Terry turns back the clock

IF you could walk into a time tunnel and come out the other side in another era, where would you go? Ipswich musician TERRY MACKLEY would go back to the 1930s and experience the beginnings of a new type of music.

IF you could walk into a time tunnel and come out the other side in another era, where would you go? Ipswich musician TERRY MACKLEY would go back to the 1930s and experience the beginnings of a new type of music.

IT is the Night The Music Was Born.

Today is August 21, 1935, in Los Angeles California, and my friends and I have planned to meet at the Palomar Ballroom on Vermont and Third where we will start the evening dancing to the music of Benny Goodman and his orchestra.

We'd heard Benny several times on the Let's Dance radio show from New York, which had aired earlier in the year every Friday night on NBC at 9pm and were keen to experience the band for real.

August 21 was to be the last date on his nationwide tour and we were determined to have a good time.

We had agreed to meet some of the guys at the Palomar at 7.30pm. Harry Willis was to borrow his old man's Hudson de luxe eight and the idea was to take in the Palomar and then to take a couple of the girls up to Griffith Park and check out the area round the new observatory.

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Tonight the Palomar looks completely exotic with its Arabian arches in the sultry Los Angeles evening.

Just like something from the movies, so typical of LA.

We park up and queue to pay our 40 cents and enter into vast space of the Palomar. The Palomar sure is a big place and they say it can take 20,000 people. But as it is still early the place is relatively empty and its exotic decoration dwarfs the dancers.

The band's music stands are set up on the stage and to one side is a microphone for the band's vocalist, Helen Ward. We walk over to a group of girls and guys we know, who are already hanging round the bar where you can buy soda pop.

All eyes turn to the stage as the band take their seats and as the MC makes the announcements at the front of the stage, Benny Goodman and Helen Ward appear.

The band begin the first number and couples slowly take to the dance floor. But the music is somehow too sweet, and no different to the bands we hear every week at local dances. The music is as sweet as Guy Lombardo and we've heard it all before.

I dance with Mary Bernstein but after a few dances Harry and I discuss whether to leave at the intermission and go up to Griffith Park. The intermission comes and we fight our way through the crowd to the bar and buy as many bottles of Coca Cola back as we can carry to our table.

The intermission comes to an end and the band are taking to the stage again. I suggest to Harry that this is the time to leave but he wants to stay for a couple more numbers.

Then it happens. The band hit it with King Porter stomp and the place comes alive.

Soon the dancers are just standing crowded round the bandstand, and they clap and cheer. This is hot, this is really something.

Then a couple start doing that dance, the jitterbug. The crowd jump at Bunny Berigan's solo on Sometimes I'm Happy and when Gene Krupa, the drummer, launches into the drum solo that announces Sing, Sing, Sing and the whole place explodes.

This is it, the music that we have been waiting for, and our music. From tonight there will be music that belongs to the young, and the world is changed.

Which year in history would you like to go back to and why? Perhaps you'd like to change the course of history - and what would happen if you did? To star in Time Tunnel just get your imagination in gear and tell us your thoughts. Send a maximum of 7000 words to tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk or post to Features Desk, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.


Famous faces:

Elvis Presley is born

In the news:

Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.


The Hollywood musical takes off thanks to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

The Swing Era rises to prominence with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and Tommy Dorsey




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