The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier & more – 31st Dec 1966 by Andre Martin

Well here we are at the last day of 1966 – Its Saturday 31st December 1966, and I know that I may have already mentioned the New Years Eve, I thought that I would add some more to give you all a feel of what it was like 50 years ago this weekend. The Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier is again in a situation of being closed, they had briefly opened the Ballroom for Christmas Eve, and then it was closed –no doubt they are suffering the economic downturn in the country. Friday night would have started off with the TV and a visit to Ready Steady Go, but as we all know – this has gone with the last transmission on Christmas Eve 24th.
The Witch Doctor was geared up for an excellent night as always, but I cannot find any trace of advertising of bands etc, I know that it took place as I was in the end persuaded to go along by two old friends of mine – John & Phil, but I have no idea of who played. And I must add, this loss of memory was not induced by excessive consumptions of alcohol, what I do recall was that it was packed and everybody was having a good time. One good thing about having this on a Saturday Night was that it went well past Midnight and January 1st was not yet a Bank Holiday in England, so nobody had to get up the next morning and go to work. The BBC offerings for the weekend included – on The Light Programme, Saturday: Saturday Club with Brian Matthew and his guests were Mindbenders, Julie Rogers, Guy Darrell, Geno Washington, O’Hara Playboys and The Alex Welsh Band. This was followed by Call it Country, the Jack Jackson Show, Music from the Movies, Swing along, and Greetings from Around Europe. Later we had Those Were The Days, The Stubby Kaye Show, Forces Star time from RNAS Lossiemouth [Home for many years of the aircraft from HMS Arch Royal & HMS Eagle, when not at sea] and at 10.00pm Alan Freeman hosted “Swing into the New Year” with a visit to Scotland. Sunday: Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites – London & Koln, the usual afternoon of comedy and music and at 4.00pm Pick of The Pops with Fluff. The evening continued very much as a normal Sunday with Grand Hotel, Men from the Ministry and Jazz Scene.
Television that weekend – Saturday: Grandstand, Juke Box Jury with guests Simon Dee, Alan Freeman, Pete Murray and Jimmy Saville with David Jacobs with the bell! Dr Who, The Monkeys, The Film was High Adventure and this was followed by Val Doonican, Match of The Day, Joyce Grenville and at 0.01am “ Entertainment from Scotland “ Over on BBC 2, we had Rugby Special, Mozart for NYE, International Cabaret and the Midnight Movie –“Night in the City”
On Sunday, the film was “Going My Way” with Bing Crosby, International Sky Jumping, Billy Smarts Circus, Sooty, and later film – “Bell Book & Candle. Regular Sunday night viewers would have been expecting Dr Findlay Casebook, with all the goings’ on in Tannochbrae And the evening ended with New Years Day Concert from Vienna.
The Pirates were trying to keep the music going with Radio Caroline South – Johnny Walker and Top 40, including the Troggs, Donovan – Sunshine Superman, DDDBMT, The Who and Elvis –I wish it would be Christmas all the time. Over on Radio London – Tony Blackburn with the Fab 40 – DDDBMT, Troggs, Cliff Richard – In The Country, Temptations – I know that I am Loosing You and Young Rascals – Too many Fish in The Sea.
That bring us all to the change over 1966 to 1967, and as I have said before a lot to look forwards to and memories to look back on. Until my next blog – have a safe and happy evening. For many Normal Service and the diets will resume very shortly !!                                  Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

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