Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Blackpool Showtime Ephemera

Last weekend I was having a root through my "stuff" and came across an old box which had once contained 10"x8" photographic paper. I used to get through quite a lot of these sheets as I used to freelance to local and the odd national magazines.

In the 1980s I must have kept this particular box to store leaflets and pamphlets and posters from Blackpool's theatres. I'll add a few of these latter from 1983 to this article, but apart from shows there were posters from bus companies and advertisements.

Around this time some theatres were finding that the traditional and well established summer season show started to slow down as the summer season progressed. The Central Pier (top photo) for their 1983 show split the season into four and staged different shows for each. We went to see the Bachelors if I remember rightly.

We used to go to the Tower Circus pretty much every year too, but I gave wrestling a miss ever since going with a few mates in Margate around 1972. From our front row seats (that we were pretty excited about) we were able to see easily just how much wind there was between a forearm smash and a chin and also were sadly able to hear one wrestler saying to the other "Corner!" before he grabbed their arm and whizzed them off into the corner post. Sort of put me off wrestling, that. The main bout had been Les Kellett and Jackie Pallo and I'm willing to believe theirs had been a professional bout, but the icing on the cake of disillusionment was after laughing at the little old lady who came down to the ring to wave her umbrella at bad man Pallo, on our way out we saw the promoter paying her...

The Russ Abbott show was hilarious. By this time Russ was already an established household name and we had seen and enjoyed him several times with the comedy group The Black Abbotts.

Over at the Winter Gardens, Paul Daniels was doing his comedy show in the Opera House for the season. I can't remember going to this one - we must have missed at least one of the shows that year...

We did go to this one though! And before anyone scoffs, I have to say that this was in Keith Harris's heyday, but even years after he had hung up his duck we saw him come back to stand in for someone who was ill and that night he was absolutely superb. He was brilliant on stage. Also in the cast of the show was Bobby Crush who had written Orville's Song which went way up the charts and the gorgeous Jacqui Scott who married Keith Harris just before the season began.

I can't remember going to this particular show either, but we certainly saw Bernie Clifton on stage a few times and he was brilliant as well.

And I'll finish this time with the Sunday show from the North Pier. Again we didn't see this show, but Candlewick Green were another comedy group - there were several around this time, along with the Black Abbotts there were the Grumbleweeds, Barron Knights, etc. Anyway I do remember another year when we were sitting on the front row at a Candlewick Green show on the South Pier, being somewhat resigned to find the lead singer, in drag, sitting on my knee as part of the act...

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