Firstly I would like to commend you on this wonderful web site I spent the whole of an evening reading through some wonderful stories that people have contributed sharing their memories of happy memorable holidays at Butlin's Filey.
Reading through the pages I was amazed to find the name of my old dear friend and entertainment manager, Mr Rocky Mason. I was employed at Butlins Filey as a keyboard player with the Ricky Sallis Duo, Ricky was a very dear friend of Rocky and for several years we used to play at different venues all over the camp. Monday evenings we were employed in the magnificent Gaiety bar, it was a tremendous atmosphere especially when the Geordies came down for their annual fortnight's holiday. During the evening the compare, Mr Mike Griffiths, would get the audience singing the Bladen Races, the singing was enough to make the large glass windows shake. Tuesday morning was the adult talent competition rehearsals, the final was held the same evening at seven thirty, usually the first prize was a week's free holiday near the end of the season. As like every musician who worked for Butlin's we had one day off in the week. Ricky and myself always chose Wednesdays because we had another engagement at the Sun lounge, a little wooden place on the sea front at Filey. On other Wednesday nights we would get a booking at a local public house in Hunmanby, "The Oak," a quaint little place you could see it from miles around by the pretty coloured lights that used to light up the front of the public house. Thursday evening we was engaged in the Beachcomber Bar, this was full of tropical trees and plants, the stage area was situated on a little bridge. At the far end of the bar was a sunken galleon and every fifteen minutes there was a simulated tropical storm, first you would hear the sound of thunder and the birds started to whistle and the simulated lightning would flash across. Rather spectacular, however, it sometimes used to get on your nerves. Friday was one of the most hectic days, besides having to get up early to go to the office for your pay cheque, then having to rush into Filey to get it cashed and then dashing back to the camp for rehearsals. At seven o'clock in the evening it was the Red Coat show, Ricky and myself would be in the orchestra pit waiting for the stage managers signal to start playing the overture. I remember the last Red Coat show at Filey on Friday 19th August 1983, it usually was a sad occasion being the last day of the season, little did we know this would be the last ever Red Coat show at Butlins Filey, the overture was always the same song, "Give My Regards To Broardway." At the end of the overture the curtains would open, I remember the back drop was a blue mist with a fog machine then Mike Griffiths, compare, would introduce the show. During the show there was a comedy sketch where Mike and another red coat would sit either end of the stage near those wonderful horse statues on pedestals and the spot lights would follow the spoken dialog. The finale was when Mike sang that old familiar song "The Party's Over" and that was the last song ever played in the Gaiety Theatre at Butlin's Filey.
When the Red Coat show had finished we had to dash across to the Cabaret bar ready for the old time music hall show. This started at ten o'clock and ran for an hour, this bar was also the venue for the late night cabaret and on Tuesday nights Butlins used to employ top line artists such as Bob Monkhouse and Bobby Knutt besides having bingo sessions daily and horse racing films. After the old time music hall had finished we all went to the Gaiety bar for a drink, Friday nights in the Gaiety bar was absolutely fantastic, saying our good byes to people you have met in the week and wishing them a safe journey home. Ricky and I usually returned to our caravan about twelve thirty.
Saturday 20th August I returned to the camp to collect my equipment late in the afternoon, by this time all the musicians had already packed up and gone, I walked into the Gaiety theatre for the last time it was a very emotional occasion seeing an empty theatre, some of the stage crew were there taking down the scenery and about two o'clock in the afternoon I said my last good bye. I suppose I was the last musician to leave Butlins Filey, little did I know I would never return to play another season. Having heard the news that Butlins Filey was to close I returned later in the year to find out about our 1984 contract, Ricky and myself met with Rocky for a drink in the local pub in Hunmanby "The Cottage Inn" and Rocky gave us all the details about the closure, I then drove to the camp I noticed the chains were on the gates where thousands of holiday makers had walked through months before, but as I stood there I could still hear those wonderful songs going through my head especially the overture of the famous Red Coat show.
I have enclosed some of my own personal memorabilia of Butlins Filey, one is the last musician's contract signed in 1983 and the entertainments manager was Mr George Humphries. Also my own personal staff ID card and car park permit together with a photo of Ricky and myself as The Ricky Sallis Duo.
Thanking you once again for an excellent web site page and all the other contributors.
Mr.Graham J Dooley