Friday 31 October 2014

1971, News: British European Airways Flight 706 crashes near Aarsele, Belgium

On 2 October 1971 at 10.10 h British European Airways Flight 706, scheduled from London to Salzburg crashed near Aarsele in Belgium. Minutes before the crash the pilot sent out a a distress signal and he tried to make an emergency landing. The plane, a Vickers Vanguard (G-APEC), was damaged at an altitude of 5790 meters when the elevators and tailplane were destroyed by a rupture in the rear pressure bulkhead. The bulkhead was weakened by corrosion from a suspected leak in the lavatory.
Vickers Vanguard G-APEC at London Heathrow in 1965
All 55 passengers, 37 Brits, 8 Austrians, 6 Americans and 4 Japanese, and 8 crew members were killed on impact. A piece of the aircraft debris struck the windshield of a passing car, causing minor injuries by glass splinters to the driver. The wreckage of the plane were scattered over the whole area. A small portion of the fuselage and the tail were found in the cemetery of Aarsele.
Firemen at the crash site in Aarsele, Belgium
Monument at the cemetery of Aarsele.
Inspections of other Vickers Vanguard planes revealed similar corrosion in eight other aircraft. Inspection procedures were revised and the plane was modified to improve access to the inspected area. The frequency of inspections was increased considerably.

Funeral chapel of victims at the crash site Aarsele (BRT News 7 October 1971)

Tuesday 28 October 2014

1970, Cars: Opel Ascona A

In the fall of 1970 German car maker Adam Opel AG introduced the new Opel Ascona. The Ascona took its name from the lakeside resort of that name in Ticino, Switzerland. The Opel Ascona was available as a two or four-door sedan and a three-door station wagon, called the Caravan or Voyage. The Ascona initially developed as a replacement to the Kadett, but late in the car's development Opel chose to develop a new, smaller Kadett and instead positioned the Ascona as a competitor to the successful Ford Taunus TC1 range.
Opel Ascona A (1970)
Opel Ascona A Voyage (1970)
Opel Ascona A Voyage (1970)
The Ascona was introduced with petrol engines with 1.2 L, 1.6 and 1.9 L, with power between 44 kW and 66 kW. The 1.2 L had an overhead valve (OHV) head, while the 1.6 L and 1.9 L featured the Opel Cam-in-head engine (CIH). In August 1973 a new dashboard and a new black plastic grille were introduced. From 1971–75, the 1.9-liter Ascona was exported to the United States as the "Opel 1900" sold through Buick-Opel dealerships.
Opel Ascona A (1973)
Opel Ascona A (1973)
American Ascona: Opel 1900
The Opel Ascona A was replaced by the Ascona B in 1975. A total of 692,000 Ascona's A were produced.
Successor: Opel Ascona B (1975)

Opel Ascona A German Advert (1970)

Opel Ascona A German Advert (1970)

Opel Ascona A German Advert (1973)

Opel Ascona A German Advert (1973)

Brochure Opel Ascona A (Dutch, 1971)
Brochure Opel Ascona A (Dutch, 1974)

Sunday 26 October 2014

1969, Television: “Fabian van Fallada”

On wednesday 29 October the Flemish youth series "Fabian van Fallada" premieres on the BRT (Belgian Radio and Television, now VRT). Directed by Senne Rouffaer and Bert Struys and written by Lo Vermeulen and Karel Jeuninckx, this historical/fantasy series became immensely popular at the time of broadcast. A total of thirteen black and white episodes were produced. The main character, Fabian Van Fallada was played by Jef Demedts.

This 18th century tale was filmed in Bokrijk (Genk, Belgium) and the valleys of the Bonne and Hoyoux in the Belgian Ardennes. The Crébillon family lived in the beautiful castle Jehay-Bodegnée (Amay, Belgium), the headquarters of the Werewolf gang were castle ruins of Moha (Wanze, Belgium). The Marquis Mordant lived in the château de Libois (Libois, Belgium).
Castle Jehay-Bodegnée (Amay, Belgium) home of the Crébillon family
The castle ruins of Moha (Wanze, Belgium), headquarters of the Werewolf gang
Château de Libois (Libois, Belgium), home of the Marquis Mordant
Fabian van Fallada (Jef Demedts), an Austrian Hussar Army lieutenant, is falsely accused of theft and condemned to the gallows. Luckily he can escape from prison with the help of Mammelies de Crébillon (Fanny Winkler) and her granddaughter Anne (Kris Smet). Mammelies has a magic mirror called Fierlefijn and a midget Knudde (Louis Vervoort) who can change into a talking horse. A gang of robbers lead by the Werewolf ravage the region. Together with the beautiful Anne, the minstrel Wannes (Walter Moeremans) and the ex-gang member Kasper (Jan Reussens), Fabian tries to unmask the Werewolf...
Jef Demedts as Fabian van Fallada
Fanny Winkler as Mammelies de Crébillon and
Yvonne Lex as Margot de Crébillon
Domien De Gruyter as Markies Jean de Mordant and
Marilou Mermans as Isabeau de Crébillon
Kris Smet as Anne de Crébillon
Walter Moeremans as Wannes
Ward de Ravet as Commandant
and .... the Werewolf
Main Cast
  • Jef Demedts as Fabian van Fallada
  • Fanny Winkler as Mammelies de Crébillon
  • Yvonne Lex as Margot de Crébillon
  • Marilou Mermans as Isabeau de Crébillon
  • Kris Smet as Anne de Crébillon
  • Domien De Gruyter as Markies Jean de Mordant
  • Louis Vervoort as Knudde
  • Walter Moeremans as Wannes
  • Jan Reussens as Kasper
  • Ward de Ravet as Commandant

Fabian van Fallada Opening Credits

Thursday 16 October 2014

1968, Cars: Renault 6

French car maker Renault introduced their new 6 at the 1968 Paris Motor Show. The car was intended to compete with the Citroën Ami 6 and the Citroën Dyane. The Renault 6 used the R4 platform as well as its 845 cc engine. The car was technically almost identical to the Renault 4, but visually it had the looks of the Renault 16.

In 1970 the car was updated with the more powerful 1.1 litre engine from the Renault 8, higher equipment, a new gearbox and cooling system, and front disc brakes.
Renault 6 (1968)
Renault 6 (1968)
Renault 6 (1970)
In 1974 the R6 was restyled with square headlights, new rear lights, a black plastic grille, and new bumpers. The front indicator lights moved to the bumper.
Renault 6 (1974)
Renault 6 (1974)
Production in France ended in 1980, in Spain and Argentina the car was still produced until 1986.

Renault 6 French Advert 1968

Renault 6 French Advert 1969

Renault 6 Spanish Advert 1970

Sunday 12 October 2014

1967, Deaths: British actress Vivien Leigh dies at 53

Vivien Leigh, the greatest beauty of her time, died on 8 July 1967 at her home in Eaton Square, Belgravia, London at the age of 53. The actress was under treatment for a recurrence of tuberculosis which she had incurred in 1944.

Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley at Darjeeling in the then Bengal Presidency of British India in 1913. At the age of six she went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in southwest London. She was removed from the school by her father, who took her travelling through Europe and she was educated in schools in the areas they travelled. In 1931 she returned to Britain and was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In the same year she meets Herbert Leigh Holman, a barrister 13 years her senior and they wed on 20 December 1932. On 12 October 1933 in London, she gave birth to a daughter, Suzanne.
Vivien Leigh, age two, with her mother Gertrude Mary France in 1915
Vivien Leigh age three, first stage performance
Herbert Leigh Holman and Vivien Leigh at their wedding in 1932
Vivien Leigh with her daughter Suzanne in 1935
Her film debut was in "Things are Looking Up" (1935). She took Vivien Leigh (her husbands middle name) as her professional name and made her first West End appearance in Ashley Dukes's "Mask of Virtue" (1935). she was an overnight success and was quickly signed up by Alexander Korda for the film "Fire Over England" in which she played opposite Laurence Olivier. They appeared together again in 1937 in the Old Vic production of "Hamlet" at Elsinore, Denmark.
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in "Fire Over England" (1937)
Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Elsinore, Denmark (1937)
Vivien Leigh in "Fire Over England" (1937)
In 1938 she was introduced to producer David O. Selznick for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in the planned film version of Margaret Mitchell's novel "Gone with the Wind". Other candidates for the role were Paulette Goddard, Jean Arthur and Joan Bennett. The film appeared a year later, in December 1939, and won her an Academy Award. On 31 August 1940, after her divorce with Leigh Holman, she married Laurence Olivier in Santa Barbara, California, in a ceremony attended only by their witnesses, Katharine Hepburn and Garson Kanin.

Vivien Leigh signing her "Gone with the Wind" contract (1938)
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind" (1939)
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" (1939)
An international career was open to her, but after a two more Hollywood films with her husband, the Oliviers returned to wartime Britain. During her tour, performing for troops, through North Africa in 1943 she became ill with a persistent cough and fevers. In 1944 she was diagnosed as having tuberculosis in her left lung. While filming "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945) she discovered she was pregnant, but she suffered a miscarriage. She fell into depression and several breakdowns related to bipolar disorder. Her husband Laurence Olivier came to recognise the symptoms of an impending episode as several days of hyperactivity followed by a period of depression and an explosive breakdown, after which she would have no memory of the event.
Vivien Leigh in "That Hamilton Woman" (1941)
Vivien Leigh in "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945)
Vivien Leigh in "Anna Karenina"(1948)
In 1948 she joined her husband in the Old Vic Theatre, and they embarked on a six-month tour of Australia and New Zealand. The success of the tour encouraged the Oliviers to make their first West End appearance together. After that Leigh was cast in the role of Blanche DuBois in the West End stage production of Tennessee Williams's "A Streetcar Named Desire". After the stage production she was engaged for the film version with Marlon Brando in 1951 which won her a second Academy Award for Best Actress, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best British Actress, and a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress.

Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh in "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951)
Vivien Leigh and Jack Merivale in the play "Lady of the Camellias" (1961)
Vivien Leigh and Lee Marvin in "Ship of Fools" (1966)
In 1958 Leigh began a relationship with the actor Jack Merivale. Merivale knew Leigh's medical condition and assured Olivier he would care for her. In 1960 Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier divorced. Since then, most of her appearances had been abroad. Her last film was "Ship of Fools" (1966).
Vivien Leigh (right) with her mother (left), her daughter Suzanne (middle) and her grandson
Vivien Leigh, final studio portret (1967)
In May 1967 she suffered a recurrence of tuberculosis, following several weeks of rest, she seemed to recover. On the evening of 7 July 1967, Merivale went away to perform in a play when he returned home around midnight he found her asleep. After thirty minutes he returned to the bedroom and discovered her body on the floor. In an attempt to walk to the bathroom her lungs had filled with liquid and she collapsed. Vivien Leigh was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium and her ashes were scattered on the lake at her home, Tickerage Mill, near Blackboys, East Sussex, England. A memorial service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields, with a final tribute read by John Gielgud.
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh