WHO REMEMBERS SABRINA?
from Grahame L. Newnham B.Sc.
Watch the Walton glamour film release "At Home With Sabrina" on YouTube
In the dim distant past of my youth during the 1950s, Walton Films, was probably best known for its range of glamour films, especially as they were available on our 9.5mm gauge. These little 100ft shorts were rather tame, even by 1950s standards, usually with an attractive model posing in (or just out of!) a brief bikini. Walton boss James Beney scored an immediate hit with a model called simply, Sabrina, as by the time his short glamour film "At Home With Sabrina" arrived in the shops around July 1955, the girl herself had become quite famous on TV.
Sabrina, real name Norma Ann Sykes, was born in Stockport, Cheshire, UK in 1936. She lived in Buckingham Street, Heaviley for about 13 years and attended St. George's School in Buxton Road, gaining fame as school breast stroke swimmer. I suppose this was rather appropriate, for her future career was really built around her ample 41 inch bust!
It wasn't all roses, as Norma had spent some time in hospital with rheumatic fever. However, at 16 she blew her savings on a trip to London to seek her fortune. Soon she became in demand as a model and the 1950s blonde bombshell started her career in showbiz. In 1955 she had her big break when she was spotted by a BBC TV producer. Now as Sabrina, she was featured on the Arthur Askey show; just a very brief spot, a walk-on non speaking part. The gimmick worked, and Arthur Askey's programme "Before Your Very Eyes" featured Sabrina each week in the same brief walk-on non speaking role. Her popularity was assured when the telephones starting ringing and callers asked "Who is the dumb blonde?" - the dumb blonde role stuck with Sabrina for the majority of her career.
To add to the gimmick, Sabrina's breasts were insured for £100,000, she appeared on the cover and centrefold of "The Picture Post" magazine and she was seen dining with European stars and royalty. Her 41-17-36 inch figure then appeared in a few British films including "Ramsbottom Rides Again" (1956) which starred Arthur Askey; "Just My Luck" (1957) which starred Norman Wisdom; as Virginia in "Blue Murder at St Trinians" (1957) and with Arthur Askey again in "Make Mine A Million" (1959) which was shown recently at a Group 9.5 London Section Pimlico film evening. As far as I remember none of these were speaking roles - she was really for display purposes only, her acting, I gather, leaving a lot to be desired.
Intent on making a career in Hollywood, Sabrina headed off to the USA, but failed to get the break she so desired. She quit showbiz in 1967 to marry a wealthy Hollywood gynaecologist. Sadly newspapers report that a few years ago she was reduced to a hermit-style existence in semi-squalor in a Californian suburb. The spanish style house, on a street nicknamed "Smog Central", situated at an intersection of three ten-lane motorways and under the Los Angeles Burbank airport flightpath, had suffered from years of neglect. Sabrina, sex queen of the fifties - broken and alone in Los Angeles.
At least ninefivers can look for a souvenir of Sabrina's happier days by looking for the Walton 100ft shorts "Sabrina At Home" and "Goodnight With Sabrina". Needless to say, if anyone has a spare Kodachrome copy of either or both titles in 9.5mm (or 16mm) I would be very interested to add these to my collection - for reference purposes of course!
(Originally published in the Group 9.5 magazine)
Watch a Walton glamour film release "Goodnight With Sabrina" on YouTube: http://youtu.be/VGlrDOtcQsU
Created 15June2007 ........ Updated 03 Feb 2017 ........... 95flmcatsab.htm ........ İMM7-MMXV Grahame L. Newnham