AN advertisement in the entertainment columns that day read: “Come and meet CARY GRANT in person... at the Odeon Glasgow tonight”. In smaller type it added: “Programme commences at 6.45pm”. On March 16, 1961, one of Hollywood’s best-known stars was on his way back to the city.

In July 1958 he had staged an entertaining question-and-answer session (right) in the Regal, Sauchiehall Street, after a trade screening of his film, Indiscreet, in which he co-starred with Ingrid Bergman. In February 1960 he was photographed on board a submarine, HMS Narwahl, at Arrochar, where he spent more than two hours talking to the crew; his latest movie had been Operation Petticoat, a submarine-based war comedy. In the cinema after the showing, he did another Q+A session.

His March 1961 visit coincided with the launch by Princess Margaret of the guided-missile destroyer, Hampshire, at the John Brown yard in Clydebank, where he was greeted by a crowd some 10,000 strong.

Grant himself went virtually un-noticed by the lunchtime crowds as he stepped out of a taxi in Gordon Street and strolled into the Central Hotel. The receptionists certainly noticed him, though, and followed his every move until he was shepherded into a room. He was photographed with a page-boy as he entered a lift (main image).

At that point, it wasn’t generally known which sneak-preview screening Grant would be attending that night. The paper said the most likely candidate was The Grass Is Greener, in which Grant and Deborah Kerr played the financially-troubled Earl and Countess of Rhyall. It also starred Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons and, like Indiscreet before it, had been directed by Stanley Donen.

The Grass is Greener was indeed the film in question, and afterwards Grant took questions from his fans.

Did he have a favourite actress? “I haven’t got a favourite actress, I like ‘em all,”,he said, “and am willing to extend the experience. I haven’t acted with Bardot yet.”

Did he prefer acting in comedy or adventure films? “I particularly enjoyed playing in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, even though it was rather dangerous; Hitch, you know, likes to kill his actors.”

How did he contrive to keep looking so young? “I don’t know that I do keep young,” he said, modestly, “though I feel fine. I guess I believe in moderation and look after myself. In other words, I like me.”

Recalling the night in a letter to the Herald in 2018, reader Ian Lyell wrote: “I went along [to the Odeon] that evening and enjoyed ‘Midnight Lace’ with Doris Day but the highlight was when the cinema manager, on stage, introduced Cary Grant, who was greeted with a standing ovation. The final treat of the evening was a preview of Cary’s film The Grass is Greener.

“Happy days.”