January 2, 2017


Peter Rogers (1914-2009) b. Rochester, Kent, England.

Peter Rogers

Film producer Peter Rogers was born in Rochester, Kent in 1914, and attended King’s School in Rochester. He began his career as a local newspaper journalist on the Kentish Express before progressing to Fleet Street as a reporter on the Picture Post and then joined the trade paper World’s Press News. He was hospitalised after a bout of spinal meningitis during the WWII and wrote radio plays for the BBC before entering the film industry in 1942. Rogers worked under J. Arthur Rank, with responsibility for "Thought for the Week", a five-minute religious information short that played every Sunday in Rank cinemas across Britain. Rogers joined the Rank-owned Gainsborough Pictures n 1946 as an assistant story editor. It was here that he met his future wife, producer Betty Box. Rogers and Box married on Christmas Eve 1948. Keen to make a professional name for himself, Rogers turned independent producer, churning out a series of films aimed at the children’s market. He scored big with The Dog and the Diamonds, picked up an award at the Venice Film Festival. He teamed up with the journeyman director Gerald Thomas In 1957. Their first outing, Time Lock (1957), a nail-biting Canadian-set drama about the plight of a young boy accidentally trapped in an impregnable bank vault made little impact. It was their next film that proved the turning point. The duo had acquired a script called The Bull Boys by the novelist R.F. Delderfield, a straightforward account of the effect of army national service on a pair of ballet dancers. It was Rogers who saw the potential for a broad comedy and looked for a suitable new writer. Rogers hired Norman Hudis, whose script accentuated the kind of barrack-room life then popularised by the TV series The Army Game. The title was changed too, to the catchier sounding Carry On Sergeant (1958). Critical response was lukewarm but Carry On Sergeant became an unlikely success at the UK box-office. Its success simply necessitated a follow-up. Carry On Nurse (1959) came out a year later – and was an even bigger smash, topping the box-office of 1959. The famously tight-fisted Rogers oversaw the production of a further 29 Carry On comedies the iconic franchise between 1958 and 1992, all directed by Thomas and frequently shot in the vicinity of Pinewood Studios. During the Carry On years, Rogers continued to produce other comedies, such as Raising the Wind (1961), The Iron Maiden (1962), Twice Round the Daffodils (1962), Nurse on Wheels (1963) and The Big Job (1965).

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