Rock Around The Clock – 1956 Bill Haley and The Comets

Well,  the great Rock n’ Roll revolution in music kicked off in the late 1950 s and in England this film heralded the new dawn as we teenagers saw it.

NVS0036Crowds gather in the centre of the city and queue round the corner to see the film showing at The Regal Cinema, LINCOLN.


Regal Cinema

216-219 High Street,

Lincoln, LN2 1AB

 ABC Regal Cinema

The Picture House was opened on 18th January 1915 with “The Fighting Strain of Old England”. The cinema was constructed on the site of a former high-class grocery store, and the original facade was retained. The auditorium had a barrel-shaped ceiling. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels, and there were side boxes along the walls at circle level. The proscenium was 31 feet wide. There was a cafe located on the ground floor, where patrons could eat and drink, while watching the film programme.

It was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in 1930, and after a refurbishment, re-opened as the Regal Super Cinema on 12th January 1931 with Conrad Nagel in “A Lady Surrenders”. The re-opening ceremony was attended by film star Dodo Watts. The cafe was moved upstairs, and it had an open balcony overlooking the High Street.

ABC closed the Regal Cinema on 26th February 1966 with Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins”. It was demolished in April 1969, and a Littlewoods store was built on the site. Today, it operates as a Primark store.

Coming back to Rock around the Clock –

This is known as the “first real rock film” which is basically  a vehicle for  Bill Haley and his band, The Comets. In the story, two square music managers realise that their old type of traditional dance music is dying out in favour of the latest “rock ‘n’ roll” fad.

Rock around the Clock 2 Above – more fans – the time in London

When they see Bill Haley and the Comets perform their classic “See You Later Alligator” at a small town dance and witness all the kids dancing, they decide to try and get this group to play full-time and make it big. The film’s not very interesting when it veers away from the music, but along the way we get several more Bill Haley songs (the famous title hit itself, plus “Razzle Dazzle,” “Rock Rock Rock” and others). However the main attraction is easily The Platters, who expertly perform two of their biggest hits – “Only You” and “The Great Pretender”. Wonderful.


Moving back to the LINCOLN Regal Cinema image – it seems that Apache Ambush with Bill Williams – which I have mentioned on this Blog before – is the supporting film. It was probably a better film  than Rock around the Clock but it is obvious what the young public wanted at that time.

lfC1BOFES2 sized

Directed by Fred F. Sears
Cast: Bill Williams (James Kingston), Richard Jaeckel (Lee Parker), Alex Montoya (Joaquin Jironza), Movita (Rosita), Adelle August (Ann Parker), Tex Ritter (Traeger), Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan (Hank Calvin), and  Clayton Moore./


Just look at this cast list – not just the star but Movita who had been in Mutiny on The Bounty and ‘Crash Corrigan’ – famous stunt man and ranch owner where many films were shot, on  of course Clayton Moore – who in a year or so from this one would gain fame as The Lone Ranger.


It opens in Washington, D.C., in April 1865, as Bill Williams, Ray Teal and Don G. Harvey meet with President Lincoln (James Griffith). There are cattle in Texas and hungry people in Kansas, and the president asks the men to drive the cattle north.

To this basic cattle drive plot, Lang’s script adds a wagon train, Mexican bandits, the Apaches of the title, a stampede, a bitter Confederate veteran and a shipment of repeating rifles (and let’s not forget Lincoln’s assassination). All of that in less than 70 minutes.

Apache Ambush LC (1)

Apache Ambush is a good Western Film of the era.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Rock Around The Clock – 1956 Bill Haley and The Comets”

  1. Tony Wait says:

    Loved that early Rock ‘n Roll music. Bill Haley’s sound still sounds fresh today.

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks for your comment Tony. There was an energy in this song but had it stopped there things would have fizzled out – within weeks we had Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran with their great original tracks and later in England Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury to name but a few.

  2. Rock around the clock brought back memories of that rock and roll era i was brought up on, it brought such lovely songs by Bill Haley,Billy Fury etc i still love Rock and Roll today.

    • Movieman says:

      Rock around the Clock kicked off the Rock n Roll era swiftly followed by Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry – and from this country Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde and as you mentioned the great Billy Fury.

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