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Neil Sean meets Alan Scott in this exclusive interview for arthurlloyd.co.uk

Neil Sean's exclusive interviews for this site - Des O'Connor - Alan Scott - Mike Winters - Ann Montini

Alan Scott today - Courtesy Neil Sean .As Alan took to the stage at the Regal Cinema in Bacup he knew that they were going to be a tough crowd... Why? Well 600 screaming kids on a wet Saturday afternoon in November really did not care about seeing two young up and rising comics doing their best to take off the master... Jimmy James, when all they wanted to see was the western and the chance of some free sweets from the kindly general manager of the cinema, Don Haigh ... But as ever in the world of showbiz they were being paid, not much but it was a show and money, and so on they battled...

Right - Alan Scott today - Courtesy Neil Sean.

Alan Scott started his career as early as 14 setting up his own touring variety concert party and basically taking it to any theatre that would have them, he tells me, "When I started the great days were coming to an end ... I appeared at the Huddersfield Palace (soon to be student flats) but back then the theatres were desperate to keep hold of anything that they could... Although it was called the Palace, by this time it was in dire need of renovation and was now masquerading under the name of 'Le Continental', a move which angered many as table and chairs along with food were now being served in the stalls while the acts were on..." Alan recalls, "The week before, the late great Hylda Baker had been appearing so this was the big time for us... she had been great of course but even at her peak at that time she could not command a full house..." Alan recalls, "she actually lived in a caravan just opposite the theatre and yes had the famous monkeys with her... a lovely lady who offered us support when we came to check out the theatre prior to the following week. There was no need to check it out because of course living near by I was a regular and that was me just trying to act as if I knew what I was doing to be honest", he laughed.

"After our week there the manager took me to the bar and suggested that as he was moving on I should apply for the job of assistant manager of running the theatre... 'Your young, got good ideas and know what this lot (the audience) want so why not give it a crack?' The theatre at this time was managed by the McNaughton group who had offices in London so it seemed a world away from the one we all lived in. Our week at the Palace was a great success due mainly to the fact we were local and the fact I did most of my own PR which was vital looking back... The week after they had a nude show in and suggested that we come back to 'help out', thing is my mum flatly said no, after all I was just past 16 and well this was racy stuff... The following week we were at the Keighley Hippodrome which of course has often been cited for breaking the great Shirley Bassey. Of course by the time we were playing it like so many theatres up and coming were dying and using any methods they could to bring in the audience... At the Hippodrome we decided to formulate an idea that some could say was a pre cursor to the talent shows of today 'Top Town' basically a talent show with the next town bringing in double the audience – it was a great success and filled the theatre twice nightly with a great spend at the bar, looking back the prizes were nothing like they are today... I mean I think it was a fish and chip supper along with a haircut... Can you imagine doing that today and actually getting away with it?"

Alan Scott outside the Star Cinema, Hornsea - Courtesy Neil Sean. Alan recalled the days of appearing at the Middlesborough Empire with Jimmy Young... "He was seen as a pop star back then and almost corrupting the morals of youth with his rock and roll songs." Alan added, "I was lucky enough to meet and work with many of my idols including the wonderful Frank Randle, Al Reed, and so many other big days thanks to my quest to appear in the mecca of showbiz back in the 50's Blackpool... Frank was indeed a gentleman and was nothing like the character he appeared to be on screen or on stage. Al Reed was as has been reported many times something else really... he enjoyed the finer things in life and it showed but I do think that went against him in the end as the people who adored him were in fact... working class, and so in reality he should have stayed with them... great comic though, perfect timing, and someone of a hero of mine."

Alan though has fond memories of working in variety at the famed resorts of England and in particular Hornsea on the East Coast of Yorkshire... "It was a big event to get that season for me, I had never done one before and to see my name in huge billboards over the Star Cinema was a joy...

Left - Alan Scott outside the Star Cinema, Hornsea - Courtesy Neil Sean.

The manager was of course wonderful at PR and loved knowing that we had a summer show... our rival was a summer follies at the Floral Hall and I am thrilled to say we beat them at the box office." Alan adds, "Going to a resort in those days was in fact a big event, you have made it if you could get so many weeks during the summer... I was so excited and nervous at the same time but the weeks went by quickly... In those days the mark of a successful show of course was the patronage of The Mayor... he attended our show and basically gave it the thumbs up in the town which saw the masses of nearby Scarborough, Withernsea, and the like all coming to see the show... The show consisted of a basic cine variety programme in which I, as the compare and comedian, had to hold it all together but the fun night was Friday when we hosted the local 'Miss Hornsea' competition.

Alan Scott and the Miss Hornsea competition of 1961 - Courtesy Neil Sean. It was a huge event covered by the media including TV and Radio... Girls from all over the regions came over to take part in the event, those beauty contests were the life blood of the sea side holiday trade... We had a ball with it and of course the locals came out in force... The judges changed weekly and basically it was who was available and who was in town.

Right - Alan Scott and the Miss Hornsea competition of 1961 - Courtesy Neil Sean.

Alex Munro was a great judge and got into the spirit no end... it was all so innocent then of course – Our other big show stopper was a real corker 'Tape a Tune' which is in the title – people, can you imagine, taped a tune into a recorder that they had 'played themselves' and guess what, we had judges just like X Factor and BTG have today and they would decide who had won and what... The show went down a storm and the winner got a brand new state of the art tape recorder to 'Tape a Tune'. During the season we also had visits from major film stars whose films were showing during the day... one was a real comedy legend in the name of Norman Widsom... he was super and stayed for the show, so for me appearing with such a comic genius on stage in his first summer season was beyond the relms of what showbiz was all about... David Whitfield also popped by being a local Hull lad, so many others too who all came along to plug their movies... many of the leading actresses of the day also brought along their own flowers to be 'presented' by me on stage after the film... They had to as even then budgets for promotion were tight

As the summer came to a close and the whole team reflected on the success of the show I was over the moon to receive offers... Jack Taylor, a huge respected producer in the Blackpool scene had written with an offer... Star Cinemas also offered me the chance to run my own cinema with variety included... Thrilling stuff for a kid from Yorkshire... Butlins, Pontin’s, they all heard that this was the summer show to be seen... Did I take the offers on board...? well what I did do was sign up to run the variety shows at the New Theatre Huddersfield for the famed and much feared impresario Ms Nita Valerie... but as they say in showbiz... That is another story."

This Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk in 2013 and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent.

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