The 1960’s were a ‘golden-Age’ for children growing up in Britain. We were literally bombarded with a plethora of : toys;comics;games and new innovations to stimulate young minds. Well known comics included: Dandy;Beano;Beezer;Topper;Hotspur;Victor; Lion;Tiger;Bunty;Judy…etc…etc. As a ‘paperboy’ in the sixties i well remember my bag being very heavy every Tuesday ..delivering the local comics to the kids!!! Our ‘heroes’ were ‘The Bash Street Kids’/Minnie the Minx/Roy of the Rovers and of course: Desperate Dan (who always ate ‘Aunt Aggie’s’ cow-pies everyday in: Cactusville!!!..whilst shaving with his blowlamp!!!! We also read ‘books’ (boring!) including: Swallows and Amazons; Wind in The Willows and many other adventure novels of the time…(Although i do remember copies of the ‘Kama Sutra’ being confiscated by: SIR!!!} TOYS & GAMES etc. Kids growing up in the sixties were really spoilt for choice as regards ‘toys & games’ to be bought in the high street. Well known ‘marques’ (mainly for boys) included: CORGI; LESNEY (Matchbox); TRIANG; HORNBY; MECCANO; DINKY; LEGO; SPOT ON etc.
First up!…….Cinemas in Brighton & Hove of the ‘sixties’. In alphabetical order: ACADEMY: (West St.) ARCADIA: (Lewes Rd.) ASTORIA: (York Place) CONTINENTAL: (Sudelely Place) CORONATION: (North Rd.) COURT: (New Rd.) CURZON: (Western Rd.) CINEMA DE LUXE: (North St.) DUKE OF YORKS: (Preston Circus) ELECTRIC THEATRE: (George St. HOVE) EMBASSY: (Western Rd.) ESSOLDO: (Imperial) (North St.) GAIETY: (Vogue) (Lewes Rd.) GRANADA: (Portland Rd.) ODEON: (WestSt.) ODEON: (Denmark Villas) ODEON: (St. Georges Rd.) PALLADIUM: (Kings Rd.) PANDORAS BOX: (Kings Rd.) PARIS: (New Rd.) PRINCES (Jaycee) (North St.) REGENT: (Queens Rd.) ROTHBURY: (Franklin Rd.) SAVOY: (East St.) The ‘golden-years’ for the cinema was ‘between the wars’ and onto the ‘fifties’ & ‘sixties’. I would say….outside of LONDON…BRIGHTON probably had more cinemas than any other town! (the only ‘original’ one left is: DUKE of YORKS!) Many,many stories can be recalled about these cinemas…of course people of a certain age still remember when the ‘little’ ODEON in Kemp Town was bombed in ‘1940’ the great loss of life. The availability of cheap television-sets in the ‘sixties’ sounded the death knell for movies and many were turned into ‘Bingo-Halls’ to help to make money. 2).’SHOPS & SHOPPING’: Brighton’s shops underwent many changes throughout the ‘sixties’. Many well known stores: ‘HUDSONS’/SWEARS and WELLS’/’WADES’/’HILLS’/’BARRANCE and FORD’..were closed down for good and often replaced with ‘tatty’ establishments of residential buildings. Times were changing at break-neck speed as the ‘sixties’ moved on apace! The political climate changed dramatically and the U.S.A. had an ever inreasing effect on all of our lives. ‘BRIGHTON SQUARE’ was opened in: 1966 in the heart of the LANES (partly sponsored by HANNINGTONS) In the meantime many shops, there have come and gone but…only one ‘original’ remains: ‘Record Roundup’ (originally ‘Fine Records’) Years ago ‘Fine Records’ decamped to George St. HOVE East Street was once a prestigious area for shopping, did you know!!! ‘HUDSONS’ the quality butchers/deli etc. closed down in the sixties… after that many established shops ‘shut up shop’ throughout the seventies! ‘BEALS’ the bookshop/record-shop went and it wasn’t until the eighties that the ‘council’ engaged a developer to build: Regency Arcade(at least it was ‘undercover’!) Western Rd. started to change in the sixties..mainly with the opening of CHURCHILL SQUARE in April 1968.Somewhat of a novelty at the time this development caused about ’26 nearby-streets to be demolished! and with it a passing of a lot of history of old-Brighton. To date all of the prestige-shops in Western Rd. have disappeared although…it is sometimes possible to chance on a few clues of days gone by. (Check out the pavement near Starbucks (lansdowne Rd.) and you will see the reamins of the ‘mosaic-pavement’ outlining ‘HILLS OF HOVE’!) Other memorable shops..of course inclide: the famous ‘Pie Shop’ on the corner of St. James st. and Chapel st….was there ever a better ‘pie-shop? Joe Lyons chain of ‘corner-cafes’ in London also appeared in Brighton. My favourite was at the bottom of St. James st. (remember the spoons on chains?) Sainsbury’s…also in St.James st. was a favourite with shoppers. Staff actually sliced and packaged the: butter/cheese etc. before your very eyes!!! Who could not forget the ‘Cork Shop’ in the North-Laines…Belmanns in London Rd…where many a latest ’45 record was purchased for ‘7/6’ on a Friday evening. Also ‘Woolies’ did very well in the sixties selling nearly everything! (although…Maynards sweets were better!!!) Now….onto the’Transport’ section: The start of the ‘sixties’ saw the demise of the ‘Trolleybusses’ (1961) This brilliant,cost-effective form of transport took over from the scrapping of the old ‘Trams’. (1939). Of course diesel-buses have reigned supreme ever since but they are souless form of transport..originally manned by a driver and conductor…but since 1970 have been the sole-responsibiliy of the driver. ‘Inspectors’ and conductors were made redundant in: 1970 and sonn after problems started with ‘customer-aggrevation’ violence and general chaotic scenes…still in evidence today..on some routes!!!
Well here we go again…another backwards look at the ‘sixties’.
This chapter is devoted to the ‘media’ of the sixties ie: Music/T.V./Films etc.!!!
So…hold on tight for a roller-coaster ride of your life!!!
I suppose the first film I saw in the early sixties was : ‘BEN HUR’ (1959) with: Chuck Heston
Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins…..to name but a few.
This epic rightly deserved to win 11 ‘Oscars’.
(the only film to match this number,in recent years
was TITANIC…which was crap!!!)
I think I was about 9 years old when I saw the film
with my big sister: VAL..probably at either the
‘ASTORIA’ or the ‘REGENT’ cinemas.
The following Friday at primary-school I stood up in front of the class and ‘re-enacted’ ‘BEN HUR’ in about 10 minutes.
Most of my mates hadn’t seen this movie so they had to use their imaginations a lot!!!
The ‘sixties’ was a golden age for films and saw many controversial ‘subjects’ being exploited…
sex; violence and ‘rock & roll!!!
Just a few notable movies that stick in my mind were:
CAPE FEAR(Robert Mitchum & Gregory Peck (1961)
LOLITA (Sue Lyons & James Mason (1962)
VICTIM (Dirk Bogarde & Sylvia Syms (1961)
FAIL SAFE(Henry Fonda & Walter Matthau (1964)
This last film…now a ‘cult-classic’ is rarely screened on British TV and is only available on a ‘Region 1’ DVD from the USA!
I strongly urge you film-buffs out there to check out this ‘classic’…you won’t be disappointed.
As the ‘sixties’ moved on picture-goers flocked to see the new ‘spaghetti westerns’ with CLINT EASTWOOD and co…and many other notable films were: ‘The Graduate’ with a young DUSTIN HOFFMAN…’2001 a space odessey’….Easy Rider
any many,many more films now,quite rightly regarded as ‘classics’!!!
The era of the ‘swinging sixties’ was a liberating period in more ways than one!
It was a time of freedom,adventure,hope and growing prosperity and increasing technological ingenuity.
The world of television was an experimental and exiting time,not least beacause this was the decade when ‘colour-t.v.’ really took off!!!
Some critics dismiss the ’60’s’ as a ‘golden era’.But…let’s face it anything would be golden to the trash dished out today!
If one looks in the ‘Radio Times’..at the beginning of the mag it clearly states in ‘bold’ type….’all digital programmes ie: BBC 3;BBC 4;ITV3 etc. are ‘repeats’ unless stated otherwise!
‘PAY TV’: is not new!…In the early sixties a pre-payment meter could be ‘bolted-on’ to the side of the set….Cost= ‘sixpence’ per hour’
The ‘Redifusion’ company won a big contract in Brighton & Hove in the early ‘sixties’to install ‘cable-tv’ ,especially for the many council estates.
In the ‘U.S.A.’ this ‘network’ was launched in: ‘1954’!!!
This was discussed as far back as ‘1943’!!!
In the ‘USA’ C.B.S.–did test transmissions in: ‘1941’ but…’colour-tv’s. were as yet unavailable to the general public!
In Great Britain by the early sixties ’12 million’ sets were being stared at!
But it wasn’t until JULY 1st’ 1967 that ‘BBC2’ launched it’s limited colour service (after a power-cut!!!)
Anyway…enough of the ‘techie-stuff’…just what were we watching in the ’60’s’
By the dawning of the sixties the ‘WOODENTOPS’ had sold their farm and retired to a bungalow on the south coast and were living the life of Riley on ‘repeat-fees’ that would line their pockets for years to come!!!
Also the demise of ‘MUFFIN THE MULE’ and the much loved ‘FLOWERPOT MEN’ (flobadob)…were pensioned off!!!
In the sixties the new pioneer of children’s puppetry were: GORDON MURRAY;OLIVER POSTGATE AND PETER FIRMIN.
Gordon Murray’s first series (CAMBERWICK GREEN)…screened in 1966 was originally caleed ‘CANDLEWICK GREEN’…but a typing error in the BBC contract altered it’s name forever!
Two further series followed: TRUMPTON & CHIGLEY. By the way the words: ‘mugging’/vandalism and robbery were not in the TRUMPTONSHIRE dictionary.
In all 39 episodes were made…and often repeated!!!
Other masters of the ‘stop-frame’ genre were: OLIVER POSTGATE & PETER FIRMIN.
(Pogle’s Wood; Ivor the Engine; Noggin the Nog and of course Bagpuss!!!)
Bagpuss was recently awarded the best children’s program of all time.
Technically,though, this series was a product of the ’70’s’.
‘Blue Peter’ started in: 1958…and is probably still running.!!!
‘Doctor Who’ (1963 with William Hartnell) was watched by kids from behind the sofa…including myself!!!
This ‘sci-fi’ prog has successfully been ‘revamped with David Tenant and a host of ‘young-lovlies’ as his assistants! Prior to his Dr. Who engagement he starred in the very raunchy ‘Casanova’ to much acclaim.
By the way ‘I.T.V.’s’ answer to Blue Peter was of course ‘Magpie’ with Susan Stranks and Mick Robertson etc.
A weekly show for kids but with a bit more ‘edge’!!!
Adult viewers were in for a treat in the ‘sixties’!!!
British ‘soaps’ well loved were: ‘Emergency Ward Ten’/’Dixon Of Dock Green’/’Z Cars/’Crossroads’..but..probably soaps from the U.S.A. had the greatest influence on the viewing public.
Such memorable programs were: Wagon Train/Rawhide (with a young Clint Eastwood)/
I Love Lucy show (Lucille Ball) and of course who could forget: Peyton Place!!!
‘Science Fiction’ was well served with such classics as: ‘The Outer Limits’/Quatermass and of couse: Star Trek..(by the the way one of the episodes was not screened in the USA as it featured a black woman kissing a white man!)
The serial ran for 79 episodes, in all, a created a long running cult following with ‘Trekkies’ all around the world!!!
Anyway that’s enough of T.V. …we now move on to: MUSIC…
MUSIC: In the ’60’s’
Question: Who can remember the ‘orginal’ group ‘Nirvana’ (Pentecost Hotel & Rainbow Chaser….1967/1968)??? I don’t..it’s a mystery!.
How come that ‘grungy twat’ Kurt Cobain stole the name for his ‘new group!! What about ‘copyright’!!!
Music of the ‘sixties’…did it really start with the BEATLES??? No..of course not.
Many ‘1950’s’ groups carried over into the sixties..but probably the biggest exception was: Buddy Holly and the Crickets who died in a tragic aircrash.
Buddy Holly’s influence was huge on the up and coming ‘sixties’ bands especially the Beatles and the Beach Boys…as an aside…the Beatles’s 1965 album ‘Rubber Soul’…knocked Brian Wilson sideways and he and his group,eventually retaliated with the classic ‘Pet Sounds’.
‘Rhythm & Blues'(as coined by Jerry Wexler in 1949)”later called ‘Soul’ by many
produced a humungous flood of ‘classic’ tracks throughout the ‘sixties’.
Jerry Wexler,producer at ‘Atlantic’ records’ (founded by the ‘Ehrtegun’ brothers originally from Turkey!!) made some of the all time classic hits from their bases in: New York and ‘Muscle-Shoals’.Most of their records hit tne ‘No. 1’ spot throughout the sixties…probably only to be equalled by those ‘geniuses’ at:Tamla Motown in Detroit!!!
One of ‘Berry Gordy’s (producer at Motown) first big hits was : ‘Money’ recorded by Barrett Strong (1960)…incidently covered bt the Beatles on ‘With the Beatles’ album!
I suppose the british record-buying public really caught on the the excellent tunes coming out of Detroit sometime in: 1964.
B.B.c.’s ‘Top of the Pops’. every Thursday always featured the latest hit from the Motown stable….Berry Gordy called his ‘baby’ ‘The Voice of Young America’.
By the year 1964 a veritable torrent of new bands hit the charts…..just to name but a few: THE ROLLING STONES/THE HOLLIES/THE WHO/THE MOVE/THE ANIMALS/ and on the other side of the Atlantic…THE BEACH BOYS/BOB DYLAN (AND THE BAND)
As the ‘sixties’ rolled along to….wait for it…’1967′ The Summer of Love’!!!
(‘Candlestick Park’ in San Francisco being where ‘it was at’ baby!!!)
even more new groups emerged: The Byrds/The Flowerpot Men/The Turtles/The Monkees/Mamas and the Papas/The Association/The Box Tops/etc. etc!
Over here in Great Britain many groups,mostly forgotten included: Vanity Fare/The Casuals/The Easybeats/Honeybus (remember the ‘bread-advert’ with the girl in the balloon?).Oh!!!…did i not mention Donovan?
As the sixties were drawing to a close the ‘technology’ hadn’t changed much throughout the decade…ie: ‘radiograms/’stereograms’ and ‘Dansette’ players!
Although ‘cassettes’ had been invented by a German guy working for ‘PHILIPS’ in 1963…it took a long time for this new medium to be marketed in a big way.
Initially the first cassette-machines replaced the outmoded ‘dictaphones’ and ‘reel-to-reel’ tape-recorders. The first ‘Walkman’ appeared in: 1979!!!
‘Concept-albums’ were a new phenomenon in the ‘sixties’ and my particuler favourite was: ‘Boy Meets Girl’ from ‘STAX’ (1969 double-album)
Some groups did manage to ‘spill over’ into the ‘Seventies’…but that is a story for another day!
This part of ‘Terry’s Pages’ reflects on the ‘craziness’ of ‘Easter 1964 & 1965’
Apparently it all kicked off in: Margate (Easter 1964)….where ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’ clashed on the seafront and spilled over into the town terrorising the local residents and generally causing mayhem…the likes that have never before been witnessd in this quaint seaside-town!!!
For many years ‘cockneys’ and their like, took their annual ‘Jolly’ to Margate and sometimes to other resorts to get away from the ‘hub-bub’ of London.
But…this year the unprecedented ‘outburst’ from the warring ‘teenagers’ escalated to: Brighton.
As a 12 year old i witnessed a frightening display of ‘gang warfare’ on the beaches and into the town itself.
Fortunately our local ‘Bobbies’ dealt with the ‘situation’ (after a while!!!) and made many arrests. The day’s events were recorded in the ‘Evening Argus’…the photos being especially exiting!
The town quickly recovered form this ‘holiday mayhem’ and steadfastly returned to it’s usual business of pedalling ice-creams;candifloss and general ‘seaside-tat’!!!
(But…the following year!…..wait and see)
The ‘1965’ clash between the Mods& Rockers took on a more sinister guise!!!
Yes it was ‘Easter hols’, again and the ‘A23’ saw legions of motorbikes and scooters hit the road on the way to sunny Brighton for a ‘re-match’!
From late morning…onwards, sporadic scuffles broke out on the seafront cafes ; the pier and in the afternoon, into the town,itself!
Our boys in blue presented a ‘high profile’ (i suspect many were on ‘overtime’) and relished the thought of having a good scrap with the ‘visitors’.
Many arrests were made and the guilty parties,from both sides, were given a rap on the knuckles by our wonderful judiciary!
Things in Brighton quickly returned to normal for the coming summer-season…but!……these events went down in Brighton’s history as a ‘major’ occurence and eventually in 1979 the cult-film Quadrophenia was released…starring: Phils Daniels;Lesley Ash and Sting (as ‘Ace Face’).
Was it just a coincidence to name Sting’s character: ‘Ace’…as this was the name of the famous cafe where the ‘rockers’ used to meet!!
(Also featured in the cult British film ‘The Leather Boys’: 1963)
P.S. If anyone wants to get hold of photos of the mods & rockers clashes they can be bought from the ‘postcard’ shop in: Queens Rd.
Part 4 of ‘Terry’s pages will be a ‘biggy’!……
Music T.V. and Films of the sixties
bye for now……Terry West
Right….here’s a good one for you: Question? Who remembers the first ‘Mc Donald’s’ in Brighton?
Answer: Me!..In April 1974…at the top of North St. opposite the Clock Tower (it closed after six months!!!)
Apparently no one went there; they were too busy scoffing their ‘soggy’ wimpy-burgers and guzzling warm ‘coca-cola’!…Ah! those were the days.
But…fret ye not, the original ‘Uncle Sams’ is still in ‘Montpelier’ and is still going strong after ‘forty-years’!
The said chain of burger bars opened a second outlet in York Place in the early ‘seventies’.
I was working opposite at the ‘Watney-Mann’ computer bureau in: Waterloo Place….where we worked a three-shift system..frequenting the ‘local hostelries’ (Walmer Castle…etc etc!) and many ‘forays’ to: Uncle Sams/Kentucky/Great Wall of China/Dayvilles..’32 flavours!!!)
In between we managed to fit in a bit of ‘computer-operating’ to please our lords and masters enough to pick up our ‘monthly paycheque’.
Our ghastly building (Waterloo House) was eventually ‘linked’ to the ‘mirrored’ building owned by ‘Advance Linen’ in: 1975 when the very old lady (some: 95 years!) who lived in between the buildings popped her clogs!!!
She refused many ‘bribes’ to relinquish her abode but…nature took it’s course.
A rather bizarre ending to this story is a few days after word got around that she had died…one quiet Sunday afternoon two ‘burly’ men were spotted by our security-guard removing her frail body rolled up in an old carpet and bundled into the back of an old estate-car!!!
Was she buried???..What was her name??? No one knew!
The somewhat ironical twist to this story is that my parents,when they married in: 1938…lived next door to this lady!!!
Oh!…and she wore a ‘muffler’ over her mouth every time she ventured out. (she was very ‘green’!)
Anyway…grisly stories aside…a much frequented pub in the ‘seventies’ was ‘The Ship’ in Lewes Rd.
…especially on: Wednesday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes!
The ‘regular’ (99% male) were made to suffer the ‘exotic delights’ of : ‘Angie’ from Croydon
‘Lou’ from London and the ‘ravishing’ Christine from Surrey!
Their ‘cavorting left little to the imagination but the ‘clientele’ spent and drunk heavily thus keeping the pub ‘afloat’!…despite being temporarily ‘closed-down’ many times!
Ah!…those were the days.