Monday, September 4, 2023

Janet Munro: Crawling Eyeballs and Darby O'Gill

She was born Janet Neilson Horsburgh, on September 28, 1934, in the seaside resort of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. 

Her father was Scottish comedian Alexander Neilson Horsburgh, known professionally as Alex Munro.

Her mother was Phyllis Robertshaw Horsburgh, who passed away when Janet was seven-years-old.
Her father was "On-the-Road" entertaining and his daughter went wherever he went. 

On July 13, 1958, the "Chicago Daily Tribune", in an article entitled, "you'll love Janet Munro", told this quote from the actress about traveling with her father.

during the war he was head of entertainment for the RAF and I went along with him wherever he happened to be. We entertained the troops. I wore kilts and sang. My voice was even smaller than I was but the boys didn't seem to mind – I was a bit of baggage from home.

After traveling for three-years with her father, who wanted his daughter to become a permanent part of his act. Instead, ten-years-old Janet went to live with her aunt and uncle. After her father remarried,  Janet came to live with the him and his wife Lilias. 

Again in the "Chicago Daily Tribune" article, Janet Munro said:

I never had any doubt as to what I wanted to be

After finishing school, the young would be actress, went to work in a shoe shop. Then joined a local repertory theatre group as a messenger, and from the same article, she:

learned as I went along, playing bits, and by the time I was 17 I was stage manager for the company.


I could not locate any stills from the BBC's, 45-minute, live broadcast, on November 15, 1954, of Dodie Smith's, 1948, novel, "I Capture the Castle", Janet Munro, portrayed the leading role of "Rose Mortmain". The broadcast was performed on the stage of the "Oldham Coliseum Theatre", in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England.

For the next three-years the young actress appeared on stage and, next, made her first on-screen appearance in the "Welwyn Films Ltd.'s", comedy, production of "Small Hotel". The motion picture starred British actor Gordon Harker, whose father, stage set painter Joseph Harker, was the source name for author Bram Stoker's, "Jonathan Harker", in "Dracula". Gordon worked on both the stage and starting in 1921, motion pictures.

Janet Munro had fifth-billing portraying "Effie Wriggler".

Above, Janet Munro with Gordon Harker.

Sometime during 1956, I haven't been able to determine the exact date, Janet Munro married actor Paul Anthony "Tony" Wright. I know they were on their honeymoon in Paris, on January 15, 1958, but could not determine why it took so long to have it. Apparently, below is a photo of the two in Paris on the above date, they would divorce sometime in 1959.


Next, Janet found herself in three productions on "ITV Playhouse". For those unfamiliar, "Independent Television (ITV)", free-to-air public broadcast television, was launched in 1955, to reduce the, then, monopoly of the established in 1936, "British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)".

Munro was sixth-billed in "One of Us", broadcast on November 15, 1957, she was ninth-billed in "Pickup Girl", December 6, 1957, that also featured Percy Herbert, and Andre Morell, and her last appearance was with sixth-billing in "Lace on Her Petticoat", February 21, 1958.

One of the viewers of "Pickup Girl", was Walter Elias Disney, who tested Janet Munro at the end of 1957, and signed her to a five-year contract.

On June 22, 1958, Janet Munro appeared, with 11th-billing, in "Trial By Candlelight", on the British anthology series, "Armchair Theatre". 

THE TROLLENBERG TERROR released in London, on October 7, 1958

Above the only British poster for "The Trollenberg Terror" with the "Cert X", I could locate, no one under 16-years-old was permitted to see the picture in the United Kingdom. I wanted to check with, if there was some question using the poster. However, it appears to be an unreachable website as of this writing.

In the United States the motion picture was known as:

THE CRAWLING EYE released in the United States on December 31, 1958

Note: Janet Munro's name appears on the poster for "The Trollenberg Terror" in Second Position, but is absent from the poster for "The Crawling Eye". Also, I was able to see the feature film in the United States without restrictions and I was 12-years-old.

There are three uncredited writers to create the story, Giles Cooper, George F. Kerr, and Jack Cross. There is one credited writer, Peter Key, he was the writer of the original "ITV" six-part mini-series, "The Trollenberg Terror", December 15, 1956 through January 19, 1957.

The actual motion picture screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster. Sangster had written for this feature's production company, "Eros Films", main competition, "Hammer Films", 1956's, "X-the Unknown", 1957's, "The Curse of Frankenstein", and 1958's, "Dracula (Horror of Dracula)".

The motion picture was directed by Quentin Lawrence, who was also the director of the "ITV" mini-series. In 1956, just before the start of that mini-series, Lawrence directed another "ITV" mini-series, 1956's, "The Strange World of Planet X". Which was turned into another 1958, science fiction - horror movie of the same name, starring American actor Forrest Tucker. Quentin Lawrence did not direct that motion picture version.

The Main Cast in British Billing Order:

Forrest Tucker
portrayed "Alan Brooks". Besides the motion picture version of the mini-series, 1956's, "The Strange World of Planet X", in 1957, he co-starred with Peter Cushing, in "The Abominable Snowman (The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas"), which was adapted from the "BBC", 1955, mini-series, "The Creature".

Laurence Payne portrayed "Philip Truscott". Payne had portrayed "Philip Truscott" in the original mini-series. From 1967 through 1971, Payne portrayed the extremely popular British detective, created back in 1893, "Sexton Blake", in the "ITV" television series.

Jennifer Jayne portrayed "Sarah Pilgrim". As the time of this pictures release, Jennifer Jayne was portraying the wife of "William Tell", "Hedda Tell", in the "ITV" series.

Janet Munro portrayed "Anne Pilgrim".

Above the sisters, Janet Munro and Jennifer Jayne.

Warren Mitchell
portrayed "Professor Crevett". Character actor Mitchell had just been seen in the British television series "The Larkins", and followed this feature film with a role in the comedy motion picture, 1958's, "Girls at Sea", starring British actor Guy Rolfe.

Three mountain climbers are on the Trollenberg in Switzerland, (actually there is a mountain named  the Trollberg, with an elevation of 2,598 feet in Switzerland. Trollenberg is a town in Freudenstadt, Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttember, Germany) and one of the three is a head of the other two. Suddenly, he screams and falls off the Trollenberg still attached to his rope. The remining two climbers pull him back, only to discover his head is missing.

The scene quick cuts to a train racing through the Swiss countryside, inside one compartment are "Anne" and "Sarah Pilgrim" on their way to Geneva. Also, in the compartment in American "Alan Brooks". As the train passes the Trollenberg, "Anne" immediately faints falling into "Brooks's" lap across from her sister. 

When she regains consciousness, "Anne" now insists the two sisters must get off at the next stop, that neither have ever been too, the village town of Trollenberg. "Alan" makes arrangements for the sisters to stay at the local hotel, but sitting at the bar is "Philip Truscott". He reacts to the sisters name, attempting to remember why it sounds so familiar? Additionally, two men, a professional climber and guide, "Brent", portrayed by Andrew Faulds, is taking to his client, "Dewhurst", portrayed by Stuart Saunders, about an overnight hike up the Trollenberg. They leave, as "Truscott" now places the sisters with a psychic reading act, that seemed not to be faked, and mentions that to "Brooks". 

"Alan" takes the cable car to the observatory and meets "Professor Crevett". The professor shows "Brooks" the placement of a radioactive cloud on the Trollenberg and speaks to other events that makes "Alan" remember a similar incident in their past in the Andes. 

That night, the two climbers have reached the base camp and settle in. While the sisters demonstrate "Anne's" psychic ability at the hotel.

Back at the base camp hut, "Dewhurst" is asleep, back at the hotel, "Anne" switches from what she and "Sarah" are doing and starts speaking of two men in a hut on the Trollenberg. 

"Anne" is seeing "Brett" hearing something outside, watches as he goes to investigate in what appears to be a cloud-like-mist, suddenly "Anne" faints. 

"Alan" goes to the phone and calls the hut, waking "Dewhurst", who tells him that "Brett" isn't there. "Dewhurst" reacts to something outside, tells "Brooks" to hold-on, screams, and the connection is lost.

A rescue party including "Brooks" and "Truscott" go up the mountain to the hut. "Anne" in another trance-like-state, witnessed by her sister and "Professor Crevett", is telling the rescue party to stay away from the hut. At the hut, the rescue party finds everything, including the phone lines, frozen solid. 

Inside is the frozen solid body of "Dewhurst", but without his head. "Brett" is nowhere to be found and a search for him with the additional assistance of an airplane is conducted. The pilot of the plane informs two of the searchers that he has spotted "Brett", the plane leaves, while the two searchers arrive at the location given to them. The first searcher finds a rucksack with a severed head inside, but is immediately attacked and killed by "Brett". As is the second searcher who has come upon the two men.

Later, back at the hotel, "Brett" staggers in, claims he has been lost on the mountain. It is noticed that his coordination is off. He misses pouring a drink into a glass, and lighting a cigarette that he needed help in just putting in his mouth. 

"Anne" appears coming down the staircase from her second floor room, "Brett" sees her, and attacks the young woman with a knife. "Brett" is stopped by "Alan Brooks", and suffers a major head gash, but there is not one drop of blood coming from it. "Brett's" body is taken to a cellar room and locked within it.

Back, upstairs, "Alan Brooks" tells "Truscott" the story of the Andes. There was an old woman with psychic abilities like "Anne Pilgrim". She was killed by a man acting exacting like "Brett", except it was determined the murderer had been dead for 24-hours, before he attacked and killed the old woman. 

Checking on "Brett", the hotel owner makes a mistake and the other is able to escapes the cellar room with a knife.

"Brett" goes upstairs to kill "Anne Pilgrim". 

"Alan" appears and shoots "Brett" with a pistol actually killing the reanimated body. Upon examination, "Brett's" skin appears crystalized and starts rapidly decomposing in the heat of the hotel. "Alan" is told the cloud has started to move, the Andes again, down the mountain toward the hotel. The villagers are told to evacuate by the cable car to the safety of the observatory. "Hans", portrayed by Colin Douglas, refuses to go and drives off in the hotel's car.

The last cable car is about to leave, when a mother realizes her daughter isn't there, and "Alan" gives them instructions about how long to hold the car for him. Seeing the cloud reaching the hotel, he returns to find the woman's daughter.

As the little girl is reaching for her ball, "Alan" arrives and the doors across from him break off their hinges and a giant eyeball with tenacles is staring back. 

"Alan" grabs the little girl, makes it back to the cable car, the car leaves as the cloud starts to enter the cable car building beginning to freeze the cable. The car makes it to the observatory and "Alan" meets with "Crevett" and learns the cloud has split into five smaller clouds.

"Hans" arrives and is let in, "Anne's" psychic ability warns her that "Hans" is dead and under the alien's control. She goes into another room to hide from him, but that doesn't work. A scream alerts "Brooks" and "Truscott". and they grab "Hans" and "Alan" stabs him. "Truscott" comforts "Anne" and it is obvious there is a budding love between the two.

"Alan" calls the British government and a plane is being sent to drop napalm on the aliens. Meanwhile, Molotov cocktails are being made under "Alan's" direction. "Truscott" takes a Molotov cocktail outside and throws it at one of the aliens, but is caught by a tentacle from another.

"Brooks" throws another Molotov at the creature and it lets "Truscott" go. 

The two get inside the observatory as the plane arrive and starts its bombing run.

The alien invaders are burned to death and the people inside the observatory come out.

Janet Munro next found herself in a 1958, no month or date available, drama from "Associated British-Pathe" entitled "The Young and the Guilty". 

The only description of the screenplay I could locate comes from IMDb:
'The eighth deadly sin is to see evil where none exists ...' So young schoolboy Eddie Marshall believes. The son of an ambitious mother who believes she married beneath her, and a father considered stupid and selfish by his nagging wife, Eddie has always found peace and satisfaction in his studies. And then he meets Sue - shy, dreamy and well-to-do - a fellow pupil at his school, and the two fall deeply in love. Each day they write long, poetic letters, but when Sue's father finds and reads one of the letters he immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.


Above, it appears to be Edward Chapman portraying "George Connor", with Andrew Ray portraying "Eddie Marshall", and Janet Munro portraying "Sue Connor".

Janet Munro ended 1958, with a December 21st appearance once again on "Armchair Theatre", the production was entitled "The Deaf Heart" and she had moved to co-starring with Paul Rodgers.



What does both "Universal Pictures", 1931, "Dracula", and "Frankenstein", along with the studios 1932's, "The Mummy", and "United Artist's", 1952's, "The Red Planet Mars", have to do with Janet Munro?


The screenplays for those four motion pictures were co-written by the playwright John L. Balderston, author of the 1926, time traveling play, "Berkeley Square". For those that I may have pique their interest, my article is,
"John L. Balderston: Writing Classic Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Screenplays", found at:

"BERKELEY SQUARE" was shown as part of the "Hallmark Hall of Fame", in the United States on February 5, 1959. Some sources state this was a "BBC" production, which it could have been, because "Hallmark" was known for acquiring other companies’ programs to be shown in the United States and Canada. The basic story, again from IMD is:

Peter Standish (John Kerr) travels back in time to 1780's London, switching places with his ancestor, Peter Standish. There, he meets the Pettigrew family, who lives in the house he will eventually inherit from a distant cousin. Peter arrives to be engaged to the eldest daughter, Kate Pettigrew (Jeannie Carson). Over the next few weeks, he experiences the daily activities and living conditions of an unromantic Victorian England, much to his disappointment. During this time, Peter alienates and frightens Kate, her mother and brother by knowing future events he should not know. However, Peter has fallen in love with the Helen Pettigrew (Janet Munro), who returns the feelings. Peter travels back to his proper time, just before his engagement to Kate dissolves and he changes the future.

 Unfortunately, there are no stills that I could locate from this production, but then there was:


DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE premiered both in London, England, and Dublin, Ireland, on June 24, 1959

After the Second World War and during the first four-years of the 1950's, Walt Disney was forced to film motion pictures in the United Kingdom. Not to say that was a bad thing, but the problem facing Disney and other major American studios in 1950, was double income taxes. They all had pre-Second World War money in British banks that remained in them gathering compound interest. 

To get those funds out of the British Banks, Walt Disney would have had to pay taxes on the money. To bring the money into the United States, Walt Disney would have had to pay taxes on the same money after paying British taxes. The solution was to use that money to make motion pictures in the United Kingdom with British crews and actors. A movie was not a taxable item by the American "Internal Revenue Service, IRS"

Walt would make four-movies, starting with 1950's, "Treasure Island", their story is part of my article, "Walt Disney's Four British Tax Feature Films (1950 to 1954)", found at:

In 1958, Walt Disney wasn't going to spend money in the United Kingdom, but he would bring in some inexpensive British actors to Burbank, California, to film his movie set in Ireland. The majority of the motion picture was filmed in Canoga Park, California, 17-miles from his Burbank Studio.

Walt Disney's choice for director was Robert Stevenson. Prior to this motion picture, Stevenson had directed among other feature films, Boris Karloff's, 1936, "The Man Who Live Again", co-written by John L. Balderston, the 1937 version of author H. Rider Haggard's, "King Solomon Mines", starring Sir Cedric Hardwick and Paul Robeson, the 1941 version of "Back Street", starring Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullivan, and Richard Carlson, the classic 1943 version of Charlotte Bronte's, "Jane Eyre", co-written by Stevenson and Aldous Huxley, starring Orson Welles, and Joan Fontaine, and for Walt Disney, both 1957's, "Johnny Tremain", and "Old Yeller", and later, 1961's, original "The Absent Minded Professor", "Mary Poppins", and 1971's, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks".

Albert Sharpe portrayed "Darby O'Gill". Shape was a member of the "Abbey Players (aka: The Nation Theatre of Ireland)". His first motion picture was as an "Irish Lord", in the Deborah Kerr and Trevor Howard, 1946, "I See a Dark Stranger". This was the 13th of Shape's 14-motion picture appearances.

Above, Albert Sharpe speaks to "King Brian Connors", portrayed by Jimmy O'Dea.

Janet Munro
portrayed "Katie O'Gill".

Sean Connery portrayed "Michael McBride" and sings too. The second actor to portray Ian Fleming's, "James Bond", had just portrayed one of four villains in 1959's, "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure", starring Gordon Scott. 

The year before Sean Connery portrayed Fleming's "007", on British television he portrayed both William Shakespeare's, "Macbeth", with Zoe Caldwell portraying "Lady Macbeth", and "Alexander the Great", in a British television production. 

For my reads surprised by my calling Sean Connery the "Second James Bond". The history behind the character and that first "James Bond" appearance, will be found in my article, "Ian Fleming's 'James Bond' 'Casino Royale' Times Three", found at:

Above, Sean Connery and Janet Munro.

Kieron Moore portrayed "Pony Sugrue". His early work included third billing in the Vivian Leigh and Sir Ralph Richardson's, 1948 version of Russian author Leo Tolstoy's, "Anna Karenina", and portraying "Heathcliff" in a 1948, television production of British authoress Emily Bronte's, "Wuthering Heights". 

Kieron Moore is known for his science fiction films, 1956's, "Satellite in Sky", co-starring a pre-Miss Moneypenny, Lois Maxwell. He also co-starred in 1960's, "Crack in the World", with Dana Andrews and Janette Scott, 1961's, "Dr. Blood's Coffin", co-starring Hazel Court, and of course, 1963's, "Day of the Triffids", with Janette Scott as his wife. 

"Darby O'Gill" and his daughter "Katie", live in the small Irish town of Rathcullen, and "Darby" is the caretaker for "Lord Fitzpatrick's", portrayed by Walter Fitzgerald, estate. However, he is "retired", without his daughter's knowledge, and replaced by a young Dubliner named "Michael McBride", hired by "Lord Fitzpatrick", below. 

"Darby" gets "Michael" to reluctantly agree to be introduced to "Katie" as his assistant. Which will lead to the start of a quarreling romance between "Michael" and 'Katie", that neither realizes is happening.

Meanwhile, the main subplot has "Darby O'Gill" attempting to capture "King Brian Connors", the leader of the local leprechauns. Which has everyone in the village thinking he's a little touched in the head.

Chasing what he believes is "Lord Fitzpatrick's" horse, Cleopatra, which isn't real, but a pooka, a ghost image, "Darby" is captured by "King Brian" and taken to the leprechaun's mountain lair, Knocknasheega. This is part of "King Brian's" plan to help his friendly enemy, by preventing "Katie" from discovering the truth about "Michael" and her father. However, this creates a problem for "Darby", as he can't ever leave Knocknasheega.

"Darby" tricks the leprechauns into opening the entrance to their mountain home by playing "The Fox Chase", a song that the "Little People" love, on "King Brian's" Stradivarius.

"Darby" fully expected "King Brian" to come after him and challenges the diminutive King to a drinking game with a jug of poitin, a traditional Irish distilled beverage, and with the rise of the sun, has captured the now powerless, "King Brian". Because "Darby" has caught him, "King Brian" grants him three wishes and suggests he can grant him four, but the old caretaker had a run in with "Brian" before, and knows if he uses a fourth wish, he forfeits the first three.

"Darby's" first wish is for "King Brian" to stay by his side for two-weeks, or until he uses all three wishes. He wants "Michael" to see "King Brian" and accidently makes turns that request into a wish, but all the other sees in a rabbit in the sack "Darby O'Gill" has the captured "King Brian" in. As the leprechaun king remains his friend that he didn't say he wanted "Michael" to see him as he really looks like.

"Pony Surgrue", the town bully wants "Michael's" job and "Katie O'Gill" for himself. His mother, "Widow Sheelah Sugrue", portrayed by Estelle Winwood, now tells "Katie" the truth about her father and "Michael".

"Katie" very angrily confronts her father and "Michael". 

When Cleopatra actually gets loose, "Katie" chases the horse to Knocknasheega, but doesn't come home. "Darby" finds his daughter near the mountain with a very high fever. A banshee appears and summons the death coach, the Dullahan, to take "Katie's" soul.


"Darby" uses his third wish to trade places with his daughter in the Dullahan. Inside the coach, "King Brian" confronts "Darby" and tricks him into wishing he could have him as company in the afterlife.

The fourth wish forfeits his other three, and "Darby" returns to his daughter and her recovery.

"Michael McBride" confronts "Pony Sugrue" at the pub and humiliates him. Leaving "Michael", with "Darby's" approval, to actually fall in love with "Katie".

THIRD MAN ON THE MOUNTAIN released November 10, 1959


Director, Ken Annakin, also directed Walt Disney's, 1952, "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men", 1953's, "The Sword and the Rose", and after this feature film, 1960's, "Swiss Family Robinson". He directed and co-wrote the very good comedy, 1965's, "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours and 11 minutes".

On the above photo of the book cover, is the name of James Ramsey Ullman, who was both a writer and mountaineer. His book, "Banner in the Sky", is a fictional story based upon the first climbing expedition to reach the peak of the Matterhorn. Another of Ullman's novels was "The White Tower", that became a very good 1950 motion picture starring Glenn Ford, Claude Rains, Lloyd Bridges, and Sir Cedric Hardwick.

Michael Rennie
portrayed "Captain John Winter". Rennie started appearing on television, January 23, 1959, and would appear through August 27, 1965, as "Harry Lime", in "The Third Man", based upon the character created by British author, Graham Greene. Fans of science fiction movies know Michael Rennie as "Klaatu", in director Robert Wise's, 1951, "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and he would also portray British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "Lord John Roxton", in producer Irwin Allen's, 1960, version of "The Lost World". For those of my readers interested in Hollywood religious movies, Michael Rennie portrayed "Peter", in both, 1953's, "The Robe", and the first CinemaScope movies sequel, 1954's, "Demetrius and the Gladiators".

James MacArthur portrayed "Rudi Matt". For Walt Disney, he had just appeared in 1958's, "The Light in the Forrest", he followed this movie with Disney's, 1960, version of Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Kidnapped", and also in 1960, "Swiss Family Robinson". On September 26, 1968, James MacArthur first portrayed "Danny Williams", on televisions original "Hawaii Five-O". The role lasted through April 5, 1979.

Janet Munro portrayed "Lizbeth Hempel".

James Donald portrayed "Franz Lerner". Donald was appearing on both United Kingdom and United States television programs. However, his film roles include, "Theo Van Gogh" in 1956's, "Lust for Life", starring Kirk Douglas, "Major Clipton" in 1957's, "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Lord Egbert", in 1958's, "The Vikings", starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernest Borgnine, and in 1963, James Donald portrayed "Ramsey, The SBO" in "The Great Escape".

Herbert Lom portrayed "Emil Saxo". Lom is an excellent character to actor and among his work is the British classic black comedy, 1955's, "The Lady Killers", starring Alec Guinness, director King Vidor's 1956 version of Russian author Leo Tolstoy's, "War and Peace", portraying "Napoleon", stop motion animator, Ray Harryhausen's, 1961, version of French author Jules Verne's, "The Mysterious Island", portraying "Captain Nemo", and Hammer Films, 1962, misguided version of French author Gaston Leroux's, "Phantom of the Opera". My article, "Herbert Lom: His Motion Pictures", can be explored at:

Laurence Naismith portrayed "Teo Zurbriggen". Like Herbert Lom, Laurence Naismith was an excellent character actor. He was a "Police Desk Sergeant", in the British, 1952, Bela Lugosi comedy, "Vampire Over London (Mother Riley Meets the Vampire)", he was "Matt of the Mint", in 1953's, "The Beggar's Opera", starring Sir Laurence Olivier portraying "Mack the Knife", Naismith was "Dr. Bosman", in 1956's, "Lust for Life", he portrayed "Captain Edward John Smith", in 1958's, "A Night to Remember", the true story of the sinking of "RMS Titanic". As for horror and science fiction, Laurence Naismith was "Doctor Wales", in the original version of British author John Wyndham's, "Village of the Damned", in 1960, for stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen, Naismith was "Argos" in 1963's, "Jason and the Argonauts", and was "Professor Bromley", in 1969's, "Valley of Gwangi". 

Most descriptions of the Walt Disney motion picture, "Third Man on the Mountain", describe the movie as simply the story of a boy who wants to climb the mountain that killed his father. He joins an expedition led by "Captain John Winter", based upon the real life, Edward Whymper, who was the first climber to conquer the Matterhorn. In Ullman's book and the Disney movie, the Matterhorn had become the Citadel. "Rudi Matt" is almost at the peak, but "Emil Saxo" is injured and instead of completing the climb, to every one's surprise, he insists on helping "Emil" back down the mountain. "Captain Winter" returns to the town and informs "Rudi" it is his banner that they planted as proof of the Citadel being conquered. In front of the townspeople, that had called all of them, including "Rudi", heroes, "Lizbeth" kisses him to let the town know who she plans to marry.

Trivia: After seeing the completed motion picture, Walt Disney ordered the construction of a Matterhorn ride of some kind at "Disneyland".

Janet Munro was borrowed from Disney by the British company "Fanfare", actually George H. Brown Productions, and appeared as "Amanda", in a vehicle for Tommy Steele, 1959's, "Tommy the Toreador", that premiered in London, on December 21, 1959. Steele is regarded as "Great Britain's First Teen-Rock-Idol". For Walt Disney, Tommy Steele was second billed between Fred MacMurray and Greer Garson, in 1967's, "The Happiest Millionaire", the following year. for "Warner Brothers-Seven Arts", he co-starred as a leprechaun in "Finian's Rainbow", with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark.

Above, Janet Munro in "Tommy the Toreador.

SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON premiered on December 10, 1960


The novel was written by Johann David Wyss, and first published in 1812. 

The motion picture, as I previously mentioned, was directed by Ken Annakin.

Sir John Mills portrayed "Father Robinson". He had just co-starred with Sir Alec Guinness in 1960's, "Tunes of Glory", and would follow this feature with a western, 1961's, "The Singer Not the Song", co-starring with Sir Dirk Bogarde.

Dorothy McGuire
portrayed "Mother Robinson". In 1957, McGuire had portrayed the mother in "Old Yeller". She had just been seen in the drama based upon the William Inge play, 1960's, "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs", and followed this feature film by co-starring with Troy Donahue and Connie Stevens, in 1961's, "Susan Slade".

Above, Sir John Mills and Dorothy McGuire.

James MacArthur portrayed "Fritz Robinson". MacArthur was guest starring on different television programs at the time of this motion picture.

Janet Munro portrayed "Roberta".

Sessue Hayakawa portrayed "Kula - Pirate Chief". Japanese actor Hayakawa, who was a leading man in silent films and the 1930's, is known more to my readers for portraying "Colonel Saito", in producer/director David Lean's, 1957, "The Bridge on the River Kwai", and "Mr. Sikita", in Jerry Lewis's, 1958, "Geisha Boy".

Tommy Kirk portrayed "Ernst Robinson". In 1957, Kirk co-starred in the two "Hardy Boys" mysteries on "The Mickey Mouse Club", also for Walt Disney, he was "Travis Coates", in 1957's, "Old Yeller", and in 1959, he portrayed "Wiby Daniels", who turned into the original, "The Shaggy Dog". Tommy Kirk followed this feature film with the original, 1961, "The Absent Minded Professor".


Kevin Corcoran portrayed "Francis Robinson". In 1956, he portrayed "Moochie O'Hara", on "The Mickey Mouse Club", in the "Further Adventures of Spin and Marty" and in 1957, "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty". While back in 1956, he was "Moochie McCandles" in "Adventures in Dairyland". Also in 1957, Kevin Corcoran portrayed "Arliss Coates", in "Old Yeller". He also portrayed "Moochie Daniels" in 1959, "The Shaggy Dog", and starred in Walt Disney's, 1960, "Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus", and just before this picture he was "Jimmy Bean", in 1960's, "Pollyanna".

The crew of the ship carrying the "Robinson" family is attacked by pirates, the remaining crew abandons it, leaving the passengers, the "Robinson's", alone as a fierce storms breaks. The family was heading to a colony in New Guinea, like many, escaping Napoleon's army.

The family and the ship's captains two Great Danes, miraculously make in to the sandy beach of an apparently uninhabited island. 

The father, and his two oldest sons go to the ship wreck to salvage the livestock and any supplies they can find. The pirates are seen heading toward the island, but the father puts up a disease quarantine flag and the pirate ship continues away from the island. The family decides to build a treehouse for safety, because among the animals on the island is at least one tiger.


"Fritz" and "Ernst" circumnavigate the island in a homemade outrigger searching for others. 

The boys come across the pirates with two prisoners, a ship's Captain and his cabin boy. 

The two attempt a rescue, the pirates spot them, but the Captain refuses to go, saying save the cabin boy, as the pirates intend to ransom the Captain. The brothers and the boy flee the pirates into the jungle and through a swamp.

The brothers discover that the cabin boy is really the granddaughter of the Captain, "Roberta". Whose hair was cut short by her grandfather so the pirates wouldn't know. 

The three are able to make it back to the treehouse just in time for Christmas.

Anticipating the pirates will come looking for "Roberta", the family scuttles the wreck of their ship, they fortify a rocky cliff top and plant booby traps for the pirates. While, "Fritz" and "Ernst" become revivals for "Roberta". Who believes that once ransomed, her grandfather will return to the island for her, and she plans to return to London. Where "Ernst" wants to go to school, while his brother, "Fritz", wants to continue to New Guinea and build a future for himself.

"Father" declares a holiday be held, the tiger was captured in a pit they had dug, and a race is to be held. The boys and "Roberta," riding various animals are ready, the starter pistol is fired, but the pirates hear it.

The pirates land, the family and "Roberta" go to the fort and the advancing pirates fall victim to the booby traps.

The pirate captain sends some men behind the six defenders, but gunfire erupts from a British ship off shore and the pirates and their ship are both destroyed. It is "Roberta's" grandfather returned as she hoped for as Captain of the ship.

 Her grandfather offers to take "Ernst" to London and get him into a university, and take the rest of the "Robinson" family back to England, or New Guinea. "Father" and "Mother" decide they would rather stay on the island and keep "Francis" with them a few more years. The Captain/Grandfather speculates the island would become a new British colony with the "Father" as governor. "Fritz" and "Roberta" decide to remain on the island and the family waves good-bye to "Ernst" on the British ship.

1961 started out with another "Hallmark Hall of Fame" entry, "Time Remembered", February 7, 1961, based upon a play by playwright, Jean Anouilh, that had starred Helen Hays as "The Duchess" on Broadway in 1957. In her United States debut was Edith Evans portraying the "Duchess", Christopher Plummer portrayed her nephew, "Prince Albert", and Janet Munro portrayed "Amanda". The story has "Prince Albert" mourning the loss of a ballerina he was in love with and his aunt, the "Duchess", recruiting a young milliner, "Amanda", to take his mind off his loss. Of course, the two fall in love.

Janet Munro was next in her last feature for Walt Disney, actually a two-part-program for the television series "Disneyland". It was designed as another vehicle for " Mouseketeer Annette Funicello", released as a feature film in the United Kingdom and other countries to negative reviews.

THE HORSEMASTERS part one, "Follow Your Heart", on October 1, 1961, part two, "Tally Ho", on October 8,

The television-movie was shot in England and both Annette and Tommy Kirk were sent ahead to learn the English style of riding. 

Annette portrayed "Dinah Wilcox". She had just portrayed her second character on Walt Disney's television program, "Zorro", and would next portray "Mary Quite Contrary", in Disney's version of composer, cellist, and conductor's, operetta, "Babes in Toyland". 

In her autobiography, co-written with Patricia Romanowski Bashe, in 1994, "A dream is a wish your heart makes: my story", Annette describes the way she was treated by director William Fairchild, writing that he:
would refer to me dismissively as 'the Disney girl' and make unflattering comments about me. Of course he was not the first and would not be the last to take a dislike to me because he felt I was Mr. Disney's 'pet'.

Tommy Kirk portrayed "Danny Grant". Kirk had just been seen in Walt Disney's, 1961, "The Absent Minded Professor", and followed this production with 1961's, "Babes in Toyland". Both Kirk and Annette attempted to break away from their Walt Disney images and would meet again in another of Annette's "Beach Party" films without Frankie Avalon, 1964's, "Pajama Party". For those interested in the story behind the "Beach Party" phenomena, my article is, "THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW MEETS THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI: The Story of the BEACH PARTY Motion Pictures", so catch a ghostly wave at:

Janet Munro portrayed "Janet Hale". The clearest picture I could locate of her is on this "Dell Comic Book's" cover.

Basically, a group of international riding students have come to an exclusive British riding school for a very intensive 16-week course. "Dinah Wilcox" is fighting her fear of jumping, because of an accident her mother suffered. While, stern riding teacher, "Janet Hale", is trying to figure out how to finally get her student's respect. 

The film is notable for having the first song, "Strummin' Song", written by the Sherman Brothers for Walt Disney.

Above, Janet Munro and Millicent Martin portraying "Joan". Below, Janet Munro and John Fraser portraying "David Lawford".

Janet Munro now found herself with first billing as part of an underrated, but outstanding British science fiction company.

THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE first released in the United Kingdom and Denmark, on November 23, 1961

The motion picture was produced, co-written, and directed by Val Guest. For those who are unfamiliar with Guest, he started producing films in 1952, but started screenplay writing in 1935, and directing in 1943.

Any list of intelligent British science fiction motion pictures which Val Guest both co-wrote and directed include 1951's, "The Quatermass X-periment (Creeping Unknown)", 1957's, "Quatermass 2 (Enemy from Space)", 1957's "The Abominable Snowman (The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas)", and 1970's, "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth".

The co-writer of the screenplay was Wolf Mankowitz. Mankowitz was a playwright, screenplay writer, and novelist. For "Hammer Films", he twisted Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" into "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (House of Fright)", by reversing the physical appearances of the two main characters. He was one of the writers for 1962's, "Dr. No", and the main writer for the excellent "James Bond" spoof, 1967's, "Casino Royale".

Janet Munro portrayed "Jeannie Craig". 

Leo McKern portrayed "Bill Maguire". McKern was a member of the "ITV" acting company. Among his roles are "Clang", in "The Beatle's", 1965, "Help!", "Thomas Cromwell" in director Fred Zinnemann's, 1966, "A Man for All Seasons", and "Number Two", in Patrick McGoohan's, "The Prisoner", television series. 

Edward Judd portrayed "Peter Stenning". Until this motion picture, Edward Judd was mainly a television actor, but between his appearances on the two television programs, "Sixpenny Corner", and "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot", Edward Judd was the "Second Soldier", in 1956's, "X-the Unknown". In 1964, he had sixth-billing in the overlooked Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, and Russ Tamblyn, "The Long Ships", and starred in stop motion animator, Ray Harryhausen's version of British author Herbert George "H.G." Wells', "First Men in the Moon". He also co-starred with Peter Cushing in 1966's, "Island of Terror".

A solitary man walks the empty streets of London, he is "Peter Stenning" a newspaper reporter.


He hears an announcer state it is 19-minutes before countdown. "Stenning" walks into an empty newspaper office, picks up a phone, and starts to dictate his story.

The screenplay now goes back several months to tell "Stenning's" story of what happened. 

The audience is back in the newspaper office, but it's crowded with activity. "Peter Stenning" had a future until his wife divorced him. He is now drinking too much, and his editor isn't giving him major stories to follow-up upon. His only friend is a veteran Fleet Street reporter, "Bill Maguire". 

There seems to be two main stories to cover that day, one about a flood and one about another nuclear bomb test set off 10-days earlier by the United States. In short, the scene looks like any normal news day for those in the newspaper office. "Peter" is on the phone to a contact in the Home Office inquiring why there seems to be a lot of problems with electrical equipment all over London?

Then a story comes in, the Soviet Union set off a nuclear bomb that was stronger than the one set off by the United States. That in itself might not be out of the political norm of 1961, but the unexpected,  is that the Soviet atomic bomb was set off at the exact same time as the American bomb.

There are the expected nuclear disarmament demonstrations throughout London, but once more there is the unexpected. Strangely, a lunar eclipse happens days earlier than it should have occurred. The British government's explanation of the early eclipse makes no sense. Over the next few days, it becomes obvious that the temperature in the United Kingdom is going up. By the end of the month, many more countries are reporting rising temperatures that have no explanation for the occurrences. 

"Peter" is sent to the British Meteorological Office to obtain temperature data, and meets "Jeannie Craig", a typist reassigned as a telephonist. They trade cute insults and will fall in love.

Next, there are a series of cyclones in Great Britain and around the world. In confidence, "Jeannie" tells "Peter" that the double nuclear bomb tests have thrown the earth eleven-degrees off its axis. "Peter" doesn't hold "Jeannie's" information in confidence, but writes and prints the story.

London experiences a strange mist that rises to four-stories in height.

There is mass rioting, "Jeannie" is arrested, and the government issues a statement that this is not the end of the world. However, it becomes evident to many scientists and just ordinary people, that the earth is spiraling out of orbit toward the sun.

Water is rationed and the Thames dries-up!  

"Jeannie" is released and she joins "Peter", "Bill" and others in a bar. All awaiting the result of the plan to set-off a series of nuclear bombs at precise locations within Siberia, to bring the earth back onto its original orbit around the sun.

Two versions of the front page of the newspaper are prepared. One says, "World Saved", the other "World Doomed". The picture ends without specifically telling the audience which front page is published. What the audience does hear are the words of "Peter Stenning":
So Man has sown the wind - and reaped the whirlwind. Perhaps in the next few hours, there will be no remembrance of the past, and no hope for the future that might have been. All the works of Man will be consumed in the great fire out of which he was created. But perhaps at the heart of the burning light into which he has thrust his world, there is a heart that cares more for him, than he has ever cared for himself. And if there is a future for Man - insensitive as he is, proud and defiant in his pursuit of power - let him resolve to live it lovingly; for he knows well how to do so. Then he may say once more: Truly the light is sweet; and what a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to see the Sun. 

The original Val Guest film just ends!

There is nothing about which front page was used. There are no closing titles, or music, after Edward Judd finishes the speech, the movie just goes to black. 

However, in the United States the ringing of church bells were added to the sound track to let the audience know the earth was saved. 

On May 13, 1962, Janet Munro made her third appearance on "Armchair Theatre", in the "Girl in a Bird Cage". I could not locate what the story was about and the actress had 4th-billing in an all-women cast.

Not coming to the United States until 1966, but earning Janet Munro a "British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFA)" nomination for "Best Actress" was:

LIFE FOR RUTH aka: WALK IN THE SHADOW released on August 30, 1962

Above the original British poster with the original title, below, the 1966 release in the United States, under the new title, and note the repositioning and billing of Patrick McGoohan.


Michael Craig portrayed "John Paul Harris". At the end of 1961, Craig portrayed "Union Captain Cyrus Harding", in stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen's version of French author Jules Verne's, "The Mysterious Island". Craig had 3rd-billing in director Robert Wise's box office failure, the musical biography of British entertainer, Gertrude Lawrence portrayed by Julie Andrews, 1968's, "Star!", but found his place in British television dramas.

Patrick McGoohan portrayed "Doctor James 'Jim' Brown". From 1960 through 1961, McGoohan was on the "ITV" series, "Danger Man", portraying John Drake. The series would be revived from 1964 through 1967 as, "Secret Agent", with McGoohan, again, portraying "John Drake". Between the two-versions, Patrick McGoohan had appeared in Walt Disney's, 1963, "The Three Lives of Tomasina", and a favorite of mine, "Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow". For one season, 1967 into 1968, produced by McGoohan, portraying "Number Six", was "The Prisoner".

Janet Munro
portrayed "Pat Harris".


Above, Janet Munro with Michael Craig, below, Janet Munro with Patrick McGoohan.

When "John Harris's daughter is badly injured in a boating accident, the hospital tells him she will need a blood transfusion. His religious beliefs are against the procedure and she dies. The inquest over the death clears "Harris" of any responsibility. "Doctor Jim Brown" now seeks the police to charge the father with manslaughter.

On September 30, 1962, in the "Armchair Theatre" production of "Afternoon of a Nymph", Janet Munro co-starred with her future husband, Ian Hendry. The story is set in one afternoon and the audience meets a "budding actress" and the men that try to manipulate her.

Above, Janet Munro portraying "Elaine", and Ian Hendry portraying "David Simpson", below Janet Munroe and Patrick Holt portraying "Rodgers".

Ian Hendry was the original star of the "ITV/ABC" television series, "The Avengers", portraying "Dr. David Keel", for 26, 1961-episodes. There was a workers strike, he left for motion pictures, and the number two actor, Patrick Macnee's, "John Steed", became the star.

The British gossip columns went to work.

On February 16, 1963, Janet Munro and Ian Henry were married.

In the early 1960's, Janet Munro and her husband, Ian Hendry purchased a riverside home, bottom of picture from the air, on Pharoah Island.

BITTER HARVEST released on October 10, 1963

This was an example of a late 1950's and early 1960's, British Cultural Movement in the cinema, to depict "angry working-class Briton's" called "Kitchen Sink Drama". The screenplay was based upon a 1932 novel, "The Siege of Pleasure", the second volume of the trilogy, "20,000 Streets Under the Sky", by Patrick Hamilton. Actually, Anthony Walter Patrick Hamilton, an English playwright and novelist. The three novels are considered autobiographical. 

The screenplay by Ted Willis focuses on a young working class woman.

Janet Munro portrayed "Jennie Jones", a character completely opposite her Walt Disney image that she was still thought of in the United States.

John Stride portrayed "Bob Williams". This was only his fifth on-screen appearance and only his second feature film. Stride's previous motion picture had him portraying Kenneth More's son, in the 1960, Second World War naval story based upon British author "C.S. Forester's, "Sink the Bismarck!". 

Alan Badel portrayed "Karl Denny". Badel would join Ian Hendry, co-starring in the sequel to 1960's, "Village of the Damned", the excellent, low-keyed, 1964, "Children of the Damned", and he portrayed French author Alexander Dumas's, "Edmund Dantes", in a 1964, 12-part television mini-series of, "The Count of Monte Cristo".

The screenplay opens with "Jennie", returning to her London apartment late one night. In a rage she starts to destroy everything within it. She throws her expensive purse, her equally expensive gowns, and her keys into the street. 

The flashback begins:

"Jennie" is a working-class young woman, living in what was once a prosperous mining town in Wales. She works in her father's run-down general store and dreams of an imagined, glamorous life, in London. However, "Jennie's father now informs his daughter that he wants her to move to Cardiff to live with her aunts, to "Jennie", a deeper dead-end than Wales!

In Cardiff, "Jennie" and her girlfriend, "Violent", portrayed by Barbara Ferris, are walking through town and meet two well-off older men, "Andy", portrayed by Terence Alexander, and "Rex", portrayed by Richard Thorp. The two men take the girls to a fashionable bar and club and they start drinking. "Jennie" passes out in "Andy's" car, wakes up naked, having lost her virginity without any remembrance of the act, in the men's apartment, and has permanently estranged herself from her father by staying out all night.

She goes to "Andy's" club, but he never shows up and "Jennie" befriends the kindly barman, "Bob Williams". Which is not to the liking of the barmaid, "Ella", portrayed by Anne Cunningham, who has her own sights set on "Bob".

Not wanting to go back home, "Jennie" reveals to "Bob" that she's pregnant, and accepts his offer of help. "Jennie" moves into "Bob's" flat and on his wages, he supports both of them, planning to marry her.

However, she soon becomes bored with domestic life, accepts an invitation from "Bob's" actor neighbor to go to a party in honor of producer "Karl Denny". "Jennie" convinces "Bob" to give her a large amount of money to buy a proper upper-class-dress, goes to the party, and meets "Denny", When she doesn't return to the apartment, "Bob" goes to "Denny's" apartment, finds a drunken "Jennie", they argue, she reveals she was never pregnant, doesn't like "Bob", and surely doesn't want to marry him.

The film will end, returning to the opening apartment scene, with the police called there, because of the noise "Jennie" has been making destroying the apartment. They enter it, find "Jennie" dead from a drug overdose. She has a diary full of phone numbers and the police conclude she was very promiscuous. The police remove her body and place it in an ambulance. On the street, "Bob" and "Ella", now a very happy couple, are almost hit by the ambulance carrying the body of "Jennie", completely oblivious who is in it.

"Bitter Harvest" was not a success, but is listed by many reviewers and in several biography pieces as Janet Munro's first motion picture giving the actress first billing, completely overlooking "The Day the Earth Caught Fire".

In 1964:

Janet Munro co-starred with Ian Carmichael and Curd "Curt" Jurgens in the action crime drama, "Hide and Seek", released on March 11, 1964, in New York City. 

On March 15, 1964, Munro co-starred with Ian McKern, in the comedy, "A Jolly Bad Fellow (They All Died Laughing)", also released first in New York City.

Released in December, 1964, in the United Kingdom, Janet Munro was in the cast of the feature film, "Daylight Robbery

In 1965:

Janet Munro
did take one-year off to care for her daughter, Sally.

In 1966:

Janet Munro appeared in "The Running Man", December 30, 1966, on the television series, "Vendetta".

In 1967:

On February 15, 1967, on "Thirty-Minute Theatre", Janet Munro co-starred in "Turn Off If You Know The Ending".

In 1968:

Janet Munro had 5th-billing in the feature film, "Sebastian", released January 24, 1968, in New York City, starring Sir Dirk Bogarde, Susannah York, Lili Palmer, and Sir John Gielgud. The motion picture was filmed in 1967.

"The Admirable Crichton", starring Bill Travers, his wife actress Virginia McKenna, and Janet Munro, was released first for United States television on May 2, 1968.

On October 2, 1968, "ITV Playhouse" showed the production "Premiere: Flower Dew", and Janet Munro was in the cast as "Dr. Constance Morris".

Another television drama, "Cry Wolf", followed in December 1968.

In 1969:

The youngest of the Bronte Sisters, Anne, had written the 1848 novel "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall". On December 28, 1968, Janet Munro starred as "Helen Graham", in the "BBC" mini-series that ended with episode four, on January 18, 1969.

In 1970:

Janet Munro took the year off to care for her new born daughter, Corrie.

Below is a photograph taken on September 20, 1970, of Janet Munro Hendry, her husband, Ian Hendry and their two daughters, Sally Fiona Hendry, born in 1964, and Alexandra Currie "Corrie" Hendry, born in 1970. The photo was taken at their Golders Green, London, secondary home.

The above photo disguises the reality of their life together. In an interview, Val Guest told Steve Swires, in "Starlog No. 163, February 1991, that:

Janet's life was a disaster... [she] didn't become an alcoholic until she met Ian. She tried too hard to keep up with him.

In the "East Anglian Daily Times", Steven Russell in his March12, 2013, article about Ian Hendry, "Suffolk: the actor 'who should have been a star", also speaks to the turbulent life style of Hendry and his alcoholism that changed Janet Munro's life style.

 In 1971:

Janet Munro had 4th-billing in "The Piano", on the television series, "Play for Today", January 28, 1971.

In December 1971, Janet Munro and Ian Hendry's divorce became final! Hendry did not challenge any other the charges Munro had made.

One-year later, on December 6, 1972, Janet Munro was dead at the age of 38!

Her death was a heart-attack caused by chronic ischemic heart disease. 

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Lionel Atwill: The Legitimate Stage, Classic and Not So Classic Horror, and "Sherlock Holmes"

His name was Lionel Alfred William Atwill, and he was born into a wealthy family, on  March 1, 1885, at 2 Upton Villas, South Norwood,  in C...