To accompany the piece, Rushes has collected a series of facts about the Rank gong and its succession of beaters.
Did you know?
J. Arthur Rank employed five gong beaters.
Our star gong beater, Graham Hughes, has become the sixth gong beater 77 years after J. Arthur Rank first employed Carl Dane.
The 6' 5" Carl Dane started banging in 1932 and kept banging until 1948. Dane was the first man to pull a London bus with his teeth and the first man to open a J. Arthur Rank film.
He was succeeded by Bombardier Billy Wells (1946 – 1948), a professional boxer who is the only beater to have had a beer named after him.
Then there was Phil Nieman, (1948 – 1955) who was only able to bang for a short time, considered by many to be a master beater.
Ken Richmond (1955 – 1978) 19, a 6'5" 265 lb. pro wrestler turned Jehovah's Witness and when his gong-banging days were over, he started banging on doors and passing out copies of The Watchtower.
The final beater was Martin Grace, the Milk Tray Stuntman. Despite his golden locks he remained on the cutting room floor while Richmond’s footage continued to be used.
The beater was last applied to the gong in 1980, when the Rank Studios closed; Mr. Richmond's own beater gave out at his home in August of 2006, when he was 80 years old.