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Clay Cole at Wonderworld

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From Clay Cole, 2008. Let me set the record straight. I was engaged to perform a four-to-six-show a day at the Bourbon Street Pavillion. Downstairs at the bar was the Gene Krupa Sextet. Our show featured a cast of dancers, a rock band and rotating guest stars (among them Leslie Gore). I also taped many World's Fairt segments for my WPIX-TV, Ch 11 TV Show. Also among the cast was Candy Johnson ("Miss Perpetual Motion") who twisted so fast that she claims to have lost 10 pounds each show; we did six a day, scales were dragged out, it was all so bizarre. (www.candyjohnson.com)

In July, the Fair's big entertainment spectacles, including the "Wonder World" at the Meadow Lake Amphitheatre, "To Broadway with Love" in the Texas Pavilion, and Dick Button's "Ice-travaganza" in the New York City Pavilion, all closed early, with heavy losses. When "Wonder World" shutdown for lack of interest, we were invited to appear at the 11,000 seat arena, based on the approval of fair officials.

We were required to audition for the ubiquitous Robert Moses, the sourpuss, self-proclaimed arbiter of taste to the cultured masses who shuffled aimlessly around Flushing Meadows each day. Robert Moses sat way back there, alone in the bleachers, and we danced our way through our hour of mashed potatoes, slop, Popeye, pony, monkey, mouse, jerk, fly, swim, stroll, cha cha, chalypso, funky-chicken, boogaloo, limbo, hully-gully, hucklebuck, hand-jive, and twist.

The next day, in a page one story in the New York Times, Mr. Moses declared, “Clay Cole’s Twistarama is a dirty, filthy, rotten show.” Thanks to Mr. Moses’ front-page review, we played four shows a day for much of the summer. We were not paid by the theatre, we were working off the $1-dollar admission. We folded because a 200-member audiernce was lost in a 11,000 seat arena.

I am preparing a book on the events at the 64-65 Fair and I am seraching for anecdotes, photos, memories, etc. Anyone who can help can reach me at theclaycoleshow@yahoo.com or my Website (with a World's Fair file) at www.claycoleshow.com ----My thanks, Clay Cole

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Hey Clay welcome to PTU. I never knew some of your broadcasts originated at the fair. I did hear that WPIX erased all your tapes in the late 60's, is that true?

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Clay,

Great to hear from you. Welcome to PTU.

Do you have any remaining video from the Fair? I'm sure many of us here would love to see it.

Al

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I add my welcome and plea for video tho my friends here. Welcome!

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Thank you for your favorable and welcoming responses. When WPIX-TV CH 11 NY invested in videotape, the AMPEX tape reels were cumbersome two-inch tapes costing $200.00 a reel (for a 90-minute reel). All our historic broadcasts... our all Motown hour, our Beatles vs Rolling Stones special, my hour with one guest (Tony Bennett) and appearances by Simon & Garfunkle, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Dionne Warwick, Tony Orlando and Neil Diamond (who met and married my production assistant Marcia Murphy.) In 1964 we taped many segments at the World's Fair.

In a cost-cutting edict from the penny-pinching management at CH 11, all those historic tapes were ereased and reused - recored over. Not one second remains of a priceless archive.

So, in assembling my book, I must rely on the memories of folks who were there.

I am awestruck that I found "Peace Through Understanding" and it's gems of verbal memorabilia.

Please keep me posted.

With thanks, regards -- Clay Cole

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A neat story Clay. Thanks for posting it and welcome to PTU. :D

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Clay you’re not alone with the sad story of stations erasing and reusing tape. In my hometown of Cleveland, a sports producer in the late 1970s taped over the entire week of The Mike Douglas Show co-hosted by a then 20 year-old Barbra Streisand. The fellow got in trouble but the damage was already done.

Have you talked to an archivist at The Paley Center about their collection? Occasionally I’ve been surprised by some of their holdings. Additionally there are about a dozen other archives/libraries you should check because you now know. Still the biggest resource likeliest is a private collector. It’s a fact that more vintage TV is in private hands than public. Look towards collectors of the artists you performed with. A producer friend of mine was working on a biopic of a singer/actress and located a fellow that had virtually every appearance she ever made on TV. Truly beyond belief!

Do you know of any home movies surviving of your performances?

As cheesy as it sounds you should set up some EBay alerts in 16mm and see what surfaces. May take a few years but it’s astonishing what shows up on EBay.

What ever you do don’t give up! Just yesterday I finally located after a 3-month search of every archive/library/museum/internet site a 1948 radio broadcast I needed to supplement a project I’m working on. Got it from a private collector in Toledo. Many of the places I searched told me I’d never located it since it was a one time special broadcast. Proved them wrong.

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Clay, I remember running into you twice, once at the Fair in the cocktail lounge at the African Pavilion and once a year later on 45th Street outside of the Peppermint Lounge.

Do you remember Larry Alltop? His band performed with Candy Johnson. I spoke with Larry in 2002. Here is the link of that conversation, http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.com/i...l=Candy+Johnson

Please tell us all about your World’s Fair experiences.

Many of us New Yorkers spent our teen years listening to you…thanks.

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Clay,

I just took a look at your website. Very enjoyable.

I grew up about a mile from Palisades Amusement Park. Boy, we hated when it closed in 1971. Any of your tapes from Palisades Park around? They would be great fun to see.

Al

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Almost fell over stumbling upon the shrine to Clay Cole on 60th off 2nd Ave, the Sh Boom Room. I'll be meeting the Pres of his fan club Tuesday. Any questions? Damn, they had a signing with 60 people there the day before I got to the city!

His book is out. PTU gets a plug! Great pics.

http://www.claycoleshow.com/Worlds_Fair.html

Name the tune of the boss soundtrack. Like Young, man. Bonus for knowing the lyrics.

Palisades Park et al here http://www.claycoleshow.com/Clay_Cole_Bin_.html

PS Johnny Maestro passed away 24 March. It's the worst that could happen.

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Name the tune of the boss soundtrack. Like Young, man. Bonus for knowing the lyrics.

LOVE that tune, whatever it is.....you better come back and clue us in!

Thanks for the link.

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Check out Linda Lawson's album photo. Her song, Like Young, is available new for a mere $132 on the Music from a Bachelor's Den Vol 1. You can hear a sample on Amazon. But it'll just break your heart beacause it's not MP3.

I'm out doin' the usual places

And I'm livin' it up, like young

Then I dig me this face of all faces

He's the craziest, like young

He drinks coffee at Cafe Expresso

He reads Kerouac, like young

He goes where all the angry young men go

Recites poetry, like young

We start blowin' the patter 'round 'leven

And we're homin' it, like now

We spin records on cloud number seven

And he's reachin' me, like wow

I'm all unstrung

Cause man he's got me feeling like young

If he were to brush me and go

I'd start in to wear my hair again

just like a square again

I keep getting the kookiest notion

I think maybe it's, like love

I been feelin' a crazy emotion

I think baby it's, like love

Now we're ridin' a rainbow to cloudsville

and we're makin' it, like young

Love soft as April snow

Love soft as candle glow

Love, Love is easy go

Try singing that to your 25 yr old girlfriend. She'll thumb text her mother's Blackberry.

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I received an e-mail last night from a lady complimenting me on my feature on the Illinois Pavilion from 2003 at Bill's site, where she said she had worked there. After thanking her for that, she sent me a follow-up e-mail telling this interesting story of then being part of the Clay Cole Show in the Bourbon Street Pavilion and then the Aquacade. I've suggested she register here and perhaps share more of her experiences so hopefully we'll be hearing from her soon!

E-MAIL TEXT:

I went from working at the at the Lincoln exhibit, I worked at the Bourbon Street Pavilion. The first show didn't work there, so Clay Cole, who put on rock 'n' roll shows, brought together some dancers from NY clubs and made a successful show that was very popular.
A friend from Forest Hills High School that I met at the Fair told me they were short one dancer and told me to apply. I had won so many dance contests growing up, so I applied and got the position. I had also been a singer....I made the record "Short Shorts" by the Royal Teens at age 16 in 1958 that was a big hit, and they also needed a singer. Well I joined the show, sang with Clay Cole and solo and danced in the show. We had so many big names appear with us like Lesley Gore who made the song "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To". It was a wonderful time in my life.
Our show eventually moved to the Billy Rose Aquacade Pool where we put on our show nightly. What a trip that was....having the pool all to ourselves when the show wasn't going on. I grew up in the area..in Forest Hills...and my dad taught me how to swim in that pool when it was open to the public.
I don't know if any of this is important, but it's nice to share my memories with someone who knows about the 1964 World's Fair.

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Craig,

Wow.

I had a temporary suitemate in North Halls, Penn State University who said his mother sang w the Royal Teens! His first name was Doug, last name forgotten. This was fall term 1977.

I'll ask around for his last name. Meantime, can you ask this lady if she was or knew of the mom?

PS Having second thoughts. Maybe roommate's mom sang on Ad Libs' "Boy From New York City." Maybe she knows those girls too!

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I don't know if any of this is important, but it's nice to share my memories with someone who knows about the 1964 World's Fair.

She doesn't know if this is important? Heck! She sang on Short Shorts!!

  • Like 1

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