Ron was a professional radio engineer with a business in Boston providing public address systems
"I'd been playing background music and doing voice-overs out the back of my van at school sports days and the like," he told the Boston Standard. "It was nothing to do with dancing – that was the last thing on my mind." But in September 1947, the farm girls from the Swineshead Land Army decided Ron’s gear could be put to better use: "They were passing the office, saw the van and came in to ask if it could be used for dancing. They were having a harvest supper with some of the Italian POWs. Well, I'd never thought of it before, but I didn't want to lose the booking – so I said I'd give it a go."
"Back then there was just the waltz, the quick-step and the Palais glide – and I always ended up with the National Anthem," he explained. "It was unheard of at the time to play records at a dance and it just took off from there – although I had no idea how things would snowball."
Ron’s 78s proved wildly popular, no doubt because his record selections gave audiences slightly grander music than they were used to. "When I started out, the ordinary village halls danced to live piano and drums – that's all. If it was something extra special, they'd have a violin as well."
Three ladies enjoying Ron's music.
Ron's Hillman Estate Mobile Disco.
"I've invented nothing," he insisted on his 90th birthday. "I put the same things to a different use, that's all."