Our photo this week shows the late, great Ken Dodd as he struggles through the crowd to a record signing in 1961.

The gathering, numbering about 1,000, could hardly have been more enthusiastic if Salisbury had been honoured by a visit from the then Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan!

“Meet him here at 11.30am” urged the banner over John Sutton’s record shop, where Ken made his personal appearance. And though traffic problems (yes, even then!), delayed his arrival until 12.20pm; his fans remained patient.

Ken was swept into the shop by a wave of teenage followers. Once inside, he set about the gruelling task of signing copies of his record, “Once in every lifetime,” which was in great demand.

This job finished, Ken went to work on a huge pile of photographs. The lad from Liverpool won the approval of the adults present for the humorous and patient way he dealt with his young admirers. Each autograph was neatly signed, and personally addressed, an added thrill for the youngsters.

When, at last, the crowd began to disperse, Ken was taken to a private room, where he was interviewed by the “Journalists of Salisbury recording team,” a group who provided a record programme for the patients at Odstock Hospital. Ken’s humorous comments must have gone down very well at the hospital!

At the time of his visit to Salisbury, Ken was topping the bill at the pavilion, Bournemouth, with Alma Cogan – he had been a comedian for seven years. In 1960 he made his first record, and in 1961, with three disks behind him, he was a firmly established ballad-singer.

“Comedians are suited to ballad songs,” said Ken. “Ballads carry a message, and the singer has to make every word tell. That is the basis of the comedian’s art.”


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