Saturday 26th February 1977 –Black and White Minstrels Show – Chiltern Rooms
While the youngsters of the time were getting a hard time in both the press and in person for looking a ‘bit different’ and listening to music that wasn’t ‘progressive’, back in February 1977 it was seemingly still OK for the white middle class to ‘black up’ for the sake of ‘light entertainment’.
A Bucks Free Press advert shows The Black and White Minstrel Show was due to perform at The Chiltern Rooms in Desborough Road on Saturday 26th February 1977. The £1.85 entrance cost would also reward you with a ‘Chicken in the Basket’ supper.
It would be fair to say that this show has not stood the test of time. Apparently, viewing figures for the BBC show of the same title (first broadcast in 1958) reached a peak of more than 20 million by the mid 1960’s. Despite on-going controversy over its portrayal of black people, it remained on the screens throughout the majority of the 1970’s before finally be axed by the BBC in July 1978.
Where you would start attempting to explain the premise for this show to the generation born post 1978? It would also be interesting to hear the thoughts of the significant Caribbean origin population of High Wycombe to a show of this type being presented on their doorstep?
In keeping with the ‘Life on Mars’ style time-travel, the entertainment advertised for Thursday 10th March 1977 was billed as ‘STAG 77’ – no not a band from the New Wave of Heavy Metal but a ‘Gentlemen’s Evening, with Adult Comedians – beautiful Girls, Girls, Girls’. This time, £2.50 would gain you entry, including the obligatory ‘Chicken in the Basket’ supper.
But there was alternative entertainment on the same evening that ‘STAG 77’ strutted their stuff at The Chiltern Rooms –at the other end of Town down the London Road, Billy Idol’s Generation X were returning to the Nag’s Head supported by the only gigging Wycombe ‘punk’ band of the time, Deathwish.