Film: 3207

Food + Drink | 1930 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

History of Bird's Custard

Over a wallpaper of birds, the title "Generation After Generation"; in the top left corner, "1837", in the bottom right, "1937". Over a painting of a young Queen Victoria, the title "1837". A man - the scientist - walks through a door into a plain room, takes off his coat, and hands it to the assistant to put on the back of a chair. The scientist lights a candle on a laboratory table. The assistant places a box on the table. He reaches for a bottle of a chemical. He opens it, and pours some into the box; putting that bottle back, he takes a different one, and pours some of that in. The scientist takes a piece of paper, and brushes this mixture onto it. The assistant looks ahead. The scientist keeps brushing.

Bottles of chemicals. A painting of a man on a wall; dissolve to a painting of a woman in the same place. An early camera; a small wooden box with a hole. A woman's hands holding a 1937 camera. A man standing by a movie camera. Four horses moving a carriage full of wealthy people through flat countryside. Two horses carrying a small carriage, with only two people, across a track.

Two young women sitting on chairs wearing huge dresses. A boy and girl, the latter wearing a bonnet and pigtails, walk through the door quarrelling, the boy slamming the door; the woman on the right - the mother - smacks the girl's hand reprovingly. She wags her finger at them. The woman on the left - the friend - looks on, amused. The mother sorts out the girl's clothes and hair. She turns around, and talks to the friend. The friend gets up and puts something on. The mother gestures at her to turn around. She does; move down to show her long dress. The mother's equally long dress. The friend picks up some hats, and hands one over to the mother.

Sign: "Birds' Dispensing And Specialties." A framed photograph of a man in a suit, a medal around his neck; this may be Alfred Bird. The boy jumps up and down outside a Birds' chemist, the girl standing by; the mother and friend walk into the shot, and the mother picks the boy up so he can see. Inside a glass bottle, a ball suspended in air; sparks. The mother opens the door of the chemists. Closer shot of the sign over the door.

The title "1858" rushes towards the screen as waves crash against a rocky shore. Five men in suits and top hats. A small wave against the beach; more small waves further out. One of the five men - who is the assistant from earlier - looks onwards. The scientist from earlier. Another man. A man with a moustache. White water, and harsh waves, against the rocks. More white water. The assistant. The scientist. The man. The moustached man. In the room, two of the five men shake each other's hands, as do two different men.

A young woman's hands threading thread into a sewing machine. She turns the wheel, and keeps sewing. An older woman - possibly the mother - walks in. The young woman turns, and smiles welcomingly. The mother walks over. The daughter gets up. They both move through their characteristically mid nineteenth century room, past an ornate wooden chair, to a table, and the mother puts down a card or a piece of paper. Her finger points out what's on the card. The young woman walks off to collect something. She picks up something she has sewn. She carries it over to the table. We see it on the table. The mother and girl bend down to look at it.

A painting of crowds waiting by a tram while a horse-drawn carriage drives the opposite way. Two young women in summer dresses with umbrellas walk past plants, to a footman carrying a box. He puts the box onto a carriage with a horse at its front, and opens the door for the women. They step on; he closes the door. The man drives the coach across countryside. Outside a country house, two men, each with a woman in one arm. One man with moustache and woman; the woman waves. The other woman waves. The two couples walk up to the house. A horse-driven carriage moves up to the house entrance. The two couples walk to the carriage, and greet the two young women arriving.

A man in hunting clothes; "1868". A man rides a primitive bicycle through a woodland path. A piece of paper announcing "Prince Of Wales's Royal Theatre". A theatre programme. Various apparently wealthy people behind a curtain; an elegantly dressed young woman walks through. The young woman, and a man in a suit. Another elegant woman walks through. She bows her head to everyone. Various women in dresses bow to each other. Move down the woman's elaborate dress. A man in a suit walks in.

A photograph of a man wearing a suit; this is Alfred Bird, son of the founder. A building, the sign "Alfred Bird & Sons". A man walks past the Birds building, on a busy city street. A picture of a society occasion, a woman fallen over. A poster of two cooks. A picture of a small girl sitting on the floor in front of another picture. A picture of a kitchen maid throwing an egg. A poster advert showing a man pushing a trolley full of chickens looking at a poster for Birds custard powder which informs that it has no eggs; caption "Wish I'd Bought a Cow". A framed poster of a baby sitting on a chair, a bowl of custard at the table. Of a boy sitting under a table, eating custard.

Two young women in elegant dresses walk forwards and turn to each other; in the middle, the kitchen maid poster with a Birds Custard Power slogan at the bottom; this is replaced by a poster of a small girl by her mother, a bowl of custard on the table; by a small girl holding a cat, eating a bowl of custard; a fiendish girl pouring it over a plum pudding.

Two young women walk alongside a wall; from around the corner at the end comes a man riding a penny farthing bicycle. The women as seen from the front. The man waves to them. He continues to ride along the road. "1885": a man wearing a coat, hat, and goggles. An early car drives down a road in the countryside, between grassy fields and trees. Cars with number labels driving in a city road past crowds at its side. Overhead view of a city bridge, trees overhead, buses driving along. From in front, buses driving.

A woman by a carriage on a beach; she moves around to walk up steps into it. Seen from the inside, she opens the door, walks in, sets down a towel, and hangs up her hat. A woman in swimsuit standing against a white pole in front of a black curtain. A woman in the carriage puts on a bonnet; pan down to her feet; from this view, we see her leave through the door. She walks down the beach into the sea.

A woman, possibly the same one, cooking in the kitchen; she walks from a cupboard over to the table. She takes four eggs from a bowl, and puts them on the table; breaks one of them on the side of the bowl, then reaches for the others, but pushes them off the side. They fall to the floor and break. She looks up worriedly. Another young woman, a friend, walks in through a door. The friend walks to talk to the woman, then picks up a Birds recipe book from a shelf to the left. The cover of the packet. The friend looks through the book. A page says "Bird's Custard Power"; she flicks over to a page saying "Custard without eggs". The woman walks over to get packets of custard powder. Three separate packets of different kinds of Birds food on the table. The woman shows the friend one packet. Its lid: "Alfred Bird's Custard Powder". The friend cuts open the lid, while the woman gets a bowl; the friend opens the packet.

The two women as before standing either side of poster adverts; one of a young girl in a field with buttercups giving a boy custard; of a girl in a bonnet holding a tin. Caption "1899"; a painting of a highly decorated military man with many medals and a sash. A man in military clothes, with a gun, walks alongside a hedge, waving goodbye to his parents, who stand outside a large, rural house. A woman walks through a gate in a fence, gets onto a bicycle leaning against that fence, and rides off. She drives past tall hedges with gates in them. From in front, she cycles down that road, past two women in dresses. The women react in horror. They turn around and walk the other way.

"1903", superimposed over a photo of an aeroplane. A plane, from the back. A plane in a field. A photo of people in a field moving away from an aeroplane. The front of a plane. The top of an air control tower, clocks in the middle of the walls. A plane's propellers rotating. As seen from a distance, from one side of the top of the tower, pan down and left to show more of the tower, the wing of a plane, then the plane's propellers as it moves down the runway for take-off; as the plane moves past the camera, its windows, then its wings and engine.

"1911": a man in casual suit and boater hat. The coronation of George V: a procession of horses pull an ornate carriage along, past a row of guards either side, who stand in front of the crowds. Three smartly dressed women wearing wide hats; a man tries to look behind two of them, so one woman pushes him away. The ornate carriage proceeding through the road before crowds. The three women; the man as before tries to look through a gap, and is shoved away.

A man in a suit and bow tie sits down at a table, reading a newspaper; behind him, a mantelpiece, and a cupboard with ornaments and small statues on it. The coronation carriage. The man reads. An advert on the newspaper for Birds: "Crowned With Success", above a crown on top of a packet of custard.

"1914", over a soldier holding a rifle. A black screen with various gunfire sound effects. The clouds above fields, hedge boundaries and scattered forest. Stacks of hay on a field. Cows walk across grass. Two women playing a game of tennis; the woman who serves, hits the ball into the net. She serves again. The other woman hits the ball back. Two women playing a game of golf; one chips the ball. As earlier, the two women, one either side of a poster advert for Bird's Custard with Rhubarb, a young woman, whom the poster identifies as "The Rhubarb Girl", carrying a parasol; then a poster of a bird made up of different fruits, the All Fruit Bird; then three birds made of blocky shapes, the slogan "Something to sing about"; a similar bird with two birds on its back; several more singing birds; some more.

A sail ship. A huge passenger liner. A man wearing goggles on an early car. A man in a 1930s racing car driving past crowds in stands. A horse-drawn stagecoach with many passengers. The Silver Jubilee train coming into a station. An early telephone. A woman's hand picks up a 1930s phone. A large building near a field. The sky, tops of trees. A car pulling up outside a petrol station. Traffic lights. People walking across a busy city road. Buses move around a small roundabout. Buses, from the front. A train moving past the camera. A city building. Pylons. A tall building with a clock on its side. A man ringing a telephone. Neon signs in the city. Hands typing on a typewriter. Someone playing a drum. People tapping their feet. Someone playing saxophone. A man playing trombone. Hands playing piano. Someone playing violin. Trombone.

A woman holding a crest with three blocky birds on it. A banner saying "A Century of Progress", and "Queen Victoria - 1837", and, below that, "George VI - 1937". The two young women stand one either side; we see, below those words on the banner, "Birds 1837 - 1937". A crest with a crown above the three birds, and "Something to Sing about" surrounding. Title: "Thank you for coming to our party. We hope you have enjoyed it. Don't forget your recipe book as you leave."


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