Readers of Eagle Times magazine will be aware that in the Spring 2008 issue, we publicised the existence and availability on DVD of The Eagle Story, a short documentary film, made by Cheshire-based, nonprofessional filmmaker, Frank Baker. The film was more recently seen by members of the Eagle Society who attended Eagle's 60th Anniversary in Southport in April 2010. Since then Frank has kindly made a video copy available on YouTube - and so it can appear here! Thanks, Frank.
In its ten minutes, The Eagle Story covers, briefly but effectively, the history of Eagle and 'Dan Dare', from the beginnings in Southport and the setting up of the studio in Churchtown, through the move to Bayford Lodge in Epsom, the launch of Eagle's companion papers, 'Dan Dare' toys and merchandise, and the eventual unsympathetic take-over of Eagle by Odhams. Also covered are the later lives of Marcus Morris and Frank Hampson, including the latter's breakdown, and his later recognition as 'Prestigio Maestro' at Lucca. Some of the later commentary reflects the fact that this film was made a couple of years ago. For example, comments regarding the expected biography of 'Dan Dare' are somewhat dated - the book by Daniel Tatarsky is currently expected to be published by Orion Books in late October, 2010.
On 10th April, 2008, The Eagle Story took the top prize in the Inter-Club Competition at Southport giving, as I understand it, Swan Movie Makers (Wirral) their eleventh win in the competition. Although the film was submitted with less success to the OSFAF International Film Festival in Skopje, Macedonia, another of Frank Baker's films Knot in Motion saw more success (taking second prize) there. The Eagle Story was also nominated for the fledgling Wirral International Film Festival in November 2008. Frank tells us that after its success in the Inter-Club Competition, The Eagle Story was selected for the North v South Competition, winning the Mermaid trophy. A bit of internet searching tells me that the North v South Competition is run annually by the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers (IAC). The Mermaid Trophy is awarded to the IAC Region whose film receives the greatest number of audience votes.