Sunday, 9 March 2014

Rock Around The Clock - Pilot

On Wednesday 5th March Cait and I went along to the Old Station House in Abingdon, the purpose of our visit being to explore memories with the residents and collect them for future generation. On arriving we were met by Jeff Denton (Activities Coordinator ) and taken to a large living room where residence sat already watching a large screen projector, which was playing a documentary.

Once everybody was settled we introduced ourselves and then played some of the archive from Youtube. The three archive groups I had set out were as followed:

1950’s Commercials
(Cornflakes, Daz, Double Diamond, Esso Blue –paraffin, OXO Cubes with Sooty).
1950’s Childrens programmes
BBC Childrens TV – Larry the Lamb, Crackerjack-Pinky and Perky, Meet The Penguins, Watch With Mother – Bill & Ben, Woodentops, Muffin the Mule, Andy Pandy   
1950’s TV Shows
Name that show from the intro (Bonanza, I Love Lucy, Denis the Menace, Father knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, The Twilight Zone, The Lone Ranger, Perry Mason, Wagon Train, The Donna Reed Show)

 Elizabeth, Betty and Joan
(Committee Reminiscence Team )
 foreground we see the Rock Around The Clock Team with Jeff 
Richard to the right in the front

1950’s Commercials
On the Daz commercial the promoters were offering a competition where people could win £5.00 or £10.00 . We wondered what it would have been worth by today’s standards.
We asked and residence felt this would have been a substantial sum in 1950’s. We discussed wages at the time and were told that they did vary from £3 - £6 Richard (resident -reminiscence team ) remembered farm workers getting anything from £4 to £5 and £6 is lucky per week.

Jeff (Staff member) spoke about the Queens Coronation in 1953 many had shared a TV set to watch the event. Joan (resident - Committee reminiscence team ) recalled her farther buying a set for the occasion. 1953: Queen Elizabeth takes coronation oath 

Richard also spoke of early Radio that was not electric or battery but a crystal set. He told us the first TV most people had was roughly  9inch set. Some were in a cabinet which was very popular – but could set you back as much as £200.

The Television licence  itself was introduced in June 1946 to coincide with the post-war resumption of the BBC service the same month. Television licensing in UK

1950’s Childrens programmes
We then looked at  Children's TV - Betty (resident - Committee reminiscence team ) remembered her niece being made about Pinky and Perky and we had a looked at the old Watched with Mother programmers:  Watch With Mother

Most of the Children’s programmes seem to have been puppets.However, shows  like Blue Peter and  Crackerjack were around although the Pinky and Perky dance routine shown was from an episode of Crakerjack. We also spoke about modern TV programmes for example Teletubbies. It was interesting to draw a comparisons with Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men
Both shows had used a made-up childlike language. Here you can see a 1953  Full Episode of Watch with Mother .

1950’s TV Shows
Finally moving onto TV shows, admittedly I had mostly  found American TV series. So this was very quickly pointed out to me. Although many remembered the likes of Bonanza, I Love Lucy, The Lone Ranger and Perry Mason.

Elizabeth  (resident - Committee reminiscence team ) made a point of  flagging up Dr. Finlay's Casebook (Tv & Radio) one of the credible British drama's of the time. Elizabeth  also mentioned her crush on Leslie Howard and others highlighted actors such as Arthur Askey  and Charlie Drake.

People also recalled going to the pictures (Cinema), and the expectation that you would stand at the end the film for the national anthem. Those wishing to make a quick get away could expect stern looks from those waiting until the end.

It was a wonderful introduction and we really enjoyed speaking to everybody. The next session is with Helen Jacobs and followed the next day by Nick Gill and his piano, accompanied by Cait Sweeney. I am really looking forward to this.

With special thanks to:
Elizabeth, Betty and Joan -  Rock Around The Clock - Committee Reminiscence Team
Jeff Denton - Activities Coordinator 
Carol Flynn - Housing Manager 

Cait Sweeney – Assistant Co-ordinator, Documenter & Production Assistant
Sharon Woodward – Filmmaker/Artist in Residence, Project Manager

Supported by Vale of the White Horse Arts Development Officer Abigail Brown.

Sharon Woodward - Projects and Films

WoodwardMedia Facebook page
Cait Sweeney - Broken Home
Nick Gill - Classic Jazz
Helen Jacobs - Artist
Helen Jacobs - Bullpen

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