Volume One  Issue 3

    Phoenix Edition

December, 2009  

  Jack Curtis Presents  
 
Thanks for zeroing in on This Page.

  You're going to see lots of remem-brances from those glorious years of the 50s and 60s. Most will be of the musical and entertainment variety. They will be recollections of my time as Phoenix an entertainment and record columnist, plus promoter of big name rock & roll acts.

  Also included will be memories from the days of teen clubs in Phoenix and the personalities who made them click for 8 years. Other items of interest you can read about in future editions will include:

  --Who were some of the rock 'n roll legends who played Phoenix and more about them?

  --Thoughts on Ray Curtis, one of the top DJs in town during these golden years and how did he ended up in Memorial Hospital doing his show from there for a week?

  -- Who were the Earwigs and the name change that brought them international fame?

  --What was really the first strong try at bringing the teen dance club format to Phoenix? It dates to the fall of 1960 and was situated at 40th Street and Camelback.

  --Remember the KoKo eatery and night club at 24th St. and Camelback? And who was the top- drawer celebrity that drew a handful of people for his second show one evening.  He was a legend we all respected.

  --What was the reason for Dick Clark's appearance in Phoenix at the Paramount Theater in 1962 (I think).

  --My lunch with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Arizona Biltmore and how it came about.

  --Items on Rick Nelson, Johnny Mathis, Del Shannon, Dick & Dee Dee, The Hollies, The Mamas and Papas and lots more.

Thanks for reading this far and ....Let The Good Times Roll.
 


???????????

What was the name of the band that officially opened Stage 7 in February of 1961? They played the club for a year and always closed the dance night with what ballad originally recorded by Conway Twitty.

You can win two tickets to Harkins Theater for the first correct answers. Email to jdc31@cox.net
 


Jack Curtis Presents Let the Good Times Roll

 

BYRDS WERE FIRST
ROCK GROUP TO PLAY NEW COLISEUM IN 1966

  The Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum opened in November of 1965, and The Byrds, brought to Phoenix by Stage 7, the town's top teen club in those days. The Byrds recording of "Turn, Turn, Turn" wa number one in the nation at the time.
 
  Most notably it was also the first rock group to play the coliseum on west McDowell. The Byrds were also booked in Tucson and they played the final night back in Phoenix at Stage 7 in a very intimate setting and one in wh;ich Byrd lovers found so special.

  The Byrds, led by by Roger McGuinn also featuredMichael Clark, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark and David Crosby (yes THAT David Crosby). Two of the groups first three releases reached number one. The other was
"Tambourine Man."
 
  McGuinn is the lone remaining member of the Byrds and he currently does solo engagements around the country. Note: do you remember the name of the group before they took the Byrds name? It was the Beefeaters.

                                                       -Jack Curtis 

Let The Good Times Roll


Remembering A
Cinema Treasure


 The headline says it all.

  The downtown Fox Theater on East Washington Street, razed in 1975, was truly a Cinema Treasure. And theater enthusiasts still rue to this day the decision to destroy it in favor of building a bus terminal on that location. The bus terminal only lasted a few years.

  Built at a cost of $360,000, the Fox opened in July of 1931. It sat 1800 movie goers. To replace the theater today it has been estimated it would cost $100 million.

  The Fox was the first theater in the city with air conditioning. The interior had a super elaborate art deco design. More than 1,000 yards of carpeting was used in the theater. The original aisle carpet was red and grey.


(Hold your mouse over the image)  

  And how about this?

  If you showed up at the theater with a box of groceries, the Fox would put them in cold storage for you while you viewed the movie. There was a dumb waiter , too, which was used for hoisting the film reels up to the second floor projection booth.

  Many will remember Lew King and his Rangers which made its home most Saturday mornings for years at the Fox. The Sunday afternoon pop music show was another 'live' effort by Fox management.

 The Fox has been gone for 35 years, but the cherished memories of many earlier day Phoenicians will remain in their thoughts for many years to come.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW??

  Phoenix has had it share of recording artists through the years. And observers know where most of them are located. If you can provide information on these artists who have 'disappeared' from the scene let this website know.

  Here they are: Judy Lunn, Eddie LeMaire, Sandy Garwood/Dan Bowley, Bob James, Don Phillips (both of P-Nuter Butter. And where is DJ Sonny Knight who spent some popular years at KRIZ Radio? Send info to jdc31@cox.net
 


--NEXT TIME: P-NUT BUTTER, one of the best of the Phoenix groups of the mid-60s, will get the feature treatment in the next edition of Let The Good Times Roll. Their single of "What Am I Doin' Here With You" was a top seller in the Phoenix market and led to other singles on the Mascot label.




The Fox Theatre circa 1938
A Glittering Star in Downtown Phoenix

FOX THEATER HOST
TO 'LIVE' SUNDAY SHOW

  The Fox Theater in downtown Phoenix was one of America's truly great movie palaces through the years until its demise in 1975 (see accompanying article). But did you know it was also the home of a six month running Sunday afternoon stage show sprinkled with Phoenix entertainers, recording artists, and musicians? Here's how the show came about: Dick Smith, the theater's GM and Phoenix city councilman, asked me to put together a 45 minute stage show they could present each Sunday afternoon.

  So I did. The year was 1958.
 
  I corralled a group of Phoenix entertainers including Al Casey, Buddy Wheeler and Dolf Payer to back the singers. The trio of musicians were the best. I had a budget of $75 each week. The musicians accepted $15 each because they liked being part of the reputation as one of the best lead guitar players in the nation. Unfortunately, Al died several years ago and we miss him to this day. Al Casey had a reputation as one of the best lead guitar players in the nation.

  Some of the performers included Greg Connor, Judy Faye, Johnny Silvers, Terry and Peggy, etc. The highlight of the 'live's stage experience was a midnight show where Duane Eddy stepped on stage to perform "Rebel Rouser," the instrumental which was blazing on the national charts at the time. Duane mentioned that he was leaving after the show to appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.
 
  It is a distant memory now but one not soon forgotten for those who performed and the hundreds in the audience on those special Sundays.
                                                                                                                     -Jack Curtis


FAFARA REALIZES A 'DREAM' WITH 60'S HIT

 
 

Listen to Frank Fafara
Singing
"Only In My Dreams

 

 

  
  
First In A Series

 O
n the music scene in the early 60s, Frank Fafara was the city's Buddy Holly with his songs and performances reminiscent of the giant rock 'n' roll performer.

  Fafara got his professional start in the late 60s auditioning for the town's teen club, Stage 7. He was on stage for the opening of the club in February of l961.

  His original song, "Only In My Dreams," had caught the ear of recording professionals in Phoenix and the song found its way onto wax and the airwaves here.

  It shot to top five on the surveys and Fafara was quickly dubbed  a teen singing star. Appearances followed including TVs Wallace and Ladmo, Teen Beat and even department store autograph parties.

  "Lovemaker, Lovebreaker" was the follow-up but it  didn't garner as much support, but another disc, "Golden One" clicked for the Phoenix Performer.

   More recently, Fafara has released a CD of all his major songs on a slick album (shown here). The CD is available by clicking on www.Frank Fafara.com.


 
  Other Phoenix talent made up the local 60s scene but in the opinion of local music observers none have been more talented than Fafara. He continues to live in Fountain Hills with longtime singing sidekick Patty Parker.
Have A Musical Memory of the 50's and 60's in Phoenix ?
Share It With Us.  Email
to jdc31@cox.net

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