A poster, 'Rock Around The Clock' (1956), like the above was the talk of the town in the late 50's in Singapore when the rock and roll explosion hit the country louder than Chinese New Year firecrackers. The Roxy Cinema was filled to the brim when the movie invaded the theatre near the beaches at the East Coast. (Roxy? The Roxie people know today would probably be the notorious lady in the musical, Chicago.)
Seats were cheap then and the cinema hall was divided into four sections i.e: the first 5 rows from the screen cost 50 Cents while the rest were priced from $1.00, $2.00 and $3.00 depending on how far away from the screen the seat was. The circle (upstairs balcony, back rows) was priced at $3.00. Or was it still $2.00?
Can you imagine paying $4.00 for a seat back in the old days? That's more than two day's salary for a school teacher. Black marketeers or should we call them hooligans were making their pile before the police in their Black Marias came to arrest them in later years.
Rock and roll took its roots way before Cliff Richard and Rolling Stones came to Singapore with movies like Bill Haley's with his one kiss-curl (image below) on his forehead. He had the girls screaming to their pony-tails when he appeared with his Comets on stage.
Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Connie Francis, Little Richard, The Platters were from the 50s rock and roll scene and not the 60's.
Watching the two movies by Alan Freed gave a simple idea of what rock and roll were all about. The movies were actually music videos that we find so rampant on TV (before YouTube's arrival) but with thin story lines that pieced the music appearances of the different groups together.
If YouTube (current) got many new singers and musicians started today, Alan Reed's two movies could have got quite a number of artistes on their path of success too.