoke-free zone eternally.
Best wishes - Stanley"

Part 2 of this adventure to follow.


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