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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cruisin' 1956 with Rockin' Robin!

 It's time to go Cruisin' and 

 rockin' with the Robin! 

 The year is 1956 and 

 DJ Robin Seymour rules 

 the metro Detroit market. 

 Robin Seymour 

 WKMH, Dearborn, MI 

As always I selected my favorite song from
this Cruisin' volume, cherry picked a few other
popular songs from the same year and created
a party atmosphere with vintage illustrations.

 Let's stop spinning our wheels and 

 start spinning some platters! 


I had the pleasure of meeting Fred Parris and
the Five Satins in the 1970s when the group
appeared at a club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Their signature song "In the Still of the Nite"
enjoyed an impressive 19 week run on the pop
chart in the summer and fall of 1956 but only
reached #24. The record charted two more
times, once in January 1960 and again in
January 1961, and went on to become one of
the best known and most requested doo-wop
classics. "Still of the Nite" was also one of
Helen Ettline's favorites and played frequently
on her restaurant jukebox at the Shady Dell.

 "In the Still of the Nite" - The Five Satins 
 (November 1956,  highest chart position #24 
 #3 R&B Singles chart) 

 Time to pause for a word from our  

 sponsor: Bardahl auto engine additive.

At age six my favorite article of clothing
was one that my older brother bought me,
a T-shirt with the Bardahl logo on it.

Along with the logo were the four bad guys
featured in the product's 1950s ad campaign:




In 1956 one of the records I found in the stack
of 45s that belonged to my brother reflected
America's penchant for sick jokes and
gallows humor. It was a wacky novelty
record by Nervous Norvus (Jimmy Drake).

Of all the records I encountered as a child
in that basement game room, I probably
played "Transfusion" most often. I loved
the speed demon theme, the car crash
sound fx and outrageous lyrics that
included the following:

 Slip the blood to me, Bud. 

 Shoot the juice to me, Bruce. 

 Put a gallon in me, Allen. 

Many radio stations banned "Transfusion" because
it made light of motor vehicle accidents. You'd
never suspect it from listening to the record
but Jimmy Drake was very shy, so much so
that he turned down an offer to perform his
crash hit on The Ed Sullivan Show!
Why so nervous, Norvus?

 "Transfusion" - Nervous Norvus 
 (July 1956, highest chart  position #13) 

"Transfusion" was still riding high on the chart when
Drake put a second novelty ditty into the top 30.
It's another 45 my brother owned: "Ape Call."

 "Ape Call" - Nervous Norvus 
 (September 1956. highest  chart position #28) 


When my parents played their records and filled
our home with the sound of music it was usually
something along the lines of Eddie Fisher's
"Oh! My Pa-Pa."

 "Oh! My Pa-Pa" - Eddie Fisher 
 (December 1953, highest chart position #1) 

By age six I had listened to "Pa-Pa"
a hundred times or more. When I couldn't
take it any more I snapped, banged my
head and chanted:





Lo and behold, I didn't have to give up on
Eddie Fisher to satisfy my childhood craving
for more exciting music. I was shocked when
"Dungaree Doll" turned up in the stack of
45s in the basement.

"Dungaree Doll" was one of the few attempts by
Eddie Fisher to appeal to teenage record buyers.

"Dungaree Doll" cracked the top 10 and I played
it often, satisfying my growing hunger for the
newfangled type of music called rock 'n' roll.

 "Dungaree Doll" - Eddie Fisher 
 (February 1956, highest  chart position #7 ) 


For Thisisme and my other friends across the pond
here's English pop singer Dickie Bennett with
his rendition of "Dungaree Doll."

 "Dungaree Doll" - Dickie Bennett (1956) 


Let's wind up our 1956 Cruisin' salute with
two more relics from my parents' collection,
both of which were popular during the
Christmas holiday season.

 Question: What kind of song could zoom 
 to #1 and stay on the Billboard chart for 
 16 weeks in the mid 1950s? 

 Answer: This kind! 

 "Singing the Blues" - Guy Mitchell 
 (December 1956, highest chart position #1) 


 Question: What kind of song could zoom 
 to #1 and stay on the Billboard chart for 
 half a year (26 weeks) in the mid 1950s? 

 Answer: This kind! 

 "Green Door" - Jim Lowe 
 (December 1956, highest chart position #1) 



Yes, it was common in the mid 50s for a
record to remain high on the chart for months
at a time, and a smash hit could be anything
from a big band instrumental to a Tin Pan Alley
standard to a nonsensical novelty number.
That soon changed. In the months that followed,
music made by the young for the young took
hold and began to dominate the record chart.
Groups like Danny & the Juniors celebrated
the revolution taking place in popular music.

 "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay" - Danny and the Juniors 
 (April 1958, highest chart position #19) 

 Don't miss the next thrill packed 

 episode of Cruisin' coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Ahhh- The Still of the Night is one of the true classics of not just that era, but of the century, I believe. They are so smooth and seamlessly blended through the whole song.

    Transfusion- didn't know whether to laugh or raise my eyebrows, so I did both!

    All of these are great, as usual, my friend. Your ear is always true in picking just the right songs to share and let us know about. Since I am entering grades at work, I'll give you an A+!

    1. Hi, Shelly! Getting an A+ grade from you is quite an honor. You know, it's funny, ever since I listened to your voice in that recent post I am able to "hear" you speaking the words you write in your comments. It adds a new dimension to our blogging experience. Fred Parris and his Five Satins group were already getting up in years when I saw them perform in the late 70s. The good news is that Parris continues singing lead with the Five Satins today, albeit with some replacement members. That Nervous Norvus record was tasteless and banned by some radio stations. Banning records or anything else tends to ramp up interest in them and boost sales. Thank you very much for breaking away to be here today, dear Shelly, and have a happy Tuesday!

  2. Oh Shady, another great as usual! Shelly is right - The Still of the Night is such a fabulous song and one that I believe has rang through the generations! :)
    Hope you are well!

    1. Hi, Kristina! I hope all your fur babies are getting along well with your little girl. I'm pleased that you came over for a visit. I remember listening to that Five Satins record many times at the Dell, but not in the barn where the kids danced. There was a second jukebox up in the snack bar section of the house where Helen worked and that's where all the old dance hall records went in their retirement. Thank you very much for thinking about me, dear friend, and take care of yourself and your wonderful family!

  3. Hi, Shady! I always enjoy the oldie Cruisin' pics, reminds of the "good ole days"! Also, I enjoy seeing Dee Snyder in your post along with the old. I knew "In the still of the nite" very well but I believe I knew the song from the show Happy Days because I never heard of the Five Satins. I can imagine that being a wonderful slow dance back in the dell days! It's funny the things you remember and stick out in your mind when you were young like that T -shirt your brother gave you and the song "Transfusion." I listened to it and thought it was rather funny! When I was young, I remember the song "Convoy" and thinkin' how cool that was because it really sounded like they were on their CB radios. Always enjoy learning songs of the past, Shady. SDM&M brings them back to life!

    1. Ah, breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Big Ben, c'mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Big Ben, for sure, for sure. By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon. Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Big Ben, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy...

      Hi, Toni!

      Yessum, I remember that hit novelty record by C.W. McCall and "Transfusion," another highway song, was almost as popular 20 years earlier. The 50s gave rise to Mad Magazine and in the mid and late 50s sick jokes, crude humor and gallows humor flourished. I'm sure "Still of the Nite" was played at one time or another on Happy Days along with other hit oldies of the period. Thank you very much for taking a look and a listen, dear friend Toni, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  4. Hi Tom,
    Loved those vintage pics!! Great i wanna go & watch American Graffitti!

    1. Terry Fields: You'll always be Number One, John. You're the greatest.

      Hi, Jules! American Graffiti is one of my favorite movies and I'm delighted to know that you share my interest in it. I am also very happy that you liked today's post and the vintage illustrations. Thank you very much for saying hello, dear friend, and enjoy your evening up there in Canada!

  5. I love music from the 50s. There used to be a local radio station that played those golden oldies as they called them. Unfortunately, it didn't stay on the air long before it succumbed to the mainstream music of today. I enjoyed today's musical lineup!

    1. Thanks, Ashton! I noticed that, too. The oldies format was once popular and common but many stations have converted to news/talk or other types of music. It's a shame. Thank you very much for coming, dear Ashton, and enjoy the rest of your week in 'Bama.

  6. Thank you Tom for sharing one of Helen's favourite songs with us, I can see why she liked it! It's always interesting to me the songs that are popular but never made it to number 1 or even the top ten in the charts! Did you know Dickie Bennett is the name of a character played by Jeremy Davies in the show Justified!

    Hope you're having a great week!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, dear Emma! No, I didn't know about that other use of the name Dickie Bennett. In fact I never heard of Bennett the English singer prior to doing research for this post. I'm waiting to hear from my friends in England to see if any of them remember him. "In the Still of the Nite" is about as old school as you can get but it's fun to watch that clip of the Satins performing it back in the day. Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend Emma, and have a wonderful Wednesday!

  7. Green Door was one of my favorites believe it or not! It was such an energetic song, you just had to get up and dance, or at least sing along with it. A very good pick!

    This is so amazing how you can actually get footage of some of these old songs, like The Dungaree Doll. I did like the English version of that song, and the video. What a great song, "Singing The Blues"! And, I loved watching the video really found some good stuff Shady!

    Karo remembers Bardahl, he thinks we have an old can of it out in the shed that he found when his stepfather passed away! loved the commercial!

    And, my favorite tonight...'In the Still of the Night'! I listen to this song almost every day. It's on one of my oldies jukebox CD's. I have several girls in my office swooning to it it!

    Thank you so much for this great post Shady...lots of good stuff! And, those Cruisin Cds are a lot of fun to listen to. you get to hear the old commercials too, and all of the hullabaloo that the DJs would dish out.

    Have a great evening, and, thanks so much for thinking of us during the storms...I'm ready for them to stop-there's too much destruction and devastation! Take care, dear friend. ♫♫

    1. Hello hello hello, dear Suzanne! I am so happy to hear from you and to know that you and your loved ones came through the latest tornado threat today. How awful! It's exciting to learn that you already know and like (or love) a few of today's song selections. All of these recordings except for Dickie Bennett's were part of the soundtrack of my early childhood and bring back many cherished memories. That old can of Bardahl in your shed might be worth a fortune. You could sell it on eBay and retire tomorrow, independently wealthy! :) Fred Parris was a charming man and we had a very nice chat in that niteclub back in the 70s. It's good to know he's still around and still fronting a version of the Five Satins. Thank you very much for your kind visit and splendid comments, dear friend Suzanne. I wish you blue skies tomorrow. You're due for some!

  8. Hi Shady! In the Still of the Night is a great song, loved hearing it again. That Bardahl ad was hilarious. I didn't remember that particular one, but when they said "Bardahl did it again," I sure remembered that.

    'Transfusion' made me laugh. What a crazy song and 'Ape Call' reminded me of Tarzan. They came close to his jungle call.

    'Oh My Papa' would have driven me crazy too. I couldn't even finish listening to it! Dungaree Doll was interesting. I listened to both carefully and decided I liked the Eddy Fisher one better. The song quite grew on me - it's a happy little song. Thanks for all the fun, Shady.

    1. Hi, dear Belle! Yessum, Nervous Norvus relied heavily on sound fx on his two wacky novelty records. I think it's interesting that he was actually too shy to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. It's also a bit surprising that Sullivan invited Norvus on his show since "Transfusion" was in bad taste and banned by radio stations across the country. I'm in agreement with you about both Eddie Fisher singles. "Pa-Pa" makes me squirm and "Dungaree Doll" grew on me just as it did on you. In 1956 it passed for rock 'n' roll and that was good enough for me. I'm glad you had fun, dear friend Belle. Thanks so much for coming to see me and enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. I learn something each time I read a post from you! I know some of these tunes were before my time..(I can hardly say that anymore!) but the good ones never die! But thankfully some of the others "Transfusion" made me laugh and I couldn't help think that the lyrics in some of today's music would never make it on the air! "In the still of the night" is one of those that will live forever and I always think of the movie "Dirty Dancing" when I hear it! Rock and roll is here to stay and no matter what era it has the power to take you back in time, tap your feet to the beat, or jump up and jive! Have a great week Shady and I can't wait to "cruise" next week...when I was a teen we cruised around town and always had to stop and see who was hanging out at the "Dog and Suds" rootbeer stand..not "Hires" but a frosty "A&W"!

    1. Hi, YaYa! Do you remember Dad's Root Beer or wasn't it available where you grew up? I used to drink that brand all the time. It came in a supersize bottle. York PA had several loops that the kids cruised, anchored by Gino's Hamburgers, Avalong's Dairy drive-in, the Shady Dell and other hangouts and eateries. If you made a list of records that were banned in the 50s and 60s you'd have a good laugh along with me. "Transfusion" was taboo because it joked about car crashes. "The Hootch" by the Pixies Three, a record about a new dance craze from Liverpool, was banned because it was believed to be an endorsement of underage drinking. "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" by Doug Clark was banned because of its suggestive theme and lyrics, and "Let's Spend the Night Together" by the Rolling Stones had to be changed to the Pat Boonish "Let's spend some TIME together" in order for Mick and his mates to satisfy the censors on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same family friendly program that invited Nervous Norvus to perform his sicko record "Transfusion." There were many such inconsistencies in rock 'n roll history. Thank you very much for the visit and great comments, dear friend YaYa. I hope your week is going well and will get even better!

  10. And, oh yeah...that Tranfusion song was really 'out there'! I never heard it before. Your brother really had a variety of records didn't he? Well, that's great history for us now, Shady! I bet he had no idea you would feature the song so many years later!

    And, I've always liked Danny and the Juniors. They had it together, I mean-knowing what teens would like in the way of dance music. And, I think they kept some of the tunes at bay, in order to passify the parents, lol!

    Well, I just came by to say a bit more-thanks to your brother, and, your dipping around in his records (you weren't square after all)!

    See you soon Shady!♫

    1. Hello again, dear Suzanne! Thanks for the encore appearance here on SDM&M. I think my brother bought all the cool records like these two by Nervous Norvus, all the early RCA Elvis Presley singles, a few by Fats Domino, "Raunchy" by Ernie Freeman and others along those lines. He might have bought "Dungaree Doll." My parents bought all the easy going, middle of the road pop by Eddie Fisher, Guy Mitchell, Jim Lowe, Pat Boone, Patti Page, Debbie Reynolds, etc. At the beginning I listened to them all but soon developed a taste for rock 'n roll. Thank you again, dear friend Suzanne, for brightening my day with your visit. Here in Florida we were blessed with a good amount of rain for a 4th day in a row with no rough stuff to go along with it. I hope your weather woes and worries are behind you. Have a great evening, dear friend!

  11. OK, all of these were unfamiliar to me with the exception of "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay" and...wait for it... "Ape Call." I can't believe I knew that one, but I did. I think I heard it at my friend's house. She had older brothers who had a lot of novelty records like that one. A lot of Stan Freberg Elvis spoofs, etc. But yes, happy to hear "Ape Call" again. Doodle-e-abba.

    1. Hi, karen! Wow! Thanks for mentioning Stan Freberg here because he was the "Weird Al" Yankovic of the 50s and early 60s and I remember his many recorded parodies. You made a quantum leap from "cool" to "super cool" when I read that you already knew "Ape Call." Like "Transfusion" that novelty ditty is a guy thing for sure and your name might be entered into the Guiness Book as the first girl (woman) on earth ever exposed to it. Quoting the lyrics in print earns you bonus points with me, dear friend. "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay" always reminds me of Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids performing "At the Hop," the other Danny & the Juniors hit, in American Graffiti. I admired director George Lucas for his decision to let the vocal group perform a serious, straightforward rendition of the song instead of a goofy parody of 50s rock 'n' roll, the kind Sha Na Na would have done. I do not like it when rock 'n roll is portrayed as music made by and for the simpleminded. It's much more than that. Thank you so very much for coming over, dear friend karen. Happy Thursday to you!

  12. Like Karen, there were many I hadn't heard if, but that didn't spoil my listening enjoyment over at the old Shady Dell today. I adore the vintage pictures. I remember AT The Hop by Danny and the Juniors, and their tune here today was one I had heard if. Oh, I always liked o my Papa by Eddie Fisher. I thought that was a younger photo of Shady by the I ain't gonna take it any more words!! What a handsome brute!! Oh by the way, I didn't mind you stealing my joke over at Belle's place!!! Smooches dear friend.

    1. Hallo dear Thisisme! I didn't check to see if you have a new post published telling us about your charity tea but I sincerely hope it was a success and that the weather was fine. Yessum, Shady's sense of humor is rubbing off on you and you beat me to the punch with your joke over on Belle's blog. It's great to see her back to blogging. Now all we need to do is recruit Desiree and "the gang's all here." You thought Dee Snider, lead singer of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, was Shady at an early age? (LOL) I suppose I'll take that as a compliment, dear friend. It's certainly true that he represents the rock spirit that is always inside me even though I look more like Eddie Fisher on the outside. I included that song by Dickie Bennett in the post just for you thinking you'd be familiar with the English singer. Didn't you ever hear of him? Glad you appreciate my vintage illustrations. They transport us back to those good old days, don't they? Thank you very much for coming to see me, dear friend Thisisme, and SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES!

  13. Thats really strange Tom, but no, I had never heard of Dickie Bennett! The only British singer at that time by the name of Dickie that I heard of was Dickie Valentine. He was a very famous crooner.perhaps he changed his name for the American audience! LOL!! I had heard of Guy Mitchell of course! Didnt he also sing She wears red feathers and a Hula Hula Skirt??!! I could be wrong of course! Take care dear friend.

    1. Hallo again, dear Thisisme! Well, you "stumped the band" with the Guy Mitchell song you mentioned. I never heard of it and had to look it up and play it on YouTube. Turns out "She Wears Red Feathers (and a Huly-Huly Skirt)" was #1 on the UK singles chart in the spring of 1953. Apparently the recording was not nearly as well known stateside. Good one, dear friend! I'm sorry you didn't know Dickie Bennett. I never heard of him either (or Dickie Valentine) but took a chance that you remembered him. Thank you very much for the follow-up dear friend, and I will look forward to your post telling us about the lovely sunny weather you had for your garden party yesterday!

  14. Hi Shady, What a great post. Unfortunately, us old folks remember all that stuff. It was a long time since I heard Transfusion or used Bardahl in my crusin machine when I could get it out of 2nd gear. You will be glad to hear Fred Paris is still singing, but not walking real well. I saw him at a Doo Wop festival in Philly last summer. You know I enjoy your replies to the comments as much as the posts. Jerre

    1. Hi, Jerre! It's great to see you again, good buddy. It's so cool that you saw Fred Parris perform as recently as last year. At first I thought you were going to say he came to Hershey Park. As I mentioned to someone else Fred already looked like the "seasoned" veteran he was way back in the late 70s when I saw the Satins perform in Lancaster, I think it was at one of the Hosts. Glad you can testify about "Transfusion," one of the many novelty ditties that became hits in the mid and late 50s. I'm also very pleased that you read the comments section of the blog because it is here that you really get to know the people who drop by. It's the equivalent of mixing and mingling with other kids in the Dell's dance hall. I appreciate your visit, Jerre, and hope you are well. Next post is my "Band of the Year" finale in the heavy metal category if you care to take a look. That's coming on Monday. Take care, Jerre!

  15. Good afternoon, Tom! What a smorgasboard of musicality you have for us today! I have to admit as a verrrrrrry young girl I had a crush on Eddy Fisher and loved when he would sing 'Oh My Papa'! I thought he was singing it just for me and my Daddy. Those two from Nervous Norvous must surely have been a fav only for the guys, lol! Really odd...can't see hummin' along to either of those two.
    I think we were still listening to In The Still Of The Night in New Orleans for my senior prom...that one had legs!

    Thanks for all the music today, once again it was a treat of diverse oldies and sometimes (I know you like the obscure) goodies!
    Thanks and have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, dear Sush! Yessum, the name of my blog could be "Look What I Found!" because the thrill of discovery keeps me digging into the history of popular music looking for dusty jewels to share with you. As you know Eddie Fisher married Debbie Reynolds, Liz Taylor and Connie Stevens but I read somewhere that YOU (Sush) were the inspiration behind "Dungaree Doll"! :) Imagine a 1950s couple hearing "Transfusion" or "Ape Call" playing on the radio and saying, "Listen, honey... they're playing our song!" :) Thanks a million for joining the fun today, dear friend Sush, and have a wonderful weekend!

  16. Another great post my friend, but for some reason I am humming "groovin' on a Sunday afternoon" I'll change groovin to crusin and it's perfect, giggle xo

    1. That's a great idea, Katie. At the Dell we often substituted song lyrics as we sang along to the jukebox. I hope you are having a restful holiday, dear friend.


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