For those who are unfamiliar with the Liverpool music scene during the late fifties and early sixties, Alan Caldwell may not be a household name. Avids of the day will tell you, however, that Rory Storm had a stage presence that was second to none. This flambouyant lead singer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes is seen above on the Iron Door stage.
Caldwell had been honing his skills since 1957 and by the early 1960s was a consumate performer. He had risen up through the ranks of such local bands as Al Caldwell's Texans, The Raving Texans and three changes to the name of the Hurricanes being headed first by Al Storm, later by Jeff Storm and lastly by Rory Storm. Caldwell make extensive use of the "Storm theme" even naming his house "Stormville."
During the early part of the 1960s, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played out of the Liverpool area quite frequently visiting venues in Hamburg, and Butlin's holiday camps in Wales. As a consequence while local artists were playing clubs like the Iron Door, Rory Storm was seen less often. Nonetheless, the continued to be a popular Liverpool group. The famous Cavern "DJ" Bob Wooler referred to Rory as "Mr. Showmanship." Well-known for his onstage antics, his crowd-pleasing ways lead occasionally to injury as he threw caution to the wind climbing supporting beams and the like.
Rory is seen in the above photo performing on stage with fello Hurricanes, Richie Starkey (Ringo Starr) and Ty O'Brien. This is one of the few period photos of the Iron Door that have surfaced from the early 1960s. On the basis of existing records it would seem that the photo was taken with March 6 or March 11, 1961. It is also the only known photo of a Beatles, Ringo Starr, at the Iron Door.
The photograph provides a reasonably good look at the stage in which it is possible to see the plastic grid garden trellis above Rory's head. The structural design was such that all the lights for the stage were housed above the latice-work ceiling. It provided for an interesting lighting effect and offered a unique appearance. The background, typical of venues of the day, was painted brilliantly by jazz musician Ken Wharton. Visitors who visited the club remarked that it was outstanding art work and provided for a memorable experience. This is just one of the many interesting design touches added by Geoff Hogarth.
Hogarth has provided some additional insight into the background painting on the stage. He writes
"The background painting started of being a street guide to the Iron Door and ended up becoming modern art. The two black lines represent Dale Street and Victoria Street. The line by Ringo's head is Temple Street and the very white circle also by Ringo represented the Iron Door. The other smaller lines were other streets off Dale Street. We even managed to get the Cavern on, this was somewhere near the bottom painted in a very drab drab colour."