The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier & more 25th June 1966 by Andre Martin

What a week it has been so far, and here we now have reached Saturday 25th June 1966, and in the Happy Ballroom, Hastings Pier, we have been having some fun today and are now getting ready for the 3rd Night of entertainment that the Hastings College has presented for Rag Week. The Top of the bill tonight is the Radio & television stars – Edmundo Ross Band. This was aimed mainly at the parents of students and the older generation. I have to report that like both the Thursday and Friday nights we had a roaring success. Part of the evening’s entertainment was a Churchwardens Pipe Smoking Competition, I know that sound slightly non PC today but 50 years ago, nobody worried. The idea was the winner was the smoker who could keep hi/her pipe going the longest. It just so happened that the winner was my girlfriends Dad! – I promise I had no influence over this at all. Yes the Winner Mr Charles Potter took his pipe and the tobacco, but I don’t think he was ever allowed to smoke in the house!!
As you will no doubt recall the Friday Nights show would keep us up and around till 7.00am Saturday morning, and too get us in the mood, of course it was time for Ready Steady Go, and luckily the Television in the Bar on the pier was able to pick up the broadcast. That Friday night the show included – Tom Jones:” Not Responsible”,Kinks:”Sunny Afternoon”, DDDBMT :”Hideaway”, Dave Berry:”Mama” and Norma Tanego:”Walking my dog named dog”- that was the lead into the Night.
The Witch Doctor was playing it down on the Friday and only had records; we had invited all the management and staff to our “do” afterwards, so they arrived very soon after closedown at the Pier. On the Saturday the offering was a couple of very popular groups that were regular visitors to St Leonards – The Riot Squad and The Poor Boys. The regular record nights, with Johnny Mann, Tony Powell and of course Steve Maxted in full show as ever, on the Thursday night. Nevertheless the youngsters made the most of what we had presented over the last few days.
Let now look back quickly to what we watched some 50 years ago ! BBC Radio – the Light Programme had Brian Mathew with guests, Herman’s Hermits, The Fortunes, Chris Barber Jazz Band, Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers, Graham Bonney and The Johnny Arthey Band. Later in the day Saturday Swings with Tom Jones and The Squires, The Settlers, Scott Peters with the Johnny Pearson Orchestra. Other shows that night included Music from the Movies, Eddy Arnold Sings, Blackpool Night with Charlie Chester, Eddie Calvert and Reginald Dixon on the famous Blackpool Organ. The BBC International Festival of Light Music and Dancing Round Europe. One Sunday Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce presenting Pop Artistes from the BBC Top Tunes Listeners chart. Lunchtime it was 2 Way Family Favourites from London & Koln. Later in the afternoon – Comedy with Ken Dodd, Leslie Crowther and music from Val Doonican, Semprini and at 4.00pm Pick of The Pops with fluff- Alan Freeman. The evening continued with Drama and some music and at 11.00pm The Jazz Scene – this week with Humphrey Littleton and the Tubby Hayes Quartet.
Television On the Saturday- Grandstand was mainly Wimbledon. Juke Box Jury that night with David Jacobs were Gene Pitney, Susan Maughan, Denny Piercy and Betty Marsden. We also had Dr Who, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Not only.. But Also, The Trouble-shooter and the 1966 Greyhound Derby. On Sunday Green Acres, Captain Pugwash Perry Mason, Billy Cottons Band Show and the award winning film biography of Elgar.
Over on the Pirate Station, Radio Caroline Top five this weekend included Beatles: Paperback Writer.Kinks:Sunny Aftdernoon,Gene Pitney:Nobody needs your Love,Ike & Tina Turner:River Deep-Mountain High and Cilla Black:Don’t Answer Me. Over on Big L Radio London, Ed Stewart played No 1 River Deep-Mountain High – Ike & Tina Turner ,Everbody Needs you Love – Gene Pitney, Hideway – DDDBMT, Sittin on a Fence –Twice as Nice and I need You[EP] The Walker Brothers.
For many of us this was to be a weekend of change, as the college had finished for the year, and some of the students, like myself had finished our courses and were looking for either work or higher education opportunities. In the immediate future for me was a Monday morning reporting to Brook Street Depot of Maidstone & District, where I because KK51072 Conductor Martin A – yes that right I was back on the busses for the Summer.
So there we have a quick look at Hastings 50 years ago, until next week – you all take care, and let hope that we see some sun.  Andre Palfrey-Martin© 2016