The Happy Ballroom and more Christmas 1965 – Part 1 by Andre Martin

Christmas 1965 Part 1
Fifty years ago it was Christmas December 1965, and like this year it is spread over more than just the usual 2 days. We see action again in the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, with the first visit to the venue of The Who – in the forthcoming new book on the History of the Pier I have included this about that night –
“I remember Christmas Eve in1965 was the first visit to the Happy Ballroom of the Who. The show was coming to the end, and the boys had played their last number, but, as we all know, this was planned and they would return to give a final encore. Mr Knights sensed that Pete Townsend was just about to go into his guitar-and-amp-wrecking routine, and everybody was very hyped-up by this point. In a flash Bob is on stage, he grabs the microphone from Roger Daltry and says – “Oh look at the time, it’s almost midnight and we have to be out by then. Can I have the curtains closed please, and many thanks to tonight’s group, the Who, and to all you boys and girls out there in the ballroom. Go quietly, and take care as the deck is a little slippery with the frost, and have a good Christmas” The Who were dumb struck, but just did as they were told, as did all the youngsters in the ballroom. Truly we all knew who was in control, but that was his way of ensuring a peaceful end to what had been a successful evening”
The Witch Doctor on Christmas Eve hand put together a show with a local attraction, top of the Bill were Curtiss & Co, featuring the first professional debut from ex Talismen Chris Sayer, also on the show an up and coming act from the same stable as The Rolling Stones and to complete the show – Hastings own The Humperdinks. Prizes, Hats, Streamers and their own Father Christmas. All of this for 9/- and a late bar to 12.30am
In true keeping with Friday Nights Television “Ready Steady Go” had put together a real bumper show it was a Pantomime! The cast included – Storyteller- Cilla Black: Cindrella – Cathy McGowen: Pete Townsend – Wicked Grandmother: Peter Noone [Herman] The Prince : The Kinks – The Ugly Sisters :Hilton Valentine [Animals] Ugly Sister : Eric Burdon – Ugly Grandmother : Graham Nash & Bobby Elliot [Hollies] Pantomime Horse. The music was provided by a whole range of names from the time including The Who, The Animals, Chris Farlowe, Herman’s Hermits, The Hollies, The Kinks, DDDBMT, Denovan, Spencer Davis Group, Paul Jones & Alan Price.
Radio that Friday Night included on The Light Programme 12.00 Top Ten Game with David Gell, 1.00pm The Joe Loss pop Show featuring Brian Poole & The Trems, The Roving Kind. 2.00pm Swing Around Christmas with Paul Hollingdale and The Seekers, Billy J Kramer, Gerry & The Pacemakers and others. The Pirate stations were going well beaming 23 hours a day with a good mix of the current and previous hits from the year
Television had changed their usual schedules and included – BBC TV 1 – 5.00pm CrackerJack, 6.30pm Film “Son of Paleface”. 8.00pm The Julie Andrews Show with guest Gene Kelly, 10.00 Christmas Carols from Kings College Chapel Cambridge. 12mn – Mass from Leeds St Anne’s Catholic Cathedral. BBC 2 offered 8.00pm The Bruce Fordyce Show and 10.00 Film “Going My Way”.
Over on ITV the offerings included – 2.00pm Pickwick Papers, 4.20pm Crossroads, 5.25 Anton Ant, 6.00pm The Curcus Comes to Town, 7.00pm Take Your Pick, 7.30pm Emergency Ward 10. 8.00pm The Ready Steady Go Pantomine and 10.00pm Film “Peyton Place”
The Christmas Holiday had started well in the town for old and young alike, and there would be more for us to appreciate over the coming days. The weather was slightly warmer than average for the time of the year, but by Christmas the temperatures fell and night became cold and dry.
To be continued…………………….  Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2015

Dusty Springfield with Brian Poole 1963


photo Irene Draper  via Mick O’Dowd

Dusty with Brian Poole during her time as guest presenter on Ready, Steady, Go! 1963

Andre Martin… Dusty was such a great artiste -its a shame that TV at the time did not do more Motown style programme with her as the compere/star of the show.

Phil Gill… Dusty rocks! What a voice.

Andy Qunta… My Dad bought Losing You for us for Christmas that year. I think it was because he liked it, because I don’t remember hearing it before that! I have it on my iPod now! Great stuff!

Jon McCallion… Lovely lady and singer too, fantastic voice.

Tony Qunta… My all time favourite female vocalist!!

John Storer… Three words – “Dusty in Memphis”