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  1. #1
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    Watching 'The Maggie' this afternoon and I got to wondering what happened to the young actor who played the cabin boy. A bit of a search provided the following relevatory information:



    The hard-nosed New York film critics were unanimous in their praise of the cheeky Scots urchin who had burst onto the silver screen.

    'A natural talent' said one. 'Superb' gushed another. 'A future star' added a third.



    Stardom beckoned for TOMMY KEARINS, a boy plucked from Glasgow's notorious 'WINE ALLEY' who was now rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in showbusiness.

    It was 1954 and his performance as Dougie, a mischievous cabin boy in The Maggie, an Ealing comedy about a Clyde puffer, seemed to have set him on his way.

    Dazzling premieres attended by royalty followed. He could - and should - have become the fore-runner of Sean Connery, a Scots lad from humble beginnings who went on to movie megastardom.

    Instead The Maggie, often shown on television these days, proved to be Tommy's only film. And, in 2004, 50 years later, he recalls how hw sank into alcoholism, swapping the glitter for the gutter along the way.



    'It was fun while it lasted' he says. 'I never considered myself an actor. It all came so natural to me. I was a boy from Govan's Wine Alley who had been transported into a world of make-believe'



    Tommy was spotted by an Ealing talent scout at The 1953 Gang Show at Glasgow's King's Theatre. He alerted Sandy Mackendrick, the director who had made 'WHISKY GALORE' four years before and was due to shoot The Maggie, about an American millionaire taken to the cleaners by a canny puffer crew.

    Tommy, 14 at the time, passed a screen test on the Thursday and by the Sunday, he and his mother Peggy were on the train to London, bound for Ealing Studios.



    Tommy, now 65, recalls being kitted out in his best clothes for his role as Dougie. 'My dad was a riveter and we lived in a tenement in Govan with 26 people up the close', he said. 'So when the director started cutting holes in my clothes so I would look scruffy I was furious.'



    The Maggie put him up against Hollywood star Paul Douglas. 'He liked a good bucket,' said Tommy, 'I was told to go and rehearse some lines with him. He shouted at me because he had a terrible hangover. But, to be fair to him, he later apologised to me.



    At Ealing Studios he met stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Peter Sellers and Sid James who would pat him on the head as they passed. The fantassy continued - big city premieres of The Maggie, the inevitable fan mail from eager young girls. Tommy even had an agent. He auditioned for Geordie, the story of a puny Scots lad who builds himself up to become an Olympic hammer-thrower, but was considered too fat - 12 months of rich studio food had taken its toll.

    Tommy stayed on at Ealing Studios for another 12 months, trying to break into production, But when he found that it was a 'closed shop', he returned to his native Govan and followed his dad into the yards at Harland & Wolff.

    He was a British On his first day at work the new apprentice - number 2641 - was reminded that he had re-entered the real world when he saw a man fall to his death from the bow of a ship. And in later life he would suffer emphysema, an occupational hazard for generations of Clydesiders.

    After a spell in the Merchant Navy the drink took over. I became an alcoholic, a shabby, smelly drunk. I even tried to end it all. Falling asleep in the snow and freezing to death seemed the easiest way. But this old woman kept coming up and waking me up. saying C'mon son, son, you'll get pneumonia'. I went home. Thank God'

    He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and, now living in retirement in Irvine on his beloved Clyde Coast, he hasn't touched a drop for 26 years. He and Ena, his wife of 45 years, have five children and a brood of grandchildren.

    Sometimes he goes down to Irvine Harbour to check on the £300,000 restoration of the Spartan, the last surviving Scots-built puffer that could double for The Maggie.

    And a memory of his late father helps keep him in touch with reality. Asked why he declined the posh invitation to attend the big city premiere of The Maggie in 1954, Tom senior replied; 'Och, I'll just wait until it comes to Govan'

  2. #2
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    Thanks for that, Jock. I was wondering what happened to him myself. I was just thinking that at 58, I’ve never smoked, because I never liked smoking and never wanted to smoke and I can’t drink alcohol, either, because drinking alcohol makes me very ill. Now if Tommy had been like me, no matter what happened to him in his life, he would never have turned to drink, because it just wouldn’t have been possible for him to do so.



    I wonder what he looks like these days. Probably completely unrecognisable from his 1954 self. But at least, with all those children and grandchildren, he knows that when his time comes, he’s left something worthwhile behind, besides his fondly remembered part in an old film.

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by DAVID RAYNER@Jun 29 2005, 03:07 PM

    Thanks for that, Jock. I was wondering what happened to him myself. I was just thinking that at 58, I’ve never smoked, because I never liked smoking and never wanted to smoke and I can’t drink alcohol, either, because drinking alcohol makes me very ill. Now if Tommy had been like me, no matter what happened to him in his life, he would never have turned to drink, because it just wouldn’t have been possible for him to do so.



    I wonder what he looks like these days. Probably completely unrecognisable from his 1954 self. But at least, with all those children and grandchildren, he knows that when his time comes, he’s left something worthwhile behind, besides his fondly remembered part in an old film.

    <div align="right">Quoted post</div>





    Yes, thanks a lot plasticjock, I too watched it and wondered if I should switch on the computer to go on to IMDb to see what happened to the lad; so you've saved me that. Very interesting and sad in some ways. He is the same age as me, and what a difference in our lives! Good luck to the man and his family.



    I have recorded it and have set the video to catch 'The Man in the White Suit' this afternoon. I do have a bought tape of The Maggie, but the sound is very poor.



    Does anyone notice the resemblance between the Maggie and The Vital Spark? A very funny TV series. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by JIM@Jun 30 2005, 07:27 AM

    Yes, thanks a lot plasticjock, I too watched it and wondered if I should switch on the computer to go on to IMDb to see what happened to the lad; so you've saved me that. Very interesting and sad in some ways. He is the same age as me, and what a difference in our lives! Good luck to the man and his family.



    I have recorded it and have set the video to catch 'The Man in the White Suit' this afternoon. I do have a bought tape of The Maggie, but the sound is very poor.



    Does anyone notice the resemblance between the Maggie and The Vital Spark? A very funny TV series. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    <div align="right">Quoted post</div>







    Yes, you're right there Jim.

    Sandy Mackendrick lifted the characters (skipper, deckhand, engineer, cabin boy) and some of the plotlines from Neil Munro's stories of Para Handy and the Vital Spark....and created a little gem.



    There has been three television series, sadly not repeated, over the last 40 years. The first starred the late lamented Duncan MacRae as Para Handy, the second starred Roddy MacMillan, who was Choc Minty CID in 'Hazell', and in the third and last series to date, it was Gregor Fisher who played the skipper.....chust sublime!



    Never released on dvd, a couple of tapes surface now and again at exorbitant prices. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tumbleweed.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    I remember The Vital Spark,but more so the Tales of Para Handy with Gregor Fisher. A programme overdue either to be repeated on television or released on DVD.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by plasticjock@Jun 30 2005, 11:43 AM

    Yes, you're right there Jim.

    Sandy Mackendrick lifted the characters (skipper, deckhand, engineer, cabin boy) and some of the plotlines from Neil Munro's stories of Para Handy and the Vital Spark....and created a little gem.



    There has been three television series, sadly not repeated, over the last 40 years. The first starred the late lamented Duncan MacRae as Para Handy, the second starred Roddy MacMillan, who was Choc Minty CID in 'Hazell', and in the third and last series to date, it was Gregor Fisher who played the skipper.....chust sublime!



    Never released on dvd, a couple of tapes surface now and again at exorbitant prices. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tumbleweed.gif[/img]

    <div align="right">Quoted post</div>





    I seem to remember that the Gregor Fisher series finished abruptly, certainly leaving me wanting more. GF makes me smile just by looking at him!



    Roddy MacMillan was in The Maggie, a very small part as a taxi driver, which is funny as he was, as you say, plasticjock, in the Vital Spark.



    I have one tape of 4 or 5 episodes; pure magic, and those accents - brilliant! I shall certainly keep a look out for more VSs. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

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