Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, December 21, 2007

Club 63

I received a note from Kent (owner of the Taipei Air Station website), along with some photos from the old days, and he was kind enough to let me post them here. He's obviously right about the Club 63 name which just proves that memories (mine, in this case) do tend to fade over time. In my own defense, I have to say that we always called it the "63 Club" or just "The Club," which probably just proves that our use of the English language was about as refined as our feeble attempts at Chinese.

As I've mentioned earlier, the Club 63 became the China Seas Club when the Navy took over its operation. I recall that they did some remodeling and also installed slot machines, which the Air Force and Army had removed from all of their clubs some years earlier.

Here's Kent's input:

I saw in your latest blog you referred to the club as "63 Club." When I was in Taipei, the club was called "Club 63" or the MAAG NCO Open Mess. It got its name from APO 63 which was the old APO number before the APO's and FPO's were reorganized and added the 5 digit ZIP Code. Here is a copy of the cover of the Club 63 Magazine for June 1968. Rudy Arevelo is shown in the center pages celebrating his 10th Anniversary at Club 63, probably in May 1968. The picture is bad, but you judge for yourself. It was printed on the old offset press and the quality is typical of 1968.
[...also sending a...] picture of the Club 13 band at Taipei Air Station.

[Additional Note: Kent advises that the Club 13 photo was provided by Rick Ferch, who was at Site 4 and Shihmen.]





















17 comments:

John Hurst said...

Don,

Thoughout my time in Taiwan (1971-1974 & 1976), the 'downtown' club was always called the 63 Club - although the name was China Seas. If you took a taxi - especially from TAS, you always told the driver 'leosan chilaboo' (my phoentic spelling of Chinese - 63 Club!).

I don't remember the membership rules, but it seemed it was open to any and all military. I think they had a terriffic membership night once a month, with steaks as the main course.

When you mentioned the musical range of the band - I distinctly remember one night we were partying with some Army friends - and one guys wife really wanted to dance the 'pokka' and talked me into it - I must have been pretty good, as we danceed over 5 minutes!

The addition of the slot machines must have happened in late 1972 or early 1973, because that place was packed day and night. In fact, there were always older 'ladies of the night' wanting to be escorted into the club to play the slots. Several friends fell into that trap - they had to stay with those gamblers - and if they won - the winnings were recorded on the GI's SSAN!

One last thing - Mongolian BBQ night was not to be missed....

Don said...

John, you're absolutely right about Mongolian Barbecue night! You'd grab a bowl, fill it with whatever meat and veggies you wanted, cover it with...something. I can't remember what those bottles contained, but you'd then hand the whole thing to the cook. He'd throw it on the grill until it was just right and then put it all back into your bowl. Delicious!

Thanks for the tasty memories.

Curley said...

Another name for that club was "The Million Dollar Club." That was back in 1956-57. I just donated my membership card to the Minister of National Defense on Taiwan for their Military Museum. They were looking for artifacts from that time frame. They had slots in 56-57 and the proceeds all stayed in the club which made for some real cheap prices for everything else. They also donated free booze to the hostel out on Kinman.

Curley said...

Poking around in my stuff I ran across a raffell card for a Little League Benefit dated 3 August 1956 from the Allied Forces Club. That club does not ring a bell. Does anyone know where it was. The card cost $1.00. Doesn't say what the prize was.

Anonymous said...

The band at club 13 had two American civilian members. That's Jimmy Anderson sitting behind the Fender pedal steel guitar and Ray (Randy) Wood, that's me, standing next to him. My Fender Stratocater is on the chair behind me. I got the gig after playing a show there with entertainer, Del Reeves. The manager of the club asked me to come back and work in his band after the tour with Del was finished. I worked 6 days a week in the band for the next two years. 1964 to 1966. I was 22 years old when I started there, but I was in the far east from 1959 to 1967. standing next to me was the band leader, Ruben Averilo. I don't know who Rudy was. The club manager was from Florida but I can't remember his name. I had been working with Jimmy in Okinawa and got the manager to hire him also about 6 months after I got there. We put a country band together and our club manager booked out to cubs in Tainan and Taichung and other places where Americans where stationed.

raybobus said...

I must have known Rick Ferch as I probably knew everyone that came through the club. I wonder if he remembers the two civilians working there at that time. I'd like to remember that club manager's name and wonder if he's still around somewhere. He was one of the "good guys".

Les Halfhill said...

I got to TDC quite late (Feb/March 1978). Not that many people still around. I remember eating in the main dining room at the China Seas several times when my daughter and I were the only ones in the room. But the back room where the slots were was always busy. And they still had Mongolian BBQ! But my favorite was filet mignon, which they served on a very hot iron platter on top of a wooden block (so hot that they had to place a paper napkin over it before they set it in front of you, or you were in danger of getting splattered from the sizzle!).

There was no regular house band, but I remember see Chubby Checker, and Al Albert and the Four Aces play there.

But the BIGGEST memory was with the first few days after President Carter's "normalization" announcement on Jan 1st, 1979. There had been some angry mobs doing some angry things to all things "American" (storming the TDC compounds, the Embassy...), and that afternoon, a mob approached the China Seas, smashing up cars with US/military-related plates. So they get to the entrance to the club and try to get in. But someone had seen them coming, and the word got around the club. Well, on most days it was nearly empty in there, but that day there happened to be a bunch of sailors/marines on shore leave from a ship that had put in at Keelung. A bunch of them broke legs off of chairs/tables/whatever, and went to the entrance. Needless to say, the crowd outside never made it inside. Otherwise the place might have gone up in smoke!

Les Halfhill said...

P.S. Carter's announcement might have been on Dec 15th, not Jan 1st. Not real sure.

Don said...

Yes, Carter's address to the nation regarding Taiwan came during the evening of Friday, December 15th, 1978. I suspect that he timed the announcement (Friday night during the Christmas holiday season) to minimize news coverage. The joint communique, issued by the US and the PRC, was dated 1 Jan 1979.

Don

Ginny said...

My father in law, John W Cousin died on 12-31-08 and among his things was a sliver can with a matching lid, engraved on the front was these words "Complements of club 63 Tiapei Taiwan" along with his name.
The can has a fire breathing dragon on both the top and all around the sides.
I have no idea of the cans age but if you do,,,please email me.

Don said...

Ginny, the Club 63 (later known as the China Seas Club) used to give out little mementos to its members who were rotating back to the States. This sounds like it's probably one of those gifts.

I'd very much like to post a photo of it here on the blog, if you'd be willing to share it. Just email it to me at the ustdc address shown near the top of the right-hand column of the blog.

Don

Don said...

Oops, I neglected to answer your question about the date. It would likely have been presented to him somewhere between the late 1950s and the early 1970s. If you'll allow me to post a photo of it, perhaps someone can narrow that down a bit for you.

Jim Powers said...

I have a beer stein that has a Club 63 logo on it, a young topless lady, in yellow and black on a half liter stoneware beer stein. I was searching for information on the club to keep with the stein. I try to have some historical data for all of the steins in my collection. Was surprised that it came from the other side of the world than where I thought it did. Can anyone confirm that this is an actual stein from China Seas?

Don said...

Jim, that doesn't sound like anything I've heard about from the Club 63 in Taipei, but if you could take a photo of it and email it to me (address is at the top right of this page), I'll post it and see if anyone recognizes.

Thanks a lot!

Don

Les Halfhill said...

Jim,

Another possibility is that, apparently, there was a place called "Club 63" in Ramstein, Germany. Check out the following links:

http://tinyurl.com/ygeuvry
http://tinyurl.com/yhn4fws

Les

Bill Yates said...

I recently bought at a flea market a membership card to The "63" Club. It says, "This is to certify that C. E. Kincaid is a member in good standing to 9-1-61. This Card may be revoked at any time, without refund, for violations of the Club's Rules and Regulations."

Anonymous said...

Hello. I've been cleaning my parents' house and found a silver canister similar to the one described above, only this one has no name on it. I suspect it belongs to my uncle, who served in the air force in the Pacific during both Korea and Vietnam. I will ask him how (and when) he got this lovely little piece. I can narrow the date down to the 50s though, as it was used fo store change that seem to date from the 40s and 50s.