October can be a great month, and we have had a really fantastic few days this year, much of which I know you will already be talking about, but it does not seem to have been the same 50 years ago. We are going to look at the 2 weeks: 9th and 16th which nowadays line up very nicely with Hastings Week, but I do not recall much celebration all those years ago, I know some will say – Yes, but do not forget that we are getting worked up to the 900th anniversary of The Norman Invasion and subsequent battle next year in 1966. Here we go then with this episode of the History of The Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier and it is Saturday 16th October 1965. The lights are OFF and nothing has happened over the past few weeks, I know that it is a crafty way for the Management to save on the electric by not having the large DANCING illuminations that we always so very easily to see from the promenade. But the truth is nothing is happening, and all the research of that immediate period has come up with nothing.
Both of the Friday nights had started off well with the London TV transmission of Ready Steady Go on Friday 8th the show had headlined with The Everly Brothers: “Love is Strange” amongst the numbers they included, also on the programme The Supremes and Peter & Gordon. Holding it all together were the regular presenters Keith and Cathy. On the following Friday 15th October – wow a great package Lulu & The Luvvers “ Try to understand”, Ben E King, Dusty “ Some of your Lovin”, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames “Something”, The Fortunes “Here it comes again” and The Graham Bond Organisation. Linking the show together, Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan.
The Witch Doctor was playing low key at this time, because of some plans for the future and the refurbishment, Tony Powell and his team had been out seeking shrunken heads for the club décor, but were not getting many, perhaps Alan Jensen should have offered some free records from the Disc Jockey as an incentive. The line up was Saturday 9th October; double bill, George Bean and The Runners plus the Disciples and records for the rest of the week. Friday October 15th – The Symbols. On Saturday 16th Felders Orioles and supporting Dave and The Strollers, on the Friday Night 22nd Sons of Fred.
Even the radio and television was undergoing changes and some new programmes were being integrated into the schedule to offer variety. Some of the stalwarts remained. Saturday Club for example, on 9th October, Brian Matthew presented a good variety – The Searchers, Manfred Mann, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Don Charles, The Cherokees, Sharon Tandy. The following week the show came live from Copenhagen, and included The Swinging Blue Jeans, Pretty Things, Chris Barber Jazz Band, The Defenders, Peter Belli & The Rivals, Kjeld Ingridh and the New Danish Radio Band.
There was the usual mix of “Lance a Go Go”, “Fanfayre”, “The Folk Room”, on 16th at 4.00pm, they introduced a new Film based show “ Music from the Movies” with Desmond Carrington and later that evening an outside broadcast from The Ricky Tick Club in Windsor with Tony Hall introducing a very popular act who played the venue a lot – Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames.
On Sunday, it was the usual mix of Keith Fordyce with Easy Beat at10.31am after the Sunday Service at12 noon – Family Favourites from Cologne and London. “Movie Go Round” on 16th featured “Darling” with Lawrence Harvey, Dirk Bogarde and Julie Christie and always in the right place, that you could set your watch 4.00pm “Pick of The Pops” with dear old Fluff.
Television featured a lot more drama and variety shows than today, however the musical side included the regular” Juke Box Jury” with David Jacobs and his panel of hit/miss makers on the 9th, they were Louise Cordet, Julie Felix, Lance Percival and Leslie Phillips. The following week it was Denny Piercy, Gene Pitney, Marian Ryan and Ginette Spaniel. Not to be outdone. Over on ITV or ABC to be precise – had” Thank Your Lucky Stars” introduced by Jim Dale [Brian Matthew was taking a break] and that would have included a good lively mix of recording arties from both sides of the Atlantic, with dear old Janice “I’ll give it Five” on the show.
On Saturday 16th October, live from Brighton you had The Conservative Party Conference with political reporters, you may remember – Ian Trethowan and Robin Day, but that was only limited to a report on the final day, how things have changed.
This last Saturday in Hastings – 2015 – was the Bonfire Celebrations, and back in the 1960s, they were also celebrated, and I can recall that we would have had Battle, Hastings and Rye possibly on the same night, which was a little disappointing if you had wanted to get to more than one. I am not sure if they would have been “political” as today, but that does make them much more interesting.
The next episode of the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, I very much hope will include something different for a change, I would have thought that the patrons missed the venue and their friends? Time will tell. Till next week you all take care, remember the clocks go back next Sunday morning, and it will be darker getting about, so make sure that you can be seen!!
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015