Happy and carefree days during the summer season
Terry Redhead’s article (August issue) on Great Yarmouth’s heady days of summer shows with the stars of the day rekindled the nostalgia for the happy, carefree days of my youth.
How many people would remember such acts as Old Mother Riley, The Five Smith Boys or Joan Regan, all established names then?
In addition to the twice-nightly shows during the week, the Regal Theatre also put on Sunday night entertainment. I saw many famous stars there, including Bill Eckstine and Billy Daniels from the States and the biggest name of them all, Roy Orbison.
One of the top British acts of the day to appear was the Eric Delaney Band, with Eric closing the show with a much-encored drum solo.
The Beatles also made a Sunday night appearance and I hurried along to get a ticket but as I couldn’t get a balcony seat, I didn’t go … I suppose back then I had visions of grandeur. However, a couple of years later I was fortunate enough to catch up with them in Sydney.
Just after I left school I worked in Sutton’s shop in Regent Road which sold kippers and bloaters on one side, even boxing and posting them all over Britain, and made sticks of rock on the other.
The public could come in and see how letters were formed and wrapped in an outer coating of doughy sugar then rolled out to end up as sticks of rock with the town’s name running through.
That year Hughie Green, a popular presenter of the talent show Opportunity Knocks, came to do a season at the Regal and wanted sticks of rock made bearing his name which were given out at his shows.
Another young assistant and I took the rock to the theatre and were shown in through the stage door to the great man’s dressing room. Although he wasn’t home, this very near brush with top show business left quite an impression on me for a few days.
Just a few weeks ago a star from yesteryear appeared on TV. My old memory didn’t even have to go into overdrive before I called out “Got it!” It turned out to be Vic Flick. I saw him perform at both the Regal and the Aquarium as lead guitar in Lonnie Donegan’s group. He also played with Herman’s Hermits and did session work on the James Bond film themes and on Tom Jones’ big hit, It’s Not Unusual.
Vic has a list of credits which would compare favourably with any musician around.
And, to close the show, I recently heard on the radio a song called One-Two-Three, immediately taking me back more than 50 years to remind me of my first ever girlfriend.