Biography of Tony Young

Tony Young, 1963
Photograph courtesy
Violet Philpott

Born 1921 Northumberland, England, UK. 
Died 1966 England, UK, after a battle with cancer.
Film directing career spanned 1950 - 1963.
Father: Ralph Dawson Young (who helped build the Telegoons puppets).
Siblings: Younger bother David Young (who was Puppets Supervisor for The Telegoons).
Married: Doreen Dearnaley (who did continuity on The Telegoons pilot film)

Also known as Lionel Bamburgh-Young, which, due to appearance on some official documents, is very likely Tony's legal name. It is not known where, how and when the Bamburgh barrel was obtained (pronounced "bam-bur-ra"). In any case, perhaps 'Lionel Bamburgh-Young' was considered too unwieldy and too 'upper-class' for a budding film director, and also too long to fit on a cinema marquee. It is interesting to note that Tony's father, Ralph Dawson Young, and Tony's younger brother David Young both went by the simpler moniker. One explanation for the double-barrel might be that Tony's mother was a Bamburgh, or perhaps he was the issue of an earlier marriage, but so far I have no evidence for either of these suggestions. 

Tony Young started off his film directing career at age 28, directing the fledgling Goons in their first and only feature length film, Penny Points to Paradise. Despite this promising beginning, Tony Young's film career was never able to rise out of the "B" movie bracket. I did, however, find Port of Escape, which included Wendy Danielli in the cast, to be quite polished (you can see some stills below). That Tony's last production again involved The Goons, who were by then quite famous, suggests that he had come a long way in his career. Together with Wendy Danielli, he managed to complete the twenty-six episode The Telegoons commitment with the BBC, which was a tremendous professional achievement, made even greater by the fact that he managed to persuade the Goons to do their own voices. Despite the low budget and other difficulties, the results were just what many of us had imagined the Goon characters would be like on television. Indeed, more polish might even have been detrimental. Afterall, Milligan's Goon characters inhabited a raw and somewhat coarse world. 

Unfortunately, The Telegoons turned out to be Tony's swan song; his career ending with his untimely death, just a three years after The Telegoons. We'll never know what might have been, but I'm sure we're the poorer for it. However, what I do know for sure (from one of the Television Mail articles) is that Tony and Wendy had planned a further series of 26 episodes of The Telegoons. It is doubtful that the BBC would have been interested, however, considering that they had been unable to market the first 26 episodes completely successfully. I like to think that had Tony still been in top form at the end of The Telegoons production, he would have been of great assistance to the BBC's marketing efforts.

Tony's Companies:
Tony Young co-founded Grosvenor Films Limited with Jennifer Wendy Danielli on 19th January 1954. The company initially rented an office at Morton M. Lewis's Sunset Film Productions Ltd., which occupied the entire top floor at 77 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1. 

Tony Young co-founded Tonwen Merchandising Limited (a.k.a. Tonwen Limited) with film producer Wendy Danielli, presumably to market spin-off products from various film projects. The only Tonwen product I know of for sure, is a children's story and colouring book, The Telegoons in The Ascent of Mount Everest. The Telegoon hand puppets and doll toys (see Merchandise section) may also have been a product of Tonwen, but this has not been confirmed, since the puppets have no maker's marks, and the advertisements in TV Comic only gave a street address. Interestingly, the given address was 47 Dean Street, just a few doors from where Grosvenor Films had started out ten years before. 

I have spoken with several people who knew Tony Young, and they all told me that he was a wonderful person. I have also heard from more than one that Tony was always a stylish, if not flamboyant, dresser. His beige camel hair coat was legendary. Violet Philpott, one of the puppeteers on The Telegoons, said that she always found Tony Young to be a delightful man to work for.

Director Filmography:
Note: Comparison of various sources (IMDB, Cinemania '94, E! Online, Mega Movie Guide, and iCAST) uncovered quite a  few discrepancies. Therefore, even though great care was taken in the compilation of this list, it may still contain errors of commission and omission.

"The Telegoons" (1963) (TV puppet series, 26 episodes, 15 min. B&W) Grosvenor Films Ltd., BBCtv. (Tony Young directed most episodes and was producer for all but one episode; Wendy Danielli was associate producer and directed one episode; Philip Grindrod was dir. photog.)

Hidden Homicide
(1959) 81 min. Mystery. B&W. UK. Bill & Michael Luckwell Ltd.; Rank Organisation (UK). Distributed by Republic Pictures Corporation (US); Worldvision Enterprises Inc.  (Tony Young was also co-writer) [Summary: A novelist wakes up to find a gun in his hand and a dead relative nearby. Accused of murder, he is assisted by a mysterious lady hitchhiker in discovering that the real killer is a female impersonator.**]

Them Nice Americans (1958) 62 min. Comedy. B&W. UK. Butchers; Chelsea (UK) (Tony Young was also producer) [Summary: An American soldier falls in love with a British woman whose father hates all Yankees.]

Port of Escape
(1956) 76 min. Crime Drama. B&W. UK. Wellington. Distributed by Renown Pictures Corporation Ltd. (Tony Young was also co-writer of the screenplay with Barbara S. Harper. Additional scenes by Abby Mann) (Starring were Googie Withers [as Anne Stirling; real life spouse of co-star John McCallum] and John McCallum [as Mitchell Gillie; real life spouse of co-star Googie Withers]. Also cast were Bill Kerr [as Dinty Missouri], Joan Hickson [as Rosalie Watchett; later famous as television's Miss Marple], Wendy Danielli [as Daphne Stirling], Hugh Pryse [as Skinner], Alexander Gauge [as Inspector Levins], Ingeborg von Kusserow [as Lucy; credited as Ingeborg Wells], Ewan Roberts [as Sergeant Rutherford], Gerald Anderson, Basil Dignam, and Carl Jaffe. Philip Grindrod was director of photography; Don Russell was art director; John Pomeroy was supervising editor; Eric Pavitt was assistant director; sound recording was by Cliff Sandall & Martin McLean; production management was by Peter Dixon; continuity by Barbara Wainwright; music composed & conducted by Bretton Byrd; produced by Lance Comfort) (From the original story Safe Harbour by Barbara S. Harper. Made at National Studios, Elstree, England) (These details from an actual film print in my possession, and The entry has some errors, but also lists the following uncredited actors: Robert Bruce; Cameron Hall; Simon Lack; Jack Lester; Leonard Llewellyn; Norman Pierce; Douglas Robinson; George Rose) [Summary: Two WW II veterans become fugitives from the police after one of them apparently kills a man in a fight. After seeking sanctuary on a boat, the erratic actions of one of the two draws the attention of the police. This leads to death of one of the men and the surrender of the other.]

The Eternal Question (1956) B&W. UK/USA. (Wendy Danielli was one of a cast of thirteen; Philip Grindrod was director of photography) (This is an Americanized version of Tony Young's 1954 UK film, Hands of Destiny. It was produced by Ron Ormond, who was also co-writer and co-director with Tony Young. The new cast included all six of the Hands of Destiny cast.) 

Hands Of Destiny
(1954) 61 min. Drama. B&W. UK. Grosvenor Films. Distributed by Adelphi Films Ltd. (Tony Young was also producer; Philip Grindrod was director of photography) [Summary: A documentary about a palm reader and some of her clients. **/2]

My Death is a Mockery
(1952) 71 min. Crime/Drama. B&W. UK. (Philip Grindrod was director of photography) (Based on a novel of the same name by Douglas Baber) [Summary: A fisherman unable to make a decent living from his trawler turns to smuggling, encouraged by an unscrupulous accomplice. **]

Penny Points to Paradise
(1951) 77 min. Crime/Comedy. B&W. UK. Advance-PYL Productions. Distributed by Adelphi Films Ltd. (Features Secombe, Sellers, Milligan. Written by John Ormonde) [Summary: Set in Brighton. A soccer pool winner and his friend find themselves plagued by fortune hunters, as well as two counterfeiters eager to exchange their home-made bank notes for the real thing. Peter Sellers' movie debut. Secombe, Sellers, and Milligan received 100 each for their efforts. **/2] (see the Bibliography and F.A.Q. sections for more information) (Several clips from this movie, totaling 1 m 12 s, can be found on the DVD, The Unknown Peter Sellers)

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