I was there for about a month, and liked the American way of life. So I came home and set about making arrangements
About this time Val and Lew, in association with others, were applying for a franchise in the new commercial TV set-up.
They suggested sending me to study American TV with a view to my having an executive post in the new company.
It was arranged that I should go to the University of New York for a year to study TV production methods. I could
take only £1,000 with me, but Lew's New York office put me on their pay roll and I received £30 a week for sending back reports.
These covered programmes which might be of interest to British viewers; informing them of any acts which could play the
Palladium and Moss Empires circuit; and making any inquiries needed for their new venture.
I was very tearful at the prospect of not seeing much of my adored Val for a year, but he kept his promise to come to
New York whenever he could, and we wrote to each other, not just once or twice a week but every day.
Val's handwritten letters on flimsy paper arrived like clockwork. He had promised me he would fill five pages
every day - which he did. He would sign himself Pussy - my special name for him.
His pet name for me was always Baby. I still have and treasure over 300 of his letters which also kept me in touch
with what was happening on the London show-biz scene. I provided him with the information he needed, not only to run
his theatres but also to set up the Incorporated Television Programme Company.
At this time British currency regulations were in force and the normal business allowance didn't go very far in the USA.
So whenever Val and Lew came to New York I was happy to make my contribution to the British economy by doing the future Lord
Grade's laundry - ironing his shirts and washing his smalls in my hotel bathroom. I did the same for Val too, of course.
It was the least I could do. I owed Lew a great deal. For all the years that Val and I were together, Lew was our
cover man. He knew all about our secret assignations and helped in every way possible to bring us together without anyone
Lew always accompanied Val on his visits to Manhattan. They shared a two bedroomed suite at the Warwick Hotel while
I would have a single room on the same floor, always as Mrs Castle.
When Val wasn't in town I lived at the Hotel Schuyler on West 57th Street and the highlight of each day was to collect
Val's airmailed letter from the pigeon-hole of Room 816. I know Val was just as eager to receive the letters I sent
He wrote to me, "I coudn't stay away from London for two days as, frankly, I couldn't be without being in a position
to get mail from you. The last three days without you have been horrible."
He delighted in sending me little jokes helping to cheer me up when I was lonely. Here's a sample: "A mermaid
got pregnant and told her father it was an act of cod." It didn't make me laugh either!
There wasn't mush the Gov'nor didn't know about mass entertainment. It was Val who revolutionised the British music
hall scene in the thirties by cramming up to 20 acts on the same bill.