The Happy Ballroom and more – New Years Eve 1965 by Andre Martin

Third part of what does seem to have been a long week+ It is now New Years Eve – 31st December 1965 and there is a lot going on for us – we were so lucky in those days. In the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, after the success of The Who on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve had a particular Scottish flavour with two attractions from North of the Border – The Two of Each and Pinky & The Phellows. Apart from their names in print in the advertisement, I can find nothing more to report. Pinky & The Phellows were listed as one of Scotland’s leading Show Bands. It’s a bit like “The Lurking Cromwell’s” from Boxing Day, thanks to Pete Millington/ Trevor Spears they have tracked them down to the Ninefield area, so more in the New Year – I hope.
I can recall the Witch Doctor on that night and the acts booked, The Lonely Ones, Davey Sands & The Essex + The Humperdinks, also included on that nights show “ the Witch Doctors own Father Time” – I wonder who that would have been ? That night when on till 1.30am New Years Day, and all for 10/- in advance! This would have been a Saturday for some, getting up to go to work might not have been such a problem as for many, but in those days you just did – no argument!!
Thinking back the venue was packed, and one of the perks that I had was membership of the Grenadier Club, down stairs next to the Dolphin Ballroom, which was also very busy, this enabled me to always get a drink and not have to face the crush at the bar in the Witch Doctor and was even more handy if I was in company as I was that night. The owner of the whole complex was Eric Rennie, he was a character, but he knew how to keep people happy, and there would have been a lot of people in that building for New Years Eve.
Saturday January 1st 1966 – we had ex-organist of THEM with his group Peter B’s Looners, plus from Eastbourne the Defiants, back to normal and the show ends at 11.45pm with bar closing by 11.00pm all for 6/- .Sunday, if you needed any more dance time, the afternoon Record session went from 2.30pm to 5.00pm. The rest of the weeks programme was the same as usual – Records on Tuesday and Thursday night with Steve Muscles Maxted.
Because New Years Eve was on Friday, Ready Steady Go very much under Vicky Wickham control, added yet another first to the Schedule and from 10.52pm its “The New Year Starts Here” and amongst the artistes on the bill – The Animals: The Who “ Cants Explain”:Chris Andrews “ Girls Don’t Come”: Dave Berry; Dave Clark Five : Tom Jones 2 Chills & Fevers”: Kinks : Lulu “Shout”: Kenny Lynch :Rolling Stones “Satisfaction & Get Off My Cloud” Searchers & Dusty Springfield. [It was a great pity that we did not have video recorders for such nights, as we must have missed some great shows being out at clubs etc]
Television that night would have also included on the BBC – 7.00pm The Newcomers Soap/drama.7.30pm “ Barney is My Darling :the Twenty Six year Itch” with Bill Fraser and Irene Handl. 8.00pm Film “North West Mounted Police” with Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard. 10.10pm “1965 Panorama of the Year” 11.00pm “The Andy Williams Show”.11.50pm A WatchNight Service from St Martin-in-the-field” 12mn herald in the New Year as the crowds celebrate in Trafalgar Square then north of the border to… Ring In the New – an Entertainment from Scotland featuring Andy Stewart.
Saturday 1st January 1966 – BBC Light Programme 1.00am Saturday Club, with Hedgehoppers Anonymous: Barry St JOHN: Merseybeats: Rick & Sandy: Acker Bilk plus the backbone to the show Brian Matthew. 6.30pm Jazz Beat with Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames: Brian Auger Trinity and George Melly. Sunday 10.31am Easy Beat. 12noon 2 Way Family Favourites London & Koln: 4.00pm “Pick of the Pops”. 5.00pm “Movie Go Round” this weeks feature films – “The Heroes of Telemark” with Kirk Douglas & Richard Harris, “ Sands of The Kalahari” – Stanley Baker, Susannah York & Harry Andrews. 6.00pm “What do you know”, nationwide general knowledge competition for “Brain of Britain”. 11.30pm – Jazz Club.
Television that weekend would have included Saturday – 1.30pm GRANDSTAND, 5.15PM Juke Box Jury – David Jacobs with panel members Max Bygraves Family & Uncle Eric. 5.50pm “Dr Who: Volcano”. 6.15pm “The Munster’s”, 6.40pm “Dixon of Dock Green”. 8.55pm “Billy Cotton Band Show” Over on ITV – “Thank Your Lucky Stars” and the line up for the first show in 1966 included Jim Dale, Searchers, Bachelors, Fortunes, Lance Percival, Julie Rogers 7 Jackie Trent. Sunday 2nd January – 1.15pm Gardening Club with Percy Thrower, 2.00pm New Year Concert from Vienna.7.30pm Film – On the Waterfront.
Back to normal – if there ever was a normal time – I have just remembered that when I went back to college the following week it was for examinations! Until next week you take care and a Happy New Year to you all – no matter what year you wish to live in !!!!
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015

Andy Qunta… Fabulous run-down, Andre, thanks!

Anne Wells… Andre Happy New Year and thank you for all of your weekly memory prods – much appreciated. I recommend a book I’m currently reading 1966: the Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage – excellent.

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