TALKING PICTURES : BETTE DAVIS

image. A new series on BBC TV called TALKING PICTURES is narrated by Sylvia Sims and takes a look back at Tv interviews in the UK of screen stars.

The first 45 minute long  episode featured BETTE DAVIS, and the only other star announced is JOHN MILLS next week.

Of the 4 interviews, I had seen two, but it was interesting to see all of them.
The first one was from 1958 and Bette was interviewed by Derek Bond. They talked informally on the steps of a house, with Bette wearing a mackintosh and hat as a storm seemed to be whirling around them.
Bette was relaxed and smiled a lot. She even called to her 12 year old daughter ‘B.D’ to come and say hello to Derek.
When asked what she would like to do when she grew up, B.D.immediately responded, “I’d like to be a secretary.”

As the rain poured down, Bette folded her arms and said,”Why don’t we go indoors and have some tea.” Which they did and the interview continued.
As usual, Bette ,honest as ever, made trenchant observations – “The only time I have a problem with the camera is if I notice it!”

In 1972 Bette was interviewed by Joan Bakewell at a packed National Film Theatre in London.
Bette answered questions from the audience too.
She described OF HUMAN BONDAGE as the first step on the ladder – On loan to RKO. She laughingly put on a cockney accent and said, “I don’t mind.”

She recounted the story of how Bob Hope introduced her at the annual Warners party as the fourth Warner Brother.
And how she overhead a film executive say she had as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville.
Other comments:
…”They wanted to call me ‘Bettina Dawes’! I refused to be called “Between the Drawers!”

….”In FASHIONS OF 1934, they made me up to look like Garbo – it was sickening, it wasn’t my type…”
“I was a meddler – for my own good – it becomes self preservation.”

In 1975, Bette was on the Michael Parkinson show and Michael couldn’t resist lighting two cigarettes as the band played, “Could it be Wrong”.

Ad finally in 1987, aged 79, Bette walked onto the set of the Wogan show and I remember the shock of seeing a very thin and frail Bette who had suffered a series of strokes. But she was still bright and talkative, plugging her book, “This’n That”.
She expressed regret at not working with Clark Gable or Gary Cooper.
Her other comments:
“…I never lied about my age in my life.”
“….I wanted to play Mary Lincoln but it never worked out.”

Bette died two years later.

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