Many thanks for the comment from Sue regarding The Cats Whiskers York.
Yes it was a special club. Seating for up to 200 people dining around the horse shoe shaped dance floor. The Richard King Set playing for the diners, including waltzes, quicksteps, and a St Bernards Waltz with a cheeky chorus from Dick Smith that went – Dinah, Dinah don`t be slow – On the sofa you must go – Off with your …… Well! we leave the rest to you, but poor old St Bernard would not have been impressed.
Sue is correct, the “Cats” had some excellent cabaret – The Nolans, The Dooleys, Ruby Murray, Kieth Harris and Orville, Max Wall and a host of others. Convoys of coaches streamed into York from Hull, the West Riding and the north.
Tony Adams would often sing with the Richard King Set, as well as working as DJ. One night the inimitable Eric Morley visited the “Cats”, and was captivated by the dancers innovative clapping to the Four Tops “It`s the Same Old Song”. It could be that Tony left “Jump up and Down with Your Knickers in the Air” out of his program that night – but he certainly included The Bedrocks reggae floor filler the “Lovedene Girls.
The whole atmosphere was tremendous – behind the scenes there was Carlo the head chef, with a famous soup that was rumored to have had the same base for years, as it morphed from Oxtail, through to Spring Vegetable, into Minestrone, and onwards and upwards towards Pea and Ham, and only stopping as it approached Mulligatawny.
One of the greatest and most amusing characters was Tilly Clayton. Tilly was overtly gay – which was no mean fete in the middle to late 60`s. He worked as a waiter, and adviser to any of the female staff who were getting married, seeking a new hair-do, or deciding what to wear for a special occasion. An early day Gok Wan, and an amazing character just to be around.
Michael was the kitchen porter. An unsung hero, who suffered the indignity of being knocked off his bike in Exhibition Square by the Rentokil van.
Jack Alison was the first manager, then Brian Sanford, then Derek Lacey. Barbara Hopwood and Linda Lovel were the cashiers, and the reception was managed by John Haig.
Ken worked the lighting effects for both the cabaret and the dancing – all based on theater and professional stage lighting which added that special dimension to the night by accentuating mood and atmosphere.
Opposition clubs were The Hypnotique, The Old World Club and Jack and Jills.
But there was nothing to touch the excitement and professionalism of The Cats Whiskers, yet there was one part of the night that beggared belief –
Why was there always a clown trying to dance to a drum solo?