Further to previous information that Helena Blehárová appeared at an event in Manchester in 1964 I have subsequently discovered that she appeared in a film that year as herself, so we can get an accurate picture of how she’d have looked when she was in this country. The film was entitled ‘Neobyčejná třída’ (‘The Extraordinary Class’) and was set around a class of girls and went some way towards explaining the striking informality of Valérie Čižmárová’s school photos, which would have been from around that period. Indeed, remarkably, there was some dialogue in English concerning an expected exchange trip from a party of British schoolboys, whom we could see arriving off a coach and what a relatively regimented lot they looked too, all in their school uniforms! Like I think I have said before, which classes from that era would have looked like they were part of a one-party state and which from a democracy? (I get similar feelings regarding Valérie’s “Forces’ Sweetheart” photo relative to the soldier on the far left-hand side…”Get yer ‘air cut, laddie!” springs to mind, if he had been a British soldier at the time!)
This is a still of Helena in ‘Neobyčejná třída’.
…and here is a link to where the film can be watched on-line.
Incidentally, I have come across a sort of Helena/Valérie connection inasmuch as Valérie’s televised performance of ‘Pojď jen dál’ (embedded recently) would have dated from Helena’s 30th birthday on 28th June 1973. The future of Soulful Ladies in Czechoslovakia must have seemed in very safe hands to Helena, if she’d have been watching. This would have been a Thursday night. Thinking “what would the ‘Top Of The Pops’ that night have been like?” I looked into that and was reminded that the regular night had only just a matter of a few months beforehand been moved from Thursdays to Fridays. Anyway, I’m afraid to say that the presenter of the following night’s edition of TOTP was none other than Jimmy Savile…so it’s quite something to think that we get to look back on Jimmy Savile and the Czechs and Slovaks get to look back on Valérie Čižmárová. Whose is the shameful legacy and who won the Cold War???? Is it also not a relief for Valérie that there was an Iron Curtain between her and Jimmy?