History Of The Happy Ballroom – 19th Dec 1964 by Andre Martin

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Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin… History of the Happy Ballroom reaches the weekend before Christmas – Saturday 19th December 1964, and what I find surprising is that there is very little in the newspaper, editorial or advertising to say that its almost at Christmas, a couple of paragraphs that covers the week ahead. One item that I did pick up on was that amongst all the appearances of the Percy Howe Orchestra, is that on Boxing Day Patrick Dane and Club 69 will be providing the music in that evening – this is a change from the current musical policy, as Patrick Dane has appeared many times in the past with the Quiet Five in the Happy Ballroom.

This is a busy week, with lots happening for the youngsters in the town, The Witch Doctor – its 1st Christmas, has a full programme. Saturday its Christians Crusaders and The Rockin Eccentrics, the Sunday Club brings down Top R&B Group – The Meddy Evils. Wednesday we see some home grown talent – The Confederates make a welcome return. Thursday is Christmas Eve and topping the bill from South London Steve Marriott’s Moments supported by The Lonely Ones. And for those who want to get out on Christmas Day, there will be a record session in the club between 12.00noon – 2.00pm.
It is not unusual for venues to be open on Christmas Morning, if you look in the newspaper, you find that The Pier, The White Rock Pavilion, The Sun Lounge and even The White Rock Baths were open for a few hours on Christmas Morning.
The weekend would have kicked off on Redifusion TV with – The Weekend Starts Here – Ready Steady Go, and from Kingsway that week we would have been entertained by Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan fronting the show, this week featuring The Animals, Brian Poole & The Tremeloes and Petula Clark, no doubt saving up for the extra long show on Christmas Day next week. The BBC were doing well, with the Light Programme on Saturday offering us – Saturday Club, with Brian Matthews featuring this week – Dick & DeeDee, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer, The Countrymen, Rufus Thomas, The Chessmen and the Reg Tilsey Group. Saturday Swings [2.00pm] Frankie Vaughan, Karl Denver, Maureen Evans, Kenny Lynch, The Polka Dots, Sheila Sutton, The Bruvvers and back by request Wout Steenhuis [ this is a good example of the BBC paying attention to listeners requests from the town]. On Sunday Easy Beat [10.31] featured Pet Clark, Ronnie Hilton, Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, the Seekers, Terry Lightfoots Jazzmen, musical support from the New Radio Orchestra, later in the afternoon at 5.00pm – Alan Freeman and Pick of the Pops
Amongst the television over the weekend, Juke Box Jury would have under the control of David Jacobs, and panellists – Marianne Faithfull – Sheila Hancock – Terry Hatch and Kenneth Williams.

We are set for another interesting week; one new feature to our entertainment would hit the airwaves at 6.00am on 23rd December 1964 – transmitting from 3 miles off the English Coats near Frinton in Essex – on 266 Meters in the Medium Wave Band – Radio London. The station had been test transmitting for the pervious week, but now they would be on air till August 1967. There would be other connections with Hastings and Big L – Radlon Sales from 17 Curzon Street – but more about that later. Until the next episode of the History of the Happy Ballroom [ don’t worry – we will get back to more stories from the Pier in the coming weeks ] keep warm, enjoy the coming week and Christmas Get togethers, and be safe, if you want to have a drink, then please do not drive – you know that it makes sense. On that note have a peaceful time and I will be back in time for Boxing Day.                    2014©Andre Palfrey-Martin


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