Hello, my name is Robert (Bob) Davies and I used to have an evening job as a securityman/usher, initially at Belle Vue Kings Hall, then after that at the Apollo Theatre, Ardwick.
I enjoyed reading in the Belle Vue Section of your website, of the evening Bing Crosby appeared at Belle Vue and thought you might like to hear my memories of the evening.
On arrival at the theatre, my boss, Pete Collier asked around for someone who didn't smoke. I volunteered myself and he said "Right Bob, you are to sit by the steps stage left to help Rosemary Clooney and Kathy Crosby on and off stage. You must stay there all night, don't dare move in case you are needed." There were about five or six steps on and off stage, and they led to the dressing rooms the 'girls' were using.
The reason they wanted a non-smoker (not easy to find in those days) was that Kathy Crosby had an aversion to cigarettes and could detect their scent, even on clothes.
Anyway, the show started with Bing entering the stage from the rear as described in your article. However, after a few numbers he left the stage for a short break when Rosemary Clooney came on to sing. To my astonishment he exited stage left (unplanned) and I helped him down the steps, he then had to sit in my chair for a while and I reminded him that special arrangements had been made for him stage right so that he wouldn't need the steps.
After a couple of numbers by the girls, I helped him back up the steps on to the stage. This situation repeated itself a number of times in the show when he forgot which side to exit. Later, backstage, before he left Belle Vue, he shook my hand and thanked me.
I also assisted Kathy Crosby and Rosemary Clooney on and off stage as planned.
At the end of the show, his manager also sought me out to thank me and patted me on the back and said what a good job I had done.
Although at Belle Vue and the Apollo, I saw most of the major acts of the late seventies and early eighties, this night was the highlight for me, because as a young lad my parents used to take us to the pictures, usually the Cosmo in Gorton, often to see Bing Crosby films. His world seemed to be unreachable to me, as though he lived on a different planet. To think that I would meet him and shake hands with him was incredible. I am only sorry that I didn't get an autograph for my mother as she was a huge fan.
And of course, within three weeks he was gone from us.
A Gorton Lad
Now exiled in Cornwall
I visited your site some time ago and am amazed at how it has come on. It really is very informative.
I would like to point out however, that the Belle Vue Water Chute is definately still fully operating at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and yes, it is now well tucked away! It has also been renamed the "Vikingar", since it is located next to the BPB Millenium Project (The "Valhalla" ride - apparently the worlds longest dark ride).
If one enters the park at the North gate, walk round to the left, around Playstation: The Ride and it is tucked away to the left of the huge new building which will house Valhalla (located on the site of the old fun house), and next to where the old "Tidal Wave" pirate ship used to be (currently operating at Pleasureland, Southport). It's the huge new structure which masks it.
The Scenic Railway you mention at Great Yarmouth is till operating under the name of "Roller Coaster".
It's also such a shame that non of Britain's big Theme Parks have thought of reconstructing the Belle Vue Bobs. Ok, so Blackpool Pleasure Beach has NO room left whatsoever, Southport Pleasureland is too crammed, but what about somewhere with loads of room such as Alton Towers, or Lightwater Valley? It's a great idea since it would attract people who remember the Bobs from their youth, and people like myself who never got a chance to ride it. There are currently NO coasters whatsoever with such winding drops in the UK. Not even modern woodies such as Megafobia have such a layout!
done on the site,
I found your Belle Vue site and wondered if this park still exists. If not, i'd like to put a link to it from our Time Portal Museum located at:
I am currently looking for more links to defunct European parks. Do you know of any?
That aside, as ar as I know, The "Bobs" was designed by Canadian Fred Church and erected by Traver Engineering, as you surmised.
you know that my old man use to do the security at belle
to it shut and he has got lots of photos of belle vue.He
sent him a letter one time for him to send some photos
but he lost your
address to send them to.I myself use to as a little boy
and we always
got into everything for nothing ,eg,circus,the
ground,speedwayand all the shows.If you would like
anything please let
used to play double bass and guitar with Bonelli at the
Saturday night dances for six years. He stated the
him Chico. I was able to show him the site and he was
able to reminisce
about the fire. He stated that Bonelli was quite a
character. My father
said he was dedicated musician and wanted perfection. He
copying the music for a fanfare for an Italian boxer and
to the musicians and turning around and the boxer was so
huge that all
he saw was a huge thigh. He also was there when
Manchester City came
Back from the Cup final the year Trautmann broke his
neck and completed
the match. My father related that he stood next to
Denzil Grimshaw, Salt Lake City, Utah.