THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET BBCTV An agent sent me to Ealing film studios to start work on a seven day contract. Well that's good news to me. Better a seven day contract than a day here and there. It's 7:30 in the morning and the 2nd A.D. says '' Go to dressing room five, get into your costume and come back down to make/up'' In dressing room five there's no costume. (has he got the number wrong?) I'm back down again. ''Excuse me, there's nothing in room five for me to wear'' ''It's hanging on the rail, I put it there myself'' ''Ok'' (I'll have another look) As I start to go upstairs, I bump into Terry Greenham a prop man for the BBC. Terry used to get up and sing a good song in some of the pubs I was comparing in. A Tony Bennett style songster ''What are you doing here Aitch?'' ''I'm here for seven days on The Phoenix'' ''Oh you're one of them'' ''Them?'' ''Yea, a South Sea Islander. You're on your own today but tomorrow there's a dozen of you. Plenty of Hula dancing and frightening kids.(Wait till I get hold of the agent that sent me here. (Alf Costa) I find the costume (Grass skirt) and head for the make/up room. Two nice young ladies are covering my face and body with dark brown make/up. Then the hairdresser finds me a big black wig and some earrings and there's talk of putting a bone through my nose. (Art for art's sake etc).
Now it seems the director wanted a tribe of blue eyed South Sea Islanders. On the first take that I'm involved in a small white child is crawling through the jungle undergrowth and lands at my feet. The director pans the camera over my feet and up the length of my body to my face. This is the child's eye line. ''Now say something and frighten her'' He barks. (Now I'm not to up on South Sea talk. We don't get many Islanders in Islington) I'm lost for a second then it comes to me TARZAN ''UMM GOW AHH'' I roar. (It works as she bursts into tears) It took Terry Greenham and co ten minutes to stop laughing. It was a good week.
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