Hartlepool – promise to love you for evermore! But what’s the town’s link to Eurovision?
We’re in the mood for a dance and a song and we are going back to 1974 to do it.
Who would believe that 45 years have passed since a certain supergroup burst onto the world scene. Yes, that was the year when Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest with their massive hit ‘Waterloo’.
But did you know that Hartlepool had its own link to that big day? Clifford Brown, a former pupil and later a teacher at Rosebank High School, was the head of the BBC’s Eurovision Service.
His family hailed from Grantham Avenue at the time but Mr Brown moved on to live in Switzerland.
In 1974, Britain pinned its hopes on the Olivia Newton John song Long Live Love winning Eurovision and an estimated 500 million television viewers watched the show which featured 17 acts.
But it was Abba who began their meteoric rise to the top.
If you fancied some live entertainment closer to home, the clubs of Hartlepool had loads of options.
A showgroup called Mirage were headlining at Graythorp Social Club, while Stan Scott was on the bill at Richardson and Westgarth.
Over at the Boilermakers, there were two nights of dancing and an appearance by the Little Waster himself in The Bobby Thompson Show.
The Seth Davis Duo were on at the Engineers, and The Mizares were headlining at the Corporation Club.
If you got along to The Windsor, you could join in with a dance marathon from 8pm to 1am, and there was a similar offer at the Lindisfarne in Surtees Street where DJ Brian was on the decks.
Just down the road, Gene Pitney was on the bill at Club Fiesta in Stockton.
With Easter coming up, there was live comedy for children at the Odeon in Hartlepool.
There was a Thursday morning comedy show or you could watch a double bill of Dr No and Goldfinger – and it would only cost you 5 pence to get into the stalls, and eight pence for the circle.
If you were a grapple fan, there was live entertainment of a different kind at the Borough Hall.
Wrestling was the big attraction and there were some of the sport’s most famous names on the bill, such as ‘flamboyant’ Adrian Street up against European middleweight champion Al Miquet.
Kung Fu was fighting two men at once – Mike Misourki from Manchester and Dave Morgan from Wales – and it was all part of a recording for television.
If none of all that appealed, you could watch the stars of the film world at Hartlepool and East Durham’s cinemas.
George C Scott was the star in Day Of The Dolphin at the Odeon, while Reg Varney was getting the laughs in Holiday On The Buses at the ABC.
The Ritz in Horden had Burt Reynolds in Sam Whiskey.
What are your memories of entertainment in Hartlepool in the mid 1970s?
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