Behind the Scenes 3
Big plans are afoot for the Hope Hall, sometimes the Everyman, commonly 'the 'Opey.'
Twenty-two year old JOHN HULLOCK, the new assistant manager tells me that when the renovations are complete the premises below ground will be a third as big as they are now - and they'll be used by groups with the Big Beat.
Says John, "We hope to open the new extension during the second week in May - and it's on the cards that we'll have a well-known group to mark the occasion."
Only one problem faces owner LESLIE BLOND and his merry men - the name of his new club.
Hope Hall is - well, okay, but hardly the thing to set the Mersey aflame. Everyman dies stillborn. Any offers?
I hear THE EXCHEQUERS - who seem suddenly to have risen to prominence - have been booked for a May 22 appearance on west of England TV.
The group is also in the running for a Mersey Beat Package show of NVA groups - though final details have still to be worked out.
ROBER BRYANT of the Northern Variety Agency tells me that THE PAWNS have made a lot of new fans north of the border.
"The lads played in Ayrshire recently," he told me, "and they've been asked back."
Two of the group, GEORGIE PECKHAM and DAVE COOPER are former members of LEE CURTIS' ALL STARS.
Johnny Hackett's far from unpleasant features cracked into his famous grin.
"Even if I never make more than I'm making now I'd be very happy indeed," he told me.
It was after one of his shows at the Cabaret Club last week - the fifth time he's appeared there.
"Life is very pleasant and I've not got a care in the world," went on Johnny, "though I've yet to
fulfill my ambition and bring out a record."
It's an ambition which will soon be realized for this week Johnny is in London working on a French song which has been translated specially for him for release before summer.
"I don't really mind if the record doesn't do especially well," Johnny continued, "it's just the thought of having made a disc - it really tickles me and that's what I'm looking forward to."
A lot of other folk will be looking forward to the record as well, but whether or not it succeeds, Johnny, 28, married with three youngsters, has a season on Blackpool's Central Pier with THE BACHELORS and AL REID.
"I've been offered six weeks in Australia too, Johnny told me, "but that's not definite yet - oh, everything's happening all right.
"People sometimes criticize me for my impersonations," he declared.
I agreed that I was on record myself as saying, "What a pity JOHNNY HACKETT doesn't sing Johnny Hackett instead of SAMMY DAVIS or SINATRA."
"What people don't realize is that out of an act - say - 35 minutes, no more than three minutes are spent on impersonations.
"But I'm not bothered," he grinned again.
"Like I said before - life is too good to worry about little things like that."
And I agreed with him.