This might be the season where most of our thoughts turn to having the possibility of spending time with our friends and Family – but that does not mean however that we have to stop enjoying our favorite genre films. For myself as you most assuredly know all too well with the Saturday Frights podcast it IS the horror genre and it is so VERY hard to top the performances over the years of Sir Christopher Lee in numerous horror pictures. Whether it be The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Devil Rides Out, or The Wicker Man to name a few – it is without a doubt a fact that Lee was a legendary actor. As is often the case, when attempting to research something else entirely, I manage to stumble upon something of great interest that I feel I should share with all of you. In this case it happens to be an episode of This Is Your Life and while that television series began here in the States on radio back in 1948 – jumping to TV in ’52 – this is the BBC version that originally aired on April 3rd of 1974. It is truly a charming episode, giving a brief glimpse at not just Lee’s life in films but an interesting overview of his life up to that point. Featuring Family members as well as even squadmates of the No. 260 Squadron RAF where he served as an intelligence Officer – although he would later serve during World War II as part of the SOE. While I was quite aware of Sir Christopher Lee’s roles in horror films, that is not where I first saw him – thanks to the Movie Channel I was first introduced to Lee in 1973’s adaptation of The Three Musketeers.
In fact the very first colleague to be brought in was one of his co-stars from that movie, none other than Oliver Reed… who I will admit I cannot tell if he’s actually sober. That isn’t a swipe at the actor who was well known to enjoy a drink, I really can’t tell if he’s just having so much fun goofing with Sir Christopher Lee or he might have had a few before filming began. Speaking of The Three Musketeers shortly after Reed appears we get to see a filmed segment from Charlton Heston – who played Cardinal Richelieu. That is only the tip of the iceberg however as you have well wishes from the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. – both Lee and Davis had appeared in a failed TV pilot called Poor Devil. In addition you have The Avengers‘ Patrick Macnee who went to school with Lee – there is also an appearance by three of the legendary actor’s co-stars from The Satanic Rites of Dracula and Dracula Has Risen From The Grave – Joanna Lumley, Veronica Carlson, and Valerie Von Ost. The Third Man‘s Trevor Howard is also a guest on this episode of This Is Your Life but there are two others in my personal opinion that steal the show – one of those is Lee’s lifelong friend… Peter Cushing. Together I believe the two actors managed to appear together in a rather staggering 22 films and even in their brief segment together you can really see the love they possessed for each other.
The second actor I believe who steals the show is the equally late and great Vincent Price – who manages to share a humorous anecdote about a case of mistaken identity, a little gentle poking fun at Sir Christoper Lee’s expense. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy this incredibly charming episode of This Is Your Life with the legendary Sir Christopher Lee!