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, March 12, 2018

Happy Birthday, John!

John Ettline was born

112 years ago today on

the 12th of March, 1906.
John loved music and dancing. At one time he
worked as an agent scheduling bands for local
clubs. John also managed various York clubs
including the historic Valencia Ballroom,
America's first air conditioned dance hall.

To mark John's birthday this year, I selected
a vintage performance by one of my favorite
entertainers Jackie Wilson. Jackie reminds
me of John. Both were sharp dressed men
with loads of style, class and swag. Here
now is Jackie Wilson singing one of his
best songs "That's Why (I Love You So)"

"That's Why (I Love You So)" - Jackie Wilson
(April/May 1959, highest chart pos.
#13 Hot 100/#2 R&B)




  1. He had quite the influential history on music.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for coming over to celebrate John Ettline's birthday, good buddy. Jackie Wilson was a titan of soul, influenced many, and left us much too soon.

      Thanks again and have a great week!

  2. Elvis Presley's version of "Hound Dog" was patterned after one he saw Wilson do in Las Vegas, though the original was recorded by Big Mama Thornton.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thanks for popping in to help me remember John Ettline on his birthday.

      As you know, "Hound Dog" was recorded by many many artists including those who waxed answer songs. Thanks for reminding us that "Big Mama" was first to record the iconic song. I took it hard when Jackie Wilson suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed in the middle of a performance. I sent him a get well card. To make matters worse the Titan of Soul languished semi-conscious in a nursing home nearly a decade before passing away. He was only 49.

      Thanks again for your visit, good buddy Kirk!

  3. Hi Shady,

    Happy birthday to a wonderful man who tried his hand in so many different ventures. He had a lot of success in most everything he did. His biggest claim to fame was to befriend and/or be a father- like figure to many generations of teens in York county and surrounding areas.

    Happy birthday, John!
    R. I. P.

    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, Toni!

      Thank you very much for attending John Ettline's birthday party again this year. I can't wrap my mind around a number like 112 (years ago). In the text I stated that John Ettline reminds me of Jackie Wilson because both had style, class and swag. I think you can see that in the picture of John in uniform at the end of the post. Like Jackie Wilson, John was a man's man and a ladies' man.

      Thank you again for being here for John and for me, dear friend Toni. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  4. 112 years! I wonder if my friends and family will remember that I was born 112 years ago when that day arrives in the future. I need a time machine, so i can return and find out. How wonderful that you remember and honor people in your life.

    1. Hi, Cheryl!

      Welcome back, dear friend! Thank you for dropping by this week to help me observe the 112th anniversary of John Ettline's birth.

      It doesn't seem likely that most of us will still be a topic of conversation 112 years after we were born. (I'm sure your published writings will keep you on the tips of tongues for centuries to come.) It is also unlikely that most of us will be remembered 25 years after we die. I bring up the latter because I was moving to a new dwelling and taking a break from blogging on January 16 of this year when my annual post marking John's death would have run. I want to remind all Dell rats that John has now been gone more than a quarter century.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Cheryl-Lee!

  5. Happy Happy Birthday to john.
    Isn't great that you remember him all these years later.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Hi, Gayle!

      Thank you very much for coming to John's birthday celebration, dear friend!

      I intend to keep blogging for many years to come. As long as I do, I will continue to remember John and Helen Ettline on their special dates. The same goes for Margaret Schneider.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Gayle!

  6. Hi Shady! I'll bet John runs a sock hop in heaven! He did what he loved best, and the rewards are great! Many years later he still has a fan club and is admired very much.

    I was so impressed by the name Valencia Ballroom so I looked it up to get an idea of what it was like. I saw a billing for an appearance by Tommy Dorsey and his band, and even Frank Sinatra made appearances at the Valencia in his early days! What fun that had to be, and the ballroom is still hosting concerts today!

    Put me on the list of Birthday guests, Shady, for I am wishing John a happy 112th along with you and friends! I adore Jackie made a good selection for John's birthday song.

    We're having a pretty sunny, but not hot Spring day. Scootie donated some of his children's books to the city library to sellHave a great week, dear friend!

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      Thank you so very much for being on hand again this year as we observe the 112th anniversary of John's birth. I wish John would have lived as long as did Margaret Schneider. Think of it. If John had lived to the age of 105 as she did, he might have seen some of the posts I ran about him, Helen and the Dell in the early years of SDMM.

      Yessum, the Valencia Ballroom was and still is quite a place. Many generations of patrons, some of them famous, have passed through its doors and danced across its floor. I believe the Shady Dell dance hall and the unusual artwork on its walls were inspired by the Valencia.

      I'm glad you appreciate my selection of Jackie Wilson's hit "That's Why" for this year's tribute.

      We are having our third gloomy, breezy day in a row with spotty showers. We need the moisture. A cool snap is coming which will lower overnight temps to the mid 40s this week. I am very grateful that winter is staging a comeback here in Florida, making up for a too warm February.

      Bravo to Scootie for donating books to the library, a fine gesture of citizenship on his part.

      Thank you again for joining me today, dear friend Suzanne, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. Tom,

    Sharing in the anniversary of John's 112th birthday. I'm sure he would love the groove of Mr. Entertainment. You know, I didn't know anything about Wilson so I read about him on Wikipedia and learned he died rather young at the age of 49. How sad it was to read that the last nine years of his life he spent in a semi-comatose state after having a massive heart attack on stage for a Dick Clark Oldies Concert in 1975. Thanks for the birthday tribute and sparking my curiosity to know more about Jackie Wilson. Have a good day, my friend.

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming by this morning, dear friend!

      I'm happy to know this tribute post for John Ettline also got you interested in The Titan of Soul -Jackie Wilson. Over the years I have posted several of Jackie's songs including a few that he performed as front man of Billy Ward And His Dominoes during the period 1953 through 1957. When I learned that Jackie suffered a heart attack and collapsed during that Dick Clark revue I was deeply saddened. I sent Jackie a get well card which I doubt he was able to read. It was a terrible fate for a performer with such energy and vitality to be struck down in the prime of his life and remain incapacitated nine more years before passing away. I wish his life story would have ended more happily.

      Thanks again for being here today, dear friend Cathy. Enjoy the rest of your day and week!

    2. Tom,

      Although, Jackie probably did not read any of the get-well wishes sent to him by fans I bet someone in his family made a point to read each one to him.

      Can you imagine how horrible the wait was for his family? That's just awfully sad.

      Thanks for stopping by to vote in my latest BoTB. Have a great day, my friend!

    3. Hi, Cathy!

      Yessum, it was a terrible fate for such a dynamic entertainer, just horrible. It never even occurred to me that members of Jackie's family might have read my get well card to him. If they did I hope it gave him and them some small measure of comfort.

      Thanks again for coming over to chat, dear friend Cathy!

  8. Jackie Wilson sure was a handsome man and what a great voice. The song you picked was really good too! Happy Birthday to Mr. Ettline! This toe tapping number has him celebrating in heaven I'm sure! It's wonderful to be remembered like you have remembered John each year. 112 on the 12th..hmmm, I would say that's what my Mom would call a "golden birthday". Hope your having a good week and all's well with you and Mrs. Shady! Take care!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Welcome to the week long celebration as I mark the 112th anniversary of John Ettline's birth. I am very glad you came to the party, dear friend!

      Yessum, Jackie Wilson was one of my favorite R&B and soul singers. He had style. He had class. He had smooth moves, a great dancer. He had confidence - a touch of swagger that was appealing rather than off putting. John Ettline had those same qualities, I think.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and great comment, dear friend YaYa. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. He accomplished so much! That’s pretty cool(no pun intended) that he created the first place for dancing with a/c. Today is my dad’s birthday who would have been 105. Leave to the Pisces people to wear their hearts on their sleeves and create something truly special

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you for joining us, dear friend! It's so nice of you to come down today as the celebration of John Ettline's life goes on and on.

      While John didn't "create" the Valencia Ballroom, he reportedly managed it for a time, this according to one of his nieces. With its solid oak floor and sophisticated wall murals, the Shady Dell dance hall was no doubt inspired by The Valencia.

      Your father was born seven months before my dad. Thanks for letting me know that you are observing your dad's birthday today. In doing so I hope you bring back many happy memories.

      Thank you again for visiting and for your lovely comment, dear friend BB!

  10. Happy Birthday, John! So good of you to continue to remember this great guy. I liked your choice of music, too!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Thank you very much for joining my week long birthday tribute to John Ettline, King of the Dell Rats.

      I'm happy to know you enjoyed the song by the late great Jackie Wilson. Both men had charisma to spare. Thanks again, dear friend Sherry, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. I expect one day living to 112 will be normal but we are not there yet just saying

    1. Hi, Jo-Anne!

      How are you, dear Aussie friend? Thank you for coming to honor John Ettline this year on the 112th anniversary of his birth.

      I don't know about Australia, but I read that the life expectancy in the U.S. is dropping. I doubt that living to the ripe old age of 112 will be normal anywhere in the world anytime soon, but it's a nice notion and something to strive for.

      Thank you again for dropping in, dear friend Jo-Anne, and enjoy your weekend down under!

  12. Kathleen Mae SchneiderMarch 16, 2018 at 8:16 AM

    Here's a history and a math reading problem for you, Tom: My mother and father married in 1934 after a six year courtship. Mother remembered dancing "the Lindy" and the "Charleston" at the Valencia Ballroom when they dated. Is there a chance that John would have been there when they were? It's an interesting question for me, and I don't have John's chronology to check on it.

    About John's legacy: I've heard it would be good if each of us sat down and wrote our epitaph and eulogy. It would show what we want others to remember about us after we're gone.

    From what you tell us about John's personality, and knowing intimately that of my mother and father, none of them sought the spotlight in their lives. They chose instead to plant seeds of kindness and love, and modeled a vibrant love of life in spite of all the things that happened to them that would have made others bitter and resentful. They humbly worked diligently to help others wherever and whenever they found themselves, doing their best with the resources and gifts God gave them. What inspirations they are for us in our own time! What can we do now as we consider our epitaphs?

    If John saw the wonderful tributes you devote to him every year, I wonder if he, like my mother, would be somewhat incredulous that they had made so much positive impact on those fortunate enough to know him. While Mother was incredibly flattered by, and grateful for the beautiful comments sent her way across the technological divide she never had a chance to master, she was almost embarrassed by her international "fame", thinking others were more deserving of it than her. She lived a life of faith and service to others that truly followed that quote "Preach the Gospel at all times.. If necessary, use words." However, she most definitely did not see herself as unique. In her mind, why would anyone want to live any other way?

    Although it's speculation on my part, I think both John and Mother spent their lives by deliberately attempting to make a positive difference in this world. They succeeded, as do you, Tom, in honoring them and so many others on your blog. In the process of making sure no one ever forgets them, you are assuring the same for yourself!

    1. Hi, Kathleen!

      I am overjoyed to find a comment from you this week, dear friend! Thank you very much for helping me observe the 112th anniversary of Shady Dell owner John Ettline's birth.

      I also thank you for sharing that tidbit about your mother and dad dancing at York's Valencia Ballroom during their courtship in the late 1920s thru early 30s. I am making a mental picture of it. Your question as to whether John might have been there at the time, possibly as manager of the facility, is one that never before occurred to me. It led me to an article in the archives of the York Daily Record. According to the article, the Valencia was founded in 1911, the year the Dell was built and the year before your mother was born. The place was originally named the Coliseum Ballroom. In 1928 the Tassia family assumed ownership "with the thought it could become a cold storage plant." The "pivotal moment," according to YDR, was March 1929 when the Tassias chose instead to "book national acts for music and dancing." On May 2, 1929, the Valencia hosted the first "student hop, with the Blue Moon Orchestra performing." There's a chance that your seventeen year old mother and her date, your dad, attended that dance - a very exciting thought! John Ettline would only have been age 23 that year, perhaps too young to manage the giant ballroom, but who am I to say it didn't happen that way? The YDR article also states the following: << Summer dancing in 1931 came with air conditioning. "This, we believe, was the first air-conditioned ballroom in America" the history states. >>

      I agree with you about people like your mother and John. They calmly went about their business and, without a great deal of fanfare, set a fine example for young people. Mother Margaret and John Ettline were symbols of strength and determination. They selflessly gave of themselves, promoted citizenship and civic responsibility, and contributed to the greater good.

      As always your words are eloquent and very kind, Kathleen. Thank you again for being here on this important date on the Shady Dell calendar. As you well know, there are two more lives to celebrate and two more birthdays to observe coming right up - one a week from now and one a month from now.

      Your visits are greatly appreciated, Kathleen. I wish you and your family a safe and happy weekend!


You talkin' to me?