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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Did it only run for 3 years?
Five O'Clock Club (da-daa-da-da) was a young kids' staple in the mid to early 1960's. Starting at a time in the evening when kids would just be home from school, it proved to be immensely popular as a more laid-back alternative to 'Crackerjack'. Ollie and Fred were a pair of glove-puppet characters who - more or less - compered a show of mixed light entertainment. It pulled a surprising guest-list for such an early evening kids show. Often it presented a last chance for declining careers or gave a little boost to those in need. Freddie & The Dreamers once guested, as did (I think) Mark Bolan. The format of puppet hosts was almost certainly established by this programme.
Quite amazing that nobody spares it a thought, now. Five O'Clock Club was an absolute must-see in its day.
Where are all you greying clubbers?
I have vivid recollection of the West Pier episode of the "Five O'Clock Club" in 1964. I was still at Junior school and the school was invited to select some children to take part in the show. I was one of the lucky ones as was my brother! We were taken to the show in a couch and were treated very well. We did a rehearsal - I was very surprised that we were told when to clap and when to shout! they held up boards saying clap and shout. I suppose it was to create atmosphere or something. Lulu was the star of the show and was singing "SHOUT" unfortunately, I still cannot stand this song today! Lulu was very small and delicate looking - and I thought not at all like when on TV. But of course this is only the opinion of (at the time) an 11 year old. I have looked for years in vain for some footage of this show with Lulu on the West Pier - but to date, have had no luck. I have often discussed this adventure with friends and family over the years, but alas, no one remembers the "Five O'Clock Club". Happy days!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, here IS another one! To me, one of the achievements of this show was the way one suspended disbelief and forgot that Ollie and Fred WERE only glove puppets. This was in no small part due to the way Muriel Young interacted with them as if they were as human as she was. Some performers who would have been entirely at place in a music show for adults (Manfred Mann, Sandie Shaw, the Searchers and Herman's Hermits to name only four) also entered entirely into the spirit of the programme and made for a thoroughly entertaining half-hour or so. I watched an episode of this on Tuesday, April 13, 1965, immediately before the first episode of 'Orlando' (q.v.) and remember the contrast between Ollie's and Fred's treatment of guest host Jon Pertwee with that they had accorded his predecessor Stubby Kaye. The latter, with his bluff American wit and bonhomie, was beloved not only by the eponymous hosts but by everybody else involved in the show. For some reason, Ollie and Fred took against the unfortunate Pertwee as soon as he took over from Kaye and mocked and derided Jon almost throughout his tenure! On one occasion Pertwee attempted a song that sent owl and dog into fits! "Hey Fred, we could get a programme going with Pertwee - something like 'Music Down the Drain'!" chortled Ollie. "Yeah, or 'Bottom of the Pops'!" responded Fred, who compared Jon's voice to the sound made by a steam engine going through a tunnel backwards. Oh, to be nine years old again!
I was in Junior School (Monteagle) in Dagenham at the time. Those selected were taken by coach to the live show straight after school. It was in London but as I was probably 6 yrs old at the time I have no memory of the place. We got fed in the canteen, did a quick rehearsal and then live! We dance and clapped to 'live' bands, I mostly remember Freddy & The Dreamers, Dave Clark Five, Oli Beak, Daisy the Cow, Muriel Young and Wally Whyton. One girl committed the cardinal sin of asking Muriel (mid sentence) if she could go to the toilet! I was disappointed not being able to watch it with my other siblings and was jealous when I never got to go, but loved the programme although it was short lived 3 seasons or so.
Sorting through some old papers I have found a postcard with three autographs on the back. I got these in 1963 when I went to a recording of the show Five O'Clock Club on the West Pier in Brighton. Intrigued to know if anyone remembered the show with Muriel Young and the hand puppets 'Olli Beak' and 'Fred Barker'I was delighted to find the above comments. As a child I always loved to watch the show and was delighted when it came to Brighton, I lived locally then in Hove. The autographs I managed to obtain were of Lulu, Donovan and Billy J Kramer and they are all together on the back of a Brighton postcard which shows four different views including the West Pier which of course is now sadly almost gone. It was such a fun afternoon and although it was great to meet the stars I can remember being far more excited about seeing Ollie and Fred - those were the days!
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