© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
In which we see how Peter discovers his own sexuality, which has been prematurely awoken by his previous experience of sexual abuse.

Peter also meets a new branch of his family, and his horizons broaden with regular visits to London and the newly developed Heathrow Airport – and Peter has his first real encounter with Death.


This chapter contains text which features 
explicit descritions of adult themes.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
The Easter Holidays may have been overshadowed by the actions of Norman and Jackie, but fortunately there were other events to distract Peter.
Film Projector
Jane and John were inveterate 'film-goers', which was probably a habit that they had picked up in the 1930s.
In the nineteen fifties, despite owning what was then still considered to be quite a luxury, a television, Jane and John still went to the 'pictures', - meaning the cinema, - quite often.
Peter always accompanied them, but of course in the nineteen fifties it was difficult to find films that were not suitable for children. At that time only 'X' rated films were for adults only.
Films of the 1950s were of a wide variety.

'The Robe' - 1953
As a result of television, the studios and companies sought to put audiences back in theaters.
They used more techniques in presenting their films through widescreen and big-approach methods, such as Cinemascope, VistaVision, and Cinerama as well as gimmicks like 3-D film.
'Story of Robin Hood' - (1952)
'The Ten Commandments' - (1956)
Big production and spectacle films perfect for this gained popularity with the many historic and fantasy epics like 'The Robe' (1953), 'The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men', 'The Ten Commandments' (1956), 'The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad', and 'Ben-Hur' (1959).
This spectacle approach, coupled with Cold War paranoia, a renewed interest in science from the atomic bomb, as well as increased interest in the mysteries of outer space and other 'Forteana', lent itself well to what this film decade is best known for, science fiction.

'Them !' - (1954)
'This Island Earth' (1955)
The science fiction genre began its golden age during this decade with such notable films as 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', 'The Thing from Another World', 'The War of the Worlds', 'It Came from Outer Space', 'Creature from the Black Lagoon', 'Them !', 'This Island Earth', 'Earth vs. the Flying Saucers', and 'Forbidden Planet' (1956).
John Crawford was particularly fond of science fiction films, but usually had to go alone, as Jane didn't share his interest.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - (1954)
There were also Earth-based subjects, such as '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (1954) and 'When Worlds Collide' (1951).
The 'pictures', of course, always had a huge impact on Peter, firstly because he was entranced by the luxury of the cinema - cinemas in those days were still 'picture palaces'.
Then there was the quality of the sound, the colour, and - by this time Peter had seen his first Cinema-scope film, - so there was the sheer size of the picture to impress him.

King of the Khyber Rifles
The first Cinema-scope picture that Peter ever saw was 'King of the Khyber Rifles'. The film was in colour, and was filmed with the new Cinema-scope lenses, which produced a picture of exceptional width, which was supposed to produce a 3d, or stereoscopic effect. It did not, of course, but it was a good selling point.
The film in question was set in the late nineteenth century, and centred on the conflict between the British Raj and the Pathan tribes of the North West Frontier. Although the Raj had ended the year after Peter was born, he did not realise that, and for him it was his first taste of the mysterious East - that is East of Suez, and the wonders of India.
Genevieve - (1953)
There were three other films which caught Peter's attention.
There was 'Genevieve', in retrospect a rather boring colour film about the London to Brighton classic cars race. Peter liked it partly because of its catchy theme tune, by Larry Adler, the famous harmonica player, and also because it starred one of his favourite film actors, Kenneth Moore. Now Kenneth Moore attracted Peter's attention because he bore a passing resemblance to John Crawford, and was a reliable, unflappable, caring and thoughtful character that Peter could relate to.

'The Dambusters' - (1955)
Very different in content and style was 'The Dambusters'.
Also filmed in black and white, but with no romantic interest, unlike 'Genevieve' and 'Roman Holiday', 'The Dambusters' was a straightforward account of the bombing raids on the Ruhr Dams.
Starring Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson, and Michael Redgrave as Barnes Wallace, this film described the invention and development of the revolutionary 'highball bouncing bomb' that was used to attack the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams.
The raid was undertaken by a specially formed squadron of Lancaster bombers, which had all been adapted to carry the new type of bomb.
Eight Lancasters and fifty-six British airmen were lost on the raid, and the Germans were quickly able to recover, despite the damage caused to the dams.
Despite this, the raid had a marked effect on British morale at a difficult time in the war, and was remembered for the remarkable ingenuity of Wallace's bomb, and the bravery and skill of the Airforce crews.

Dominion Cinema - Hounslow - 1950s
When Peter was taken to see this film, the Dominion Cinema, near Hounslow Bus Station, was decked out in Union Jacks and Royal Airforce ensigns, and the steps leading up to the circle were lined with uniformed air cadets, standing at attention - and all this obviously this made a considerable impression on young Peter.

In addition, Peter was captivated by the music used in the film, that had been specially composed by Sir Eric Coates.
At that time, however, there was no record player in the house, so Peter simply had to wait for the music to be played on the wireless, (radio), on 'Family Favourites'.
The 'Dambusters' really summed up the attitude of people in Britain at the time of its release.
That attitude was one of nostalgia for what had been in reality a pretty 'gritty' recent past, a pride in Britain's achievements, and a hope for continuing, future greatness
These films helped to shape Peter's perception of the world, but there were still more personal experiences that would have a considerable effect on Peter's development
So, - let us return to that Spring of 1954.
Jane returned from work on that hot afternoon, and Norman and Jackie were polite, helpful and friendly, as only teenage boys can be who are looking to be looked after by a grown woman who is not their mother.
And Peter said nothing, although perhaps he was a little quieter than usual.
And then John came home, and after a bit of banter with the 'boys', he settled down to read his newspaper, and then watch television. And everything was as it should be, except for Peter, and he simply pretended that nothing had happened, and disappeared into that space where he could think of the glittering stars and owls looking in at the bedroom window.

Norman Walker - 1950s
A day or so later Norman and Jackie went back to Newcastle, leaving Peter a very different little boy.
It is doubtful if they realized the significance of what they had done, and when Peter met Norman in future years, Norman gave no sign of even remembering that rough, sweaty afternoon in the warm Spring of 1954.
Peter never saw Jackie again, as shortly after the boys returned to the North of England, Norman and Jackie separated; Jackie going into the Army for his National Service, while Norman, who was excused on medical grounds, became an apprentice to a tailor.
Although Peter never saw Jackie again, the memory of the handsome young seventeen year old remained in Peter's memory, and the image of Jackie, naked and sweaty, stayed burned into Peter's mind forever.
And so the Easter holidays ended, and Peter went back to school, to a new class and a new year, but with the same school friends.
And even to his closest friends; David and John, Peter said nothing. How could he ? He was sure that they would not understand, and anyway he would be too ashamed to go into all the intimate detail.
Unfortunately, however, Peter had been exposed to some of the sexual facts of life, and those facts would not simply go away, no matter how hard he tried to hide his experiences from Jane and John, or his friends.
It is well known that Sigmund Freud was a pivotal force in the development of the concept of childhood sexuality.
His ingenious creation of the theories of the Oedipus and Electra complexes in children, which were mainly designed to explain adult neurotic states, were a breakthrough in the evolution of modern psychiatry.
Despite this, however, it is singularly difficult for individuals to be prepared to admit to having a desire, as children, to have sexual contact with the parent of the opposite sex, and few will even admit to having any sexual feelings, or physical sexual responses before the age of puberty.
Whether our Peter had any physical sexual responses or sexual feelings as a very young child is impossible to say, and his apparent lack of parental figures in his very early years probably means that he did not develop an Oedipus complex, if such a process actually occurs in young children.
Sex, however, must always raise its head at some point in a child's life, and in Peter's case, as we have seen, that occurred very violently and brutally when he was 'abused' by Norman and Jackie.


Regardless of any speculations about Peter's sexual feeling at this stage, there were other important aspects of this unusual boy's life to consider.
By now the 'visitors' had been gone for some time. Peter just seemed to accept this fact, and life seemed to go on as usual. There might, however, have been a reason for their sudden and unexpected appearance in Peter's life at that particular time.
Jacques Vallee
Although Peter had never been able to remember what the friendly young man had talked to him about, those meetings presumably had some purpose, significance and meaning.

John Keel 
Now Jacques Vallee, John Keel and Whitely Streiber have all maintained that the 'visitors' know practically everything about us, and our species. They seem to be able to read our minds, and they know about our past. In addition, they seem to know something of our future – and just in case you start thinking that the future is un-knowable, you should possibly consider Stephen Hawking's latest thoughts on that matter.
So perhaps the 'visitors' had some knowledge or premonition of something that was going to happen to our Peter in the near future, and in some way wanted to prepare him for it, or at least make it more bearable – for as we have seen, something did happen in 1954 that would have many profound repercussions for Peter for the rest of his life.


Spring turned to Summer, and instead of Jane and John taking Peter to the family in Newcastle, the family came to London.
That Summer Mary, Jane's sister, and John Faulkner, her husband, and their children, Jean and 'little' John came for a week's holiday.

While Mary was somewhat disapproving of Peter, there was no real problem with 'big' John, 'little' John or Jean. Jean and 'little' John, however, were a few years older than Peter, but they played together quite happily, and spent a lot of time in Inwood Park on the swings and roundabouts and on the boating pool.
Peter, of course, was completely safe with Jean and John. To begin with they were much younger than Norman and Jackie, and they had been brought up very strictly by their fanatically religious mother, so with these two relatives there was not the slightest hint of sexual play or abuse.
For Peter this was almost certainly a welcome relief, but the experience that he had endured with Jackie and Norman was continuing to effect his subconscious mind, and the result of this would emerge quite forcefully later in the year.
Peter's first 'sexual awakening' had occurred after the end of the Easter holidays, and immediately after that event nothing else very significant occurred.
The Summer, and with it the holidays, came and went, and there were plenty of distractions for Peter; games in the park, the visit by the Faulkner's, trips to the cinema, and the new diversion of television.
At the end of the Summer, as Autumn came and the leaves fell, Peter returned to school.

Now the colder days arrived and the nights began to draw in.
In the sky Orion, the hunter, with his hazy nebula, began to rise in the sky, and Peter watched the shining stars of Orion's belt, and the glittering Pleiades, until the nights became too cold for him to open his window, and point his telescope to the skies.
The Autumn nights became cold and foggy.
Trips to the Library, in Treaty Road, were now made in the dark, with torches to light the way through the smoggy streets.
'The library ?', you may ask yourself, but Jane insisted on weekly trips to the library even though, and maybe because Peter was still having problems with his reading.
As Autumn turned to Winter, thoughts of Christmas and Christmas presents began to dominate Peter's thoughts.
Peter's 155 mm Gun - Britain's
First on the list for that Christmas was a Britain's model of a one hundred and fifty-five millimetre gun, which would be the pride and joy of Peter's vast army of model soldiers.
Christmas duly arrived, with all the magic of dressing the Christmas tree that stood in the drawing room, and trips to the town to look for presents.

Eagle Annual
The fine piece of model artillery duly arrived, along with a new platoon of soldiers and the inevitable 'Eagle Annual'.
There were many other presents, however, and some had been sent from Newcastle because, despite the family's dislike of Peter, they still felt obliged to send presents, as Jean always sent presents to the younger members of their families.


Uncle Dick
Peter was now nine years old, and Winter was turning to Spring.
Over the Easter holidays two new people from the family appeared in Peter's life.
One weekend, close to Easter a huge, two-tone, Ford Zephyr Zodiac pulled up outside fifty-five Pears Road.
Out of the car climbed a short, bespectacled man, in his late forties, dressed in a dark, pinstriped, double-breasted suite and puffing on a cigarette.
This was Richard Crawford - uncle Dick - John Crawford's brother.
Uncle Dick had come south with his brother John in the 1930s looking for a better future.

Dorset House - Eric Gill Sculpture
Dick had managed to get involved in the 'motor trade', and eventually was given a partnership in a garage in Marylebone.
The garage was situated in Dorset House.
Now Dorset house takes up an entire block running from Melcombe Street to Maeylebone Road and Glentworth Street to Gloucester Place.
It was built in 1934-5 in the Art Deco style by the architects T P Bennett and Son, and the consulting architect Joseph Emberton.
Dorset House - Marylebone
The block consists of 185 luxury flats, an underground parking garage and ground floor filling station, a restaurant and 16 shops.
The entrance is flanked by relief sculptures by Eric Gill.
Remarkably it escaped any damage during the war.
This was one of the best places in central London to have a garage. The position was central, and close to Oxford Street and Bond Street, and the inhabitants of the luxury flats were all luxuriously rich.
In the middle 50s, the garage beneath the huge bulk of Dorset House had started to diversify into car hire for American tourists.

London Airport North Side Lounge
Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
At this time the first buildings in the new central area of Heathrow airport were being completed, although many flights, particularly international flights, were still using the older facilities in the North area of the airport (see left).
The huge Boeing 377 Stratocruisers would fly lazily over Pears Road (see right), and land on the North side and disgorge their cargoes of wealthy American tourists.

Ford Zodiac Mk II 1957 - Dash
Ford Zodiac Mk II 1957
These tourists needed transport during their stay in England, and Uncle Dick's garage would provide the nearest thing to an American car that Britain could provide, which at that time was the Ford Zephyr Zodiac, with column change and whitewall tyres.
Occasionally, if the client was particularly wealthy and valued, Dick would deliver or collect the car himself. Of course, Pears Road was on the route between Marylebone and Heathrow, so Dick started calling to see his brother, particularly if his trip coincided with the weekend.
Unlike the other members of the family, Uncle Dick, up until that time, had not met Peter.
Dick, however, was well aware of why Jane and John had adopted a child, as he had been closely involved in the situation that had preceded that event.
Peter was instantly attracted the Uncle Dick, and Richard seemed to be one of the few adults who unhesitatingly accepted Peter.
Richard Crawford was about four years older than John Crawford, and was a very different person from John, although in appearance it was obvious that they were brothers.
Unlike John, Richard drunk and smoked heavily.
He was a 'dapper' man who cared very much about his appearance, and was always dressed in a stylish, double-breasted suit.
Just before John had married in 1937, Richard had married Gladys.
Gladys and Dick were like 'chalk and cheese'. While Dick was straightforward and down to earth, Gladys had come from a wealthy family from Lowestoft, was very well educated, and had a cut-glass accent.

Lets Face the Music - The Fleet's In
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
She was completely captivated by the romantic stars of her youth, and to Peter she seemed to permanently inhabit the world of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Unfortunately Gladys also drank rather more than she should (cider), and in later years became an apparently incurable alcoholic.
Because Gladys and Dick were so dissimilar in outlook and temperament, for Peter to be in their company for any length of time was like watching a first rate, comedy 'double-act', and this made them very endearing.
Joe and Tommy Kane
Gladys' best friend was Peter's 'Auntie' Joe, the nurse who had engineered Jane's abortion - although Peter knew nothing of this at the time. And it was on a visit to Joe's flat in Marylebone, one December afternoon, that Peter first saw the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which was described in the first page of the introduction.
Joe, at the time that Peter first met her, was still having an 'affair', (people now of course do not have 'affairs'), with Tommy Kane; the rather dubious, 'hard-drinking' ex-captain from the Grenadier Guards - but more of Joe and Tommy later.

Heathrow Airport - Queens Building and Terminals 1950s
Because Richard obviously liked Peter, he would sometimes take Peter to Heathrow.
At Heathrow he would hand one car over to some ridiculously rich American tourist, and then pick up a car that had been left by another client on their departure.
So Peter got to see something of the new Heathrow airport - a place which only his friend John, whose father worked for BOAC, had seen.
At that time work was going on apace on the new central area of Heathrow airport, where the Queen's building and the first terminal had been completed.
The trips that Peter undertook with Uncle Dick to the airport opened up to Peter a whole new world – a world very much like that inhabited by Colonel Dare – it was the world of the future.

Vauxhall Velox
The amazing Vauxhall Cresta
Earls Court Motor Show
In addition Peter also got to see and ride in all the most modern and expensive cars that were available at the time.
As a spin off from this, Uncle Dick then started to take Peter to the annual Motor Show at Earls Court,  where Peter could wander around, 'starry eyed', looking at all the shiny new models, and collecting huge bundles of brochures and pamphlets detailing the new cars.

Earls Court Motor Show
For Peter the Motor Show was a magical world, with all the glittering chrome, lush leather upholstery, white-wall tyres, and the newly acquired hint of American styling.
Uncle Dick, of course, knew many of the company representatives manning the stands, and Peter always got to sit in the driving seat and play with the steering wheel, stick-change, cigar lighter and radio on each of the new models.

Then there was the Commercial Motor Show.
Because Uncle Dick was 'in the trade' he got tickets to the Commercial Motor Show as well as the 'regular' Motor Show.

Earls Court Commercial Motor Show
The Commercial Motor Show was not quite so romantic and glamorous as the other show, but their were opportunities to pretend to drive fire engines and ambulances and other very large and powerful vehicles.
So contact had been made once again with John's brother and sister-in -law, and Joe.
Jane then started visiting Joe fairly regularly - maybe once a month.
These visits took place during the week, while John was out at work. Whether John knew about these trips was not clear to Peter.
As such they were 'girls' days out, where Jane and Joe would go to Oxford Street, browse round Selfridges, and then return to Joe's flat for tea, sandwiches and cakes.

Hamleys Toys Shop - Regents Street
Peter was a little bored when looking round the shops, although he obviously enjoyed a visit to Selfridges' toy department or to Hamley's toy shop in Regent's Street.
At the end of each visit, in the early afternoon, Jane and Peter would return to the monumental mass of Baker Street underground station. There, in the station, was Studios 1 and 2.
Baker Street Station News Theatre
This was a very early of a 'multiplex cinema'. Studio 2 was a 'News Theatre'.
Now as far as we are aware, 'News Theatres' no longer exist.
The 'News Theatre' was a creature of the pre-television era.
In the early 50s, while it was not truly a pre-television period, as televisions were becoming increasingly popular, it was still a time when many people without a television were unable to 'see' the news.
While most people could see a newsreel at the regular cinema, the 'News Theatre' allowed them to watch an extended newsreel, along with a travelogue and a few cartoons - probably 'Merry Melodies' and 'Loony Tunes', - and do this cheaply.
Travelogues were an interesting phenomena of the period.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
At a time when only the seriously rich went abroad for their holidays, there was an appetite to see romantic and exotic places in far flung corners of the world, and this appetite was fed by the travelogue.
Sometimes Jane would take Peter to Studio 2 to see the mixed program, which was so much better than the television because of the size of the screen and , of course, the colour.
On special occasions, however, Peter would be taken to Studio 1, which showed such full length films a Walt Disney's 'Fantasia', which featured the music of Bach, Beethoven, Dukas and many other classical composers, and Disney's 'Grand Canyon', which featured the music of Ferde Greoff.
And it was in Studio 1 that Peter's love of classical music was born.

for more original art by Peter Crawford see:

Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben Sharpsteen, it is the third feature in the Disney animated features canon. The film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski; seven of which are performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Music critic and composer Deems Taylor acts as the film's Master of Ceremonies, who introduces each segment in live action interstitial scenes.

The soundtrack was recorded using multiple audio channels, and reproduced with Fantasound, a pioneering sound reproduction system that made Fantasia the first commercial film shown in stereophonic sound.

Grand Canyon is an American short documentary film directed by James Algar and produced by Walt Disney Productions. It won an Academy Award at the 31st Academy Awards in 1959 for 'Best Short Subject (Live Action)'. According to the opening credits, Grand Canyon is "a pictorial interpretation of Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite", much as the animated segments in Fantasia are pictorial representations of music, and the film is strongly related to its soundtrack.
The film has no live actors, no dialogue, and no narration, only musical accompaniment.

 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition.
 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition.
Another reason for visiting London - if only once a year - apart from the Motor Shows was the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition.
This, of course, was mainly for Jane, but Peter enjoyed it as well - and John just went along to open his wallet when something particularly appealed to Jane.
The Second World War meant that the Exhibition was suspended from 1940-1946 but from 1947 onwards it continued to grow, culminating in a huge attendance in 1957 of almost 1.5 million people.
The Show continued to ‘Educate and Entertain’ throughout the decades, and in 1953, the Coronation year, it even featured a two thirds scale copy of the state coach.
The first microwave oven was launched at the Show in 1947 - yes, really !
In 1957 the British housewife still spent an average of 70 hours a week on housework.

1950s Royal Tournament Audience
Even more important than the Ideal Home Exhibition was the Royal Tournament.
The Royal Tournament was the world's largest military tattoo and pageant, held by the British Armed Forces annually between 1880 and 1999.
The venue was originally the Royal Agricultural Hall, and latterly the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
In its later years it also acted as a fundraising event for leading forces charities, such as The Royal British Legion.
The 'Grand Military Tournament and Assault at Arms' was held at the former Royal Agricultural Hall, in Islington from 21 to 26 June 1880.

 Musical Drive
King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery

The Tournament was effectively a series of competitions contested by the officers and men of the regular and auxiliary units of the British Army.
More events to please audiences were added, including music from military bands, re-enactments, 'Musical Rides' by the Cavalry and 'Musical Drives' by the Artillery.
Crowds began to flock to performances at the Agricultural hall; during the early 1900s the show outgrew its home and moved to the west London venue of Olympia.
The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force also participated.
The show was renamed a number of times until it finally received the name by which Peter knew it -  the 'Royal Tournament'.

 Musical Drive
King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery
Royal Navy Field Gun Competition
1950s Royal Tournament
After the Second World War, the Tournament once again moved to a larger stage and opened its doors to the public at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in 1950.
The Royal Tournament had entered the history books as the First, Oldest and Biggest Military Tattoo in the World.
Because of John Crawford's connection with the Army, Peter was always taken to the Royal Tournament at Earls Court - sometimes on more than one occasion.
The Tournament was very traditional, with the same features being repeated every year.
Peter's favourites were the 'Musical Drive' staged by the 'King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery', the 'Royal Navy Field Gun Competition' and the 'Massed Bands of the Royal Marines'.
Peter also loved the exhibition of military vehicles, and equipment that was staged before the Tournament.


Murphy V210C 12" Television
BBC Logo 1950s
After the Coronation television became an important cultural force for many people as the ownership of 'television sets' increased in the general population.
Throughout the fifties, however, Jane and John stuck with their 1953 Murphy V210C 12 inch Television.
Initially there was only one channel - the BBC.
On Thursday 22 September, 1955, a second television channel started broadcasting - and that was ATV. (The company was first known as ABC - Associated Broadcasting Company - but a lawsuit from ABC Cinemas, who later formed ABC Weekend Television, caused the change of name in October 1955).

Rediffusion Clock - 1950s
ATV Logo - 1950s
To begin with, independent television started life in London with Associated-Rediffusion providing the London weekday service, plus ATV providing the London weekend service.
The new, second channel, in contrast to the licence fee funded BBC, was more 'down-market' in its approach, showing 'quiz games', and popular light entertainment shows in order to attract viewers to the channel, and many of these formats, such as Associated-Rediffusion's 'Double Your Money' were imported from America.

'Sunday Night at the London Palladium'
One of the most popular shows was 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium', presented by Jack Parnell, and produced for the ITV network by Associated Television (ATV).
Now Jane, even before she had seen 'Commercial Television' (as it was called at the time), thoroughly disapproved.
This was probably because of the criticism that the new channel received in the press at its inception.
However, Gladys and Dick, in York Street, acquired an appropriate aerial and conversion unit for their television as soon as ATV started transmitting.

The conversion unit was a weird little box that fitted on the back of the television set.
There was only one control on the box, which was a switch.
Turn it one way and your could receive ATV, - turn it the other way and you could receive BBC.
(The BBC aerial was usually 'H' or 'X' shaped, and the ITV aerial was the odd shape seen below the 'X' on the photo on the left. Initially it was imposible to recieve television pictures without an aerial - so it was obvious who did, or did not, have a television).
So Peter got to see the new channel every time he visited York Street.
What was unique, of course, about commercial television was the advertising.
Programs were regularly interrupted by brief advertisements.
Today 'ads' on television are nothing new, but in 1955 they were amazing, fascinating, and probably even effected peoples purchases.
Gibbs SR' Toothpaste Advertisement
The first advertisement ever to be broadcast was an advert for 'Gibbs SR' Toothpaste.
This was transmitted at 8.12 pm on Sept 22 1955during a variety show hosted by Jack Jackson.
The viewers saw a tube of toothpaste, embedded in a block of ice, and a woman called Meg Smith brushing her teeth in the approved manner, "up and down and round the gums".
The immaculate tones of Alex Macintosh delivered the newly-minted slogan: "It's tingling fresh. It's fresh as ice. It's Gibbs SR toothpaste."
The commercial owed its prime placing to chance.
The Gibbs advertisement had come first in a lottery drawn with 23 other advertisements, including those for Guinness, Surf, National Benzole, Brown & Polson Custard and Summer County Margarine.
Now Peter loved Commercial Television.
Some of the adverts appealed to him.

One advert was for Raelbrook shirts.
So effective was this advert that when Peter reached his teens he always wore Raelbrook shirts, and it was only when he was much older, and discovered Yves Saint Laurent and Versace that he stopped wearing them.
Written by Johnny Johnston, the theme was devised when he met Harry Raelbrook, who was just starting up his shirt business. 'I want to advertise on television and I want a jingle. I make shirts.' he said. Johnny said 'What's so special about your shirts ?'. He said 'You don't have to iron them.'
So Johnny sat at his piano and played and sang these seven words - 'Rael-Brook Toplin, the shirt you don't iron'.... repeated three times, and then again in a changed key.
Harry was delighted and said 'That's what I want, don't change anything', and they never did !

Strand Cigarettes Advert - 1950s
Another advert which was not quite so benign was the advert for Strand Cigarettes.
This, you must understand, was in a time when there was no 'Political Correctness' and no 'Health and Safety', and if you wanted to give yourself lung cancer or heart disease, then that was your prerogative, even your right, as long as you paid the tobacco duty to the Treasury.
'Strand' was a brand of cigarettes produced by W.D. & H.O. Wills (part of Imperial Tobacco).
This television advertisement depicted a dark, wet, deserted London street scene in which a rain-coated character, played by Terence Brook, looking similar to Frank Sinatra, lit a cigarette and puffed reflectively.
This was accompanied by an instrumental, "The Lonely Man Theme" by Cliff Adams, playing in the background and a voice-over declared, "You're never alone with a Strand. The cigarette of the moment."
Not only did Peter have an identical coat to the one worn by Terence Brook in his teens, but he also started smoking - not 'Strand', however, but 'Piccadilly'.

'Adventures of Robin Hood' - Richard Greene
Aside from the adverts there were adventure series.
The 'Adventures of Robin Hood' starring Richard Greene was one of the first shows to appear on ITV, and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Peter always loved historical dramas and films, and despite being in black and white, and on a small screen, Peter looked forward to going to York Street and seeing the latest episode.


Dean Martin
One of Peter's favourite songs of this period was 'Memories Are Made of This'.

The most popular version of the song was recorded by Dean Martin.
He was backed by 'The Easy Riders' (who consisted of Gilkyson, Dehr, and Miller), who wrote it.
On the flip-side of the 45 and 78 recording was "Change of Heart" written by John Rox.
Ronnie Hilton
In Germany, titled Heimweh ("Homesickness") and performed by Freddy Quinn and with lyrics by Ernst Bader and Dieter Rasch, the song was 14 weeks at number one, the most successful song of 1956. Worldwide it sold more than 8 million, thus exceeding sales of the Dean Martin version.
Ronnie Hilton (26 January 1926 – 21 February 2001) was an English singer and radio presenter.
According to his obituary in The Guardian newspaper, "Hilton was one of those 1950s vocalists whose career coincided with rock and roll's 1956 onslaught on the ballad dominated hit parade. But for a time Hilton was a star - strictly for home consumption - with nine Top 20 hits between 1954 and 1957, that transitional era between 78 and 45rpm records.
A quarter of a century later he became the voice of BBC Radio 2's 'Sounds of the Fifties'.
One of his most enduring recordings, and a particular favourite of Peter, was "No Other Love".

" a languid tango"
What Peter didn't realise at the time was that the song was originally composed by Richard Rodgers, with the title "Beneath the Southern Cross"), for the NBC television series Victory at Sea (1952/1953).
When Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II collaborated on 'Me and Juliet', Rodgers took his old melody and set it to new words by Hammerstein, producing the song "No Other Love".
The song has a tango rhythm (referred to by Rodgers as a "languid tango" in his autobiography, 'Musical Stages').
Particularly in the original version, which Peter came to love in his teenage years, the melody has a trult magical 'sweep', redolent of romantic, balmy, tropical nights.

Peter's first contact with Elvis was the song 'Love me Tender', - and that was a song that could hardly be described as 'rock and roll'.

Elvis Presley
recording 'Love Me Tender'
'Love Me Tender'
But Peter loved the poignant, sentimental song.
'Love Me Tender' is a 1956 American black-and-white CinemaScope motion picture directed by Robert D. Webb, and released by 20th Century Fox on November 21, 1956.
The film, named after the song, stars Richard Egan, Debra Paget, and Elvis Presley in his film debut.
It is in the Western genre with musical numbers.
Because it was Presley's movie début  it was the only time in his acting career that he did not receive top billing.
The song "Love Me Tender" (recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music), was adapted from the tune of "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), a sentimental Civil War ballad, first published in 1861, with music by George R. Poulton and words by W.W. Fosdick, which became popular with college glee clubs and barbershop quartets, and was also sung at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.


Funeral of George VI
Lying in State - George VI
While Peter knew about death, - after all the King had died just the previous year, - death had never come close to him, except for one occasion, which he then preferred not to remember.
Death, of course, was a factor in his sexual fantasies.
The naked Indians that he fantasized about died in an orgasmic frenzy, but it was not a real death.
The occasion that he tried not to remember was of course his brush with death, as he lay almost suffocating under Norman's brutal assault, and it was that 'brush with death' that had led directly to his later, sexual fantasies.
Of natural death – death from old age – however, Peter knew almost nothing.

Inwood Park
In Inwood Road - the road that ran beside Peter's favourite park – the park from where the owls had come – was the home of Ivy and Harry Turner.
Peter got to know this couple when he was taken on visits by Jane.
On these visits Peter was allowed to play with a huge range of beautiful toys – which was odd as there were no children in the house – and there was a very tragic story behind this strange fact.
Ivy and Harry, who were older that Jane and John, had had two sons. Both boys were old enough to join the navy at the outbreak of the Second World War. Each had been assigned to a frigate, and both frigates had been torpedoed by German U-boats. As a result both boys had been lost at sea.
All that remained was two framed painting hanging either side of the fireplace; one of each of the frigates, and a cupboard and a garage full of toys. Of the boys themselves it seemed that there were no pictures on display, only the ships in which they had served.
Peter had been told the story by Jane, but he had been quite unable to appreciate the enormity of the tragedy.
Ivy, of course, loved to have Peter come and visit, and play with her sons' toys, and Peter loved to play in the garden, while Ivy and Jane talk over old times.

Jane Crawford and Ivy Turner
Jane Crawford and Harry Turner
How the two couples became friends Peter never knew, but later he discovered photographs of Jane and John, and Harry and Ivy on John's boat on the Thames, just shortly after the war, in 1948.

Et in Arcadia Ego
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
So it was in that Summer of 1954 that 'Auntie' Ivy became ill.
Peter was told this because Jane would often go to visit Ivy, but Peter was not take along to play with the toy's in Ivy's beautiful garden.
Gradually, as the Summer turned to Autumn the visits became more frequent, and finally Jane had to tell Peter that there would be no more visits to play with the toys, as 'Auntie' Ivy had died.
It was cancer, although Peter didn't know at the time, - probably brought on by the gnawing grief that would not leave Ivy as she quietly, almost secretly grieved for her two boys.
For Peter it was a shock.

If 'Auntie' Ivy could die, then so could Jane or John, and then what would happen to Peter ?
Would he be sent back to those big white empty rooms, and his beloved rocking horse, or worse, would he be dumped on one of the relatives in Newcastle.
York Street - near Baker Street
The best possibility, for Peter, would be to find himself in Baker Street, with John's brother Richard - and that, as we shall see later, was rather a prophetic thought !
Notice that Peter was not concerned about Jane and John dying, but only about the impact that their disappearance would have on his own life. It was not, however, that Peter was heartless or cruel, but rather that other people, even the people that he called 'mummy' and 'daddy' were not, to him, really real.
One would have though that with 'Aunty' Ivy's death Peter would have also become concerned about the possibility of his own death – but of course that was not the case, because Peter would never grow up, become old or die – after all he would always be a boy, and have fun.
Peter, of course, didn't go to the funeral. Jane, as always, tried to shield Peter from any of the more unpleasant facts of life, be they the facts of sex, death, money or simply life's little annoyances, and so things continued, but without the visits to Inwood Road.
Later, two odd things happened.
The first was that Peter met 'Uncle' Harry on his way to Inwood Park, where he was to play with his friends. Harry had engaged in the somewhat inane conversation that grown ups spout when they meet children. In this conversation Harry had promised that he would give Peter ten shillings, (a considerable sum of money for a child at that time), if he came top of the class. Probably Harry felt safe making this promise, as Jane had not hidden the fact that Peter had problems reading, and was not considered to be very bright. Peter, of course, remembered the promise.
The second odd event was that Harry married a young woman, - young enough to be his daughter – in the New Year.
Jane and John were disapproving, and the friendship with Harry slowly ended. Peter was equally shocked.
For 'Auntie' Ivy to be so quickly forgotten seemed to him to be unforgivable, and this event was one of the first of many that convinced him that 'grown-ups' could not – ever - be trusted.


And so another year ended - and this time in a 'minor key', as 'Death' intruded into Peter's cosy little world.
Christmas came, but it was not quite so merry.
The snow came, but it blew harsh and numbing, and lacked the fairytale sparkle of previous years.
School carried on, but Peter was still looked upon as one of the 'less able children', set aside with a group who were given 'easier work', - that is, effectively neglected.
But Peter also was changing.
That cold winter a dog had jumped on his back in Inwood Park, throwing him to the ground, and lying on him, bringing back memories of when Norman had lain on him, - and so Peter became terrified of dogs – any dog.
In addition he became frightened of being upstairs in a bus. It was not going up the stairs that bothered him, but the coming down.
He was terrified that he would fall down the stairs – although the stairs in the house didn't bother him at all.
Undoubtedly the effects of the abuse that he had suffered were, by then, beginning to show, and the sweet little boy who had come to Pears Road a few years before was slowly dissolving and disappearing in a welter of phobias, as he slowly withdrew from the world – but who was to take his place ?

click below to read Chapter 7
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment