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, November 30, 2010

Dawn of the Dell Part 3: Spangler Family Album Yields Another Rare Photo and Clues to Solving 80 Year Old Mystery!

On the Highway to Dell

Never having heard of the Shady Dell, Phil Spangler left his home in Gettysburg one day last spring and drove to York. Phil was determined to find the three story brick house on the hill where his father had lived as a child.

Phil was equipped only with his father's boyhood photos. Other than that he was flying blind because he didn't know the address of his family's old homestead. He knew only that it was located in an area of York called Violet Hill. With so little to go on it's remarkable that Phil had surprisingly little difficulty finding the Dell.

Phil arrived to find the Dell undergoing its spring facelift and was given a tour of the house and grounds by current owner Toni Deroche. It was through Toni that Phil found out for the first time about the Shady Dell, learned about our blog, and generously offered to contribute his stories and vintage photos for all Dell rats to enjoy.

Unsolved Mystery:
Is the Dell's barn as old as the house?

A closer examination of Phil's newly discovered 1928 photo seems to provide the answer to that question: yes and no! Yes, the white structure on the left side of the photo matches the white barn that is still standing at the Dell.

Nowadays the old white structure, its peak rising up behind the dance hall in this photo, is used primarily as a garage and storage facility. However, the gray colored cinder block dance hall clearly visible in the foreground of this picture is absent from the 1928 photograph above it! Therefore, the structure that Dell rats refer to as the barn was not built until sometime after 1928. I believe it was built many years later. Over the last two decades published reports have stated that John Ettline converted a portion of his existing barn into a dance hall. Based on Phil's latest photograph, that part of Dell history might need a slight revision.

All indications are that the Shady Dell's dance hall was not part of the original old barn at all.

The photographic evidence, including this never before published shot taken from a window on the third floor of the house, suggests that the structure that enclosed the dance hall was built from scratch in the 1950's as an extension of the existing barn.

I know what happened!

When the rock 'n roll era got underway in the mid 50's and growing numbers of teenagers began to flock to the Dell, John recognized the need to accomodate them. Dancing outdoors on the concrete slab was okay for a while, but what was a Dell rat to do when spring and summer thunderstorms threatened or the cold, windy, snowy days of winter arrived? John decided to give his expanding family of young Dellions their own clubhouse... a space where they could congregate, dance, watch TV and conduct the all important business of youth with a greater degree of privacy.

Drawing upon his experience as one time manager of York's famed Valencia Ballroom, John designed and built what we now refer to as the barn.

John fashioned his Violet Hill ballroom to include a large oak dance floor, bench seating around the perimeter, wall length mirrors, strings of festive party lights, a jukebox and several sets of speakers including remotes above the outdoor patio and at the top of the steps at the Dell's admission booth. For Dell rats who weren't into dancing, John added a partition in the new barn annex to create a cozy space with a fireplace, sofa and televison.

John put the finishing touches on his teen danceteria by commissioning an unknown artist to paint the distinctive cherub murals on the walls.

And the rest, as they say, is history.....

The Phil Spangler story is a win-win proposition. Phil's anecdotes and pictures have contributed tremendously to our knowledge of the Dell's earliest years. Now that Phil and his family members across the country know that their ancestral dwelling evolved into a popular hangout for generations of young people, they are imbued with a sense of pride. "We feel very special to be a part of the Shady Dell history," wrote Phil.

Phil, thank you very much for your kind remarks! It is an honor to have you and your entire family join the gang as honorary Dell rats! (You too, Petey!)

And now you know the rest of the story.
Paul Harvey...........................good day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dawn of the Dell Part 2: Dell Deprived and Shadyless in Seattle... uh, make that Spokane!

Legend of Dell House Redux

Last spring, Phil Spangler of Gettysburg shocked everybody with a set of photographs that he found in his family album.

The pictures showed the Shady Dell as it looked in its earliest years, the mid 1920's to early 30's.

It was during those years that Phil's father and seven other members of his extended family became the Dell's first known occupants.

As you might recall from Part 1, the Spanglers stabled horses in the Dell's barn.

The barn was also used by Phil's great-grandfather to raise squab pigeons which were sold to York area restaurants, cooked, and served as a delicacy.

Let's not forget that Phil's great-grandfather, in his youth, witnessed the start of The Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of The Civil War, and that Phil's grandmother planted a vineyard at the Dell.

We must also remember that at some point, perhaps during the Great Depression, perhaps during World War II, the Dell was turned into a private, members only club that served spirits and offered fine dining and dancing to an upscale clientele. All that took place before the start of the 45-year Ettline regime during which the Dell existed first as a bakery, ice cream parlor and restaurant and later as a snack bar and dance hall for teenagers. There aren't many houses that can boast a history as rich and colorful as the one that belongs to our Shady Dell!

I published Part 1 of the Spangler saga last summer. At the time, Phil thought that he had found all of the photos his ancestors had taken of and at the Dell.

To Phil's delight as well as ours, he was mistaken. Phil came across another early Dell photo, one believed taken in 1928, a couple of years after the Spanglers purchased the house and moved in.

Previously unpublished:
This latest picture is unique. All of Phil's other photos were taken at relatively close range, but this one was taken from quite a distance down the hill toward George Street. From this vantage point we can see for the first time a wider view of the Dell property. Notice the steep slope of the land around the Dell in the years before tons of dirt and rock were moved to level the property and create the Dell's parking lot.

In Part 3 we'll take a closer look at Phil's newly discovered photo because it offers clues that could help solve one of the Dell's many mysteries!

In the Dark About the Shady

The story of how Phil wound up an honorary Dell rat is as fascinating as his donated photographs. Phil had never laid eyes on the Dell prior to this spring. In fact, he had never even heard of a place called the Shady Dell! Phil had a good excuse for remaining oblivious about one of York County's most famous and infamous historic landmarks. At the height of the Dell's popularity in the 1960's, Phil was living 3,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest.

From 1966 to 1969 Phil played bass guitar in a Spokane, Washington rock band called The Shades of Happiness. The band, which eventually shortened its name to The Shades, played at high school dances, teen clubs, bars and other venues all over Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho,
the same circuit traveled by famed Northwestern bands
The Kingsmen, The Wailers, and Paul Revere & The Raiders
as they honed their chops. Phil and The Shades met Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere & the other Raiders backstage at one
of their shows at the Spokane Armory. Phil's band also shared the stage with a young singer from Seattle who was discovered by the Raiders, scored a top 10 national hit with
"Angel of the Morning," and was nominated for a Grammy in 1968 as Female Vocalist of the Year.

"We opened for Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts at the Sunset West Club (Spokane) in 1968," Phil recalled. "Our band kept very busy and had a wonderful time. Our group was different than most bands of the time in that we all had played in our junior high school and high school's marching and concert bands. All of us could read music. It was really
a special time in our lives. There is nothing that can compare to being on stage when the curtain rises to a large hall jam-packed with people ready to have a good time to live music."

You and your Shades of Happiness cohorts would
have enjoyed performing at The Oaks, Phil, although I'm guessing that you probably never heard of White Oaks
Park either!

Since he was practically living on another planet I think we can all agree that Phil gets a pass for his lack of knowledge about the teen scene in 1960's York. That's why Phil's story amazes me. He was just as surprised to find us as we were to find him. In Part 3, find out how Phil's latest photo helps to solve an 80 year old Dell mystery. Please join me!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the Record: More Motown Monsters from Jimmy Ruffin

Earlier this year I told you about an album that I bought in 1966 - a volume of The Motown Sound. I grabbed that long playing record off the rack at Mailman's because there were several essential Dell songs on it.

The real thrill came, however, when I discovered a few
songs that I had never heard before - songs so good that they quickly became favorites. One of those soulful nuggets was "As Long as There is L-O-V-E Love," a Smokey Robinson penned smooth groove performed by Jimmy Ruffin.

To think that a soul treasure of that magnitude fizzled out at #120 on the Bubbling Under chart! Gimme a break!

Truth be told, Jimmy Ruffin spent the bulk of his career standing in the shadow of his younger brother David and other prominent Motown stars.

In August of 1966, eight months after the release of the grossly underachieving "L-O-V-E," Jimmy Ruffin gave the Shady Dell one of its all time greatest double-siders,
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"/“Baby, I’ve Got It.” The dynamite double play became one of the most important Dell records of the mid 60's.

The medium tempo “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted,” ranked #14 on the Dell Top 200, is one of the finest ballads ever to come out of Motown. When this one played on the jukebox some Dellions paired off to slow dance while others fell into formation and performed a synchronized shuffle.

The 45rpm version of "Brokenhearted" that millions of Americans remember featured an extended instrumental opening before Jimmy's vocals began. The unusually long instrumental intro can be explained by the deletion of a spoken verse that was originally written into the song:

A world filled with love is a wonderful sight.
Being in love is one's heart's delight.
But that look of love isn't on my face.
That enchanted feeling has been replaced.

Would "Brokenhearted" have been even more popular with that spoken intro included, or would it have been less of
a hit? We'll never know.

Playing the faster paced “Baby, I’ve Got It” on the barn box was another sure-fire way to bring Dell couples out on the floor.

"Baby, I've Got it" is ranked way up there at #30 among
all surveyed songs on my Dell's Greatest Hits list!

It remains a mystery to me how "Baby, I've Got It," one of the finest soul sides of all time, avoided becoming a Top 10 hit in the U.S.A. Another casualty of Shady’s Law, the song didn’t even make the Bubbling Under chart! Get outta town!

“Baby, I’ve Got It” might have been an overlooked B side in America, but in the dance clubs of the UK and western Europe where fab but forgotten flips of American soul singles were frequently elevated to hit status this awesome northern dancer was the side favored by savvy deejays.

Jimmy Ruffin followed up his “Brokenhearted” single with another soul-stirring recording.

“I’ve Passed This Way Before,” released just in time for the Christmas holiday season of 1966, is memorable for Jimmy's dramatic spoken passages at the beginning and near the end of the song. It's hard to imagine this song being as great without Jimmy's soliloquy.

At #76 on the Shady Dell survey, “I’ve Passed This Way Before” was another mid-tempo Motown masterpiece that had the Dell dancers out of their seats, on their feets, and forming a big strong line!

Here's a fine Y/T remix that doesn't stray too far:

Like the record spnners and clubbers of Northern England,
Dell rats constantly engaged in a jukebox treasure hunt. Whenever a new 45 turned up in the jukebox they auditioned both sides in hopes of uncovering the next great Dell dance classic.

Quite often the song with magic Dell dust sprinkled all over it turned out to be the flip side of the single. As many of you know by now I refer to this unexpected outcome as the killer bee phenomenon.

With that in mind, my official Jimmy Ruffin Pick to Click is
"Baby, I've Got It."

Jimmy Ruffin was Ruff'N Ready and would have made a great Dell rat. Jimmy, like a number of other gifted American soul singers, recorded excellent material but never got the recognition he deserved stateside. Jimmy wound up doing what others did. He moved to England in the 1980's, built a successful recording and performing career, and still resides there today.

As a tag to this Jimmy Ruffin tribute I'd like to remind you that next spring marks the 20th anniversary of brother
David Ruffin's death. Two decades? Hardly seems possible!

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Time of Thanksgiving Made Even More Meaningful by New Awards Given and Received!

In case you haven't noticed, Shady Dell Music
& Memories
is proudly displaying another award
in the upper right corner
of the front page. It is the One Lovely Blog Award and it was presented to me by Katia, my loyal friend and follower in Rome, Italy.

Katia, once again
I thank you for acknowledging what
I am trying to do with Shady Dell Music & Memories!

It is a great honor to receive this award and I encourage everyone to visit
and support Katia's nostalgic blog Velvet and Old Laces.

Now I have an award of my own that I would like to give to three of my blogger friends. It is the Nice Matters Award.

The Nice Matters Award is intended for bloggers who are genuinely nice people - blog friends who care about and inspire good feelings in others, lend their support to others, and are a positive influence on the blogging community.

First, I would like to turn around and share this award with my special friend Katia in Italy at Velvet and Old Laces. Katia is one of the leading vintagers in all of blogging and has become one of the most faithful supporters of Shady Dell Music & Memories.
Katia impresses me as one of
the most kindhearted, thoughtful and generous bloggers for be found anywhere.

I would also like to give this award to Belle Unruh, my friend and follower in British Columbia, Canada. On her fine blog, Tales from a Loser, Belle, a former California girl, shares a multitude of stories about her life and her family. Her Tales go beyond that to include a wide variety
of interesting topics. What I like most about Tales from a Loser is that it's a friendly place. Belle is a gracious hostess who goes out of her way to make visitors feel welcome. She does a great job of replying to comments posted on her blog and she repays the kindness by posting intelligent comments on the blogs of others. The only quarrel I could possibly have with Belle Unruh is the name she chose for her site because in my book Belle is a real winner.

Finally, I would like to give the Nice Matters Award to one of my newest friends, Mr. Odie Langley in Halifax, North Carolina. It didn't take me long to figure out that Odie is an asset to
the blogging world.
Odie maintains a positive attitude and always has something interesting, kind and supportive to say when he posts on my blog and others.
One can get a sense of Odie's nature by reading his About Me notes: "I am a listener and get real enjoyment out of helping people or sharing things I have learned or created..." In a blogosphere filled with cynical, self-absorbed ranters Odie's sincerity and enthusiasm are a breath of fresh air! Please visit and support Odie's blog The Simple Life.

Nice really does matter and Katia, Belle and Odie are three of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. They are part of the solution!

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Dell rats not only in Central Pennsylvania but across the U.S.A. and around the world! I am very thankful to have made so many new friends this year through blogging.

At the start of 2010 Shady Dell Music & Memories had only 3 followers. Now there are 25. You are all special to me. I am extremely grateful to each and every one of you for your friendship and support!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dell Rat Feedback

Greg Gulden wrote:

Well here we are a few days from Thanksgiving Day. It's time to stop and look back at the past year and take time to think about the things we are truly grateful for. Your Blog is one of these things. It has helped me remember not only my time at the
Dell but also my time at York High and my teen years growing up in York. Thank you, Mr. Knight. I will continue to support you in the years to come and hope someday we can meet.

To Toni (Deroche), how can we as Dell Rats ever thank her enough for what she is doing? She gets my Dell Rat Hero of the Year award. I believe without her the house and barn would be gone by now. What she is doing with the old girl is far beyond anything we could have hoped for. It is due to people like you and Toni that the Dell will live on. Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving to You, Toni and all Dell Rats.

A Dell Rat All Ways
Greg Gulden

Greg, I thank you very much for this special holiday greeting and all of your kind and generous words! This blog was created for people like you who care and want to share. I am truly honored to have your support in my ongoing effort to keep alive the memories of John and Helen Ettline and the place they created for us, the Shady Dell.

I couldn't agree with you more that the Dell would probably have been reduced to a pile of rubble a long time ago had it not been for the wisdom, foresight and hard work of Toni Deroche and her family. We are all very fortunate that the Deroches bought the Dell and are doing so much to preserve and beautify it. It became obvious to me a long time ago that Toni and her family share our vision and our sense of history. Like you and I, they really care! Thank you again, Greg, for this special holiday message. You epitomize the finest qualities in a Dell rat!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shocking True Confession! I Was the Dell's Pinball Wizard..... Not a Deaf or Blind Kid... Just Dumb!

How do you think he does it?
(I don't know!)
What makes him so good?

A decade into the new millennium the section of the Dell house that was once the snack bar is still equipped with a pinball machine.

Back in the mid 60's, the Dell barn was Party Central, but the snack bar up at the house was also a cool place to hang out.

On a typical Dell night I ordered a sub, fries and cherry coke from Helen, sat down on one of those stools, swiveled to the right, and watched shows like Batman, Mission Impossible, The Monkees, Get Smart and Laugh-In on the Ettlines' old black & white television set.

See that refrigerator back there on the right near the door? That's where the TV was located. A former Dellette recently reminded me about the stacks of newspapers and all the rest of the clutter around that lunch counter and about the cats that roamed and climbed around while you were eating. Hunting for Dell rats, kitty?

When I finished eating
I usually got change for
a dollar and played a few games of pinball.

That same Dellette also remembers a piece of cardboard that John attached to the top of the pinball machine's backglass.

The cardboard placard was used to keep track of the prevailing high score on the machine, giving Dell rats
an incentive to bring their best game to the Bally table.

(Figure 6-B, every Dell Rat's favorite game: Mousin' Around!)
I have a question for you. Did you ever get so good at doing something that you could practically do it in your sleep? That’s how it was with me and pinball, especially when it came to playing the machine at the Dell.

I don’t see how John made any money off of that gravity
box because it was set up to make winning a breeze. You practically had to plow into the machine with a Mack truck
to get it to tilt!

Nudging? Heck, you could shake the machine from side to side, forward and back…even lift your end off the floor to keep the ball from going down the drain and still get away with it!

Let’s put it this way - when you played pinball at the Dell, winning wasn’t everything…it was the only thing, (the only thing possible!)

Over time, I learned some advanced techniques that enabled me to get Dell pinball down to an exact science. By pulling the plunger all the way back and using a snap action with the thumb of my other hand, I could launch the steel ball at maximum velocity.

I became so skilled at using the flippers that I could make the ball hop up and hit the glass. I could trap the ball on a flipper and then propel it directly into a specific bumper or target, or send it all the way up through to the top to begin another run down the playfield.

Practice makes perfect but perfect sometimes makes enemies. As it turned out I was too good at pinball for
my own good!

One afternoon I was deep in concentration in the middle
of a game of pinball when suddenly a large hand appeared
in front of me. The giant claw turned palm downward and clacked several coins loudly onto the glass. “You done soon?” was my interpretation of what the deep voiced stranger uttered. “Oh, yeah, I should be,” I replied as
I continued to play. The guy repeated his words, only
this time much more assertively and this time I got the message loud and clear. The dude wasn’t asking me...
he was telling me. “YOU DONE SOON! ME PLAY PINBALL!"

I glanced to my right and there stood a 6-foot, 5-inch, 250 pound goliath who looked like a bodybuilder, a pro wrestler,
a Baltimore Colts linebacker, a Green Beret and a beer joint bouncer all rolled into one! My stress level went through the roof when I noticed that there was not one guy standing there but two, and the second guy made the first one look like Mini-Me! Both behemoths looked pissed.

In seconds I came down with a terminal case of dry mouth and broke out in a cold sweat. My hands were clammy and my knees were knocking. I knew that it would be a fatal error in judgement to keep these gentlemen waiting. I elected to do the right thing and deliberately throw the game - take a dive as it were - but I didn’t want to be too obvious about it.

At first I tried to change my timing so that he flippers would swing too late and miss the ball, allowing it to go down the loser hole. But it was no use! I kept flipping the ball back up to the top of the incline – the very last thing that I wanted to do! After thousands of hours of practice my hand-eye coordination was automatic and undefeatable. I simply could not not do my best. I was hardwired to win!

I went into E.A.M. (Emergency Abort Mode), completely removing my hands from the flipper buttons. After taking this drastic measure I expected the ball in play to make a beeline for the hole. To my utter amazement that (expletive deleted) machine simply refused to quit! It seemed possessed by a demon that was hell-bent on my destruction!

Without any flippers flipping, the bumpers somehow kept bumping, the slingshots kept slinging, the targets kept dinging, and the free games kept popping. The Shady Dell pinball machine was literally playing itself!

With a litany of four-letter words being hurled at me by the menace 2 society standing to my immediate right, I made the brilliant deduction that The Amazing Colossal Man and
his pal Dellzilla were not amused by my stupid human trick. They were measuring me for a casket!

I finally gave up trying
to get that last ball to drop. Deciding that it was better to be a live coward than a dead pinball wizard, I made
a hasty exit, stage left.

I headed out the door hoping to get lost in the sea of faces down at the dance hall just in case the incredible hulks
came looking for me. As I walked away in humiliation I swear that stubborn hunka junk was still dinging away defiantly!

I hated having to walk out, leaving behind a dozen
free games of pinball for those husky hijackers to inherit;
but I had the last laugh...

...they were gonna have to stand in a puddle to play them!

Have a Shady day!