Film ID:
NEFA 22053



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This amateur film by John Percival Staddon that takes a look at animals and our relations with them. In the first part of the film a member of the clergy plays with a lion cub called Ricky at Matfen in Northumberland watched by a large congregation. Cygnet's growing into swans inside Mowbray Park in Sunderland  are followed by a visit to Chester Zoo and children playing with small animals. A gymkhana event at Herrington near Sunderland follows next and the film ends with a visit  to Flamingo Park zoo near Malton in North Yorkshire.

Title: Overdale Presents

Title: Creatures Great & Small

Title: The Lion and the Lamb at Matfen Pets Service, September 9 1956

The film opens on a vicar speaks into a microphone from the back of a large van that has straw on the floor. The congregation gather at the foot of a ramp leading up to the back of the van as well as behind the vicar in the van as he continues to address the gathering.

Away from the van, children gather around the vicar as he tries to give a lion cub a cuddle! As he sits with the cub a sheep stands calmly nearby. The crowds for the service are large and the young lion takes pride of place as he sits on a car roof, where most of the crowd can see him, many taking the opportunity of trying to stroke him. Amid the melee the cub remains remarkably calm.

Title: Ricky at Play

The lion cub plays on grass with a tin can. A man appears and kicks the can in order to goad the cub into chasing it.

The man presents the cub with a large meaty bone. The bone offers the animal much more interest than the tin can. However the man is compelled to play tug of war with the cub, using the bone between them as tug of war ‘rope’. Finally the cub is allowed to concentrate on eating the scraps off the bone.

Next a woman appears with the tin can, ready to amuse the cub who chases after the can. Two women appear in overcoats and hats to stroke the cub. The man and woman seen earlier, together play with the cub.

Title: Where’s That Lion?

General view of a lamb and ewe in a field. Other sheep and lambs appear.

Title: Patience Rewarded

Two dogs look eagerly through a fence, as a man approaches to give them each a tit-bit. Chaffinches are filmed looking for scraps on a concrete path. Blackbirds peck at half an apple or coconut on a lawn. The film cuts to chickens as they peck the ground for morsels, and feed from a trough.

Title: Swans and Cygnets in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, June 19, 1957

General views show some swans with a brood of cygnets. Children gather near the edge of the park pond to throw food for them. Young swans preen themselves on a pathway near the pond.

Title: Seven Weeks Later the Down Has Been Replaced By Feathers.

The young swans, not yet pure white, swim around in the pond feeding. A woman and two young children come to the edge of the pond to feed the birds.

Title: Four Months Later. Time to Leave Home with A Little Forceful Persuasion from the Parent Birds.

A young swan preens itself. Adult swans jostle the younger ones to move them of the pond.

Title: The cygnets have gone and the parents on alone on the pond.

General views show adult swans on the pond.

Title: Highlights of Chester Zoo

General views of animals at the zoo. Brown bears are shown in their enclosure. Some of the bears have tit-bits thrown for them. Polar bears in their enclosure, pace up and down looking for tit-bits. In the other parts of the zoo peacocks entertain visitors with their spectacular feather displays. Budgerigars and other small exotic birds are confined to their aviaries.

Title: White Mice

A group of children sit on a garden lawn. A boy in the middle of the group, has some pet white mice walking up his arms and across his jumper. The other children look on occasionally stroking the mice, utterly entranced by their behaviour.

Title: Miaow!

A female cat nurses two kittens.

Title: Country Life

A goat grazes on a grass verge next to a road. Nearby another goat grazes with a young kid next to it. A man feeds one of the goats. The kid seen earlier stays close to its mother.

Title: Jacko the Jackdaw Is the Family Pet

A jackdaws sits on a young boys shoulder. An adult tries to tempt the bird with a cigarette! The jackdaw is not interested and does not initially respond to the prompts to take hold of the cigarette. Eventually he does take the unlit cigarette and sits on the boys shoulder with the cigarette in his beak.

The jackdaw next appears on the shoulder of a young girl. Three children sit on a doorstep, while the jackdaw perches on the young girl’s knee.

The two girls and a boy, along with the jackdaw sit on the grass, the jackdaw quite happy and not stressed to be in such close proximity to humans.

Title: Piggies

A short sequence shows general views of piglets in a field with a sow nearby.

Title: Gymkhana at Herrington

At what is now called Herrington Country Park near Sunderland, two riders pose on their horses. Another group of riders circle the events field, ignoring the fences that are present. Children pose for the camera on ponies.The jumping events get underway. General views follow as horses and riders negotiate the fences.

The film cuts to a painted sign attached to a building which reads: ‘Flamingo Park and Kirby Misperton Hall’

Colourful parrots (or Macaws?) sit on a wood and wire fence. Pelicans in a group, stand on the bank of a stream. Sea lions appear on the concrete surround to their pool. Rabbits scratch about on the ground in their enclosure, as do guinea pigs in theirs. Another enclosure has resident young wolf (?) who stares out at the crowds.The film ends as a goat tries to take food from a shallow trough, but guinea pigs move in and take a share.

Title: To be continued