Saturday, April 16, 2011

'Play It Cool' Movie (1962) Banned In Our Cinemas

According to a 1962 Singapore newspaper that covered local and overseas entertainment the rock n roll movie, Play It Cool (image) was banned because of its "undesirable song and dance sequence."

Such movies drew crowds because fans were able to watch their pop stars on the 'silver screen'. Computers and You Tube were not available then and movies like, Sing Boy Sing, Rock Around The Clock, Jamboree, Calypso Heat Wave and a host of others kept the cinemas flooded with the best Western pop artistes singing their latest.

Play It Cool had Billy Fury as the main attraction, so could he be the reason why the movie was banned in Singapore? Billy Fury, like many pop singers in the 60s, had a starring role and was known for his sensuality when performing.

Here's a bit of history from a website. His biography discussed his first self-penned 1959 hit, Maybe Tomorrow, which made him an overnight sensation both as a singer and an actor on radio and TV.

His second song, Margo just managed the pop chart while two other singles failed. It was due to "bad press which he was receiving," because of "his wild and overtly sexual stage acts." Elvis Presley experienced similar circumstances didn't he?

According to Fury, "All I did was to squirm about a bit and they banned me for that." But Play It Cool, a box office hit, was made in 1962 and the EP soundtrack were 45 weeks on the Charts. He had also toned down his act since 1959. Were there other reasons for the ban? Could it be the lyrics in the songs the artistes performed? What was the "undesirable song" and "dance sequence"? We will never know.

Anyone seen this movie? Perhaps someone can shed some light as to why it was banned? But then it was a long time ago. And censorship was strict.

Billy Fury Website: Original article: Andy Lim


Thimbuktu said...

'Some like it hot' in the 1960s huh, Andy. Its cool these days with music freedom for the Gen Y for the Ministry of Sounds. Cheers!

Hive45 said...

Hi Andy.. Thanks for your comments over at Hive45... I have linked you up & have some more cool singles coming up that may intrest you. Thanks again. love this blog!!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks James for visiting again. Whatever generation I think music is the connecting link for everyone.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Hive45,
I am learning a lot from your blog too.

I hope the connection will bring you more fans from Singapore and the South East Asian region.

Like Thimbuktu said, we're hot now really hot.


DAVID LEE [FB] said...

Were Elvis earlier movies such as Jailhouse Rock and King Creole banned in Singapore ?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

No. There's a difference somewhere. Do you know the diff. I'm not sure.

DAVID LEE [FB] said...

Thanks Andy, not sure why but thought Elvis Presley earlier movies were contain even more " "undesirable song and dance sequence."

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

yes, exactly. But the movie was never released again, even after Fury toned down on his act.

CH TN [FB] said...

I recall the movie St Jack filmed in Sgp was also banned. Pop songs too, like Yellow Submarine. It was the era of clamping down on 'yellow culture' hippism, long hair with cops even eagle eyeing those with big bikes. Misplaced connotations with drug usage. Over zealous and paranoid authorities. Glad in time all that eased and deemed ridiculous.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

hi, thanks for an interesting and informative comment. You're right but SG was a baby then... Over protective for sure.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Rose and Angie, didn't think you both will be wandering up this post. You're both too young... 🙂 Thanks for coming over...


Marc Sebastian Rerceretnam
My late father was part of a small team that set up Radio Television Singapore (RTS) in 1962/3. I dont think there was a cohesive approach or policy towards "banning" material in the day. He did say there was an outright ban on the showing of "gang" (gangterism), violence and nudity on screen. However, when it came to more subtle elements such as youth or the new pop culture, it was up to the personal perception of the individual team of government censors, operating at the time.

As an example, in the early to mid 60s, my dad told me how he hated the Beatles and the new pop culture. As the RTS media buyer, he said he actively ignored buying programs which showcased the new youth culture or its music. He left RTS in 1969. I think by about 1980, he regretted his actions.

David Spyk
The only time Singapore people could watch the Beatles on TV back then was on the mainstream Ed Sullivan show. Probably thousands of youth waited for it to be broadcasted.

Kelvin Yeo
David Spyk Now we know why!

Andy Young
David Spyk, yes. I guess the anticipation of waiting for such a famous pop group added to the excitement, especially when they came out with, SHE LOVES YOU, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. 🙂

David Spyk
Andy Young Indeed! However, the new phenomena in popular music from the four boys were generally frowned upon by older people over here and in the west as unmusical noise. Hey, similarly early jazz music was once upon a time considered vulgar and evil but jazz is still being performed in clubs and recorded today.

Andy Young
Marc Sebastian Rerceretnam, thank you. Your comment is one I'd always appreciate, just the kind that would create an interesting and positive conversation. I was young then and even to this day I thought the folks in charge did the right thing. Violence, nudity and worse, drugs, would never have created an SG society like ours today. Again, many thanks sir, for your contribution.

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