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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Shady Dell Show and Tell!

Today I play... 

Shady Dell Show and Tell!

I'd like to show you and tell you about
a wonderful birthday surprise that I received
from my dear friend, Kathleen Mae Schneider,
author of the In-Dell-ible Memories series
presented exclusively here on SDMM.

Last week a package arrived at my door. The sender was Kathleen. Inside the box I discovered an item that was so handsomely gift wrapped I was reluctant to disturb the pretty paper. Based on its size and rectangular shape, I made the brilliant deduction that Kathleen had sent me one of those giant Hershey bars. :) However, when I opened the card that came with the mysterious object and read the message Kathleen had written, I got a clue.

Dear Tom -

The last day I visited the Shady Dell, I pulled
this out of the smouldering ruins of the dance
hall. Since you passed beneath this thousands
of times in your youth, and you've dedicated
much of your life to preserving the Dell's
memory, this truly belongs to you now.

Peace - Kathy

I removed the wrapping and there, to my
astonishment, was an old familiar sight.

It was the entrance sign to the Shady Dell
dance hall! Within seconds, memories
of my teenage years flooded over me.

For more than 50 years the sign hung above
the door of the dance hall. It remained
in place more than 20 years after
John Ettline closed the Dell.

In 2009 I blogged about another Dell sign,
one that greeted us as we walked through
 the front door of the house on our way
to the restaurant/snack bar. It read:

In a world filled with signs, signs, everywhere
signs, telling us "Do this - don't do that," those
two signs made generations of kids feel right
at home. They beckoned us to cross over into
another dimension, a dimension not only of
sight and sound but of mind. They let us
know that we were about to enter...

In 2012 our longtime friend and SDMM
contributor Toni Deroche and her family
sold the Dell. Shortly thereafter the new
owners determined that the dance hall
was too dilapidated for repair and too
unstable and unsafe to be left standing.
In the autumn of that year the historic
structure was razed along with the
adjacent barn. Click here to view
the post I put together on the
eve of destruction.

The post that immediately followed
showed the demolition work and

Soon after the bulldozer had done its dirty
deed dirt cheap, three of the Dell faithful,
Toni Deroche, Dell rat Greg Gulden and
Kathleen Mae Schneider, returned to
ground zero. The trio combed through
the rubble searching for souvenirs of
a bygone era. Each went home with
a piece of York County history.

I was overjoyed to receive this priceless
artifact from Kathleen and I will proudly
add it to my collection of Dell memorabilia.
I never knew that Kathleen had salvaged
the sign and found out only a few days
ago that she also recovered one of the
concrete blocks covered with graffiti.
It was very generous of Kathleen to
part with one of her Dell treasures.
After all, it was her grandfather who
built the Shady Dell and her mother,
Margaret, "The Oldest Living Dell Rat,"
who moved into the Dell in 1913 at
the age of one, becoming part of
the Shady Dell's First Family.

Thank you very much for your kind and
generous gift, dear friend Kathleen.
I will remember this birthday for
the rest of my life! :)

Have a Shady day!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Enroll Today in Lois and Peter Griffin's School of Rock! Vol. 1: Confucius Say, Seven Day Binge Make One Weak!


Hi! I'm Lois Griffin and
this is my husband Peeda.

We're subbing for Shady to introduce our
new series, School of Rock.  Today you will  
meet the beauties and the beasts as we
present the best of rock and metal.
Don't let the word "metal" scare
you away.  This is good music! 


Let's kick-off the series with our first act... Sad Alice Said... and "Alive."

Sorry for correcting you right off the bat, Lois, but sad Alice said... "I'm gonna kill ya."

No Peeda, not Alice the Brady maid!

Sad Alice Said, formerly Alice in Wonderland,
is a male - female gothic symphonic metal band
from Ukraine with Alisa Shakor on lead vocals.
"Alive" is a single the band released in 2012.

 "Alive" -  Sad Alice Said 


Next we have Eyes Set To Kill.

Eyes set to kill? Reminds me of the time I tried to kill a turkey at Thanksgiving.

Peeda, I'll have you know that Eyes Set To Kill
is a Phoenix, Arizona, post-hardcore rock band.

In 2010 the lineup of Eyes Set To Kill included
Alexia Rodriguez on clean vocals and her sister
Anissa on bass.  Justin Denson sang unclean
(screaming) vocals in the studio while other
singers including Cisko Miranda supplied
the screaming vocals on tour.

 "Broken Frames" - Eyes Set To Kill 
 (from June 2010 album Broken Frames)
 highest chart pos. #8 Top Heatseekers


And finally, "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" by Marilyn Manson.

Seven day binge reminds me of the time Stewie got bombed on cough syrup.

Lois, I cannot tell a lie. I have loved Marilyn Manson ever since she jumped out of a cake at JFK's birthday party.

No, Peeda! Marilyn Manson is a fella...
I mean it's a band... I mean... it's both....
But he's not a woman... I'm pretty sure.

"Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" was the
first single released from Marilyn Manson's 9th
studio album The Pale Emperor which made
the top 10 on the album chart.

 "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" 
 Marilyn Manson (October 2014, 
 highest chart pos. #3 US Hot Single Sales 
 from Jan. 2015 album The Pale Emperor

We hope you enjoyed this edition
of School of Rock.

Now this is Lois Griffin saying goodbye.
We hope to see you on Family Guy
Sunday nights on Fox.  Meanwhile,
please visit our partner in grime, 

and enroll in his School of Rock.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Where Were You..... and What Were You Doing..... 40 Years Ago Today?

Hello, I'm Dr. Carl Sagan.

The universe contains billions and billions of stars.
If we had a method of counting them, we would
discover that the number of stars in the universe
is vastly greater than the number of grains of sand
on all the beaches and deserts on earth.

Today, as guest host of Shady Dell Music & Memories,
I will describe a stellar event in the evolution of the
music galaxy, a rare and unlikely occurrence that
took place 40 years ago today. It was a day
when one star shined its brightest and its
trajectory brought it in close proximity
to a group of rising stars that were
in the process of exploding into

Where were you... and what were you doing... on Saturday, the 15th day of November, 1975, when David Ruffin, former lead singer of the Temptations, appeared on American Bandstand and
performed the song that reached its zenith atop the Soul chart becoming
the only #1 R&B single of his career?

 "Walk Away From Love" - David Ruffin 
 (November/December 1975, January 1976 
 highest chart position #9 Hot 100, #1 R&B

Where were you... and what were you doing... that same day, November 15, 1975, when ABBA, a group of rising stars from Sweden that featured two heavenly bodies, Agnetha and Anni-Frid, passed directly through AB on its way to superstardom, launching a worldwide phenomenon known as ABBA-mania?

 "SOS" - ABBA 
 (October, November, December 1975 
 highest chart pos. #15 Hot 100, #1 in Australia, 
 New Zealand, Belgium, France, Germany, S. Africa) 

And so it was, Saturday, the 15th day of November, 1975, 40 years ago, the day the stars came out, shined brightly and made history on a terrestrial television program called American Bandstand.

Thank you for joining me and good day.


"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and
character-building experience. There is perhaps
no better demonstration of the folly of human
conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal
more kindly with one another, and to preserve
and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home
we've ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot:
A Vision of the Human Future in Space

“For small creatures such as we
 the vastness is bearable only through love.”
― Carl Sagan

Monday, November 9, 2015

Drama, The Life Blood of the Shady Dell

"Me and my boys are gonna
jack you up in the parking lot!"

Those friendly, encouraging words were barked into
my face from a distance of three inches by one of
the Shady Dell regulars, a tough city kid with a
formidable posse as backup. I was a Dell newbie,
just turned sixteen. Inadvertently I had said or
done something to provoke the guy's wrath.
On another occasion a dude popped me in
the snoot because I looked at one of his
homegirls the wrong way. Another
time my buddy and I were jumped
and beaten in a dark section of the
Dell parking lot by two drunk thugs
who told us they were out "wilding"
that night and pummeling people at
random. At the Shady Dell I was verbally
abused, roughed up and bloodied, but I was
not deterred. I didn't give up. I kept going
back for more until I won the respect of
the guys and gained acceptance as
a member of the rat pack.

FF to present.

To a Dell rat, drama is the spice of life.
It was an aspect of the Shady Dell experience
that attracted people from miles around and
one of the things I liked best about the place.
People who shy away from a little drama,
people who can't handle an upset, people
who head for the exit and are willing to
dissolve a long term friendship after a
single disagreement, are telegraphing
the fact that they don't belong here
at Shady Dell Music & Memories.
The upside is that the departure of
people who don't belong leaves
more room on the dance floor
for the rest of us, the people
who do belong here.

That said, I am delighted to welcome back
Belle Unruh, host of Who Am I? Who Is God?
Belle has been a dear friend for six years.
Last week, for all intents and purposes,
Belle assisted me in a social experiment
to determine which followers are genuine
friends and which ones are inclined to bolt
out the door at the first sign of conflict.
As you might have noticed, Belle and I
engaged in a spirited discussion thread
about friendship, commitment and
loyalty. It was not an argument.
It was not even a debate and at no
time was there anger on either side.
It was a sincere, passionate and
completely civilized conversation
between old friends who love and
respect each other. For years Belle
and I have considered ourselves
family, close as brother and sister.
News flash: Siblings sometimes
disagree. Best friends sometimes
disagree. It is inevitable and
unavoidable. It does not
have to be a dealbreaker.

Our discussion ended when Belle
doubted that she has what it takes to be
a Dell rat and thought it best to curtail
her visits to SDMM. She reached that
conclusion even after I assured her
that all I want is for her to show up
and find something nice to express,
even if it is nothing more than a
 friendly hello. It is the very same
philosophy, the same "Be Nice"
sermon that others are preaching.
Sad as I was that Belle chose to
give up and leave the pack after
all these years, I respected her
decision and bade her farewell,
confident that we would
remain email friends.

A remarkable thing happened a day or
two later when Belle and I got in touch
by email. We immediately experienced
the deep rapport that we have shared
for years. We reminisced, tracing our
friendship back to its beginning in
2009 when we met on the blog of
a mutual friend. We remembered
how we have always been there
for each other, lending support
in good times and bad. Right
then and there we agreed that
our friendship is strong enough,
resilient enough and real enough
to survive any dispute. The power
of our commitment to each other
transcends any disagreement.

Gladys Knight sang, "Neither one of us
wants to be the first to say goodbye."
I am very happy to report that Belle
changed her mind and wants to remain
an important and valued member of our
Shady Dell family. Belle is a wonderful
person, the kindest, gentlest, most
decent soul I know, and I am
truly thankful that she has
decided to return and
share her gifts with us.

In this special edition post, I wish to honor
Belle by playing some of her favorite songs.

"When I was 
 a teenager and 
 felt sad I listened 
 to the Beatles 
 for hours in 
 my bedroom. 
 They always 
 made me feel 
 happy." - Belle 

As a teenager, Belle was so enamored with
the Beatles and other English acts that
she dressed like a mod limey lass.
The picture below shows Belle
holding her baby sister.

There's a message in the music and a lesson
for us all in one of Belle's Beatle faves,
"We Can Work It Out."

"We Can Work It Out" 
The Beatles (January 1966)

Belle also loves the masculine voice of
The Sultan of Swoon, Frank Sinatra.

Belle told me she is especially fond
of the following Sinatra song.

"Strangers in the Night" 
Frank Sinatra (July 1966)

Elton John is another of Belle's favorite artists.
Belle, this is "Your Song."

"Your Song" 
Elton John (December 1970)

Thank you for standing by me, dear Belle. Here's to genuine, unconditional, unshakable, unfailing, loyal friendship, the kind that you and I have enjoyed since 2009. Indeed, I feel like I have known you all my life. You are family to me.

Welcome back, dear Belle, to a place where you will always belong. Welcome back to the Shady Dell, my cherished friend. May I have this dance?

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" 
The Platters (February 1959)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chiaroscuro, a Dark Light, a Comet Tail, A Beautiful, Sad Poem Much Too Brief!


She was one of my favorite actresses of the
silver screen, best known for her Film Noir roles.
Frail, delicate, demure, she manifested strength
in William Wyler's Academy Award winning
motion picture The Best Years of Our Lives.
She married William Wyler's older brother,
Robert, took ill and died at age 46 on the
date of their 22nd wedding anniversary.
Who was this great actress?

I'll have the answer right after I
announce the winner of this week's


Part 2 of my hard rockin'


Last week I presented a heavy metal smackdown,
rockin' covers of recordings originally made by
Rob Zombie. European metal band Oceans Red
covered Zombie's "Feel So Numb" and UK artist
Andrew Chape, known to YouTube followers
as Andyflange, covered "Living Dead Girl."


This was an extremely difficult decision for me.
Oceans Red performed a rendition of Rob Zombie's
"Feel So Numb" that didn't stray far from the original.
Not to be outdone, Andyflange did a spot on imitation
of Zombie's "Living Dead Girl." I love both covers but,
in the end, Andyflange got my vote.  The production
on Andy's recording is a bit cleaner, allowing you to
hear and fully appreciate his stellar performance.
Andy nails it, perfectly replicating every nuance
of Zombie's vocal. I was thoroughly impressed
with Andy's Zombie tribute and invite you to
check out his YouTube channel and listen to
his great covers of Metallica, The Beatles
and many other bands.


 "Feel So Numb" 

 "Living Dead Girl" 

 (write-in vote for "Earache My Eye" 

Congratulations to Andyflange,
winner of this week's BOTB!
Andy fangs all the boys and
ghouls who voted for him.


Cathy O'Donnell

Lithe and lovely, soft spoken, graceful, gentle,
delicate yet strong and resilient... deep and
soulful, wistful, restless, complex,
unfathomable, mysterious...

These are some of the adjectives
that come to mind when I think
about Cathy O'Donnell, one
of my favorite actresses.

Cathy had a memorable role in
The Best Years of Our Lives and
appeared in seven Film Noir pictures
including Bury Me DeadThe Amazing
Mr. X and They Live By Night.

They Live By Night (1949)

Directed by Nicholas Ray.
Starring Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell.

Cathy also starred in one of my favorite
horror movies, Terror in the Haunted House
aka My World Dies Screaming.

With those exquisitely sad eyes and quiet, subdued
demeanor, Cathy O'Donnell could indeed be called
 the melancholy baby of Film Noir. I choose to
remember Cathy as a spirit of goodness in a
troubled and sometimes evil world, a candle
in the wind, a flickering flame struggling to
survive a stormy night, a shining beacon
that suddenly appeared and, for a short
while, pierced the enveloping darkness.
Then, just as suddenly, it was gone.

I leave you with this haunting poem
written by Cathy O'Donnell.

           "Once I Found a Moonbeam" 
                 ...a poem by Cathy O'Donnell 

                 Once I found a moonbeam 
                 Which I wound around my throat 
                 And I hanged myself one stormy night 
                 And that is why I float 

                 And that is why I walk through walls 
                 And leave no footprints in the grass 
                 And never let you see my face 
                 And cast no shadows where I pass 

                 Oh, if you long to come to me 
                 Then find a night of storms! 
                 I'll meet you where the lightning strikes 
                 And take you in my arms! 

                         A poem's what you were, dear Cath,
                                     Lovely, sad and brief.
                                     Selfishly we wanted more.
                                     And now you rest in peace.