Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Web Page No 772
FIRST PICTURE: FRANKIE VAUGHAN AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS CAREER
SECOND PICTURE: EAST COSHAM HOUSE WHICH WAS PUT UP FOR SALE IN MAY FOR £1,250.000. THIS WAS MY GREAT UNCLES HOUSE UNFORTUNATELY WE COME FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FAMILY!!!
Another school pal has just come on board, welcome Peter Barlow.
He did high kicks, chuckled in the middle of a song, made love to Marilyn Monroe on screen and, at one time, was Britain's most successful popular entertainer. Frankie Vaughan, who died aged 71 in 1999, was loved for himself as well as for his talent. The fact that boys' clubs all over Britain once had plaques and photographs of him in their huts and halls told another part of his story. He gave them his money as well as his talent.
One of the reasons for his huge success was that he was not like the other crooners of his generation. He had a very distinctive style - he wore a tuxedo on stage, and carried a shiny top-hat and a cane. Entertainers had not done that for over twenty years when he hit it big in the early 1950s. His theme song, Give Me The Moonlight- and others like Green Door, Garden Of Eden and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine - were hits at a time that young men were still being enlisted into national service while their girls danced in full frilly full skirts.
Later, in the 1960s, came Tower Of Strength and Loop De Loop. He also recorded the title numbers of shows such as Cabaret, Mame and, biggest of all, Hello Dolly. His voice was also different from other pop singers. It wasn't just the chuckle, which, along with the kick, was always the cue for the girls to scream. You couldn't miss the Liverpool twang - he put that city on the map long before the Beatles made their appearance. But there was something else. Like his idol, Al Jolson, there was much of the music of the synagogue in his voice. In fact, his earliest appearances were singing in the choir at services in Leeds, the city where he grew up.
He was born Frank Abelson in Liverpool his parents struggled to provide a decent home for their son and two daughters. Both parents seemed to spend every waking hour working - his father as an upholsterer, his mother as a seamstress. As a result, young Frank spent a great deal of time with his grandmother. It was she who, indirectly, was responsible for his change of name. When he first went into show business, his agent, Billy Marsh, said that Frank Abelson wasn't the name to get him up in lights. Frank remembered that his grandmother always called him - in her Russian Jewish accent - "my number vawn grandson". So he took her at his word and became Frankie Vaughan.
Before that, he had thought of becoming a boxer. He had taken up boxing at the Lancaster Lads Club, this was the beginning of his life-long connection with the Boys' Club movement. He also studied at Lancaster College of Art, to which had won a scholarship at the age of 14. There, he sang in the dance band but his studies were interrupted by national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, although he spent most of his time boxing and was an army champion. On demob, he became a student teacher at Leeds College of Art.
Soon afterwards, he managed to go to London on the proceeds of a prize to design a furniture exhibition stand. He came second in the radio version of Hughie Green's Opportunity Knocks talent show - working with a girl singer named Irene Griffen. They had no intention of developing a permanent act; it was the only way that Frankie could get on the show. Then, he had his first big break: at the Hulme Hippodrome, where he topped the bill at the then huge sum of £100 a week. In 1954, Vaughan made his first recording for HMV, My Sweetie Went Away. He sang with the Ken Mackintosh Band numbers like No Help Wanted and Look At That Girl. He then really made it big with a tour of the then vast Moss Empire variety theatre circuit, during which he discovered an old piece of sheet music in a Glasgow shop. It was Give Me The Moonlight. His record of the song sold more than a million copies, establishing him with the young fans who bought the new 45 rpm discs as well as the versions on 78’s.
In 1960, he was invited to go to Hollywood to make the film Let's Make Love, with Marilyn Monroe. He had earlier appeared in Arthur Askey's comedy Ramsbottom Rides Again (1956) and a musical, The Lady Is A Square, with Anna Neagle. Marilyn Monroe tried to entice him into an affair, but he maintained that he loved his wife, Stella, whom he had met at the Locarno ballroom, Leeds, after the war, and that they needed to live in London. Back home, he filled the Talk of the Town restaurant for weeks, and became a sort of elder statesman among British performers. He also carried out significant charitable work on social projects for which he received an OBE in 1965 and a CBE in 1997. In 1985, Vaughan had one of his most notable successes - starring in what turned out to be his swansong role, the lead in the musical 42nd Street at Drury Lane. He left the cast after a year at the start of what turned out to be a terminal series of illnesses. He died in 1999. Frankie Vaughan wrote his own his epitaph. "I am lucky to have a talent, lucky to have met such a wonderful girl as my wife Stella, lucky to have such a wonderful family, and lucky to have a job I adore." What else could anyone ask for?
In the summer of 2000 the Frankie Vaughan Archive was donated to Liverpool John Moores University by Mrs. Stella Vaughan. Frankie was an Honorary Fellow of the University. The archive consists of sheet music, scores, orchestral and band parts used by Frankie Vaughan throughout his career. Many of the scores and parts have handwritten notes relating to the occasions they were used, including stage directions, lead-ins and running orders for stage and television appearances.
Thanks to Copnorboy for sending me the YouTube film of Nero and the Gladiators.
I recently visited Southsea and was witnessing the demolition of the Savoy Ballroom which brought back a flood of memories of the good times spent there on a Friday and a Saturday night. Just think of all the bands and the groups of the time who appeared there and who went on to be famous if not already famous. I can think of a few and many I met back stage waiting to go on for their turn. Freddy and the Dreamers, Spotniks, Swinging Blue Jeans, Shane Fenton and the Fentones (he went on later to become Alvin Stardust (!) ) Billy J Kramer and The Dakota's, The Searchers, The Fortunes, Paul Jones... and you could probably fill in the gaps of those I can't remember.
I use to help out a famous local Portsmouth band of the day called Ricky Dean and the Rivals who use to front the stage before the big names came on.
The lead singer's real name was Ron Rickwood and he worked at Gauntlett & Walkers Dairies in Purbrook (now a housing estate ! ) in the day job and I got to know him because I worked there as a "Saturday Boy" bottling milk in the dairy plant.
Like all singers in those days they were just waiting for their 'big break' and a record deal and so many people went from total obscurity to being famous in just a week or so and many did. Helen Shapiro instantly springs to mind as just one of many others in the early 60's.
I got to know Ron really well and in no time at all I was helping out the band with setting up the stage equipment.
The big time eluded this group even after they had won the South Coast Best Group Award and eventually they split up like most pop groups do. Anyway, it was a great 18 months or so helping out.
Ron is still singing in the Northern Clubs and Holiday Parks and we still keep in touch from time to time by email
Above is the only known photo of Ricky Dean and the Rivals taken at the Savoy Ballroom circa. Summer 1961 .........unless you know any different of course.
NEWS AND VIEWS:
Gerry Marsden of Gerry & the Pacemakers, premiered his new documentary on the band, "It's Gonna Be Alright," in Liverpool on Wednesday August 26th. Gerry also launched the campaign to get his home town selected as the host for the 2018 soccer World Cup.
ON THIS DAY 26TH SEPTEMBER 1960-1965
On 26/09/1960 the number one single was Apache - The Shadows and the number one album was Down Drury Lane to Memory Lane - A Hundred and One Strings.The top rated TV show was The Army Game (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/09/1961 the number one single was Reach for the Stars / Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Shirley Bassey and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/09/1962 the number one single was She's Not You - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Flood kills 333 in Barcelona.
On 26/09/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/09/1964 the number one single was I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/09/1965 the number one single was Make It Easy On Yourself - Walker Brothers and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.