Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hugh Gladwish

Whilst digging around trying to find information on George Moreno (scroll down if you missed the piece I wrote a couple of days ago) I stumbled upon another name: Hugh Gladwish. He was the artist who produced the covers for TV Comic's first two annuals (1954 and 1955, published in 1953-54). It seems cover art wasn't his only talent.

Hugh Grenham Gladwish was born in St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, in 1927, the second son of Reginald Sydney Gladwish and his wife Ellen Muriel (nee Grenham), who were married in 1923. At the age of 15, he came to London to seek his fortune and began working in the then newly formed cartoon department at Gaumont Picture Corporation. Eighteen months later, David Hand arrived to transform the department into G.B. Animation, which proved a great opportunity for Gladwish to train with some of the top people in the industry.

He then joined George Moreno and British Animated Productions as head of their department producing short cartoons, working on the Bubble & Squeek series until Britisih Animated folded. In 1950 he became Art Director for the Fall of the House of Usher produced and directed by Ivan Barnett and starring Gwen Watford, Kay Tendeter and Irving Steen. He subsequently returned to cartoons as a director for the Film Producers Guild.

In 1963, he joined Associated British-Pathe at the invitation of Harry Field, General Manager of the TV and Advertising Films Division, working on such short films as the Ministry of Transport's Look... Signal... Manoeuvre... (1965) road safety campaign. He won a number of awards.

For Associated British-Pathe he co-wrote directed the movie The Ghost Goes Gear (1966), in which the Spencer Davis Group stay overnight at the posh Rowthorpe Hall, owned by the family of their manager Algernon (played by Nicholas Parsons); before long they're trying to turn the crumbling hall into a tourist attraction by promoting the notion that it is haunted and holding a garden party with performances by Acker Bilk and the Paramount Jazz Band, Dave Berry, The St. Louis Union, The M.6 and The Three Bells.

Gladwish directed a few other popular chart bands when he made Cucumber Castle (1970, written by Barry and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and starring them as princes in a medieval musical fantasy alongside Blind Faith (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood & Ric Grech), Vincent Price and a host of comedians that included Eleanor Bron, Pat Coombs, Julian Orchard, Frankie Howerd and Spike Milligan. It was broadcast on BBC2 on Boxing Day 1970.

By then, Gladwish was running his own company, Hugh Gladwish Film Company, making adverts. He also ran Mister Gladwish and Mister Blair Ltd. with John Blair.

Gladwish never married. He died at his flat in Grassington Lodge, Eastbourne, on or around 28 July 2011, aged 84, survived by a brother, Raymond. His funeral took place at Hastings Crematorium on 8 September 2011.

An inquest was held in February 2012 as Gladwish's body was not discovered until 19 August 2011. The coroner, Alan Craze, recorded an open verdict but noted that letters and a will were found on his desk. "It is a probably suicide but there is not enough evidence to show it," said Craze. Gladwish, an intensely private man, discouraged visitors or phonecalls, even hiding his telephone in a drawer so he could not hear it ring.

The walls of Gladwish's flat were hung with nautical scenes he had painted, but his later years were unhappy as he suffered from health problems and depression which had led him to a previous suicide attempt.

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