Ian Reed has sent these memories of the Playhouse:-
Like Phil, I too remember Brenda and the “Greasy spoon cafe” - that did not reflect on the quality or cleanliness of the cafe, but was a generic term in those days for a small cafe selling mainly fried food.
I do remember Brenda cooking good food in rather difficult circumstances, and arriving by Taxi quite early with a cool box of goodies for us all to eat. I also remember a strange happening - not just that the Playhouse was rumoured to be Haunted, but the mysterious vanishing public phone box. Arriving early, and going to the Gents on the ground floor, I found a large hole where the phone had been the week before !
That seemed a bit strange, since the place was always alarmed when not in use !
Allegedly, it seems that “visitors” were appearing through a drain cover in the said loos, grabbing what they could and vanishing again - probably a normal experience for Hulme in that era ! “
Nigel Ogden had these experiences of the wildlife at the Playhouse:-
The Playhouse spent a lot of time unoccupied, yet heated, an ideal environment for creepies and crawlies to flourish.
He remembers that the turn of the key in the outside door, and the alarm buzzer sounding, caused all manner of wildlife to rapidly retreat to whence they lived, only to return again when the place was locked up.
Apparently turning on the blower for the Organ was another dangerous occupation, disturbing some large rodents in the process !
Dick Wilson sent me these experiences of doing recordings at the Playhouse:-
During the late 60's and up to the arrival of the Neve (stereo desk) we had a resident engineer who looked after the recording side.His name was Jimmy Mars - and he operated from the recording room shown in the pictures on this site.
We were monitoring in the cubicle on one LSU/10 driven by a Leak 12 watt amp. Not exactly earth shattering I think you will agree.
(However the results were superb - those 15 inch bass units with integral horn tweeters, and add on super tweeter in a huge cabinet were the forerunner of many other successful BBC designs, not least the LS3/7,and of course provided excellent imaging both on and off axis - IR ) The mixes on the LSU / 10’s really do stand the test of time, as will be heard on the double CD.
A story about Johnny Roadhouse :-
We were halfway through a typical NDO morning session when Roger Fleetwood, who sat next to Johnny and played 2nd alto, casually mentioned that the instruments Johnny had loaned him for a gig the previous night had been stolen from his car outside the club. Johnny hit the roof, recording stopped, and he charged up to the cubicle and phoned his shop to put the word about. It so happened at that very moment the thief was in the shop trying to sell the instruments.
The assistant managed to hold the thief's attention whilst Johnny phoned the police and they nicked him !! As I recall, Roger remained seated throughout, and wondered what all the fuss was about !!
Stella Doyle ( now Sails ) sent me this excellent contribution :-
“Great site reviving many memories, but no mention of us Secretaries who, under the general management of Jim Casey, looked after the band.
Processing doubling sheets by the dozen, booking deputies at a moments notice - sometimes in the middle of the night,and of course producing the P as B's and P as R's (programmes as broadcast / recorded) as well as sorting out their payslips. Happy Days!
The secretaries I remember were: Lorna Parkinson who I believe was the first, Estelle Boyle, myself, Stella Doyle - the name causing some confusion for obvious reasons, and Anne Stanley who took over from me.
Lorna went on to London to become part of the Artists Contracts Executive and Estelle, myself, and Anne are all alive and well and living in the North West.
The Good Old Days Orchestra was not strictly speaking the NDO, although there were members of the NDO in it, and its conductor was Bernard Herrmann, but it wasn't part of their NDO contract.”
Memories of Bob Turner:-
Apart from being a superb drummer, Bob was also a great comedian with many "party tricks"
Apparently Bob used to put on his old Tram drivers cap, and used the sounds of his drum kit and mime to replicate the sounds of a tram moving off.
Bernard Herrmann has now explained to me how he did this, and the laughs it always got.
Des Sissons:- I was involved with both the NVO and NDO when they performed, both from Piccadilly then the Playhouse.
I was also the Sound Mixer on some of the early experimental stereo sessions at the Playhouse - and remember having great fun with the pan pots' on Vernon Leigh's percussion - sending him from one side to the other. I also did many many more sessions with the NDO during the sixties.