Having decided that renting tents was boring and having exhausted his ideas on outdoor shows and built and presented the cannon, catapult, Motobirds, and exploding human coffin, and enjoyed touring through Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, (except for the court case where he had to demonstrate the coffin was safe, demonstrated with his six week old baby son, and accidentally let it off in court – another good story) he switched to promoting Pantomimes – an eccentric and traditional family theatre show – having protested with scantily clad show girls in the Town Hall at Leicester to bring back the tradition. These Christmas shows (40 performances, top celebrity stars, 2000 seats per show) had a touch of the Joe Weston-Webb unusual promotions- a talking donkey called Daisy and six children in Smurf costumes were taken around the villages and shopping centers on fun promotional and ticket selling outings in a replica Model T Ford. If anyone going to the shows was celebrating a birthday, Daisy was told, and as if by magic, remembered and announced them during the show (helped by a microphone covered in toffee and a mimic off stage). Then we had the flock of sheep and two sheepdogs in the stalls for a bet to see if they were related to smurfs, and as if by magic (and not by clever sheep dogs), as the smurfs came on stage, every sheep turned to watch. Joe wasn’t prosecuted by the RSPCA this time, but nearly got in trouble for overworking the smurfs –
several fainted inside their costumes from the heat. For three years, Leicester had unforgettable Panto – party poppers, kids crèche, party room, meet the stars, sponsor a child seats (a chance for people to sponsor a child from an orphanage to see the show – so successful, Joe ran out of underpriviledged kids and had to ship them in by coach from other towns), all down to Joe’s determination.
He produced and directed the shows, built the proscenium and fly towers, built the tiered seating in the auditorium, employed all the Equity cast, dancers, child dancers and Smurfs, the backstage crew, the front of house staff, arranged the photographers and the on-site photo developing, the catering, programmes and souvenir sales, ice creams, party room, plus the booking office staff and ticket selling programme – (only one mistake in the programme allowed us to sell the front row of the balcony twice, so we were the only theatre show with a full time person (Joe’s daughter)- on complaints, double bookings and giving away boxes of chocolates). As the show was so successful, the council agreed Leicester should have a panto, and took the show over – it’s never been the same since.
Joe then settled down, invented and manufactured a world famous portable floor system, FLORLOK, and over twenty years built up a business turning over three million pounds a year, selling dance floors to every major hotel group worldwide. (Supplied a version of the floor for our tented hospitals for the war in Iraq, supplied 400 tons of portable floors for the Atlanta Olympics as well as the black and white floor for Posh and Beck’s wedding and Sir Elton John’s birthday party, and the all white floor for Calvin Klein’s party, etc. etc)