Saturday, 28 January 2017

Eastwood’s UK trip of June 1967

For some time now, I have been collating all of the photos I can find to illustrate Clint’s 1967 visit to the UK. Clint arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on Thursday, June 1st 1967. He was in the UK for a total of 9 days to promote A Fistful of Dollars. It was of course released some 3 years after it was made, due mainly to copyright problems with Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). Most pictures from this promotional tour were captured at Heathrow where it was arranged through United Artists for Clint to be photographed with three beauties from the UA publicity department. These three girls, dressed in cowboy hats, ponchos and toy guns were Sue Melody, Sandra Marshall and Anita McGregor. Sadly, I have never come across any UK newspaper articles which cover this event.

During the tour Clint also stayed at The Albany Hotel on Smallbrook Queensway which is located in the city centre of Birmingham. It is unclear how long Clint was actually in Birmingham, but the two photos here were taken on June 5th, one with his then wife Maggie.

There are also a couple of very famous photos which show Clint holding a silver tankard. In one he appears to be blowing the head off his beer – it’s a strange picture to say the least. Whilst the exact date remains elusive, we do know that these pictures were taken in Manchester.

The last of these pictures is a wonderful photo of both Clint and Maggie Eastwood on their arrival at Cardiff central railway station to attend a special press showing of A Fistful of Dollars. Again, it is unclear of the exact date in June. "When Eastwood arrived at the press screening at the Capitol Theatre, there really wasn't that much media interest. Local paper, the South Wales Echo, did get a shot of a bequiffed Eastwood, and his then wife Maggie, in the back of a car but that was about it. With his DA hairstyle and sober suit he looks like a throwback to the 1950s"
However, it was during this visit that Clint gave an interview to a 24 year-old BBC Wales journalist named John Humphrys. The interview has become something of a classic clip now, and is also included here.

I’ve always been fascinated with this visit, ever since I saw one of the Heathrow photos in Iain Johnstone’s book The Man with No Name, first published in 1981. Should anyone have any other additional information on this promotional tour I would love to hear about it and to add it here to this piece. 
Below: Clint visits Birmingham
Below: Clint has a beer in Manchester
Clint pictured in St Peter's Square, Manchester 12th June 1967 if this date is correct, it suggests that Clint's visit was longer than the 9 days stated above or that his arrival date is wrong...
6ft 3 Clint Eastwood pictured in St Peter's Square Manchester with Antony Rixon aged 18 months
Below: Clint in Cardiff, Wales
Below: Clint interviewed by John Humphrys

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