The Happy Ballroom and more 5th March 1966 by Andre Martin

Time marches on and we find that we have now reached the weekend of Saturday 5th March 1966 – and for the first time for a while we see activity on Hastings Pier, and to be precise The Happy Ballroom and reactivated the Saturday Night Dances, this week the top of the bill are Hedge Hoppers Anonymous. They had a hit record in 1965 with “Its Good News Week” incidentally produced by one Jonathan King! But that is not all on the Pier, because Disc Jockey Promotion have started a Thursday Night event known as TEEN BEAT Coffee Club in the Pier Restaurant, this week the music is provided by Mud Mulligans Big Boss Band. 7.30pm – 10.30pm all for 2/6d. That has to be a move in the right direction of having the Dancing Sign flashing again after so many months across the front of the Ballroom.
Friday Evenings started with the one and only MOD show – Ready Steady Go from London, and on the show this week, David Bowies & The Buzz :”Can’t help thinking about me”, Manfred Mann, Small Faces : “Sha La La La Lee”, Spencer Davis: “Somebody Help Me”, Yardbirds: “Shape of Things to Come” with Keith and Cathy to pull it all together in their great way.
The Witch Doctor was gearing up to more entertainment in the coming week – On Saturday headlining were Essex band The Symbols who were regulars at the club and would later go onto have a couple of hit records on the President Label. On that night the support was from another well know group in the club – The Blue Stars and as ever Johnny Mann spinning the records. Sunday afternoon Dance sessions were as popular as ever 2.30pm – 5.00pm all for 1/6d. Tuesday night it was “Candlelight Spin” 7.30pm – 11.00pm for a whole 2/-. Thursday Night was as ever the night for The Muscles Maxted Show. Friday nights were back on the programme from next week 11th March with the Anteeks. Even so, they all keep respectable hours and the shows would have been over by 11.00pm. On the Radio The BBC Light Programme, followed its usual schedule, some of the hi-lights this week included – Saturday Club The Animals, Yardbirds,Dave Berry & The Cruisers, Jackie Lee, and Mister Murray – Brian Matthew was in control and adding some new records. Later in the evening 6.30pm on Jazz Club were the very popular Kenny Ball & His Jazz Men. Sunday it was Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites with London & Koln [it’s been a while now for a link up anywhere else in the world] Pick of the Pops and Movie Go Round.
Television on Saturday included –Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs this week’s panel included Eric Burdon, Maloo Pantera, Gene Pitney and Briony Newton. That evening it was time for the Eurovision Competition this year the broadcast came from Luxemburg, and we were represented by Kenneth McKeller “A Man without Love” – The final outcome was that we came 9th with 8 points (thanks to Austria and Ireland) the winning entry was from the Austrian entry “Merci Cherie” by Udo Jugens. The commentary was from David Jacobs in the studio. Sunday was a combination of the regular drama and entertainments plus films.
The pirates continued to supply much of the pop mix for us all, and even Radio Caroline was returning to fairly regular schedules after the beaching a few weeks earlier. So there we have the first weekend in March, from all accounts the weather was dry and grey. Until the next instalment, wrap up warm and lets all hope for some dry weather and less wind that at the moment. Until next weeks – the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier et al………..
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016

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