The Happy Ballroom & more 19th March 1966 by Andre Martin

The next report back on 50 years ago in Hastings, and what was going down Saturday 19th March 1966. The Happy Ballroom was in action with the appearance of Decca Recording Star – Dave Berry who we all remember as having hits earlier with “The Crying Game” and “Little Things”. Also that week the Teen Beat Coffee Club on a Thursday had its usual session in the Restaurant. This has to be an improvement as the facilities are being used.
For those who read my special for last Friday – 18th March, will have seen that the Friday night RSG had started us all off for the weekend in good style.
The Witch Doctor was recovering from the Ides of March Rave with A Band Of Angels now having returned to London, from what I remember the band had stayed the night with the d’Abo family in Bexhill after the great success of the show. On Saturday night it was a return from regular artistes Davey Sands & The Essex plus in support The Original Dyaks. Sunday and Tuesday it was the record shows with our regular spinners and Thursday the “Muscles Maxted” Show. Friday night was to be another first for the club, where it was advertised as a Surprise Night ! I should be able to tell more next week.
BBC Radio Light Programme on Saturday had the usual bundle of Children’s and Music programme to start the day from 5.30am. Saturday Club with Brian Matthew had its usual excellent range of artistes, including this week – Small Faces, Freddie & The Dreamers, The Bachelors, The Who, Valerie Masters, John Mayall’s Bluebreakers and The Les Reed Orchestra. Lunchtime we heard Jack Jackson Record Roundabout. The rest of the day was made up of Brass Bands, Male Voice Choirs, Jazz with Chris Barber’s Jazz band and several visits to the Old Time Musical Hall. Sundays included Joe “Mr Piano” Henderson and The Sing-along’s. Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce and the Johnny Howard Band. This week it was a three way link up with BFBS and BBC for Family Favourites – London, Koln & Nicosia in Cyprus. The afternoon included Round The Horne, Benny Hill Time, Semprini and Pick of the Pops. Movie Go Round this week included a great education film – St Tinian’s with Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan and George Cole. Also it was getting ‘geared-up’ for the release of Alfie. Early in the evening it would be Brain of Britain 1966 competition. Later Sunday Half Hour was live from HMS Tiger RN Dockyard Portsmouth. Late night Jazz was introduced by Humphrery Lyttelton and continued till 2.00am Monday Morning !!
Television for the weekend for the Rugby fans included the Scotland v England game from Murreyfield, a quick visit to somewhere ???? with Doctor Who and we had Juke Box Jury and Beat girl –Shirley Anne Field, Adam Faith, Jimmy Young and Jeannie Carson made up the panel with David Jacobs ready with the hit or miss button. The evening followed very much the norn – Dixon Of Dock Green, The Western Film – this week City of Badmen with Dale Robertson, The Black and White Minstrels, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and the Andy Williams Show took us to closedown. Sunday early television was very much “educational” and the entertainment did not really start until teatime – David Copperfield, Pinky & Perky, Songs of Praise, The film that night was “Sons & Lovers” based on the D H Lawrence novel, starring Trevor Howard, this was followed by a classic Sunday night drama – Dr Finlay’s Casebook.
For those tuning to the Pirate stations would have heard amongst the weekend offerings – Radio London Fab 40 –Top Five – Shape of Things to Come: Yardbirds, Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine anymore: Walker Brothers, Exclusive Butterfly: Bob Lind, Dedicated follower of fashion: Kinks, Nowhere man:Settlers. Over on Radio Caroline South, with the Emperor Rosko – No 1 Walker Brothers, No 2 I Can’t let go Hollies, No3 Sha La La La Lee – Small Faces. No 4 These Boots… Nancy Sinartra and No 5 Back Stage Gene Pitney.
So there we go, it was a very interesting an enjoyable weekend for me and I know quite a few people in the town. Looking ahead the clock is ticking to the grand opening of the new Pier on 21 May 2016, and certain Red Letter Day from so many of us in the town. We still have Easter to get through and that is when traditionally the Pier used to put on extra events, we will have to see. All that I remember from Easter 1966 was that it snowed !! Until the next part of the Story, you all take extra care and look after yourselves. Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016

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