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What Could Have Been


Edward (Ted) Lansdowne

---- Original Message -----
From: Sharon Loiterton
To: paul@oldcollegiansrugby.org.au
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:51 AM
Subject: Linda Horne website

Good morning Paul

I was given some scrapbooks that were kept by a distant relative of mine, Edward (Ted) Lansdowne, last night. In one of the books there was the same program as you have on your website for “I Remember Mama”.

I did a search on the internet for Ted and found the website you created for your sister. On the Independent Theatre page on your site, there is a photo which has Ted in it. I just wanted to let you know that Ted is actually the gentleman on the far right, with glasses on, not second from the left.

Ted also has the reviews you feature on your site, in his scrapbook. For the review written by Katharine Brisbane, I thought you may like to know the source, to add to your site?
“in review” (p18 “The Australian” Saturday April 28 1973) reviewer Katharine Brisbane

If you’re interested, Ted also has a couple of advertisements for the play. Both ads, source unknown, mention the cast, including Linda. If you’d like a copy of these, please let me know and I can copy and send them to you OR scan them and email them to you.

On your website (Publicity page), there are photos with ? below them. Certainly the one that features Judi Farr, Ted, Linda and 3 others sitting at a table is from “I Remember Mama” and the one directly below it would be from “The Crucible” (??).

What a wonderful tribute you have created for your sister, Linda, you must miss her.

Ted died a few years ago, but remains very fondly in my memory and I miss him. He was a very caring, warm and generous person - once Ted met you, you were a friend for life, and he always stayed in touch.

Warm regards
Sharon (Loiterton)


From: paul horne 
Sent: Sunday, 27 February 2011 12:23 PM 
To: Sharon Loiterton 
Subject: Re: Linda Horne website


Great to hear from you. It was only a few months ago I had an email from Wendy Waters who was a student there, and apart from an email from, I think, Rosemary Butcher's husband or partner years ago, this has been a very silent website.

I made the changes, thank you for those .... http://lindahorne.id.au/independent/mama/lh-mama.shtml

The man on the left who I'd attributed to Ted Lansdowne is terribly familiar to look at, though.

Maybe other people will come across the site & let me know.

Yes, please, I'd love whatever you have ... preferably scanned to a reasonable size (say minimum 1024 pixels across because I then have more flexibility about how to place it, if that's ok?). As it is the scanner I originally used back then I've replaced with a beast of a thing that I use for photographs & negatives so at some point I'll try to improve the look of the photos. Technologically moves on.

I do miss her. I always will. I was a bit of a shit of a brother, as I knew how much she loved me faults and all, & there's me trying to cram as much of life into me as I could back then ... and still do admittedly, but at a slower pace .... and was just too self-absorbed. I wasn't a great lover of the theatre then, much to her disappointment I expect. I had different distractions. But you never expect not to live forever and that people you love will always be there .... so, plenty of time, of course, so you think.

Now I see a lot of theatre. Here in Melbourne I finally took out a 2011 subscription & have a subscription to the Malthouse in front of me, my only reason for demurring on both is my restlessness that may get me moving again during the year. So free tickets to give away to friends I suppose if I do suddenly decide to go. And after a long absence I bought a new & larger motorbike. So, yes, I miss her for a whole multiple of reasons. Apart from me, my two boys never knew her and that particularly hurts because they would have loved each other. And there would have been all the people in her life that I never knew. All the advice I never got. Her future acting, esp. post-Whitlam, that I never saw. The conversations we never had. The bottles of wine we never shared. My love of art & rugs & furniture to argue about. The places I've been to and the things I've seen that I couldn't share with her. And her children? Her family? The ones she never had.

I also finally got an engraver to put her name on the Best Actress award she picked up from the Independent in 1969. It's been annoying me since she won it that it never had her name on it. The engraver made some comment about waiting a while to get it done. He did such a good job of matching it with the original he reckoned he must have done the initial work - no, mate, this was from Sydney.

I inherited what turned out to be boxes of theatre programs. I stored them for years then finally picked out a few of the plays I remember seeing with her & donated the rest to the Independent's library, defacing each one with my writing her name in the frontispeace - people may wonder who this person is or was, perhaps.

Would you mind my posting your email on the website (minus the email address of course)? I did the same with the one from Wendy.

Thanks again


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Sharon Loiterton 
To: 'paul horne' 
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 2:06 PM 
Subject: RE: Linda Horne website

Hi Paul

So nice to hear back from you.

I’ve been looking at the photos of Linda and wondered if she’d been on anything on TV, as she looks so familiar? 

Linda left some beautiful memories for you to enjoy, also. In her short life she appears to have achieved so much. The award she received for Best Actress in 1969 was such a wonderful achievement, especially when she was only 23 years old. I’m sure that takes pride of place in your home.

Yes, the man sitting beside Linda does look familiar. What a shame Ted’s not here to tell us who he is – also the young girl to the right. Ted had the most amazing memory.

I don’t have a problem with you posting my previous email on your website, minus my email address as you advised.

I’ll get my husband Ian to scan the two ads for “I Remember Mama” in the next couple of days, and forward them to you. He’ll do them the way you’ve asked, BUT if there is a problem with the size, please contact us and he can redo them.

Well, Paul, I wish you nothing but the best for the future – keep your memories close to your heart.


Linda, Doris Fitton & The Independent

----- Original Message ----- 
From: **** To: paul horne
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2010 5:33 PM 
Subject: Linda

Dear Paul,

I was researching the early days of the Independent Theatre for a novel I'm writing and came across the lovely site you maintain for your sister. I was so moved I kept reading and wanted to tell you that when Linda was starring in "I Remember Mama" I was a 14 year old Saturday student at the Independent Theatre and I saw her in that play. I still remember how marvellous she was.

Congratulations on keeping her memory alive. 

Wendy Waters

To: **** 
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 6:40 PM 
Subject: Re: Linda

Wendy ... would you mind if I put your comments onto the website? 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: **** 
To: paul horne Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:49 AM Subject: Re: Linda

Hi Paul,

No, I wouldn't mind at all...

 As I've been doing this research a lot of things I did not understand as an ardently ambitious teenager have begun to come to light. For instance, the Government favoured NIDA and The Old Tote and withdrew the funding Doris Fitton required to keep going with the Independent...I can only think of prejudice and perhaps a bias towards men. I say this because Doris ran The Independent Theatre almost single-handedly after Peter Summerton died in 1968. The spirit of this pioneering woman is what is impressing me the most. 
 In 1930 professional theatres in Sydney were closing their doors because the audiences weren't supporting them.  Doris got a group of 20 friends together and they put in 10 shillings each a week (a lot in those days) and used the pooled money to hire premises in James Street to perform avant garde plays; some of which had their premier in Australia. 

 Doris chose the plays herself and managed to lure the public. Clearly, she had the entrepreneurial touch that the professional companies didn't have. And throughout the 30s while other pro-am companies fell apart, Doris held hers together despite losing a few original members who splintered off to form their own company. 
 In 1938 she took over the lease on the old Coliseum and turned it into "The Independent Theatre" and during the glory years for her - the 40s and 50s - she produced hundreds of plays, many of which, as I said were original. She recognised talent (Linda's included) and fostered it. Sumner Locke Eliot as we know went on to be a world-famous writer. But Doris was the first to put on his play "Rusty Bugles" on the boards and she then fought hard to get it produced in England. 
 Sadly, she failed, even though it was later produced on Broadway to great acclaim.

 All of this ranting of mine is basically about this - Doris Fitton held a vision for a high standard of theatre in Australia and went from pro-am to professional in 1955 and back again to pro-am when the government failed to support this iconic woman but chose instead to support NIDA, and to support the Old Tote as Australia's leading theatre company. It's ironic that they used most of the same teachers at NIDA and asked Doris to sit on the Board and advise. Her own school fell apart and without proper funding she couldn't produce the plays to their best level. This was all despite the obvious evidence that she clearly had all the skill required to run a successful theatrical company; she had all the audiences when no-one else could get them. 
 It's tragic indeed that Australia let her flounder and ultimately fail.  The doors of The Independent closed in 1977.

 I know that if she was alive today I could go to her with my Musicals in hand and she would at least consider producing them. I can't actually say that about any other theatre company in this country or any other producer.

 As I said up front, much to admire is now coming to light for me, so much of which I didn't understand back then.  I used to sit upstairs with the other Saturday students and watch the plays - one of which was "I Remember Mama".

 Just so you know, the teachers were all buzzing about Linda. Gillian Owen said she was one of those rare actresses who had it all - beauty, talent, style with her head together enough to pursue her career with determination.  Noelanne Gandon - the teacher of "us juniors" made us go and see the play specifically to watch Linda and I was told by Noelanne that Doris Fitton had high hopes for your sister. She thought her perfect for an international film career with her looks. I did think her beautiful and talented and remarkably poised.

 I don't know what area of life your passions lie in but clearly you understood Linda's love of theatre or you wouldn't have built the site. I read on another site that Aubrey Mellor - who became a NIDA teacher and is now Dean of Performing Arts at La Salle College in Singapore - said that Doris should be regarded as a national Treasure. 
 Clearly I agree. Her generosity, vision and fostering of new talent was remarkable. 




Contact: Paul Horne
Last update 26th January 2009