Hastings Pier Ballroom – 50 years ago 14th Nov 1964 – Nothing! by Andre Martin

Halfway through the month and getting nearer Christmas, we have now reached Saturday 14th November 1964, and the History of the Happy Ballroom tell us that very little was being done on the Pier, the renovations were under way, but nothing was mentioned in the press about what plans the Directors had made, other than we were to expect “together dancing and a more romantic atmosphere” – watch this space.
So how were the young and perhaps not so young passing their time in Hastings, the coffee Bars – Pam Dor, Fiesta and like doing well? In the town we were lucky with the number of cinemas and the wide range of films for us to see, offered something for all tastes. Including a couple of “flea” pits !
Along the seafront – in Marine Court = The Witch Doctor, was offering 7 nights a week entertainment. Saturday, this week – The Wrangers plus Dave Champion & the Strangers. Sunday Club : The Herd. Wednesday The Migil Five and Friday The Five Embers, who some may recall as Millie Smalls backing band. With records on the other nights, something for everybody. Admission charges reasonable 1/6d to 6/- but don’t forget everybody would be on their way home by no later than 11.45pm – how things have changed.
Friday Night – direct from Kingways Studios London, introduced by Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan – Adam Faith & The Roulettes “Message to Martha”, Françoise Hardy, Hermans Hermits “ Show me Girl” and The Hollies “We’re Through”
Saturday BBC Light Programme – 10.00am Saturday Club with Brian Matthews –Dione Warwick, Hermans Hermits, Freddie & The Dreamers, John Lee Hooker, Isley Brothers, Peters Faces, The Groundhogs, Alan Elsdon & The Voodoo Men
Later in the day on Saturday Swings 2.00pm – Adam Faith & The Roulettes, Applejacks, The Brooks, Don Lang & The Frantic Five, The Wedgewoods. The show linked together by Don Wardell.
Later that night 10.30pm – Live from Butlins Bognor Regis, was the Eric Winstone & Orchestra – they used to play the Happy Ballroom in the late 1950s & early 60s on a regular basis.
Saturday Night Television included at 5.40pm Juke Box Jury, with David Jacob this week included Joe Brown, Terance Edmonds and Jackie de Shannon
Sunday Radio, was back to normal schedule after Remembrance Weekend – 10.31am Easy Beat with Magil Five [see Witch Doctor], Rockin Berries,Sandy Shaw and The Johnny Howard Band – anchor man was Keith Fordyce, and I see that somebody who I know quite well in the mid 70s produced this show – Ron Belchier, who was Simon Bates’s producer for many years on Radio 1.
Sunday Best – 3.00pm – featured Pet Clarke, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates and Zoot Moneys Big Roll Band.
And of course we had the fledgling Pirate Radio stations growing Radio Caroline was doing great things here in the South East – another certain ship MV Galaxy was about to hit the wave bands – but more of that in December, and I will be posting another episode of the “History of the Happy Ballroom” next week – until then stay safe. No adverts this week it was the same the BIG QUESTION MARK ? – I thought you might like a Saturday Flashback to one of the best ever groups to appear in the old Happy Ballroom, where together dancing was optional – Mick o’D put “Shirley Temple” down !!     Andre Martin


John Storer…wow! Thanks for the video. Had forgotten just how good that track is … not one usually associated with The Hollies “Best of” but actually one of their best ever recordings.

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