Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1967 – Portsmouth –  Englebert Humperdinck – the Graduate


I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

1967 – Portsmouth –  Englebert Humperdinck – the Graduate

It is 1967 and we have moved from Inskip near Preston in Lancashire back to our house in Portsmouth. My parents has bought Quay Gate in the high street of Old Portsmouth back in 1958 to be closer to secondary schools for my two elder sisters. Like many naval families, homes were let out when overseas and it was always wonderful to come back and get all our personal belongings out of storage.

Of course my brother and I had outgrown the clothes and toys that we had not taken to South Africa in 1963. Still it was like Christmas and we soon settled back into life at home.

I was 14 and after catching up with an English based curriculum in my two years in Preston, I began the school year at Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls in Fratton. I had two years before taking my O’levels and still had some ground to recover before sitting the exams.

A slightly later photo of me, having just been made prefect in my final year at school

My parents resumed their active social life with old friends. My father was now posted to HMS Bellerophon which was the headquarters for Reserve Ships in Portsmouth and was based in HMS Belfast berthed alongside HMS Excellent. He was the Staff Weapons Electrical Officer and his duties concerned the maintenance of the ships in reserve and on the disposal list, and of course HMS Belfast. It was his last post in the Royal Navy before official retirement although he would work for the service for a further ten years in a civilian capacity.

For me music and films in particular were far more available. Inskip was several miles from a major town and access to the cinema meant being taken by my parents in the car to Blackpool. In Portsmouth everything was within walking distance including a youth club which I joined in St. Georges Hall close to the dockyard. I would go there on a Saturday night and for the first time experienced hitting the dance floor with others of my own age.

My eldest sister was now married and living in Bolton and my other sister Diana was at sea much of the time as a purser with the Union Castle line… The same ship in fact that we had returned to the UK on in 1965, The Edinburgh Castle. So I had the bedroom and the record player to myself… Although it was still banished to the basement.

Mollie and Eric in the back garden of Quaygate, Old Portsmouth.

My father was a heavy smoker and in those days was able to take advantage of the duty free rations in the Navy… He averaged about 15 cigarettes a day and then would throw the packet with the remaining five or six cigarettes into the top drawer of the dresser. At the weekend he would consolidate all the spares into one packet.

I am afraid that I discovered his stash and would liberate one cigarette at a time and smoke it downstairs in the basement whilst listening to my records. I am afraid that I continued to smoke for another 25 years before finally giving up at age 39.

A new star was emerging in the mid-60s. Well actually it was a reincarnation of an old star as a singer failing to make the big time re-invented himself. Englebert Humperdinck had been born in India to a British Army father and his wife and had originally been named Arnold George Dorsey.

When he began his singing career and for the following ten years he was known as Gerry Dorsey but despite being very good looking and having a great voice he had not made the big time. However in 1965 he teamed up with friend and music impresario Gordon Mills who suggested the name change to Englebert Humperdinck the 19th century German composer. Gordon also got him a record deal with Decca Records and a year later “Release Me” hit the charts and was the No 1 record for 1967.

Apart from having a secret crush. Well alright a full on teenage passion for this good-looking singer, I also like millions of others, fell under the spell of that song. One of the greatest break-up tracks of all times.

In the November of 1967 my sister Diana and I went to the Portsmouth Guildhall where I swooned through two hours of my idol… Oh to be fourteen again.

Please release me from 1967 Englebert Humperdinck.

That year another iconic song was released into the world. The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross hit the cinemas and I seem to remember that I got into see it with my sister although I was not allegedly old enough. However, being already 5ft 10inches had its advantages! As you can see smoking did not stunt my growth.

Here is “Here’s to You Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel – Mr E.

Buy the movie: Amazon US

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time 1968 and the music I was listening to and the movies I watched.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1966 – Manfred Mann, kittens and Georgy Girl


I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

It is 1966 and music is going through a transition as Pop and Rock begin to take centre stage. I was looking at the top 100 UK music sales for 1966 whilst picking this week’s music memory and the top ten songs illustrate that transition very clearly.

  1. Jim Reeves with Distant Drums
  2. Frank Sinatra – Strangers in the Night,
  3. The Beatles – Yellow Submarine and Eleanor Rigby,
  4. The Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There,
  5. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking,
  6. The Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,
  7. Tom Jones – Green Green Grass of Home
  8. The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon
  9. Troggs – With a Girl Like You
  10. One of my favourites of that year Manfred Mann with Pretty Flamingo.

The films that year were also pretty epic A Man for all Seasons, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Alfie and Georgy Girl with its wonderful score. The Blue Max with the gorgeous George Peppard and James Mason which was stunning and had me in bits when I saw the film in the cinema. However, the top grossing US film that year was The Bible: In the Beginning.

We were in our second year at Inskip where my father was CO. We lived in quarters in the small village rather than on the station and our house backed onto a huge compound of abandoned Nissen Huts.

The camp had been used for displaced refugees after the Second World War but 20 years later nature had taken over the crumbling metal shelters. I was 13 and hitting my teenage angst years and did not respond well to being banned from exploring this wilderness. I know that my parents were concerned that I might be injured or worse but hey what do parents know?

I found a break in the fence that surrounded the camp and when I was allegedly cycling the quite lanes of our rural surroundings, I was actually sifting through the wreckage. I discovered that it was not just undergrowth that had steadily infiltrated the buildings but also a large number of feral cats. Runaways and offspring from the local farms in the area that had found sanctuary and plenty of rodents to enable them to thrive.

This safari into this Lancashire wilderness resulted in my first encounter with a feral cat. One Saturday morning as I strolled through the weed covered roads in the camp; I heard a faint mewling sound coming from one of the huts. I managed to track the particular building down and entered carefully through the collapsed doorway. Part of the concrete floor had given way and had produced a deep hole which had filled with the recent and torrential rain through the holes in the metal roof.

Image by Argelia Aguilar from Pixabay

On the other side of this large hole was a small white kitten with orange spots crying its eyes out. It was only a few weeks old and I would imagine that its mother had the litter in the safety of the back of the hut. I could see that there were two unmoving little bodies behind the kitten and judging by its weak cry this little chap was in trouble too. I thought probably the mother had gone out hunting but had met with an accident, perhaps on the busy road in the village and had been unable to return.

I began calling back to the kitten but I couldn’t reach it from my position because the water in the hole in the floor was obviously deep and probably filled with dangerous debris. I managed however to find a small opening at the back of the hut at waist height that I widened and climbed through. The kitten of course scurried off into the dark corners of the hut and it did take about an hour to finally coax it out far enough to grab. Bearing in mind that it was only a few weeks old it was pretty feisty and a few scratches were inflicted.

However, I carried the little mite home and announced to my long suffering parents that we now had a cat! They insisted that it was housed safely in the shed until such time as it had been checked for fleas but eventually Snowy was allowed in the house to become part of the family along with our Labrador Honey.

Naturally I had to explain where I had found our new family member which resulted in a series of appropriate sanctions!

Looking back over the choices for the music that best sums up that year for me, apart from Pretty Flamingo, it would probably be Georgy Girl the title song of the film – my second name is Georgina and I was going through that awkward phase between child and young woman with all its insecurities – the lyrics seemed personal.

“Georgy Girl”, written by Tom Springfield (music) and Jim Dale (lyrics), is the title song performed by The Seekers for the film of the same name.

Here is a clip with the title song Georgy Girl with Lynn Redgrave in a wonderful film that is worth watching in full…HD Film Tributes

Buy or watch Georgy Girl: Amazon

Images: Nissan Hut:  Dreamstime – Kitten: Argelia Aguilar from Pixabay

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time 1967 and the music I was listening to and the movies I watched.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 26th September – 2nd October 2021 – Autumn, James Bond, Donna Summer, Podcast, Book reviews, Stories, Health and Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Welcome to October, and we certainly got there fast. I nearly knocked over the display of tins of Quality Street and Heroes ready for Halloween yesterday in the store, and it will be a permanent fixture now as it will remain there until after Christmas…

Autumn has swept in with a vengeance with high winds and lashing rain but the lawn is lovely and green. The birds are better than the weather forecast as they gather on roof and in the tree by the garden shed and make a racket at feeding time.. The last few days they have gone through almost double the normal rations and I have come to recognise that bad stuff is coming in.. and sure enough it did.

Some excitement in the coming week. I am having my flu jab on Monday so that I have that extra bit of protection when Ireland opens up fully (more or less) on 22nd October. With two years since most people had a flu jab it is expected to be a bumper year and whilst I shall be retaining my mask throughout the winter months, nothing like a little bit more insurance.

And secondly we will have our first trip to the cinema in two years later in the week to see the latest Jame Bond movie.. mixed reviews in the press but having watched every single one again during lockdown, and some of them were pretty corny… I am sure we shall enjoy very much. We will be masked, have had to book seats in advance so that everyone is socially distanced. No hanky panky in the back row then!  I will review of course.

The new series of Posts from Your Archives begins this Monday, kicked off my blog guru Hugh W. Roberts.. delighted to have some great bloggers signed up already.. look forward to hearing from you.

Before I share the posts from the week, a quick thank you to the wonderful contributors who spend a great deal of time putting together posts for us all to enjoy.. This week William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp.

Thanks very much for your support and visits… I love to hear from you and I am grateful for all the shares on social media…

This week I was the guest of Rebecca Budd on the Tea, Toast and Trivia podcast and it was all about short stories.. and I read one of mine from Flights of Fancy – A New Beginning..

Head over with a cup of tea or coffee (or a margarita) and listen to our chat and the story: Rebecca Budd and Sally Cronin on short stories.

Chart Hits 1979 Part One – Donna Summer, The Doobie Brothers, Gloria Gaynor, Rod Stewart

Sonia – In Search of Prince Charming by Sally Cronin

Theresa at the Checkout

Memories, Music and Movies – 1964 – West Side Story – Maria – Tonight

#Paranormal #Thriller – Pre-Order Blood Mark by JP Mclean

New Review #Family # Murder #Mystery – Going Home by Sharon Marchisello

Smorgasbord Book Review Rewind – #WWI – #Historical – Sheep On The Somme: A World War I Picture and Poetry Book by Frank Prem

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Dystopian #Scifi – Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler

Interview Size Matters (Especially when you weigh 330lbs) by Sally Cronin with Kelli Brett The Main Ingredient

Smorgasbord Podcast – Poetry and Flash Fiction – A celebration of Autumn – by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health Month – Cardiovascular Disease – Heart Attacks and Strokes by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health Month – The Heart – Connecting the Dots by D.G. Kaye

#Romance #Revenge – A Broken Promise – A Hunger by Jan Sikes

Tuesday 28th September 2021 – #OnlineSafety Jacqui Murray, #NurseryRhymes Robbie Cheadle, ‘Quotes John W. Howell, #Literacy D.G. Kaye, #Peaches Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen

Thursday 30th September 2021 – #Reviews D.L Finn, #Statistics Jim Borden, #Facebook Pete Springer, #Spotlight D.G. Kaye with Stevie Turner, #Pavlova Eat Dessert First Greece

#Poetry B.C. Byron, #NewMexico Darlene Foster

New Author on the Shelves – #History #JewishFiction – Why Didn’t They Leave? by Eva Hnizdo

New Book on the Shelves – #History #NorthernIreland – Stones Corner Volume Two – Darkness by Jane Buckley

New Author on the Shelves – #Historical #Music Beautiful Dreamer: A Fictional Biography of Stephen Foster by Sarah Taylor

#Romance Linda Bradley, #Anthology Sarah Brentyn, #Family Judith Barrow

#Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Scifi #Crime Natalie Cammaratta, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

#Reviews – #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Contemporary Anne Goodwin

September 28th 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Windows and Magic

September 30th 2021 – Host Sally Cronin – What do you mean I can’t park here?

 

October 1st 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Take the Bus and Wildlife..

 

Thanks very much for joining me this week and I hope you have a great weekend…Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1964 – West Side Story – Maria – Tonight


I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

South Africa 1964 – West Side Story 

Having tea on our stoep in Newlands 1964

When we lived in South Africa we did not have television or a record player but my parents had a wireless in their bedroom and they would listen to music sometimes in the evening and certainly would get the BBC World Service for news from home.

The only source of music was therefore the musical films that my father would bring home courtesy of his role as Film Officer at HMS Afrikander. Last week I wrote about my first crush for Lt. Joe Cable and the love of the songs from “South Pacific” and this week I look at 1964 and the turn of another of my favourite musicals.

West Side Story

 

“West Side Story” was released in 1961 but by the time the cans of film had cycled around to Cape Town it was 1964 and our life in this amazing country was in full swing. I was attending the local Afrikaans school and was doing well with my language studies. At weekends my father would pile us into the car and we would head to the beach or up to the Ceres Mountains where we would stay in rondavels and swim in the icy cold water of the camp swimming pool.

The curry and film night had become a monthly fixture with couples who lived in our neighbourhood, mostly other naval colleagues of my father.

As usual I watched the musical through the crack in the living room door, trying not to cough as the cigarette smoke from all the dinner guests filtered as designed around the opening. In those days it was more unusual if someone did not smoke and it is no wonder that I took the habit up myself by age 14.

Anyway back to West Side Story. The original Broadway musical had been inspired by Romeo and Juliet in 1957. The adapted film was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and starred Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn and the wonderful George Chakiris as Bernardo head of the Sharks.

I was entranced by the cast, music and the dancing and it confirmed my ambition to become an actress especially in musicals! (You never know I might still manage that….)

There were so many memorable songs from the film that it is hard to choose just one and as with South Pacific I took it upon myself eventually to learn the ones that I loved most. These included Maria, I Feel Pretty, America, Somewhere and the wonderful, Tonight.

Here is a recent version of “Maria” from the versatile Julian Ovenden  courtesy adam28xx 

And “Tonight” from the soundtrack

Buy the film: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

 

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time we return to England where my father is stationed near Preston in Lancashire for two years… very different from sunny South Africa.

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1963 Part Two – South Africa, South Pacific, Younger Than Springtime


I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life. Often when I was a child and teenager the songs I loved came from the musicals.

1963 – South Africa – South Pacific – Younger Than Spingtime and I’m Going To Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair.

With my brother in our school uniforms Cape Town.

When we lived in Cape Town, my father was stationed at the Royal Naval base at Simon’s Town . In addition to his duties in communications and weaponry..he was also the station film officer, making sure that there was a steady supply of entertainment for both those living on the station and the families who lived off base. This included the Saturday kids club which my brother and I would be taken too each week and also enabled my father to bring home certain films to show friends and neighbours after Saturday night dinner parties.

We where sent to bed with promises of left overs for breakfast… a treat not to be missed, especially when it was some of my mother’s strawberry shortcake dessert. However, I loved movies and as soon as the guests were settled, and I heard the projector whirring in the background, I would creep up the darkened corridor and sit with my back to the front door watching the screen that had been erected at the far end of the room through the slightly opened lounge door. In those days most people smoked and some ventilation was required.

My parents love musicals as well as Hitchcock thrillers, so I did see some films that were not always PG… but South Pacific was one I immediately fell in love with. Luckily for me, the guest W.C was through the dining room and next to the kitchen, which meant I was largely undisturbed in my lookout.

I have seen the film many times since and when my mother became more forgetful, we would enjoy a good sing along and reminisce about those fun days. There is one song that is guaranteed to get the tears flowing, and that is Younger than Springtime, and I had a crush on Lieutenant Cable (John Kerr) for many years…I did not know, nor care that his voice was actually dubbed by Bill Lee of the The Mellomen

South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which in turn is based on James A. Michener’s short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific. The film, directed by Joshua Logan, stars Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston in the leading roles with Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, the part that she had played in the original stage production. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Sound for Fred Hynes. Wikipedia

Here is Younger than Springtime.one of the beautiful tracks from the film..sung by one of my favourite actors and tenors – Julian Ovenden with the John Wilson Orchestra

And here is one of the fun clips and songs from the movie… with Mitzi Gaynor.. I’m Gonna Wash that Man right out of my hair…thanks to Rodgers & Hammerstein

You can buy or rent South Pacific: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

I hope you have enjoyed this musical interlude and more in a couple of weeks….thanks Sally.