January 1973 – Stuart`s Edwards next project – Baileys Hull and working with Ray Copeland, Norman Wisdom, Tommy Cooper and Tiny Tim, along with an eclectic mix of characters; some famous; some not so.
Ray Copeland was the general manager, supported by his wife Jeannie as Chief Cashier.
His deputy was “Smooth, sophisticated babe magnet” Terry Molloy. Further described by Stuart as “Englebert Humperdink on a good day”.
Management and artists stayed at “The Whitehouse”, and it was here that Stuart stayed at the same time as Norman Wisdom. They had dinner together and enjoyed each other`s company. However, not everyone saw Norman in the same way.
Norman Wisdom was a perfectionist, and expected ultimate attention to detail from those supporting him. Consequently stage management and lighting technicians would be savaged for the slightest delay or mistake whilst he was on stage. Furthermore he could remember every minuscule error in detail, via the stage crew. The allegations of him wanting to fight with Sid Steward and John Smith may only be subject of rumour. Or perhaps not – Sid clearly remembers a very angry Mr Wisdom being told that there was no possibility of “a completely white stage at such short notice” at the Cavendish Blackburn.
Off stage Norman was a most affable, friendly man, and a mirror image of his stage persona.
A Country and Western private hire had been booked for the Wednesday of the week of Olivia Newton John topped the bill at Baileys. And with her hit “Take me Home, Country Roads” playing everywhere including The Les Dawson Show, management persuaded her to make a stage appearance during the Country and Western night.
Unfortunately this turned out to be a serious mistake, and poor Olivia left the stage in tears. Her act was not appreciated. Apparently not Country and Western enough for the Hull cowboys.
The following night, and every other night of the week she left the stage to thunderous applause.
Around this time Stuart also worked with The Move, Rockin` Berries, Noddy Holder and Slade, and Showaddywaddy. The latter winning a battle of the bands talent competition at Bailey`s Leicester, where one of the prizes was a week`s appearance at each of the Bailey clubs.
Charlie Williams, Tommy Cooper, Mike Yarwood, Duggie Brown, Jim “Bullseye” Bowen, Colin Crompton, Paul Melba, Freddy Starr, Frankie Howard, Mike Yarwood, Frank Carson, and a host of lesser known acts also appeared.
Many acts “doubled” by appearing on the same night at Bailey`s Doncaster and Sheffield clubs.
Acts also came over from America, many via the Henry Sellars Organisation. They were usually paid £1000 per week, while Henry Sellars charged the club £3000 – although there was also the cost of supporting musicians, transport and accommodation, which only left around £1000 profit!
The late Buddy Holly`s Crickets appeared, but were late for band call due to J.I. Allison flying over late from America. At this time he was also Elvis Presley`s drummer, and had been backing Elvis on the previous night. Johnny Tillotson (Poetry in Motion), Chris Montez (Let`s Dance), Tiny Tim (Tiptoeing Through the Tulips), R Dean Taylor (There`s Ghost in my House) and a host of other acts appeared.
Stuart also enjoyed the appearance of Roger Whittaker, who travelled to Hull in his large white chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. “Another of the industries really nice guys,” commented Stuart.
And so was Ray Park, Bailey`s Catering Coordinator.
Ray was a hilarious to work with. The consummate professional to the customers. A man always delivering a professional standard and service. Although some of his methods were omitted from the textbook.
It was Baileys policy was to present good quality, food, cabaret, and service, on time.
So when the chef decided to walk out at the start of a capacity attendance night, Ray zoomed into action.
Without hesitation he walked out of the building, and straight up to man working a hot-dog stall. After quickly convincing the man that to be able to cook and serve hot dogs you needed the same skills as a chef. Ray immediately escorted him up to Bailey`s kitchen, and issued instructions.
Meals were served. The customers were happy, and the new “chef” turned out to be quite competent.
Paul and Phil Rigby also worked at Hull Bailey`s during this time, as did John McVay (brother of Ray) and the inimitable Graham White, who had previously been a doorman at Leicester Baileys.
And we have more stories from Stuart to publish later.
Footnote: – to learn more about the amazing J.I.Allison follow the link http://www.thecrickets.com/bios.html