Part Twenty-Seven

   The Wimbledon tournament in 1953 saw a new star burst upon the scene when a young American girl named Maureen -  who due to her diminutive height was lovingly dubbed Little Mo - Connelly won the ladies title beating fellow American Doris Hart in the final. The men’s title was won by another American, Vic Seixas who beat Denmark’s Kurt Nielsen.
The American dominance in sport continued into the world of golf when one of the best ever golfers, Ben Hogan,  crossed the Atlantic to not only make his one and only appearance in the Open Championship but walked away with the title by conquering Scotland’s windswept Carnoustie course and won the most coveted trophy in golf.
    But without a doubt the biggest shock came later in the year when the Hungarian football team came to Wembley and gave us a lesson in free-flowing football, the like of which we in Britain had never witnessed before. They beat us 6-3 and became the first team to defeat England on their own ground.  At the end of the game, the stunned crowd slowly filed out of the stadium in an utter state of bewilderment and as if in a trance they queued silently awaiting their bus home, shattered by this unexpected nightmare.
    I know of all this because I, along with my brother Bernard, was one of those poor unfortunate souls standing to wait for our bus to take us away from this disaster. One final thought on this match is that England’s right back that momentous day in 1953 was Alf Ramsay, the man who eventually became the Manager of the England team and guided them to winning the World Cup in 1966.
   Probably one of the most beneficial discoveries for mankind happened in 1953 when British Physicist Francis Crick and American James Watson uncovered the secrets of DNA. Their breakthrough aided by New Zealander Maurice Wilkins was justly rewarded in 1962 when the three men were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
   On a completely different topic, three of the most popular television programmes around this time was ‘What’s my line?’. This consisted of a panel of four celebrities who had to work out what the job was of an ordinary member of the public who came on and gave them a clue by demonstrating a brief piece of mime relating their job. The panel would endeavor to find out by a series of questions. If any of their guesses received a negative answer from the visitor the chairman of the panel would turn over a card displaying the word NO.  The panel was only allowed ten No’s and if they hadn’t worked out the visitor’s job by then the guest was deemed the winner.  Some of the panel members I remember included a well-loved and brilliant magician named David Nixon, a very smart attractive polished lady, Isobel Barnett, an ex-policeman, Gilbert Harding, who made a name for himself due to his rather brusque (rude?) manner when questioning the visitors. Fortunately, his impatience was somewhat tempered by the last member of the panel, Barbara Kelly, another smart, attractive lady, who had left Canada and came to live in Britain with her husband, Bernard Braden in 1949.
   The Braden’s, both born in Vancouver, quickly made a good impression with the British public. Bernard Braden was a very talented man, a writer, actor on stage and radio. It wasn’t long before their natural easy-going charm coupled with their Canadian accent was noticed by the by the BBC which resulted in a series entitled  Breakfast with Braden and later followed by Bedtime with Braden. Barbara Kelly also appeared in these very popular shows. The band accompanying these programmes was Nat Temple and his Orchestra.  I recall that at the end of each show Bernard Braden would sign off with a final wisecrack such as ‘Nat Temple is currently appearing in the Tales of Hoffman but on Saturday Hoffman is getting married and wants his tails back’ Another ending I remember Bernard Braden saying, which he uttered in a plaintive enquiring tone of voice was, ‘Girls, if you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island with three handsome men, who would the other two be?’
    During these early days of the 1950’s in Britain, there was a continuation of a revival of Traditional Jazz music which had started in the late 1940’s when people like Humphrey Lyttelton and George Webb formed their own bands and became very successful. They were followed by other bands led by the likes of Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, Mick Mulligan, Bob Wallis, Terry Lightfoot, Kenny Ball and Bernard (Acker) Bilk to name just a few. By this time I was a dedicated devotee of this brand of music. This was due to my brother Bernard who fell in love with Trad Jazz from an early age so much so that he became a trumpet player himself and formed his own Trad band. From him, I learned about jazz artists such as Bunk Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, George Lewis and the one and only, Louis Armstrong. One of the highlights of my later life was seeing Louis or Satchmo as he was lovingly called; when he gave a concert with his All Stars Band at London’s Earls Court in 1955. I was in heaven seeing and hearing this supreme artist who injected so much feeling into his music. I only have to hear a few notes emanating from his trumpet to know its Louie. His artistry and influence on the world of music were acknowledged and appreciated by musicians from all genres.
   To me, it matters not one iota what style or choice of music a musician performs. Like the written or spoken word, if the overall sound stirs one of the many emotions lying dormant within all of us, be it happiness, sadness, excitement, longing, melancholy, inspiring, hope, encouragement, then the writer, composer or performer have done their intended job.
--End of Part Twenty-Seven —

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