High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shady Side Up! 45 Years Ago Today... Shady Del Flipped Over the Shady Dell!

What can I tell you that you 

don't already know about 

AUGUST 12th, 1966? 

Here are a few things that I know for sure about that date:

* Sam the Sham's fairy tale was the 
#1 record in the land. 

"Lil' Red Riding Hood" - Sam the Sham 
& the Pharaohs (August 1966, highest 
chart position #2 Billboard, #1 Cash Box) 

* Shady Del Knight was

not at the Shady Dell

that Shady Dell night.

* Crispian St. Peters sang his top 5 hit 
while leading a parade of future Dell rats. 

"The Pied Piper" - Crispian St. Peters 
(August 1966, highest chart position #4) 

* It rained in York, PA.

* Skies were blue for Bobby Hebb.
His "Sunny" was headed for #1.

"Sunny" - Bobby Hebb (August 1966, highest 
chart position #2 Billboard, #1 Cash Box) 

* Shady Del Knight

went shady side up

in his dad's VW Beetle!

Figure 1 (above): That's me pulling out of my driveway.  
Look ma..... NO HANDS! 

Here's how it happened. As I was motivatin' over the hill (driving at a rather high rate of speed through an area south of York known as Leaders Heights) I hardly noticed that the road was glistening from late afternoon rains. As usual, my thoughts were elsewhere. I was in a hurry to get to where
I was going and begin another fun filled evening.

My destination? 

Choose from the answers below. 
You get 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count!

A. choir practice 

B. bible school 

C. the Shady Dell!!! 

I proceeded along Leaders Heights road until I reached Joppa road. I turned right on Joppa because I knew from experience that it was a nifty shortcut to South George Street and the Old Baltimore Pike which led across the hill to the Shady Dell. Yessir, I could shave 4.3 seconds off my elapsed travel time if I used Joppa road to get to the Magic Kingdom.

As I approached the final dogleg curve on Joppa, I got a brilliant idea. I decided that it would be jolly good fun to demonstrate my driving prowess by executing a four wheel drift.  It’s a technique that race car drivers use for negotiating curves. I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked but as far as I knew you were supposed to downshift and floor it at the same time. That causes the vehicle to "drift" into and through the curve and you wind up with the nose of your car pointing down the straightaway. What could be simpler than that?

"Dead Man's Curve" - Jan & Dean 
(June 1964, highest chart position #8) 

So what if I was going too fast for conditions 
on a rain slick road? 

So what if I was a new and inexperienced 
driver who had not yet mastered the art of 
waving "bye bye"? 

Obviously, this was the perfect time to 
attempt an advanced racing maneuver! 

Yeah, that’s the ticket! 

A guy’s gotta know how to
do these things, right? Skills
like this will come in handy
if I ever need
to elude a car
filled with
enemy spies.

I downshifted, popped the clutch, steered into the turn, pedal to the metal, everything's going great..... and


I skidded off the road, ran up an embankment and flipped
my dad's bug. (I suppose I forgot to factor in wind shear.)

Figure 2 (above): Me and the bug got the black flag!

So I never made it to the Dell that night. Did I miss anything?

Oh, if you’re 
what condition 
my condition 
was in 
the crash..... 
I dare say that 
I was shaken... 
not stirred. 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Brilliant post Tom! I'm so glad that you were only shaken and not stirred. Could have been a whole lot worse my friend! I loved the reference to Jimmy Cagney - "look ma - no hands!!". Whenever I see 1966 on your posts, it always makes me happy, because I know I am going to love the music choices, and you didn't disappoint me today. My favourite Crispian St Peters record was "Out of Time." Have a lovely weekend. Hope it's not quite so hot for you now! Hey! I'm one of the first to comment today, not the last as I usually am! Yay!

  2. Thisisme - First, last or anywhere in between, I always appreciate your visits and comments. Crispian St. Peters has a rather interesting story. His career was on the rise until he fell from favor by declaring that he was a better songwriter and stage performer than the Beatles. He died last summer at age 71. Thank you very much for brightening my day, Thisisme, and have a splendid weekend!

  3. My goodness, Tom! That was a very close call- Dead Man's Curve indeed! Glad you came through no worse for the wear.

    I drove a 10 year old Bug when I was in college, and other than the fact it had no ac in our subtropical climate, it was a fun car to drive and great on the gas.

    Love the music selections today- have a terrific one, my friend!

  4. Shelly - When it remained sunny side up that 1964 VW of my dad's was fun to drive, but neither the heater nor the air conditioner worked very well, certainly not by today's standards. Yes, I'm lucky I wasn't injured in that spill. The battery leaked acid all over my clothing and I suffered a few minor burns from it but otherwise I was okay. Thank you very much for coming by, Shelly, and have a great weekend, dear friend!

  5. Me again - just to say "thank you" for the info on Crispian St Peters. 71 - wow! Take care.

  6. Great post, great songs and let's just say I'm glad you are here writing this post! Wow. That was some move! Look ma, no hands!! Too funny.

  7. Another wonderful post my friend. August 1966 I lived in France not far from Paris. I have fond memories of going to the bakery on the corner and bringing home hot bread. Of course it would have a bite out of it when I gave it to my Mother . Hugs!

  8. It was in '67, but I had a similar experience in my really fab and cool, I don't care what you say about it, Tom...Rambler push-button station wagon. I was driving home on a rain-slicked road through the city park golf course when I did a triple spin across the road and landed in a freshly dumped huge hill of mud. Thankfully no bruises to either me or my car, only my ego. I would NOT have wanted to explain why I felt compelled to be speeding home to my Mother. I'm sure it was all because I was 'Groovin' that I turned 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'! Either way as my kids still would say...IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!

    Now I'm gonna go play those sweet tunes ~

  9. Thisisme - If you're hungry for more info about Crispian, you might remember him making #2 on the UK singles chart in 1966 with a version of "You Were On My Mind," a record that went to #36 stateside. The folk group We Five had a top 5 USA hit with the song. Thanks for the return visit, dear Thisisme!

    Bouncin' Barb - I will tell you this, my lady. I am very glad that I finally wised up and started following your blog because you and I have much in common. I am delighted that you are coming here and finding music and memories that resonate. Happy weekend to you, my dear friend, and please hoist one at the Bowery for me!

    Katie - You must have had an incredibly interesting and educational childhood living abroad. No wonder you publish such an interesting blog these days. You should compare notes with Thisisme's daughter Gawgus-Things because she now resides in Paris. Have yourself a wonderful weekend, dear Katie!

    Sush - You had a push button Rambler just like my family! My mother loved the ease of use provided by that push button innovation. For a guy trying to appear cool, it wasn't exactly what I had in mind and I tried to avoid getting behind the wheel. I'm so glad that you were spared injury by a mountain of mud. My dad's V-dub rolled up on a wet earthen embankment which helped to reduce the impact of my own crash. Thank you very much for reading and commenting, dear Sush, and make it a safe and happy weekend!

  10. Shady my friend those tunes where some that I had almost forgotten and brought back some great memories but what I really enjoyed was your story even though I felt sorry for you when the car was rolled. Bet you learned a valuable lesson that day. Have an awesome weekend.

  11. Odie - I shudder when I think back to all of the crazy stunts I attempted at the wheel of a car. It took that accident, a couple of fender benders and several really close calls for me to finally see the light and drive responsibly. Thanks for putting down the books long enough to swing by, good buddy, and have a wonderful weekend!

  12. Im am so glad you featured Lil' Red Riding Hood. I stumbled onto that song about a month ago and absolutely fell head over heels in love with it. Well actually I heard the Amanda Seyfried version first but the original is better in my opinion.

  13. Amber Blue Bird - Dear me, I hope you didn't hurt yourself when you stumbled onto "Lil' Red Riding Hood" and fell head over heels! I just watched the trailer for Red Riding Hood and I'm eager to see the movie. If you haven't seen Amanda S. in Letters to Juliet I highly recommend it. Thanks for the tweet, my sweet, and have a great weekend!

  14. The latest 2 parts of James Bond saga (in my opinion) lost their famous sense of humour and that special irony, which was one of the Bond's main features. It's a shame.

  15. Wanilianna - As far as I'm concerned Connery was the one and only Bond and the series of films in which he played 007 were the best. Thank you for spying on my blog today, dear friend, and I hope that you're having a fine weekend in Poland!

  16. This was brilliantly written, and I especially liked the James Bond pun at the end.

  17. Well thank you, Ashton! That's quite a compliment coming from someone of your stature. There's a lot of truth mixed into the humor here. James Bond fever was rampant in the mid 60s and it was easy for a guy my age to get caught up in the excitement and attempt stunts and maneuvers like the ones I saw in the movies. I feel lucky to have made it out of my teens alive. Thanks for stopping by, dear friend, and here's hoping the coming week is kind to you.

  18. You are so creative, Shady, sorry to hear you "flipped over" the Shady Dell but thank God you were okay. Can you imagine arriving at Gino's as in Fig. 1, on your back wheels? :-) How well I remember the popularity of Sam the Sham. I do recall seeing him perform at an American Legion many years ago. Loved Wooly Bully, too, besides the favorites you listed. I wanted to paint myself gold like That Woman in Goldfinger (ha), loved that movie! Really enjoyed hearing Bobby Hebb sing "Sunny". It's good to know you were "stirred, not shaken" OR "on the rocks". Thank you again for all your hard work! Another great one!

  19. Cindy - I'll need the jaws of life to pry the image of you painted gold out of my head, dear friend! (LOL) Goldfinger was my favorite Bond movie and Shirley Bassey's bold and brassy vocal performance of the theme set the tone early on. I remember liking the new record "Wooly Bully" so much that I insisted on going shopping for it even though I had been sick in bed all day with a virus. That's the power of vinyl fever! Thank you very much for coming to visit, dear Cindy, and I hope that the week ahead is a great one for you!


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