Cougar O’Clock: A Secret Archive History of Women Who Liked Their Men Young


This morning METRO have been exciting themselves about Courtney Cox and her recent 600k offer to be the face of “Cougar Life”, a dating website for older ladies looking for younger guys.

The usage of the word ‘Cougar’ in referring to a woman who likes a man with a warmer bloodstream didn’t exist in the time of Pathe News but that’s not to say these older women and their devilish ways weren’t caught on camera…

First of all watch this brilliant clip of singer Edith Piaf’s wedding. She married the “handsome young toy boy” Theo Sarapo:

Edith Piaf is British Pathe’s Cougar Queen


Then take a look at this 1964 bachelor fair in Belgium, it’s the same concept of Cougar Life, but weirder. In fact, we’re not entirely sure what is going on in this clip so please do let us know on the British Pathe Facebook Group.

So how does the contemporary Cougar go about finding her prey? Well according to archivists the most popular place for Cougars to pick-up toy boys was at a male model parties, or mens fashion show. For example this dashing young specimen:

Who WOULDN’T you divorce to get THIS hottie?


There are plenty of male models hanging about in the British Pathe archive, we highly recommend you embark on your own bachelor quest.

Another good place to pick up a toy boy off the stage. This boy soprano Graham Payn (below) here may seem a bit young but he later became the lifelong toy boy of Noel Coward (and heir of Coward’s work, copyrights and theatrical estate). You see you have to get in early and plan your toy boy. Noel spotted young Graham singing as a boy soprano.

Singing for his Supper: Iconic toy boy Graham Payn

Some prospective Cougars may be wondering what the point is in scouting a historic film archive for future boys. Well, some of the eligible bachelors in the British Pathe archive are still available on the Cougar market today. Want evidence? Take a look at this dashing young man driving a bus around Chiswick in 1962. Recognise him? We rest our case.

Finally we’d like to show you this archive clip of a real cougar. We’re scared that in this modern METRO age of Courtney Cox and her Cougar Life, people may start to forget that a cougar is, in actual fact, part of the animal kingdom, and so wanted to cite a real cougar in this post.

What more does a woman need in her life?

Today’s song was almost going to be ‘Wired For Sound’ by Cougar-delight Cliff Richard, and it was almost going to be Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ – the momentous pop culture moment in which Courtney Cox decided that she definitely preferred younger men. But at the last minute we changed our mind, following the Cougar Quen Edith Piaf theme, and opted for Grace Jones ‘La Vie En Rose’. Turn your headphones up, get your packed lunch out and enjoy:

Chilean Miners Rescued: Hidden Footage of Similar Crises Comes To Surface

Ring any bells?

Today popular news sites are packed with video coverage of the wonderful rescue of these Chilean and Bolivian miners who have been trapped underground for months. We’ve put together a selection of films to remind us of the perilous hazards that miners across the globe have to face, many never seen by the public before. (Shortcut to films)

Often there are tragic outcomes but our particularly favourite clip is from 1964 in France where miners are finally rescued in very similar style to today’s rescue in Chile.

The rather creatively titled newsreel ‘Entombed Boy Snatched From Death’ is a real nail-biter, whilst this 1957 Belgian mining disaster ‘260 Trapped!’ really captures the community anxiety when these perilous scenarios emerge.

In June BBC Derbyshire did a great piece on British Pathé’s local newsreel of a ‘Pothole Tragedy’ in which villagers and experts attemped to save 20 year-old climber Neil Rose from a Derbyshire cave, but in vain. Again, British Pathé manage to masterfully capture on camera the intimate emotions and perplexity of an emergency situation.

British Pathé were always very talented as a news team at documenting man’s struggles against nature and society’s constant readjustment and acclimitisation to technological advance. Even today in 2010 so much can be learnt about current crises, even in the craziest dark depth of Chilean soil.

“Dangers of Mining” – Archive Footage Collection – WATCH NOW

“Pothole Tragedy” – BBC Derbyshire archive footage – WATCH NOW

Travelators: Are You Ready?

A wooden travelator in New York, 1924

A couple of weeks ago the BBC article used some British Pathé footage in their article ‘Why Travelators Still Trundle On’

In the piece Jon Kelly wrote “They belong to an age of hovercraft and monorails, a Tomorrow’s World imagining of the 21st Century rooted firmly in the past. Even their name – travelator! – evokes the sci-fi innocence of a post-war world which had not yet learned to be cynical about the transformative power of technology.”

Well today we came across this fantastic short clip of a 1924 travelator in New York.

A far cry from Heathrow Terminal 5, it’s a wooden model that has four lanes: stationary, slow, medium and fast. The fast lane holds seating, described in the British Pathé canister notes as a “bizarre adult merry-go-round”

What was the name of that incredibly fast conveyor belt contestants had to run up on Gladiators? Weren’t they called travelators?

We think travelators are overdue for a major comeback. There are more clips of these remarkable moving sidewalks in the British Pathé film archive, but it’s 6pm and we’re off home to watch Time To Remember on BBC4, so you’ll just have rummage in the archive yourself!


British Pathé visit a 1940s Dating Agency

"Hmm, you might want to take that bit out actually"

Online dating is widespread and very much taken for granted in Britain today, with an entire range of online facilities, from popular dating websites like Match.Com or eHarmony, to more sophisticated set-ups like Guardian Soulmates or the more adventurous online destinations like Gaydar.

So we were delighted to discover a much simpler and slower-paced world of dating, albeit a little stiff upper lip, and that’s the Marriage Bureau, a 1940s dating agency that Pathé News made a little film about. Their mission statement is “To introduce to each other people who normally meet very few members of the opposite sex”.

I think you’d agree – not the catchiest jingle, and already flawed on several levels, but still, let’s press on … we’re enticed by the Marriage Bureau’s charm…

In case you were expecting a line-up of men in briefs, rest unassured that the Marriage Bureau can offer any such thing: “You can’t walk in and pick yourself a man just like that. First the whole issue has to be discussed. There’s a long form to fill in” The clips follows a woman and a man who sign-up in the Marriage Bureau’s office and then meet each other rather awkwardly in the park. The narrator is quite an unusual British Pathé voice over artist, who gets quite carried away by the various dramatic perspectives, it’s nail-biting stuff.

We’d love to know which London dating agency this was, where exactly they were based, and possibly discover the names of these people. We wonder too how the end of the War was connected to the birth of the dating agency industry, with all those torn apart couples and fractured social groups.

We’ll keep you updated if we learn more. In the meantime, for any archive film enthusiasts who are single and looking for love might, may we suggest ‘The British Pathe Film Archive’ group on Facebook, there are reels of fascinating people in there, you may well meet the perfect partner!

The Apprentice: Archive Footage Reveals Business Secrets

"You're Archived!" - It's the new buzz phrase, get used to it.

FINALLY! The Apprentice 2010 starts tonight, admittedly not everybody’s cup of telly, but some of us in the archive are “110%” excited!

We had a look in the British Pathé archive for Apprentice themed footage, and WOW, we found some real gems! From a cheesy 1960s school for salesmen to a 1945 article telling women what to wear for work… British Pathé’s archive footage guide to The Apprentice: (Short cut to all clips)


“The first rule is to SMILE” announces the business studies coach, who then parades around his pupils shoving a mirror in their faces so that they can practice. Brilliant! This clip includes other top tips like how to get passed the director’s secretary, and some boardroom secrets – like NEVER wear bright shoes. We like the creepy bit when the narrator sounds like Gollum all of a sudden and sneers – “Sorry boy. You fail.” WATCH!


We love this 1960s business school in Knightsbridge where folk learn how to influence people and to re-train themselves. What we today call personal branding, this amusing clip shows a man and woman attempt to talk over each other without intermission for several minutes. Cringe alert. WATCH!


Having left the forces this 1945 lady “can’t wait to get into her civvies”. She picks herself “a utility one in blue and white striped rayon linen”. 70 years before Gok Wan it seems British Pathé had their own burning fashion narrative “Now for some gloves!”, “The way she’s looking now – that job’s a cert!” WATCH!


“When a girl like Elizabeth sets her heart on something, all the notices and fences in the world won’t keep her out” Determination is a core skill if one is to win a BBC1 television series. In this video the beautiful Elizabeth is determined to be an air hostess. She demonstrates several traits which are pure Apprentice gold, like major eye-lid fluttering and marching defiantly in front of her rivals. The narrator gasps: “Her mind is made up, she’s going to get the job”. And she does! Do you know what Elizabeth’s secret is? Like all fans of The Apprentice will tell you – don’t answer back! WATCH!


One’s working environment is essential when the clock is ticking. That’s why we love this “Flying boardroom” of 1963. Yes – it’s literally in the air! WATCH!


You need more than a big breakfast to win The Apprentice. Waking up at 5am, being catapulted to the coast and being given the impossible task of making Margate a desirable destination, and all before lunch – Sir Alan weaves a cruel and gruelling world for his applicants. As these two businessmen know on a walk from London to Brighton, the show must go on. Last year The Apprentice had to go to Margate, At 5 minutes in, two businessmen can be seen walking when their secretary turns up and hands them their mail, she jots down a few notes. WATCH!


It wouldn’t be The Apprentice without someone getting a Blackberry thrown at their head across the back of a taxi. Talking of taxis we found this lovely clip of couple who run their own ‘Flower Taxi’ in Chelsea. This is like the outcome of a task on The Apprentice, which made us think that maybe candidates should just browse the British Pathé film archive for ideas? A formula for success if ever we heard one. “Jeannine handles the artistic side” sounds like an Apprentice style kiss of death. The shot finishes with flowers being dragged off by the taxi in a cloud of exhaust fumes! WATCH!


We’re going to miss Margaret on The Apprentice this year but Karen Brady should be a good blast, we always enjoyed her contributions to previous series. As a virtual toast to Karen, here’s a clip of Birmingham City beating Chelsea in 1968. WATCH!


Lord Alan always sends his winning team off for a treat like a caviar tasting session or a day at the races. We’d send our winners off to Britain’s first beauty farm in Knebworth. Perfect for “crows feet and double chins, and forget the strain of everyday life!” Spiffing. Beauty Farm WATCH!


Last but not least, the most emblematic footage of all, it just screams THE APPRENTICE, and that’s footage of London from the air. Here we have London’s very-own 1950s helicopter station on the Southbank. WATCH!

Watch all of our Apprentice themed clips in one place here.

The Apprentice is at 9pm tonight on BBC1

Pier Pressure: British Pathé Remember an important Maritime Landmark

Locals and visitors have fun together at an angling festival on Hastings Pier, 1948

It is devastating to learn of the recent arson attack on Hastings Pier, destroying 95% of what was a splendid and historically important structure. Reading comments on the Sky News story it is both interesting and sad to learn various points of view and speculations regarding ulterior motives behind the fire.

However, decades before this pantomime of councillors, firemen, enraged locals and arrested individuals were able to even walk down a pier; Pathé had camera crews pacing up and down Hastings pier to film the notable events of the early 20th century that occurred there…

There are no fewer than 8 archive videos of Hastings pier in the British Pathé news archive. It’s both tragic and beautiful to watch these reels of people enjoying the pier in a leisurely and courteous way.


British Pathé staff member Victoria made the following comment on this footage of Hastings pier:

“They provide rather nice memories of the pier and provide a record of some of the events around the pier over the past century. We thought our earliest footage of the pier was from 1910 which was part of a travelogue on Hastings, but Pathé actually used St.Leonard’s pier for that particular piece. We have quite a few films from the annual sea angling festival including one held during WWI where wounded soldiers were taking part. In 1917, recuperating Canadian soldiers can be seen doing a Swedish drill on the Hastings Pier and in the 1930s the pier survives 100mph winds. I have attached some stills if you thought an article on its history would be interesting.”

We sincerely hope that Hastings’ council manage to restore the pier in some fashion without turning it into an eye-sore cinema complex or other contemporary building that has complete disregard for the surrounding maritime environment.

Norman Wisdom Dies but his Pathé Newsreels will live on

A very Norman approach to charity collection funds.

We are sad to hear that Norman Wisdom passed away yesterday evening, but are pleased that it was a peaceful departure with his family and loved ones around him. As Norman’s career spanned so many decades there are several clips of the genius at work in the British Pathé film archive. Take a look at these:

Norman Wisdom prepares for a photo shoot (1955) – WATCH NOW! (RARE)

(A rare colour reel of Norman Wisdom in the 1950s with his wife Dreda and son)

Norman Wisdom participating in the Earl’s Court motor show – WATCH NOW!

“Here are the words of Wisdom” – WATCH NOW!

(Norman Wisdom seated in a lounge suit, appealing on behalf of the Cinematograph Trades Benevolent Fund)

Norman Wisdom playing comedy cricket for charity – WATCH NOW!

John Parsons interviews Norman Wisdom in 1956 – WATCH NOW!

Norman’s popularity and legendary status was made very clear to the world in 2001 when his personal appearance in Albania outshone that of David Beckham the world’s most famous footballer.

We’re thrilled to have these lovely Norman Wisdom clips in the archive.

Long may the legacy of Norman Wisdom live on. We quite fancy paying a trip to his themed bar, has anyone been?