The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier & more. 28th Oct 1966 by Andre Martin

With the Battle of Hastings – circa 1966 have been fought and the winners, yet again William of Normandy, we can still expect to see Royal Visitors to Hastings in the coming week, for on Friday 28th October 1966, The Queen & The Duke of Edinburgh will be attending a lot of events in the town as part of the 900th Celebration of the Norman Invasion. Unfortunately the only part of Hastings Pier that will visit by the Royal Party is the Triodome to view the Tapestry. There is nothing scheduled for that weekend in the Happy Ballroom. Our Friday night celebrations would have been somewhat sad this particular Friday, I know that many people can always tell where and what they were doing when specific events happened – When the final whistle blew at Wembley in the World Cup Final earlier this year, the day JFK was assassinated, and sadly this Friday 21st October 1966 was another of those dates – It was the day of the Aberfan catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip which killed 116 children and 28 adults. I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news; it would have been 10.00am our break time and the Radio News would have been playing.
Our usual Television RSG as far as I can tell was still transmitted, and as it had been pre-recorded on the Wednesday, as it had been originally planned – It was a Who special, with such numbers as I’m a Boy, My Generation, Disguises, Rule Britannia and the group miming to Cliff Richard “Summer Holiday” also included were Lee Dorsey – Working Down a Coal Mine and Georgie Fame “Sunny”.
Along at the Witch Doctor on Saturday we have a visit from Paul & Ritchie and The Crying Shames, as was mentioned their big hit from that year was a Joe Meek production “Come on Back” incidentally this is not the same Cryin Shames that had the minor hit of “Please Stay” earlier in the year, the bands personnel had changed somewhat. Thursday Night was simply described as “In” Crowd Night 2/6d – I have no idea who would have been at the controls that night, but I think is safe to say, he came from Kent! I will let you do a little thinking on that. That was all that was open that week at the club, Just the Saturday and Thursday.
Let’s take a quick look at the radio for this weekend, BBC Light Programme – Saturday, would have most probably started with Children’s Choice followed by Saturday Club, this week Brian Matthew would have introduced DDDBMT, Ivy League, Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, The Easy Beats and The Montannas. Lunchtime, it would have been David frost at the Phonograph and Music from the Movies. Later we would have had Gay Byrne and Swingalong, Music Parade, Saturday BandStand and Douglas Reeve at the Organ of The dome Brighton. Early evening would have included Have A Go, A Night at The Music Hall, later it would have been Nord-Ring a collaboration of many of the Radio networks in Norther Europe and to close the day Simon Dee. Sunday would have included Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites – this week a TWO way link up between London & Koln, Afternoon comedy followed, The Navy Lark, The Clitheroe Kid, The Billy Cotton Band show, and then Semprini and Pick of the Pops. Movie Go Round Part 1 would have featured California Holiday with Elvis & Shelley Fabares. Top of The Form and Sing Something Simple would have followed. In the evening Open House with Desmond Carrington, Movie Go Round Part 2 and the evening would have ended with Humphrey Lyttelton and the Jazz Scene. On Television this weekend, Saturday hi-lights included Grand Stand, Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs his panel this week Sandie Shaw, Mike Felix, Gary Stephens & Marion Ryan. The usual format for Saturday evening would have been Dr Who, Dixon of Dock Green, Film – High Adventure, The Val Doonican Show, The Trouble Shooters, Match of the Day and The Late Show. BBC 2 featured Rugby Special, The Danny Kaye Show, The Man Craig, Whickers World and the Midnight Movie was “Don’t Bother to Knock” with Richard Widmark & Marilyn Monroe. Sunday early viewing was mainly of an educational nature, Mid afternoon The Quests of David Attenborough, Film Matinee this week was “ Bolero” staring George Raft and Carole Lombard. Bilko popped up around teatime, followed by the next episode of Woman in White, Sotty, The News and The Weather Man and Meeting Point. Songs of Praise came from Birmingham and the evening film was “Island in The Sun” with James Mason & Harry Belafomte. Billy Cotton came along at 9.30pm and the evening ended with Gala Performance introduced by James Robertson Justice.
Over on the Pirate ships, Radio Caroline South With DLT the TOP Five were – Four Tops : Reach Out. Troggs : Can’t Control Myself, Hollies : Stop, Stop, Stop, Georgie Fame : Sunny & Herman’s Hermits : No Milk Today. Over on Big L Radio London, Ed Stewart with their Top Five – Four Tops : Reach Out, Hollies : Stop, Stop, Stop, Bobby Darin : If I Were a Carpenter, Troggs : I Can’t Help Myself and Cliff and The Shadows : Time Drags By. Whilst writing this part, it is sad to record that we have lost Dave Cash this week, so many I know will remember The Kenny & Cash Show aand of course all the recent years when he broadcast from Radio Kent. This was not the happiest of weeks and something that would be with us for many years to come, looking back as I do 50 years I very much hope that the memories this weekly trip down memory lane bring are Happy and what when we remember they are the good times. Until next week, watch out for the Bonfire Brigades and flying fireworks – You all take great care.

Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

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