The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier & more – 2nd July 1966 by Andre Martin

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all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection

What a busy time we are now entering, as I suspected, the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier, would be pulling out all the stops now that the Summer Season has started, and this is a particularly important year here in Hastings – Its Saturday 2nd July 1966. we start off on Saturday with The Tony Strudwick Big Band, Monday: Come Dancing to Biff Byfield & His Music, Tuesday: Dale Martin presents Wrestling, Wednesday: Tony Strudwick Show Band, Friday: Tony Strudwick Show Band. Next week Saturday 9th July, it will be the start of the Saturday Night is Big L Party Night and the start again of the Sunday club with top attraction on that night – The Yardbirds. It would seem that Bob Knights has very busy getting the programme underway for this most momentous year. Friday Night – The Weekend Starts Here, had done with a bang on RediffusionTV – “Ready Steady Go” had featured great times with Cathy & Keith and in the musical spot one of my all time great 60s singles – Dusty “Going Back”, also The Hollies with “Bus Stop” and Chris Curtis & “Aggravation”. Along in St Leonards, the mood for a good time continues with the Witch Doctor presenting on Saturday Night – The Quiet Five and from Eastbourne – The Alexanders. Plus Top Records – 7.30pm-11.45pm all for 6/6d. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday the Top record Shows would be presented with guest DJs. Thursday was as always the one and only Steve Maxted, with his own particular brand of musical entertainments. An important notice that appeared in the press that weekend from the Management [no NOT the two Rons, more likely Tony Powell] “That due to increased overheads, it is regretted that from July 1st The Membership increased to 5/- per year for members”.
BBC Radio for that weekend, included Saturday – 10.00am Saturday Club, with Brian Matthew and his quests this week included The Hollies, Kenny Ball & His Jazz Men, Neil Christian, The Four Pennies and The Fen Men. Lunchtime it was Jack Jackson with his own particular brand of radio entertainment. Swinging Summer this week included the talents of Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Acker Bilk and His Jazz Men, David & Jonathan, The Karl Denver Trio, The Fortunes, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Hollies, Mrs Mills, Bert Weedon, The Transatlantic and Wout Steenhuis – all of these being kept under control by Paul Hollingdale. Later in the day, on offer was Music from The Movies, The Heather Mixture Club, Pop Over Europe, later on was “Blackpool Night” including The Rockin Berries and The Hollies. To end the evening there was Old Time Music. Over on the Home Service, included in the schedule was The Al Read Show, Desert Island Discs & Those were the Days. On Sunday the format was as usual – 10.30am Easy Beat, 12noon 2 Way Family Favourites London & Cologne linked together for dedications and requests for Service personnel and families. Later the afternoon would include – Ken Dodd, The Mitchell Minstrels, Melody Hour, Top of The Pops, Movie Go Round, Sing Something Simple & Steptoe & Son.One of the regular programmes that I was asked about the other week at the Museum was – would you believe “The Archers” who had parents/grandparents who would religiously tune in each night or on Sunday to catch up on the goings on in Ambridge, almost on par to Mrs Dales Diary, which was a week day regular 15 minutes on the Light Programme.
Television at the Weekend, included on Saturday – BBC TV 1 Cricket & Summer Grandstand, Dr Who & Not Only but Also. Sunday Television included Motor racing, The Film Matinee –“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court” featuring Bing Crosby, als we could watch – Green Acres, Tich & Quackers, Perry Mason and The Billy Cotton Music Hall. For us living in Hastings the Sunday Cricket on BBC 2 TV was of interest as it came from The Saffrons in Eastbourne. Radio London Sunday Big L Top 40 included Hollies-Bus Stop, Georgie Fame- Get Away, Sitting on a Fence – Twice as Much, It’s a Mans Mans World – James Brown & the Famous Flames, Paperback Writer – Beatles. Radio Caroline Top Five for that weekend included – Bus Stop-The Hollies, Mountain High – Ike & Tina Turner, NO Body Needs your Love-Gene Pitney, Paperback Writer – The Beatles and Sunny Afternoon – the Kinks. There in a nutshell is a quick look at what we were tuned into or watching in Hastings some 50 years ago, it just does not seem that long ago, the only thing that brings this home to me are aches and pains from knees etc. The current activities with the Pier Opened, the Beer Festival, Pirate Day, the Old Town Carnival Week and the Return of Carnival FM to look forward to mean that it will be busy, let’s hope the weather improves as well, until next week edition of what had originally been The History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, but now includes so much more, you all take care, if you have any particular story to tell please let me know.  Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016

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