This film is part of Free

SAM Presents "Scooter Weekend"

Fleets of Italian scooters descend on Whitley Bay for a Whitsun weekend rally and carnival parade in the pre-Mod era.

Amateur film 1957 12 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


It would be a few more years before seaside punch-ups between Mods and Rockers hit the headlines in the British press. These game Vespa and Lambretta Club scooter enthusiasts gather in Whitley Bay at a wet Whitsun carnival parade and a rally on The Links to raise money for the Royal Air Force Association charity. Ironically, this film was produced for a well-known Newcastle motorbike emporium, St Andrews Motors, whose trade float is targeting the new market for scooters.

The Vespa (Italian for wasp) became an international design icon, popularised by Hollywood stars Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, and adopted by fashion-conscious British youth cult, the Mods, in the late 50s. This film was one of a whole raft of commissions for St Andrews Motors (SAM), made by a small film unit from the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers' Association. Adopting the character of roving reporter ‘Sam’, a former dance band musician and World War Two reserve firefighter, George Cummin, provided the perky commentary, which he recorded ‘live’ without re-takes at a London film lab.