FIRST PICTURE: The Buster Comic
A Reunion Of The Portsdown Divisional Rover Crew At Scoutlands In Farlington. L To R: Davy Johns, Me, Dave Bartlett, Tom Holland, Muddy Clay, Roy Johns
Firstly with thanks to Haley Storey take a look at this Youtube link, film of Portsmouth in the 50’s and 60’s. Let me know what you think.
And a new school friend has just joined us Sandra Churchyard.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Now this is really going to make you feel old! Did you realize that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the 60’s So I thought that I would take a look at what was happening in 1960 fifty years ago!
Lets start with TV. A new comedy series started ‘Sykes and...’
In August 1960 the cameras first entered 24 Sebastopol Terrace. Eric Sykes playing the a proud work-shy bachelor with childish tendencies and Hattie Jacques was his timid spinster sister Hattie! The series was actually called Sykes Versus TV but each week featured a subtitle which began with 'Sykes and ....'. It was written by Eric and Johnny Speight who created Alf Garnett. After 59 episodes the show ended in 1965, but in 1972 returned in colour for another 68 shows, but Eric and Hattie had moved two doors down to Number 28. The series ended in 1979 with a programme to celebrate twenty years of the series in 'The BBC Honours Sykes'.
Another newcomer to our screens was ‘Candid Camera.’ The concept of hidden camera television was born in the USA and Allen Funt set the ball rolling by secretly taping his army buddies complaints and broadcasting them on Armed Forces Radio. In 1948 'Candid Microphone' was born and five years later it moved to TV as 'Candid Camera'. In 1960 the show arrived in England and a young star Bob Monkhouse launched the series on an unsuspecting public.
The one programme we all remember is ‘Jukebox Jury’ but few people know that it actually began on US Television in 1948 starring DJ Peter Potter. It came to the UK in 1959, presented by David Jacobs, but only became a 'hit' itself in 1960. One of the highlights of the show was when The Beatles appeared on December 7th 1963. They rated songs by artists including Billy Fury, Elvis Presley and The Swinging Blue Jeans - all of which became hits. On the night, seven of the Beatles' predictions were right and three were wrong.
Now to the big screen. Firstly ‘Psycho’, famous for that scene in the shower. Criminal Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stumbles across the motel with the least used guest book - The Bates Motel. At the front desk is Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who seems to have an unnatural obsession with taxidermy and his mother. Of course crime doesn't pay and Marion meets a particularly sticky end - Hitchcock used gallons of chocolate syrup instead of blood, as Norman cuts up Marion with the carving knife, all to the sound of screeching violins. Psycho was badly remade by Gus Van Sant in 1998, but his opportunity to indulge in a vast chocolate-fest was scuppered by advances in film technology (i.e. it was in colour).
The ‘Magnificent Seven’ was an epic Western but was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai just swap 17th Century Japan for 19th Century Mexico and pick cinema's most sinister baddie to lead some of the decade's top male leads and you've had a sure fire hit! Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Robert Vaughn were amongst the crew, led by Yul Brynner. The desperate villagers of a Mexican outpost, constantly under attack by bandits, hire the seven gunslingers to sort out the invaders once and for all. Mix the whole thing up with a Oscar Nominated soundtrack from Elmer Bernstein and you've got a classic movie.
‘Spartacus’ was a real epic saga in which rebellious slave Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) leads a revolt against the Roman Empire, and it has become one of the most famous and controversial action pictures of all time- strangely not because of the violence but because of fears that it had 'homosexual overtones'. The original version included a scene where Laurence Olivier attempts to seduce Tony Curtis. When the Production Code Administration and the Legion of Decency objected, the scene was cut. This scene was put back in for the 1991 restoration, but since the soundtrack had been lost and Olivier had died, Curtis and Anthony Hopkins had to dub in the dialogue. A couple of other interesting points of trivia are that the sound of the crowd cheering "Spartacus!" was recorded at a Spartans American Football game rather than in Rome, and that Stanley Kubrick spent a quarter of the entire Spartacus shoot directing a single battle sequence.
I will only take a quick look a one single artist of this period,Lonnie Donegan, the man who launched skiffle. He even released an album called 'Lonnie Donegan, King of Skiffle'. He is best remembered for his hits 'Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight)?' and 1960's 'My Old Man's a Dustman', although he clocked up more than thirty hits between 1958 and 1962. He was born Anthony but changed his name to Lonnie as a tribute to bluesman Lonnie Johnson. Among the many bands who cited the influence of Lonnie Donegan's music on theirs was The Beatles. John Lennon's 'The Quarrymen', which Paul McCartney joined, were a skiffle group. Lonnie Donegan died in November 2002, at the age of 71 whilst on tour.
Fashion is a funny thing who would have thought that ‘Doc Martens’ would become a fashion accessory? When German Dr Maertens injured his foot in a ski-ing holiday he could not have imagined that the orthopaedic shoe he designed for himself would still be going today, let alone become a boot of rebellion. In 1958, the Grigg family acquired rights to the air cushioned sole and started making boots at their factory in Wollaston. The first boot was produced on the 1st April 1960, and so was christened the 1460. The 1460, in black and later cherry red, was popular with postmen and policemen and then the 'mods' began to adopt them in the mid-60s. They became notorious when the steel-toe capped variety was used to inflict harm on football fans and rival gangs. There are 70,000 possible varieties of Doc Martens, starting at 3-eye and rising to a 20-eye boot. Elton John wore an enormous pair in the rock opera movie 'Tommy'.
The other side of the coin was the Beatnik: Quaintly described as a member of the Beat generation who was a nonconformist in dress and behaviour. One of the big hits of 1960 was the carry over of late 50's Beatnik fashion, which also influenced design later in the decade.
The Beatnik message was 'Be Cool, man!' The look was flat shoes for women, sandals for men and beret's became the must have fashion item for everyone. In 1960 Adam Faith starred in the cult film "Beat Girl", the story of a teenager who falls in with a beatnik crowd. It helped confirm the beatnik style as major fashion trend of the period.
And for the kids Etch-a-Sketch, basically it's was just big bag of dust with two magnets and some knobs to twiddle to move them with. It was easy to get rid of the drawing too - a quick shake and you've got a clean slate again. But where did it come from? In the late 1950s Arthur Granjean invented L'Ecran Magique - the magic screen and after several years of being ignored by businessmen L'Ecran Magique was bought by an American toy firm and renamed Etch-a-Sketch and the first sets were produced in July 1960. Most people think the Etch-a-Sketch is filled with iron filings, but the filings are actually aluminium and all the filings were made in the same metallic powder plant in the USA.
I cannot let the 60’s pass by without mentioning Lego, coming from the Danish words 'LEg GOdt' meaning play well, Lego seems to have been around for ever - but not in Britain. It was seen at the Brighton Toy Fair for the first time in 1960 - and took Britain by storm, massively outselling the Loopyloop (whatever that was) which the pundits had thought was going to be the hit of the year. Lego model kits weren't available until the mid-sixties, but the bricks sold by the bucket load, and it is still going today. The British Association of Toy Retailers has named Lego as the toy of the century. In fact my 5 year old grandson has just been given his first set which meant that we had to climb up into the loft to retrieve his dad’s old Lego collection. I am no sure who has most fun with it father, son or grandson.
Lastly a new comic for 1960 was ‘Buster’, it may not be as famous as The Beano or The Dandy, but Buster still has a place in the hearts of men of a certain age. The first issue came out in May 1960, cost 4d and came with a free balloon bleeper as well as great stories featuring the Terrors Of Tornado Street, Turtle Boy, and Phantom Force Five. The Buster of the title was originally billed as the 'Son Of Andy Capp', as he was based on the Daily Mirror strip and his adventure always occupied the front page. Buster was a great success for many years merging with rival Whizzer and Chips it provided a home for characters including Bonehead, Faceache, and Dinah Mite.
Reading all of this I must be getting old!!!!
Having read your blog on all the things our mothers did wrong, by modern standards and all the things we did which children are no longer allowed to do made me think.
I went to Sydney and climbed the bridge on 21st December 2009.
We were told - with reluctance - that the bridge ends and the bases for the bridge were built by the Scots.
We were told - reluctantly - that the bridge itself was built by the men of Middlesbrough. The steel shipped over by sea.
We were asked how many men we thought had died during the construction of the bridge.
They had no harnesses - which the workmen now have.
They had no safety net - which the workmen now have.
They had no communication devices - which the workmen now have.
They had no hard hats - which the workmen now have to wear
They had no safety clothing - which they now have to wear.
They had no steel toed boots - which they now have to wear.
They had limited tools
They worked in gales
They worked in rain
They worked in heat
They finished ahead of time
14 died in the workshops below.
The only safety requirement was rubber soled boots
2 fell to their deaths.
News and Views:
Yoko Ono has announced that she is writing her memoirs, including her years with late-husband John Lennon. She expects to finish in the next five years.
On this day 30th January 1960-1965
On 30/01/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was North by Northwest. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/01/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Oral contraceptive made available in UK.
On 30/01/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. 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 Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/01/1963 the number one single was Dance On - The Shadows and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was The Prime Minister (All channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Composer Poulenc dies.
On 30/01/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/01/1965 the number one single was Go Now! - Moody Blues and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - 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 Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Churchill's funeral.