Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cary Grant in Cardiff

Back in 1961 Cary Grant was in Cardiff promoting his new flick The Grass is Greener, a so-so romance which co-starred Bob Mitchum, Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons.

At the Gaumont Theatre on Queen Street a trailer of the film was shown to a sold-out audience. When it ended Grant himself appeared from behind the curtain. He immediately apologised for not being Ella Fitzgerald (who was also in Cardiff at the time performing) before taking questions from his fans. During the 30 minute interrogation he revealed his fondness for shooting love scenes; and declared that he couldn't think of anyone he'd rather be than... Cary Grant. He went on to stress that everyone should enjoy being themselves and celebrate their uniqueness. What a charmer.

With the applause still ringing in his ears Grant and his wife Betsy Drake headed off to a function at the Angel Hotel. This event attended by the press, local celebs and film people was a less happy affair. After Grant answered yet more questions, what seemed like the whole gathering (80 in number) expressed their desire to be photographed with the Hollywood legend. His congenial demeanour became increasingly strained as people queued up to be snapped with him. The actor barely had time to touch his hors d'oeuvres much less his dry martini. His wife looked on at the undignified circus with a bored expression. By 9.30pm the couple had had enough and headed off for a late dinner.

Bristol-born Grant was no stranger to Cardiff. As a child he often visited his aunt and uncle who lived in Lisvane Street in the Cathays district of the capital.