Dracula ruled twice nightly – fangs for the memories

The Coliseum in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth
The Coliseum in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth
Southsea firemen John Balderstone, left, and Chris Palmer with Bengy, the dog they rescued from a blaze

THIS WEEK IN 1983: Woman and dog saved in home fire

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Nowadays people can get all the entertainment they want without leaving home, but not so long ago you had to go out for entertainment.

Eddie Amey, of St Michael’s Grove, Fareham, fondly recalls the time Portsmouth had four theatres, South Parade Pier and innumerable dance halls and cinemas.

He says: ‘It was a treat to see live performances. I never visited the Hippodrome but was frequently in the audience at the Kings and the Theatre Royal and somewhat less at the Coliseum, later the Empire.’

He adds: ‘During the late 40s and the 1950s there was a wealth of talent as young entertainers carved out careers after learning their craft performing for the armed forces.

‘From that period I recall the Beverley Sisters at the pier and a multi-talented Reg Varney in his own touring show.

‘There was Harry Secombe with a barber’s shop sketch involving a cut-throat razor, comedian Arthur English playing a spiv and Sid Millward and his Nitwits. There was even an appearance by Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi. Most of these were at the Theatre Royal.’

Eddie remembers: ‘One night at the Kings a singing duo, Ted and Barbara Andrews, were performing when a girl ran crying onto the stage calling for her mummy. Barbara Andrews held her hand until the performance was finished before apologising for her daughter Julie’s unplanned stage debut.