Memory Lane: Rare footage from 50 years ago

Cyril Charlton in 2005 with the film he made that included this illuminated tram at Blackpool in 1963
Cyril Charlton in 2005 with the film he made that included this illuminated tram at Blackpool in 1963
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There is a rare screen-ing at the end of this month of some splendid archive footage used to promote Blackpool almost half a century ago.

It was the work of the late Cyril Charlton, a keen film maker in his spare time, who preferred a documentary style to the usual happy snaps.

In the early 1960s, Blackpool’s publicity officer Harry Porter asked him to capture the essence of the resort for a promotional film, after both had been left unimpressed by the council’s efforts.

In what became a labour of love, Cyril, of Marton Moss, meticulously filmed Blackpool from March to November in 1963, featuring the vintage motor run, the last tramcar on Church Street (the Western Train, since restored following a campaign by The Gazette), the Duke of Edinburgh dropping by in a helicopter and Cliff Richard and the Shadows performing at the opening of the ABC Theatre.

He also filmed rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and scenes in Stanley Park, including a dog show, crazy golf, boating and cricket. Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were joined by comedian Albert Modley to judge the Miss Blackpool bathing beauty contest, and the film ends with views of some of Blackpool Illuminations.

He called it Blackpool Kaleidoscope, and the 39-minute treasured travelogue is now held in the North West Film Archive, with the copyright owned by Cyril’s widow Barbara, a former member of the Rotary Club of Blackpool South, who will be returning to her old club to present the film at a special evening of nostalgia.

Club secretary Jeff Meadows said: “We are thrilled to be staging this rare screening of Blackpool Kaleidoscope and hope that any interested Memory Lane readers will join us for a three-course meal, a great film, and good company, all for the price of £13.50 per person, including gratuities.”

The event is at the Carousel Hotel, New South Promenade, South Shore, on Monday, January 30, at 7pm for 7.30pm.

For full details and tickets ring Mr Meadows on (01253) 765458 no later than Monday, January 23.