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1950's - Syncopating Sandy
In the early 50's people were always looking for new ways to entertain the people. "Syncopating Sandy" was a supposed 'nutcase' who played the piano non-stop for over 100 hours in order to create a new world record. (Not that anyone really knew if there was such a thing?) One such attempt took place in the Old Albion, which was then owned by the late Mr. A. Greening. The pianist was a guy who rejoiced in the pseudonym of "Syncopating Sandy" who claimed to play the organ at (it is believed) Blackburn Cathedral. The showman in charge tried to get the pianist to look as if he was permanently on the verge of collapse, and lit him with blue and green light to look cadaverous. When nature called, Sandy would play "Lady of Spain" at which time his 'one-armed' assistant would pull a curtain across shielding him from the audience. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have no details of what happened then. There is a sneaking suspicion that the 'one-armed' assistant actually had another arm concealed in his loose clothing and that he took over playing the piano in the night when Sandy was sleeping. The police called round in the early hours one day, and it took a very long time for them to gain admission. (Could it be that Sandy had to be roused and at the piano before they could be allowed to enter?)
The Syncopating Sandy team took £100 per day from the takings, and the rest was split equally with Mr. Greening whose share came to between six and seven hundred pounds, so they must have had at least a thousand. This remember was when a pharmacist was earning a really good wage of £16 a week and it cost 1/9 (9p) for a ticket to the cinema. Perhaps Sandy was not the 'nutcase' we believed him to be!
[Thanks to Sid Greening-Jackson for his invaluable help with this piece. Sid lived in Methley, and was at Castleford Grammar School 1935-40.]
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