Lads part of film history

Three members of the John Barry Seven in Blackpool in the early 1960s
Three members of the John Barry Seven in Blackpool in the early 1960s
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THE recent spotlight on the late John Barry and his Blackpool appearances was read with interest by local entertainer and historian Wilky Dee, who shares this photograph, featuring three of the John Barry Seven.

It was taken by Wilky, who became friendly with the lads in the early 1960s, when they were performing in the resort.

Wilky said: “I never knew their names, apart from the one on the right of the picture, who everyone called Pepper Pot for some reason.

“But I used to meet up with them all two or three times a week when they were in a summer show at the Hippodrome.

“The photograph was taken in King Street near the theatre.

“In those days, John Barry was still able to walk around without being noticed, although everyone knew his wonderful music.

“I can remember the lads telling me that, as part of the larger John Barry Orchestra, they were recording the music for what would be the first James bond film, Dr No.

“I wonder if any of them realised that it was history in the making.”

Meanwhile, Steve King, another Blackpool entertainer and cinema projectionist, started a friendship with John Barry when he was evacuated from Hull to Melbourne, near York during the Second World War.

Steve, of Norbreck, said: “We were both the same age and became good friends.

“I went with John to the Rialto and Clifton cinemas in York, owned by his father Jack Prendergast.

“Sometimes in the morning, John would have a bit of fun playing the organ.

“It was the first time I had ever ascended or descended on an organ lift.”

The two lost touch when Steve returned home in 1944, but their paths crossed in 1954 when Steve entered a talent contest in Hull, organised by John at his family-owned Astoria Cinema.

“We were both 21 and John gave me some good advice.

“He told me had formed a group while studying music at university and after leaving he put together the John Barry Seven, who made their debut at the Astoria,” said Steve.

He added: “John did keep in contact from time to time throughout the 60s, although I had lost touch by the 70s. But what wonderful memories.”