5.9 C
Harrow on the Hill
Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeArticlesHow legendary actor Vincent Price left a chilling impression on Harrow Weald...

How legendary actor Vincent Price left a chilling impression on Harrow Weald in 1969

In our very own charming neighbourhood of Harrow Weald, tucked away in Silver Close, a vibrant community thrived many years ago.

One of its residents, Kim Kempster, whose memories paint a vivid picture of the past, shares his captivating stories with Harrow Online.

Kim Kempster, who lived opposite Belmont Lodge from the age of nine, remembers a special corner where a green shed stood hidden, easily accessible, and transformed into the neighbourhood’s cherished den. He reminisces, “I remember the green shed tucked in a corner behind the lodge, which was easy to get into and we used as our den.”

The tennis courts held another shed, and although the exact year escapes his memory, Kim suspects it was around 1962. Fondly recalling his time in Harrow Weald, she adds, “There was a small shed near the tennis courts, but I’m not sure of the year, so it would have been 1962 ish. I loved it in Harrow Weald.”

Kim Kempster’s connection to the area extended beyond his neighbourhood adventures. He worked at Frank Moon’s Greengrocers in High Road, Harrow Weald, owned by the amiable Frank Moon himself. It was here that he had an unexpected encounter with a legendary figure. “I sold a bunch of flowers to Vincent Price,” he shares, excitement lacing her words. At the time, Vincent Price was filming a horror movie in Grimsdyke House, Old Reading, adding an air of mystery to the already enchanting memories of Harrow Weald.

Vincent Price was an iconic figure in the world of cinema, renowned for his distinctive voice, refined presence, and contributions to the horror genre. Born on May 27, 1911, in St. Louis, Missouri, Price developed a passion for acting from an early age. He began his career on stage and eventually transitioned to film, becoming one of the most recognisable faces in horror cinema.

Price’s career spanned several decades, and he appeared in over 100 films, leaving an indelible mark on the genre. Some of his most notable works include “House of Wax” (1953), “The Fly” (1958), “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961), and “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (1971).

How legendary actor Vincent Price left a chilling impression on Harrow Weald in 1969 Harrow Online

His association with the horror genre is further solidified by his memorable contribution to Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking music video, “Thriller.” Released in 1983, “Thriller” is widely regarded as one of the most influential and iconic music videos of all time. Directed by John Landis, the 14-minute video features Jackson and Price in a thrilling narrative that blends elements of horror and dance.

In “Thriller,” Vincent Price lends his iconic voice to the spoken-word interlude, adding a chilling atmosphere to the song.

Recalling the encounter with Price himself, Kim remembers it vividly. “This event must have been winter ’69,” she states. “I was working in the greengrocers, which, owing to the snowstorm, was extremely quiet.” As she stood at the open shop front, opposite what-is-now Waitrose, her gaze turned up the road towards the Alma pub and the bus station.

Suddenly, a peculiar shape emerged, making its way down the hill towards the town. “He was wearing the biggest fur coat I’ve ever seen,” Kim exclaims, his eyes gleaming with the memory. He watched in awe as the figure approached until the moment arrived when he parted the collar of his coat, revealing none other than Vincent Price himself.

“He was looking for flowers for the makeup team,” Kim explains, recalling the purpose behind Price’s visit. Though their interaction was brief, he was captivated by the encounter. “He didn’t say much, then off he went back up the hill towards Grimsdyke, where ‘Cry of the Banshee’ was being filmed.”

The tale of Vincent Price’s visit to Harrow Weald became a cherished memory among the locals. Kim’s co-worker, Joe, shared his sentiment, expressing a wish to have met the renowned actor as well. The enchantment of Harrow Weald extended beyond celebrity encounters. Kim fondly recalls the park, mentioning a putting green nestled amidst its offerings. He reminisces, “Something more in the park, I’d forgotten after the tennis courts were the putting green, which had so much entertainment sports-wise all year round. I used to climb on a bench to watch the bowls, the cricket pitch, football, and rugby.”

Kim’s memories continue to resurface as he retraces the paths of his childhood. He recollects a large house resembling Belmont Lodge at the junction of Boxtree Lane and Road, although the name eludes him. “When I first started visiting my Nan in Silver Close,” he muses, “there was a big house similar to Belmont Lodge on the junction of Boxtree Lane and Road, but I can’t remember the name of it.”

The more Kim reflects on his beloved Harrow Weald, the more memories flood his thoughts. The common, his personal playground, holds a special place in his heart. “My playground was common, which I got to via Stony Alley,” he reminisces. “It runs from Uxbridge Road to the farm and riding stable next to the Roger Bannister sports ground.”

Kim Kempster’s recollections serve as a testament to the enduring charm and nostalgia of Harrow Weald. Through his stories, we are transported to a time when green sheds were secret hideaways, Vincent Price’s presence added excitement to the neighbourhood, and the park was a hub of sporting entertainment as it continues to be till this very day.

×