Norman (Nobby) Godden
27.8.1922 – 21.5.2015
NORMAN (NOBBY) GODDEN Assoc. BSC
Tribute by Robin Vidgeon BSC
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Nobby, undoubtedly one of the film industries greatest mechanics.
When I started my career at Pinewood in the late 50’s the studio had 5 permanent camera crews working on Rank family films. Nobby was one of the 4 technicians in the maintenance shop, servicing all cameras , Mitchell BNC’s , and virtually rebuilding the 5 or six VistaVision cameras recently bought from America, now making them much quieter.
I can recount one of thousands of stories about Nobby, which endeared him to so many focus pullers who had the pleasure of working with, and learning from.
As a green clapper boy I went on my first feature to Italy, in the mountains, on ‘Campbell’s Kingdom’ (1957). Legendary Operator Bob Thompson and his focus puller Berny Ford were swung from the top of a dam in a bucket over a thousand feet up.. The shot was to reveal the great height and curve of the dam face to the ground. An Arri 2c was used mounted on the old wooden tripod. As we all watched, Bob panned down, and to our horror, the cast metal matt box slid of the bars and bounced of the wall to the riverbed.
One hour later, several bits of the matt box were delivered into Nobbys hands, and with a smile he said, trouble with this is, it’s broke, yup it’s broke. He stayed up all night, somewhere, and put it all back together.
I never saw him fazed over any camera problem, always the perfect gentleman, great quiet humour and kindness.
So many technicians in the camera department owe him so much for his help on many films. When Pinewood went four wall in the early sixties he went freelance, and made a great career. Up until last year he loved to go of on little trips around the world.
I will always have fond memories of Nobby, he taught me so much.
Robin Vidgeon BSC FBKTS GBCT
Director of Photography