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THE ONE-NIGHTERS

Director: PETER COLLINSON

1963| Ireland| Black and white| 48 min. (excluding talk / performance)


Peter Collinson—a senior floorman at RTE who went on to direct Up the Junction and The Italian Job—was making a TV commercial for the Royal Showband in 1963 with cameraman Robert Monks. Midway through the shoot Collinson persuaded the band that they should commission a full-scale documentary for the cinema.
The result is an affectionate and informal record of the adventures of the Royal Showband, and ‘Ireland’s Elvis’ Brendan Bowyer, on the road. It was an extraordinary time: the band’s talent and energy quite simply took the country by storm, playing to a public that had suddenly awakened from the drabness of the 50s and begun dancing.
The Royal Showband’s version of The Hucklebuck defined Ireland’s swinging sixties. In dancehalls all over the country, young and old alike were ‘wriggling like snakes and waddling like ducks’ to one of the biggest dance tunes of the decade. The Royal were the most popular group of the Showband era with a mass of Number One hits as yet unsurpassed in Ireland. Much of their success was due to their front man Brendan Bowyer, and his ability to tailor American rock ‘n’ roll music for the Irish ear, and deliver it with spirited athleticism. In 1971 Bowyer left the Royal, joining the Las Vegas circuit with his new band, the Big 8. Currently residing in Las Vegas, Brendan returns to Ireland in June to introduce this special screening of The One-Nighters, to talk about that time, and maybe even to perform one or two of his classics …

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