My first broadcast
and an offer to join the BBC
It as in 1945 that I toured Britain on behalf of the
Institute of Handicraft Teachers. The 'film chap' from Burnley
was filling large lecture halls. My colleagues were delighted
to see films, in beautiful clear colour and smooth transition
from distant 'shots' to close-ups, giving an 'on-the-spot' impression
of the most detailed nature. The processes were easy to follow
and my fellow craft-teachers recognised that a colleague, as
well as a photographer, had produced the film.
It was reported in the press that my work was putting Burnley
on the educational map. Some of my early films went to Egypt
and America. As more and more people got to know about me, I
started to receive invitations from associations outside the
world of education.
One such invitation came from the Royal Photographic Society.
I was among several distinguished people at Princes Gate in London.
The chairman, Stanley Scholfield FRPS, in his opening remarks,
told the story of a pioneer in photography. I listened with great
interest and hoped that, after the meeting, I would have the
opportunity to exchange a few ideas with my fellow guest.
What followed came as a bit of a shock. As Mr Scholfield ended
his opening remarks, he said - "...that pioneer is Sam
Hanna, he will now give a paper on the 'Use of Film in Education'."
I had never given a paper in all my life and I certainly had
not brought one with me. To a loud applause I rose to my feet
and stood in front of a table. I felt sick inside, the perspiration
was running freely, the audience looked like one great blur be
fore me. I could not focus my eyes, if a hole had opened up in
the floor and swallowed me up, it would have been an answer to
prayer. But there was no escape. I had to say something.
I paused, cleared my throat and told them that I had never
given a paper and did not know what I was going to say. I told
them that I was not a photographer but a teacher looking for
a medium better than 'chalk and talk'. The audience clapped again.
I then relaxed a little and talked to them about my thoughts
on the use of film in the classroom. I projected my films and
gave my usual commentary.
Later I was awarded an Associateship of the Royal Photographic
Society for my contribution to education through photography.
When the audience left the hall, my evening had not finished;
two men came to speak to me. They invited me to join them for
a drink and a chat. I told them that I neither drank nor smoked
but would be willing to talk with them. They introduced themselves
as members of the BBC.
They invited me to repeat my talk, the following day, on the
BBC's Radio Pacific Service. I astounded them with the fact that
I did not have my talk written down , and in no way could I remember
what I had said. However, all was not lost, a minuting-secretary,
for the Royal Photographic Society a Journal, offered his short
hand notes. They were typed out that evening and I presented
myself at the BBC the following morning.
The studio was underground in Oxford Street. This as to be
my first radio broadcast; I can still remember it. The producer
was Miss Ann Shead, an Australian. I was handed the typed notes
of my talk; I read through them and told the producer that I
was ready. It was a strange feeling speaking to people across
the world. I glanced at my notes and just talked. It seemed to
go well and I do not think that I fluffed any of my talk.
Later I was invited to the BBC in Manchester. Here I met Philip
Robinson and Roy Harris. After viewing a few of my films, I was
asked if I would like to join the BBC, but I declined, as I was
happy in my profession as a teacher.