To say this year has been awful is probably a massive understatement, the world has been turned upside down, most of us are just getting by and wondering what tomorrow holds
The hobby as we know it has all but disappeared and whatever autographs we have obtained have been produced from sterile environments that take the human side pretty much out of it
I have waited until Xmas eve to post this latest set of graphs as they have a somewhat special meaning to me
Some of you know me will already be aware that my dear old dad passed away in Xmas day of all days thirteen years ago tomorrow
He was ill for a long time so tomorrow is always a day for reflection, but not sorrow as my dad loved Christmas and would have gated people being sad.
So without dwelling on such sad times to long, this brings me on to today’s signatures
Pamela Mann Francis came to my attention a few years back, due to the interest I share with a close friend Phillip Gross.
What started as an Initial curiosity at who is that lady in those photos, led to a good year of searching, and fruitless Journeys, that resulted ultimately in me actually making friends with Mrs Mann’s daughter Suzzana, who I’m honoured to say has become a very valued friend
I know some of you guys like to know the job titles etc on the people I post, especially the background guys so a little bit about Pamela Mann Francis and her involvement in the Star Wars franchise
Pamela was a continuity supervisor (script supervisor), this is a job that carries enormous responsibility, at the time of her starting her career in the film industry mrs Mann Francis was very much a trail blazer for her generation and Jack of all trades, her first production she worked on as continuity lady was on a film called summertime in 1955, Pamela was the producer’s secretary, production secretary and continuity person, all for the one salary and no credit.
At that time she wasn’t a member of the ACT (Association of Cinematograph Technicians) but because it was a foreign based film she was allowed to do the work.
After eventually getting into ACT one of her first films that she worked on was the blockbuster The Bridge over the river Kwai!
Mrs Mann Francis eventually moved into doing solely continuity work which as I have previously said is a massive responsibility.
The continuity person in the UK is expected to keep an eye on everything. They have to time every scene with a stopwatch, make a note of everything, including which lenses the cinematographer is using.
Usually the continuity person works alone on the unit meaning that they are pretty much responsible for everything including the minutest details.
After working on a film called Billy Liar in 1963 Mrs Mann Francis took a break from the job, later returning to work on a few commercials, before Returning to the industry in 1980 to work on in my opinion the greatest film ever made , The Empire Strikes Back.
Pamela went on to work on Return of the Jedi, Raiders of the lost Ark and to many more films to mention
Her last film was “Who framed Roger Rabbit” in 1988
So that is a brief description of Mrs Mann Francis career, this however does not shine a light on the popularity and high esteem in which she was held by pretty much everyone from actors, directors, and fellow film crew that she worked with.
Fast forward to my quest to actually meet Mrs Mann and it was with a heavy heart that I found out that she was not in the best of health and ultimately was not well enough to meet me, something that saddened me as I had so many questions I wanted to ask her.
I corresponded with Mrs Mann’s Daughter Suzzana for many months and felt privileged to be able to hear stories and gleam some sort of appreciation as to the amazing lady that her mother really was.
Sadly Mrs Mann passed away this year in August and if any further evidence was needed then one should look no farther than the outpouring of tributes and love received from the people she worked and shared her life with from every aspect of the film industry and just people in general.
I really cannot stress how much of an unsung hero this lady actually was, and for us the Star Wars fraternity, well we all owe her so much respect and admiration for helping shape the magic that made our childhoods so wonderful.
I was very fortunate to get a few images of Mrs Mann Francis signed before her passing and with Suzzana’s permission I have shared them here
These are treasured to me now and will always have a special place in my collection
Hopefully you’ll enjoy them for what they are
Merry Xmas to you all