Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A to Z 1950s/60s Nostalgia: V

V Smell:
Parma Violets - They were sold as a natural breath freshener. I don't think they worked.

V Memories:
Variety Shows - I really miss Variety Shows on the television. I used to love the song and dance format with the occasional comedian, juggler, magician. It was pure, light-hearted entertainment and we don't get enough of that sort of thing these days. My favourite was...

Sunday Night at the London Palladium: It was first presented by Tommy Trinder "You lucky people!" and then by Bruce Forsyth, who's still going strong with his "Nice to see you, to see you nice!" catch phrase. The show always began with a line of dancers, usually the Tiller Girls.

Before the big star turn there was a short game show involving people from the audience.

As a child the highlight for me was the finale when the guests all stood behind huge letters on a rotating stage and waved as they came round to face the audience. I waved back!

The Good Old Days: This was a revival of the music hall. Everyone, both on and off stage, had to wear Victorian or Edwardian clothes and the songs and entertainment were all from that era too. It took place in a theatre in Leeds and was compered by Leonard Sachs. The show always ended with everybody singing "Down at the Old Bull and Bush" [tra la la la la]

Music/chat shows: Many music stars of the time had their own shows which were a cross between variety and chat. There was the Cilla Black Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Cliff Richard Show and many more. Even these no longer exist. I think that TV producers should lighten up a bit and bring back variety!!

V Programmes:
On TV:
Vision On

On Radio:
Variety Bandbox

Viva Las Vegas

Frankie Vaughan with his top hat and super-smooth bow tie.
V Names:

Gore Vidal
The Ventures
Velvet Underground
Bobby Vee
Frankie Valli
Ricky Valence
Frankie Vaughan
Gene Vincent who provides the...

V Music:
Gene Vincent singing Be-Bop-A-Lula

Not many V programmes but I'm sure you know of more!

If you're enjoying these memories then you'll also enjoy Anne Mackle's blog at Is Anyone There? and her A to Z memories of the 1960s and 70s.


  1. Hi, Ros
    You had a few I hadn't thought of.
    Do you remember the plastic gizmo thing you could put the parma violets in? It was sort of like a cigarette lighter with an animal's head to press down and its mouth opened and out popped a parma violet.

    More smells: Victory V lozenges and Vick chest rub – still around today but ‘back then’ we used them more because of chimney smoke and smog

    On the Wireless: Variety Playhouse

    Songs/Singers: Venus in Blue Jeans, Bobby Vincent, Dickie Valentine, Malcolm Vaughan – “My Special Angel”
    Found myself singing “Volare” when walking the dogs last night. LOL, the hills were alive…

    Velouty Powder Cream, Vinola Baby Powder, Vaseline Shampoo

    Magazines: Vanity Fair, Vogue, Valentine, Valiant
    Vesta curries ‘n’ stuff,
    Oh, and Virol – loved that malt extract.

    TV: Ventriloquists were popular, a lot of adverts and cartoons used Voice-over actors

    Vanity cases – like an oval hat box with a handle and a mirror on the inside lid

    Wonder if Rifka has the same ones?

  2. Hi Ros, Ohhh I loved the Variety shows too. Meant to tell you ages ago that one of my neighbours (now deceased) was an ex Tiller Girl and she still had all that poise and glamour about her. I've been looking forward to the V day as I have my own very special 50's V memory. Its "Velocette". Motor-bike's where very much the in thing in the late 50's (motorbikes were lined up outside every coffee bar and dance hall in Leicester). My first proper boyfriend had a 500cc Velocette Motor-bike on which I rode pillion (with no helmet), much to the worry of mum and dad!! My boyfriend loved Gene "Vincent" and Bobby "Vee" and when Richie "Valens" (along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper) plane went down in fog, with no survivors, we cried..........
    Had 6 of your V names Ros on my list - if I remember right one of mum's favourites was Frankie Vaughan singing Green Door.

    Hi Pat, Yes almost an identical list to yours with regards to singers and songs and have just spent five minutes with my finger on the delete button................ *giggle giggle*.
    Loved the vanity cases - that mirror was so useful!!!!!

  3. I love visiting your blog,I can remember all you write about and all the memories of those times come flooding back.
    Well done another excellent post.


  4. I took my mum to see Frankie Vaughn and I've just remembered Val Doonican I rally liked him and saw him in his show in Blackpool. I loved the end of the London Palladium when the all spun round and waved.
    Pat, I've been trying to remember the magazine Valentine for ages I used to get it with the Mirabelle.

  5. I like Frankie Valli - those songs are timeless!

  6. I've always loved Be-Bop-A-Lula! Fun song.

  7. Hi Pat, I’ve never heard of an animal-shaped parma violet holder. How funny. I remember Victory Vs – yuk!

    Hi Rifka, I remember you going on a boyfriend’s motor bike. I almost posted Green Door up but couldn’t find a decent version.

    Hi Yvonne, thank you. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying it.

    Hi Anne, Frankie Vaughan was the older ladies favourite I suspect.

    Hi Annalisa, I loved the Four Seasons. Have you seen Jersey Boys though? It shows Frankie Valli in a completely differently light.

    Hi Jaycee, it’s a great dancing tune, isn’t it.

  8. I remember Be Bop a Lula. My parents had it on an Everly Brothers album. It's a fun song.

  9. Interesting post. Never heard of parma violets.

  10. Love variety shows too. One of my favourites growing up was the Carol Burnett show :)

  11. Variety shows were the best. I loved them all. They really took entertaining seriously and put a lot of effort and hard work into them, and we got a chance to see performers that we wouldn't see otherwise. TV just isn't worth watching since they're gone.

  12. Hi Ros .. we had crystallised violets on violet creams .. when we were home from school and had a few holidays of playing cards games, including bridge as we got older ..

    Variety shows were good though we hardly watched I must say ..

    We were allowed to watch the Beatles at the Palladium .. we were at school - the first time ever!!

    Bobbi Vee, Frankie Valli .. Gene Vincent .. yes I remember them ..

    You are great at these .. cheers Hilary