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, September 27, 2013

Good Boy, Bad Soap..... Wally Cleaver Learns That You're "Never Too Young" to Find Yourself Another Agent!

 Ever eat a large pepperoni, 

 anchovy and jelly bean pizza 

 too close to bedtime? 

There's a good chance you wound up
having a lulu of a dream. It seemed like
I was having one of those bizarre dreams
when I watched the first video of this post.

My surreal pizza dream starred Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow). It also featured Cindy Carol
aka Carol Sydes who played Alma Hanson,
one of Wally's girlfriends
on Leave It To Beaver.

Child actor Tommy Rettig was
also in this dream-turned-reality.

In the mid 50s Tommy starred in
the Lassie/Jeff's Collie TV series.

Another star of this weird pizza dream was Michael Blodgett who played wanton gigolo Lance Rocke aka Jungle Lad in one of my favorite movies, Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley
of the Dolls!


To top it off, the scenario included a live
appearance by the Minneapolis-Saint Paul
garage band, the Castaways!

A strange combination like that can only exist in the
parallel universe of daytime drama. Never Too Young,
the first television soap opera for teenagers, made its
debut 48 years ago today on September 27, 1965.
 Set in Malibu, Never Too Young centered around a
group of teens and their parents. The brat packers
spent most of their time at the beach jiggling to
top 40 hits. Many episodes featured live guest
performances by popular recording acts such as
Marvin Gaye, Johnny Rivers, Freddy Cannon
and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Previously on Never Too Young, infatuated teens
Chet (Tony Dow) and Joy (Robin Grace) had a spat,
a tiff, a puppy lover's quarrel if you will. In today's
episode the peevish pair goes from break up to 
make up at The High Dive beach club as the rest 
of the gang grooves to the sound of the Castaways 
performing their hit record "Liar Liar." Let's watch!

Scene from episode #1 of ABC's 
teen soap opera Never Too Young
September 27, 1965

The idea of a teen soap looked good on paper
but not in the ratings.  ABC's misguided
experiment was canceled in 1966 less
than a year after it premiered.  It was
replaced by another offbeat sudser
which became a TV phenomenon,
the afterlife and times of vampire
Barnabas Collins in the gothic
soap opera Dark Shadows.

 Frankly, Wally, I'm 

 disappointed in you. 

 Your mother and I 

 didn't raise you to 

 be a beach bum.

 Don't worry, dad. I learned 
 my lesson. Sleepin' in my van 
 every night got old real fast. 
 I kinda feel sorry for Eddie, 
 though. He's been sleepin' 
 on the beach and livin' on 
 seaweed and tellin' all the 
 girls he's a big time writer 
 gathering material for his 
 next novel. 


In 1952 Philadelphia R&B thrush Dolly Cooper signed with Savoy Records and proceeded to wax some
of the most exciting R&B sides of the early 50s. In the 1953 novelty gem "I Wanna Know," Dolly gives her man the third degree for staying out too late.

Shucks, miss Dolly, I know what you're thinkin'.
I was out cattin' around, womanizin' and drinkin'.
That ain't what happened, no siree.
My bible study group went into double o.t.!

"I Wanna Know" - Dolly Cooper (March 1953)

In 1955, Dolly Cooper signed with the Modern label.
For legal reasons her first few recordings were made
using the name Linda Peters. By August of '55 she
was once again releasing records as Dolly Cooper.
The French Creole song "Ay La Bah" was released
on a single that month and it's one of the best
up tempo R&B numbers I've ever heard!

"Ay La Bah" - Dolly Cooper (August 1955)

The flip side of "Ay La Bah" is "My Man," a jump
rhythm number with backing vocals by the Flairs.
This killer bee was apparently inspired by the
success of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock."

"My Man" - Dolly Cooper 
(August 1955, B side of "Ay La Bah")

In 1956, Dolly signed on the dotted line with
Dot Records. Her first release for the Tennessee
imprint was the ballad "I'm Looking Through Your
Window." I have a weakness for R&B/rock 'n' roll
hybrids, and the bombastic B side, "Big Rock Inn,"
kicks butt all over town!

"Big Rock Inn" - Dolly Cooper 
(September 1956, B side of 
"I'm Looking Through Your Window")

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better,
Dolly muscled another one right out of the ball park.
"Tell Me, Tell Me," another fab flip, absolutely kills!
Check out the guitar solo and wailin' sax!

"Tell Me, Tell Me" - Dolly Cooper 
(February 1957, B side of 
"The Confessions of a Fool")


In November 1960, the week of my 11th birthday,
Johnny Tillotson's "Poetry in Motion" was next in
line to hit #1 on the chart. Johnny was robbed
of the top spot when, without warning, Elvis
Presley's "Are You Lonesome To-Night" leaped
46 chart positions in a single bound to become
the biggest hit in the land. It was only a minor
speed bump on Tillotson's road to success.
The Jacksonville native evolved into a teen
idol and racked up nine top 10 hits on the
pop, country and adult contemporary charts.

In 1963, Johnny covered "Talk Back Trembling Lips,"
a #1 country hit by Ernest Ashworth that same year.
Johnny's version entered he chart two weeks before
the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
and cracked the top 10 just before Christmas.

 "Talk Back Trembling Lips" - Johnnny Tillotson  
 (Dec. 1963/Jan. 1964, highest chart position #7) 

 Hey Wally, what gives? 
 You're missin' all the 
 action, Clyde.  While 
 mommy and daddy are 
 tuckin' you in bed every 
 night, I'm down at the  
 beach ridin' waves with 
 a harem of honeys! 
 Heh heh heh.... 

 Come on, 


 Cut it out! 

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cool Cornelius and the Gang

 I'm Shady Del Knight 

 and I've got proof 

 that old school COOL! 


It's time to take a ride on the Soul Train,
the hippest trip in America! Spike Lee
described the long running syndicated
program as an "urban music time capsule."
The late, great Don Cornelius was the
creator, executive producer and host
of Soul Train. In honor of Don's birthday
this week, let's imagine what it would be
like if Don dropped in as my guest blogger.

Sit back and enjoy

Get up offa dat thang and dance

as I do my best imitation of Don,
introducing soul, disco and funk hits
using words and phrases that he
might have used during the show's 
35 years on the air (1971 to 2006). 
Be sure to check out the changing hair 
and clothing styles as you witness the
toughest terpsichore on the tube, the 
dance moves of the Soul Train gang.

Of all the recording artists Don introduced on
Soul Train, the O'Jays seemed to be his favorites.
Don became especially animated and had a twinkle
in his eye whenever the Philadelphia International
stars were in the house. Don was fond of saying,
"We got another sound comin' out of Philly that's
a sho 'nough dilly," and that's reason enough to
start our Soul Train party with the O'Jays.

Let's get some hands together, gang, 
and give a warm SDM&M welcome to
my special guest, the one and only

Mr. Don.....CORNELIUS!

"Love Train" - The O'Jays 
(December 1972)

This young lady from the nation's capital has a hit on her hands with an update of Eddie Floyd's signature song of the 60s. The Soul Train Line hits the floor as Amii Stewart knocks on wood!

"Knock On Wood" - Amii Stewart 
(April 1979)

Jazz dazz, disco jazz.
The Soul Train dancers are lined up
for the Dazz Band and a little thing
called Let it whip!

"Let It Whip" - The Dazz Band 
(February 1982)

The Big Apple is home to this talented,
up-and-coming funk group. The Soul Train gang is right on track and right on time with a dance line to word up with Cameo!

"Word Up" - Cameo 
(June 1986)

Rain or shine we're ridin'
on the Soul Train line with
the funkmeister himself,
Mister Rick James!

"Give it To Me - Baby" - Rick James 
(March 1981)


"Jungle Boogie" - Kool and the Gang 
(February 1974)

The Soul Train gang is
gettin' in line 
for Mister 
Leon Haywood who says
"Don't push it, don't force it!"

"Don't Push it Don't Force It" 
Leon Haywood 
(March 1980)

That's the sound of the men
workin' on the Train gang
and it's "Torture" with
The Jacksons!

"Torture" - The Jacksons 
(October 1984)

This young man emerged from his group
of Gary, Indiana soul brothers, the Jackson Five and, in a few short years, catapulted to super stardom. The Soul Train gang puts it all on the line for Michael Jackson!

"Beat It" - Michael Jackson 
(March 1983)

That does it for this edition of Soul Train. Well do it all over again next time... and you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey. I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love...peace...and soul!

 Thanks, Don! 

 I'll be back soon 

 with more proof 

 that old school COOL! 

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WARNING - This Post is X-Rayded and Hindsight is 20/20!






 Preacher: Are you a sinner? Do you wish to be saved? 

 Dr. James Xavier: Saved? No. I've come to tell you 
 what I see. There are great darknesses. 
 Farther than time itself. 

 And beyond the darkness... a light that glows, changes... 
 and in the center of the universe... 
 the eye that sees us all. 

 X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes 

 Released in the USA September 18, 1963, 




Have a Shady day!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Counting Down the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell (#160 to #156)

 It's time once again to put your 

 musical knowledge to the test 

 as we continue our countdown of 

 The 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell! 

 You know the drill. 

I'll give you a line or two of lyrics taken from five
of the most popular Dell songs of the mid 60s.
Your mission, Jim, if you decide to accept it, is to

 Name That Tune. 

Put on your thinking cap. Here are the lyric
samples for the next five Dell songs:

she knocks me off my feet,
she makes my life complete

Maybe if she
Would come back to me
Then it can't go wrong

I'm gonna tell the F.B.I.
I might even get myself a secret spy

The kids would all sing
He would take the wrong key

All alone I'm destined to be 
With misery my only company.

Okay, let's find out how well you did.
Here are the Dell songs in today's countdown:

160. "My Baby" - Temptations (November '65)

159. "Black Is Black" - Los Bravos (August '66)

158. "Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.)" - Edwin Starr (February '66)

157. "Happy Jack" - The Who (April '67)

156. "Standing In The Shadows Of Love" - Four Tops (December '66)

How many songs did you correctly guess from the lyric clues? Refer to the grading scale below to determine your musical I.Q.

 All 5 right – 

 Congratulations! You’ve been appointed 

 dean of the College of Musical Knowledge. 

 3 or 4 right – 

 Licensed lyric lover. 

 2 right - 

 Lyrically challenged. 

 1 right – 

 Sign up for remedial classes 

 at the School of Rock. 

 0 right – 

 You just dance and hum along! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Harvest of Tears! In-Dell-ible Memories Chapter 7: The Demise of the Dell - Pt. 1

I am pleased to welcome back my friend and guest blogger Kathleen Mae Schneider who is here with the latest chapter of
In-Dell-ible Memories, a chronicle of her mother Margaret's childhood at the Shady Dell in the early years of the 20th century.

Chapter 7  

The Demise of

the Dell - Pt. 1 

Harvest of Tears

Kathleen Mae 

   On a recent morning, Mother unwrapped her 
York Daily Record, heavy with back-to-school advertisements. She remembers one of her own seasons as a school child, one that she would 
just as soon forget if she could. On the morning 
of September 5, 1922, when she walked down the 
hill to Violet Hill School, little did she know that she would come back that day to a very different life that would take her home and carefree childhood away from her.

   While Margaret worked diligently on her 
lessons that day, her father George was in court, having been indicted on the charge of common nuisance. Something went horribly wrong over the years that they lived in their beautiful house on the hill, culminating in his arrest. Subsequently, in spite of a lawyer and his plea of innocence, George was convicted and sentenced to four months in the York County Jail. The three thriving businesses that gave his family such a good life for the past decade were now in shambles. During his absence his oldest sons would have to wind down operations in the garage and kennel and his family would eventually have to find a new home.

The Dell property in the 1920s with 
Allie's garden next to the house 
(Photo courtesy of the Spangler family)

   By that afternoon, Margaret's mother Allie was harvesting vegetables from the garden next to the Dell house. In my mind’s eye I see Allie, still attractive at 44, but weary and worn. She hastily and angrily fills her basket with ripe tomatoes, stopping now and again to rest her back and wipe her eyes, trying in vain to banish the tears and anxiety from her husband's imprisonment with characteristic hard work.

Allie with her girls. From left: Ethel, baby Mary Grace, 
Margaret (standing in back),  Allie and Mildred

   Allie dreaded having to break the news to Margaret, who would soon be home from school and would not take this well. At 10, Margaret would want answers beyond her understanding. Allie’s grown children and older daughter were better able to take things in stride. Her two youngest had no grasp of the magnitude of the problem and it was just as well they didn’t.

   Margaret was more sensitive than her siblings. She loved her father so much and always seemed to carry troubles on her own small shoulders – how could Allie ever explain to her the implications 
of George's sentence? She felt helpless at having to add to Margaret's problems.

Margaret's 5th grade school picture

   This intelligent middle daughter ranked third in her fifth grade class but hated school. At recess she stood abandoned by her classmates. The school's bullies made fun of her home with all the animals and barking dogs that kept them awake at night, in spite of none of it being her fault.

Margaret is not found on this picture of 
Violet Hill School students, but her sister Mildred 
is shown with a blue asterisk.

   Soon Margaret was beside Allie, wide-eyed and breathless after a futile search for her father 
in the garage and barn. "Where's Pop?" she asked. “They put him in jail,” Allie said. As predicted, Margaret cried inconsolably. She wondered why he couldn't have just paid a fine and come home like the last time.

A paunchy George Andrew Brown in his late 40s, 
second from right, in front of the Dell garage with a hunting party.

   Everything was so confusing to Margaret and nothing was explained to her - the burning cross, the diminishing numbers of animals, the missing Christmas gifts and the cars gone from the garage. She knew that something was wrong but she trusted her father to make everything right. After all, had he not saved her life by curing her influenza with his special medicines? How could he fix anything now, behind bars? What would become of her and her family and the remaining dogs that now napped peacefully in the sun beside their crates?

Margaret knew there was bound to be even more trouble at school. Just as she thought would happen, she was greeted the next day with repeated sing-song cries of "Your dad-dy's a jail-bird!"

   The next few months were some of the most traumatic and frightening in my mother's life. 
In addition to the disruption at home, she clearly remembers visiting her father in jail. When she looks at the picture of the jail 91 years later, the humiliation and shame are still palpable.

A picture of The York County Jail with 
Mother's incorrect label. Records show she was 
10 at the time of her father's incarceration.

She points an arthritic finger twisted with age 
to the location of her father's cell in the formidable building. She remembers not wanting to leave after visiting him, and she says she will never forget looking back up at his face in the window and his hand reaching out between the heavy iron bars to wave goodbye to her.

This very old woman of 101 still carries within her the pain of that terrified little girl waving back to her dear father in jail.

   Her story ends and her expression changes as we return to the 21st century. I see how she deftly submerges the bad memories where they can do no more harm. "Let's do a puzzle," she says.

   The story continues in Pt. 2 with the reasons my grandparents lost their Shady Dell home. The tragic tale of history repeating itself, stubbornness and ill-advised risks is also the remarkable story of a deeply flawed but strong family that survived and moved on. It is Mother's story, it is mine, and perhaps the best parts will become yours.

We hope you return for:

In-Dell-ible Memories

Chapter 7  

The Demise of the Dell - Pt. 2 
 Fighting City Hall

With love to Mother and to All,

Chapter 6: The Dream Becomes a Nightmare
Winter Count: Margaret's 2013 Birthday
Happy Birthday, Margaret! Oldest Living Dell Rat Turns 101
Chapter 5: Home Sweet Dell
Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 2: Margaret's Pig Tale
Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 1: Hill and Dell
Chapter 3: The House on the Hill 
Chapter 2: Margaret is Born...and So Is the Dell 
Chapter 1: The Beauty and the Butcher
Introduction: My Shady Dell "Roots"
Margaret's Birthday