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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Strangelove for Zimmy's Jukebox or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Love Da Bomb!

Something went screwy

in my brain in 1961. 

I was eleven.
Until then I had been a normal, carefree kid. Summers were spent swimming in my backyard pool and going to the Jersey or Maryland shore with my family.

In the summer of 1961 my friends and I started going to Zimmy’s, a swimming pool and recreational complex located
in the village of Spry.

During my first couple of visits 99% of my time was spent frolicking in that spacious rectanglar pool. You practically
had to drag me out with grappling hooks.

The other 1% of the time was divided between visiting
the snack bar, watching guys playing shirts & skins on the basketball court, contemplating with envy the muscle men pumping iron at the weightlifting pit, or gazing at the monkeys, tropical birds and the bobcat at Zimmy's modest zoo exhibit.

It was around my third visit to Zimmy's that my habits began to change. I found myself devoting more and more of my valuable swim time to hanging out at a canopy covered dance floor watching pairs of girls dancing the jitterbug and the shag to jukebox records.

Before I knew what was happening, I was hopelessly addicted to poetry in motion.

A few specific songs are linked in my memory to Zimmy’s jukebox and to the dancing damsels that I enjoyed watching in 1961 and over the next few years.

“Tossin’ and Turnin’” was a monster #1 hit for Bobby Lewis
in 1961. The song became a fixture on WSBA and on the jukebox at Zimmy’s for the entire summer, racking up an astounding 23-week run on the Billboard chart.

“Raindrops” by Dee Clark is another record that took the country by storm in the summer of 1961.

The song broke in early May and went the distance, lasting three-and-a-half months on the record chart and, like the Bobby Lewis smash, taking us from the end of one school year to the start of the next.

“Mashed Potato Time,” the biggest career hit for Dee Dee Sharp, kicked off the warm weather season of 1962.

The dance record entered the chart in early spring and vaulted to #2 nationwide during the summer.

“Village of Love,” a ripsnorter by Nathaniel Mayer, kept the party going throughout the spring of ’62 and halfway through the summer.

The rocker staged a 12-week assault on the Billboard chart, ultimately reaching #22.

“The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva became number one in the land during the summer of 1962.

With an awesome 16-week chart duration, the song remained popular into fall. "The Loco-Motion" was also one of the most popular tunes that season at Zimmy’s.

A lost gem that I rediscovered in recent years was a song entitled “The Biggest Players” performed by the Ikettes, the backing vocalists for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

In the spring of 1965, WSBA got creative with its playlist
and flipped the girl group's top 40 hit “Peaches ‘N’ Cream” unleashing a true killer bee on the Susquehanna Valley.
The two-sider was popular on the radio during March,
April, and May, and I remember hearing it at Zimmy’s
during the summer months of that year.

Zimmy's wasn't the only place where one could witness the trance inducing spectacle of girls dancing together in pairs
or triads. It was also a common practice at the Shady Dell. Girls also danced with each other in the lobby of Dallastown High where a jukebox was installed. From the summer of '61 on, observing females dancing together became one of my favorite pastimes.

Don't get me wrong! Nothing matches the thrill of doing a belly flopper off Zimmy's high diving board and smacking the water so hard that it feels like you just got stung by a hundred bees...

Yeah, that's the ticket! And you thrash to the surface and try to scream in agony but as you suck in your breath you take a big gulp of warm, chlorinated pool water and swallow grass clippings and somebody's band-aid...and you frantically doggy paddle over to the ladder and climb out of the pool in disgrace while a hundred strangers clap and cheer...and you just wanna die but that'll have to wait because you gotta hurl first. No, nothing could top that...but watching those ladies dance sure came close!

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Rat Me Out Just Because I Love Pop Songs by Child Stars and Kids of Celebrities


and I’m Beaver.

Gilbert couldn’t
make it
on accounta he’s grounded
for making jello in the toilet.

Eddie was
gonna be here, too,
but he’s still
back at the house
trying to
convince mom
to be his date
for the dance
Saturday night.

welcome to
our special salute to
child actors
who decided
to go all
Johnny Bravo
on us and
pop songs.

Let’s get started!

Ricky Nelson grew up on his real life family's sitcom
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. When Ricky emerged as
a talented rock 'n roll singer, his performances became a regular feature of the show. From the spring and summer of 1961, here's one of Rick's biggest hits, "Travelin' Man."

During the 1950's, Annette Funicello became famous as the beautiful, prominently featured and heavily promoted mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club.

In an April 1962 episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World
of Color
entitled Disneyland After Dark, Annette sang
"Come Along and Dance with Me," a song from her 1961 album Dance Annette.

Paul Petersen and Shelley Fabares were Jeff and Mary,
brother and sister in that other family Stone on television's The Donna Reed Show. Along with their acting fame both became successful recording stars. From the spring of 1962 here's Paul's hit novelty record "She Can't Find Her Keys."

At the same time that Paul Petersen's "Keys" was charting, Shelley Fabares had a pop single of her own in play. Shelley's record was a smash, soaring to #1 in the land and lasting 15 weeks on Billboard. Here's Shelley singing her girl group style hit "Johnny Angel."

Dino was Dean Martin, Jr. Desi was the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Billy was a Beverly Hills schoolmate. The trio scored a hit in the summer of 1965 with "I'm a Fool."

As is often the case, product endorsements soon followed
for the young hitmakers. Here are Dino, Desi & Billy in a
nicely executed mid-60s commercial for RC Cola.

Child actress Patty Duke was beside herself as identical cousins on The Patty Duke Show. In the summer of 1965, Patty did the Lesley Gore thing and gave us the memorable hit, "Don't Just Stand There."

Gary Lewis, the son of comedy legend Jerry Lewis, was underrated as a recording artist. With his band the Playboys, Gary turned out some excellent 60's pop songs. Here's a great one from the fall of 1965, "Everybody Loves a Clown."

Frank Sinatra's a tough act to follow, but daughter Nancy proved herself worthy of the challenge by recording a string of hits. Nancy's celebrity landed her this gig in another ad
for Royal Crown Cola.

Some of Nancy's best work was the result of her teaming up with Lee Hazlewood. In the summer of 1967 Nancy and Lee portrayed a restless married couple engaged in spirited vocal sparring in "Jackson."

Well, there you have it, Beav.
Boy meets girl...boy marries girl...
boy messes up...girl reads him the riot act. Next thing you know, they're splitsville. Here comes the good part - they probably end up missing each other so much that they get back together and start all over again. No wonder they call it the game of love.

Wull, can a guy tell if a girl likes him for him...or if she just likes him cuz he got lots of money and can give her stuff 'n junk?

Wally: You can pretty much tell when the money runs out.

how do ya
keep that
from happening?

You gotta be one of those rich tycoons like Rockefeller or a movie star or a test pilot or somethin'.
Those guys always have plenty of dough and they keep it in a Swiss bank account.

Beaver: Yeah... wull, I guess that’s why I like dogs more than girls...

cuz dogs don’t care if your broke...
they still wanna lick your face.

You little goof!

Have a Shady day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

---------- Happy Anniversary! --------------Shady Dell Music & Memories ----

Yes, our Shady Dell blog is one year old today.
Gosh, it doesn’t look a day over six months!

It has been exactly one year since the Shady Dell reopened at its new location... at the corner of Blogspot and Cyberspace... year since I began to exhort all Dell rats to join in the fun!

This blog has been a catharsis.

It has given me the opportunity to share with you my memories of the Dell and of John and Helen Ettline.

It has allowed me to express how much the people, the place, and the music meant to me.

It has been a fascinating journey...

...filled with surprises and wonderful new friendships.

As we head into our second year...

...there are many more memories to share and topics to explore.

To help us celebrate our first anniversary, let's look back at some of the unforgettable images that helped define the first year. As we take a stroll down memory lane, I would like to paraphrase the monologue from a popular movie.

The monologue seems a perfect fit because this blog came about when an inner voice directed me to construct my own Field of Dreams.

People will come, Del.

They'll come to your virtual Shady Dell for reasons they can't even fathom.

They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it.

They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children...
longing for the past.

“Of course, I won't mind if you look around,” you'll say. “It was once only 25 cents to get in and now it’s free!”

They would have passed over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack.

And they'll walk out to the patio and sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon.

They'll find they have reserved seats on the benches surrounding the dance floor where they sat when they were children and cheered their jukebox heroes.

And they'll watch the game of life...the game of love, laughter, tears, and uninhibited youth unfold right before their eyes.

and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.

The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come, Del.

The one constant through all the years, Del...
has been music.

America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.

It has been erased like a blackboard...


...and erased again...

and again...

...but music has marked the time.

This blog, these memories: they are a part of our past, Del.

They remind us
of all that
once was good
and it could be again.

Oh... people will come, Del.

People will most definitely come.

I sincerely thank you for coming...for your continued interest in what I am trying to do here.

I would also like to acknowledge a few of the wonderful friends that I have made along the way. Thanks to their encouragement and support, Shady Dell Music & Memories has not only survived, it has prospered.

I would like to start by thanking the members of the Ettline family for providing a wealth of information and anecdotes about John & Helen and the Dell.

I want to thank
Mr. Jerre

Dell rat Jerre has been a loyal friend and avid supporter of this blog from the very beginning. Over the past twelve months he has generously shared many interesting and valuable recollections about the Dell of the early 60s, a period about which I knew very little.

I want to thank
Jim McClure,
Editor of the
York Daily Record.

Throughout the past year, Jim has been of tremendous help in publicizing and promoting Shady Dell Music & Memories by publishing articles about it in his newspaper and in his own York Town Square blog.

I want to thank
York Daily Record
Mike Argento.

Mike interviewed me and shared my comments and observations with his readers in a published article about the Dell and the Deroche family's decision to put it up for sale.

Last but
certainly not least...
I especially
want to thank
current Dell owner
Toni Deroche
and her family.

The Deroches have provided continuous Dell news updates, information, anecdotes, blog support and promotion.

In addition, Toni Deroche was responsible for all on site photography, contributing a series of stunning photographs of the Shady Dell as it looks in the new millennium.

These include pictures of the Dell house inside and out...

...the interior of the barn that was once the Dell's dance hall...

and the Dell grounds and parking lot.

Toni also captured images of old Dell signs, advertising posters, and other rare Dell artifacts.

All of these priceless, one-of-a-kind photographs were made available by the Deroches for exclusive exhibition here on Shady Dell Music & Memories.

The contributions made to this blog by the Deroches have been incalculable. I know that every reader of this blog joins me in expressing profound gratitude to Toni and her family.

Over the past year I hope that I have fulfilled my mission statement to educate those who know little or nothing about the Dell, to bring back memories for those of you who were actually there, and to give everybody something to think about and something to smile about.

That takes care of old business.
Year number two is already underway.

Wally and the Beav drop by in my next post.
You won't want to miss it.

In the coming year I'll be finishing my year-long countdown of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell. I'll also be counting down the 10 Most Exciting Records Ever Made. I'll have special tributes to Lloyd Thaxton and Jerry Blavat, more from the Cruisin' series, new episodes of the D-Team and much more. I hope that you'll stay around!

Thanks again for hanging out with me and hanging in there with me.

Have a Shady day!