A Celebration of Robert S. Baker
Robert Sidney Baker: producer, director, and screenwriter, who was born in 1916, has died 30th September 2009.
On Sunday 18th April a special event took place at Pinewood Studios in England, to celebrate and remember the life of Robert S. Baker.
Sir Roger Moore has been a personal friend and business partner of Robert “BOB” Baker for almost 50 years, and organised the event. It was a cruel twist of fate that Sir Roger could not attend due to being stranded in Morocco due to the volcanic eruption grounding planes throughout the world. Sir Roger did manage to express his condolences via a Skype video-link. Many other friends and associates of Bob were lucky enough to attend, so it was a very successful celebration of his life.
Bob Baker, left, and Sir Roger Moore, right.
Other key people who could not attend were Ian Ogilvy, who starred in The Return of The Saint, and Johnny Goodman, a long time friend and business partner of Robert S. Baker.
Robert S. Baker, together with his former partner Monty Berman, was a prolific producer of inexpensive British B-movies, formed the first half of many double-bills during the 1950s and early 1960s, before he turned his attention to television, producing classics such as The Saint and The Persuaders.
Simon Templar, alias The Saint, had by 1962 successfully featured on radio and the movies… but never on TV. It was a scoop therefore when Bob and his partner Monty Berman acquired a three-month free option on the TV rights from the creator Leslie Charteris, who had incidentally turned down several earlier offers (including one from a young actor named Roger Moore) for fear that producers would not do justice to his stories.
The Saint became a huge success in Britain, where it ran between 1962 and 1969, and was sold to more than 60 countries.
During the third series, TV mogul Lew Grade moved the series into colour (which secured a prestigious US a network pre-sell).
At the beginning of series three of The Saint, Bob’s business partner Monty Bergman left to work on another series called The Baron, and Bob asked Roger Moore to join him on the show’s production company – so began a 45 year business partnership between the pair.
During the last series of the Saint in 1968, Bob had the idea of pairing up Simon Templar with an American. A sort of “buddy-show” episode. The idea worked and a couple of years later Bob approached Lew-Grade with another idea for a show: The Persuaders!
Gareth Owen, Sir Roger Moore’s personal assistant, introduces the celebration of Robert S. Baker:
Sir Roger Moore, via Skype, remembering his great friendship and business relationship with Bob Baker:
Malcolm Christopher, production manager, reads A Letter From The Front – written by Bob Baker in 1942:
Jude Randle, continuity girl (or “script supervisor”, as they’re called nowadays). Jude worked on Bob’s first film in 1952, and also worked extensively with Sir Roger:
Caron Gardner, co-star in The Saint, who also worked with Bob Baker and was a friend:
Jenny Hanley explains why Ian Ogilvy could not attend, but passes on his messages:
Carol Cleveland, with humorous memories of working on the sets of The Saint and The Persuaders:
Some of the television programmes Bob Baker produced:
Marilyn Baker, daughter of Robert S. Baker, with proud memories on this special day:
Sue Lloyd, who co-starred in the TV series The Baron, and also appeared in The Saint and The Persuaders:
Annette Andre, who played Jeannie Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), and was also in The Saint and The Persuaders:
Valerie Leon, who was in The Saint and The Persuaders as the soap queen “will you please get off my rocket”! Valerie also appeared with Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me.
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