The Happy Ballroom & more 13th August 1966 by Andre Martin

The summer season has settled into a routine with the entertainment across the many venues here in Hastings and St Leonards, on the calendar the date is Saturday 13th August 1966. Over on the Pier in the Happy Ballroom & Longest Bar in Town the programme has something for everybody. This Saturday night it is the return of the Tony Strudwick Big Band with his “Party Night” – 8.00pm-11.30pm – novelties, prizes, games and hats all included in the 5/- entry fee. On Sunday this week it’s a return to Hastings, but a first time in the Happy Ballroom for Zoot Money & His Big Roll Band. Tuesday its Dale Martins Wrestling Promotions – headline this week Mick McManus v Brian Maxine. Ticket prices ranged from 10/6d to 4/-. Friday night it was The Tony Strudwick Show Band. The weekend for many would have started off with the compulsory viewing of Ready Steady Go, hosted by Cathy McGowan and Keith Fordyce and this week would have included appearances from Julie Felix, The Fourmost : “Here There and Everywhere”, Alan Price : “Hi Lili, Hi Lo”. Along in St Leonards at the Witch Doctor, the weekly line up was as previous with only live groups on Saturday – this week it was a return of CBS recording stars – Davy Sands & the Essex. Monday through to Friday the entertainment was simply advertised as ACTION!!  I have been asked to mention what other main entertainments were on offer during that summer of the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings – Opposite the Pier in the White Rock Pavilion – know known as the White Rock Theatre – the summer show was Lance Percival with “Let’s Make a Night of It” with full supporting troupe Monday to Saturday with 2 shows on Wednesday and Saturday, to enable weekly visitors to maximise what was on offer the change-over took place on Thursdays. Sunday evenings were reserved for different concerts. For the main season it was Sunday Swings Along with Bob and Alf Pearson + guests, In the early season it was Gordon Rider & Visitors. Another series of events that was very popular the Ted Crouch Band “Music & Fireworks in Alexandria Park” with. On some occasions the Carnival Queen Glynis Shaw and her attendants – Viv Moore and Carol Ball would also attend. There would also have been live dance band music in The Bathing Pool, The Sun Lounge, The Carlisle, The Alexandra Hotel , & The Queens Hotel to name but a few.
Radio & Television were limited to very few channels, unlike today with multi choice, but we managed – BBC Radio –The Light Programme for this week offered Saturday Club with Brian Matthew and his guests – Los Bravos, Wayne Fontana, The Artwoods, Jimmy James and The Vagabonds and the Spinners. Later on that day you would have heard David Frost Phonograph, Music Parade, Swing into Summer – a Monday- Saturday musical presentation to suit old and young alike, Kenny Ball & His Jazz men, Cliff Bennett, Ray Ellington & Alan Haven +Tony Crombie, amongst the guests. Saturday Bandstand this week featured the Staff Band of The Royal Engineers Chatham and they would have no doubt included the Regimental Quick March “Wings” for all the Sappers & ex Sappers tuned in. Later that day on offer was Heather Mixture, Blackpool Night with the Batchelors. Later the Henry Woods Promenade Concert, Time for Latin and Simson Dee. On Sunday the selection included Mrs Mills, Easy beat, Two Way Family Favourites, Morecombe & Wise. Movie Time this week included “One of our Spies is Missing”[Robert Vaughan and David McCallum] later in the evening “ Sing Something Simple”, Steptoe and Son, Open House with Desmond Carrington and Jazz Scene Humphrey Lyttelton and Alan Haven & Tony Crombie.
Television – Saturday – Grandstand, Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and his guests Antony Booth, Simon Dee, Sheila Southern and Viviana Ventura. The Saturday evening would have continued Laurel and Hardy, The Musters, Dick Van Dyke, The Henry Woods Concert, The Trouble-shooters, and The Wrestlers – a Canadian Documentary. Sunday included – It’s a KO, this week featured Bridlington v Scarborough, Tich and Quackers, Jamaica 66 British and Empire Commonwealth Games and Ken Dodd and over on BBC 2 Cricket. The charts for this week from Radio London – BIG L would have included – Beatles: Yellow Submarine, Beach Boys: God only Knows, Ken Dodd: More Than Love, Mamas & Papas: I saw her again and Bobby Sheen: Doctor Love. Over on Radio Caroline South –Dave Lee Travis played – Beach Boys: God Only Knows, Lovin Spoonful: Summer in the City, Los Bravos: Black is Black, Beatles: Elinor Rigby and Alan Price Set: HI Lilli, Hi Lo. So another week goes by, and down here in Hastings people are kept very busy as you can see, until next week’s episode do all stay safe and hopefully make the most of better weather, for those who are recovering from the Old Town Carnival, just think you still have 51 weeks to go to next year’s events- 2017, start training now !     AndrePalfrey-Martin©2016

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