The Paul McCartney Project

6th Buddy Holly Week

September 7th? to 14th?, 1981 • Posted in “A day in the life

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From Club Sandwich N°25, 1981:

“Four bob, what’s four bob?” said the youngster at the front of the queue for the Buddy Holly Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie Week. Behind him in the queue outside the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road, young fresh faces mixed with original 50’s rock fans. The only visible difference in the ‘time warp’ scene was the flash of new cartons of Benson & Hedges instead of a neat packet of 5 Woodbine tipped.

By the kerb stood a line of gleaming chromium-plated Cadillacs with teds posing ‘à la Fonz’ style over the bonnets for the bevy of photographers and TV cameras.

The queue filed into the darkened cinema to be greeted by blasting Holly music and whirling petticoats from the jivers that have already begun in the aisles. Pink socks, red drapes, bootlace ties, brylcreemed hair and thick beetle crushers (apologies to Ed) turn back the rock clock 25 years. If this scene was in black and white it would be worthy of a vintage rock movie. The seats fill up, the crowd clutching their Buddy Holly lollies and awaiting the feast of movies.

Flicker flicker… and we’re off! Pathe Pictorial brings scenes and news as it happened, oh so many years ago. The familiar voice of Bob Danvers-Walker narrates old footage that to some is familiar, to others it’s a glimpse of a past they have only heard about.

Then it’s on to the ads. But not the sophisticated media we’ve grown accustomed to these days. Does holding washing up to the light prove if it’s cleaner? Does Kit-Kat really only cost 6d and break with an ear-shattering crack? Does Pepsodent toothpaste tell you where the yellow went? Do you sleep sweeter with Bournvita? All these questions and more were answered to the relief of the audience, and if you weren’t there to find out… I’m not going to tell you!!

Then on to the ‘B’ movie of the night. It could have been Don ‘t Knock The Rock or Shake Rattle & Roll or another — the film changed each night. Vintage American Rock ‘n’ Roll movies have a charm and humour of their own. In the 50’s they were a blue print for Rock ‘n’ Roll youth. “High School Hops Banned” said the newspapers, “Rock Music Contaminates Our American Youth”, “Rock Music Banned From The Radio”, “Rock Music Breeds Violence And An Un-American Society”. Was it really like that in the beginning? Alas yes. These ‘old’ movies remind the audience of the strugggle that rock music had to become a part of our society today.

The Buddy Holly Story follows. It is his week and this film (in glorious technicolour) is a fitting tribute to the man and his music. It is everything its rave reviews promised and its star, Gary Busey, keeps the Holly legend alive and well.

Another great Buddy Holly week is over. Next year, who knows yet what is planned — but with the help and enthusiasm of his many fans. Holly music will never just fade away…

Last updated on September 10, 2020

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