18 May 2011
Article by Rebekah Polding
Sir Henry Cooper OBE KSG (3 May 1934 - 1 May 2011) was best known for knocking out the young Muhammad Ali, but he also had a little known career in a rather different sphere - promoting road safety. In 1970, Cooper introduced a short public service film made by the Borough of Camden, 'The Tale of Elsie Bossing'. Elsie is an irascible pensioner who refuses to cross at the proper place - until an encounter with a sports car lands her with a thump on the road, "her language blue, her bottom black." Thankfully, Elsie learns her lesson and Cooper encourages others to do the same, urging viewers to "look for traffic, listen for traffic and keep your guard up. And box clever!"
The film - a very funny animation told in verse - was recently located in the Enfield Local Studies Search Rooms and Archives as part of a major initiative by London's Screen Archives, a network which brings historic films of the region to Londoners. London's Screen Archives is managed by Film London and is investing funding from the Screen Heritage UK Programme:
A partnership between the British Film Institute, Screen Yorkshire and English regional film archives to safeguard the future of the UK's national and regional film archives . It is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This funding enabled film specialists to identify the film, preserve it for future generations and make a digital version available for everyone to enjoy. The film belongs to the London Borough of Camden and is housed at the Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre.
'The Tale of Elsie Bossing' featuring Sir Henry Cooper can be seen on the London's Screen Archives' YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKbmPVzuNuE
The regional network supports organisations in the capital locate, preserve and make available for public enjoyment over 100 years of the city's history on film. It is run by Film London with a steering group of partners. For more information see http://filmlondon.org.uk/networks/lsa/about_lsa
Film Londonis the capital's film and media agency. See www.filmlondon.org.uk
The Screen Heritage UK Programme is a partnership between the British Film Institute, Screen Yorkshire and English regional film archives to safeguard the future of the UKs national and regional film archives funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The film is shown courtesy of the London Borough of Camden. The film forms part of the collection housed by the Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre. http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure/local-history/
'The Tale of Elsie Bossing' is a claymation made in 1970 by Camden Film Production. Production team: Peter Hart and Harry Walker.
Animation by Pasquale Ferrari. Ode written by Peter Hart and read by Cyril Fletcher. It is 6 minutes 27 seconds long.