Rock 'n' roll was here to stay except in Willenhall where the reaction
to the musical frenzy sweeping the nation was to ban what it called
its "weekly teddy boy hops" at the town's Civic Restaurant.
The ban was imposed at a private meeting of the town's urban district
council - in stark contrast to the very public scenes that erupted
at cinemas in neighbouring Wolverhampton where the Bill Haley film
"Rock Around The Clock" was being shown in the early days of September.
The Gaumont Cinema was the scene of some of the worst violence
to accompany the film as it made it way around Britain leaving a
trail of destruction in its wake.
why a balding musician soon to reach the age of 40 inspired such
frenzy has never been explained.
But at the Gaumont on the night of September 2 rock 'n' roll -
coyly described as the latest rhythmic jazz craze - caused a riot.
Cinema seats were ripped out, there was fighting in the aisles
and fire extinguishers were let off.
"They were just crazed by the beat of the music," said the cinema's
chief of staff George Hancox. "This film ought to be banned. It
drives them mad."
In Walsall staff at the Gaumont Cinema hit on a novel solution
to the problem of potential trouble when the film was shown there
the following night.
At the first sign of over-enthusiasm by gaudily-dressed members
of the audience staff simply turned down the soundtrack.
"The showing was quiet and orderly as a sedate tea party," reported
our man on the spot who also reviewed the film.
Clearly disappointed, he wrote: "The dancing scenes are in fairly
good taste and not nearly so suggestive as frequent Hollywood musical
"For a square who does not "dig" rock 'n' roll the repetitive
riffed lyrics and monotonous violent beat become boring well before
Russian visitors in from the cold: In the year of the Hungarian
uprising against Russian domination and at the height of the Cold
War, Wolverhampton did its bit to ease Anglo-Soviet relations by hosting
a delegation from Moscow.
Four surprised visitors got their first sight of British housing
conditions - and expressed amazement that a four-bedroom council
house at 194 Renton Road had been built for the use of just one
The delegation had earlier been the victims of one of those unexplained
delays which charcterised dealings between the two countries in
Its leader Mr D N Smirnov had wired ahead to the mayor of Wolverhampton
Alderman George Rastall to warn him of the delay and beginning the
telegram "Dear Sir Mayor..."
12 escape injury in bus crash: A dozen people, including five
young children and a babe in arms, were hurt when a double decker
bus toppled on to its side after crashing into a wall at Marriot Road,
Netherton, Dudley. There were no serious injuries and after treatment
at hospital all 12 were allowed home. Amazingly not a single piece
of glass on the number D9 from Cradley Heath to Dudley was cracked
let alone broken.
Axe falls on Midlands cycle factories: More than 1,250 workers
lost their jobs at four cycle factories in the Tube Investments empire.
The axe fell at Hercules Cycles and J A Phillips in Birmingham and
at Walton and Brown in Smethwick and Armstrong Cycles, Oldbury.
Deadlock with the unions over the reorganisation of working practises
were blamed for the redundancies.
Workers with between 10 and 15 years service would receive 1 for
each completed year of service , those with between 15 and 20 years
one guinea and those with more than 25 years 2 for each year.
Film 'should be banned'
My mind registered disgust after reading the report of a near
riot at a local cinema.
Surely this rock 'n' roll film should be banned from British cinemas
before more vandalism occurs.
Church workers and other responsible people must be appalled at
this outrage and such a violation of the sabbath must inevitably
leave a blemish on the town.
However, I must speak up for in defence of the decent-living youngsters
for fear that they too will be drawn under the headings of "teddy
boy" or "teddy girl" .
As for the music, I suppose the only solution is to let it die
a natural death which is always the fate of these lower forms of
Michael J White, Aged 21, Church Road, Penn Fields, Wolverhampton.