Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Entertainers

Jim Sartor wrote about the entertainers that used to play the Club 63 and elsewhere on Taiwan:

Does anyone remember any of the great entertainers that came through the club circuit in Taipei?
My wife and I even saw Roy Orbison at the 63 one night. Can't imagine seeing someone like that today for free!
Here's a pic of a young group we met personally and had over to our home a couple of times. Always wondered what happened to them.

13 comments:

Jim said...

I was at one of the Taipei American School Reunions and this subject came up. Because most TAS alums scattered to the four winds upon returning stateside, the reunions have always been a pretty inclusive shindig that incorporates people from classes that graduated in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even a few 80's. Long story short, some folks who were in Taipei as DOD dependants in the mid sixties regaled some of us with recollections of a wide variety of acts that came through town. Often if they meshed with the demographic, some of these acts were booked into one or both of the Teen Clubs that were operated out in Tienmou and up on Grass Mountain. Apparently the one that made the biggest impression on the alums sharing that night was an appearance by Gary Lewis and the Playboys up at the GMTC in 1966. The group was riding a huge wave of popularity with a series of chart-topping hits and their show was the event of the year. I arrived on island six years later and the volume of touring acts was greatly diminished. The explanation was that a majority of acts were from USO tours that had played every enlisted club and NCO watering hole across the Far East throughout the war. With the withdrawal of troops and the subsequent shutdown of installations, the demand for acts evaporated. I remember looking at the big wall calendar that graced a prominent spot just inside the entrance to the TMTC. It was framed by scores of publicity photos featuring the various acts that had come through the club over the years. One pic that I remember was Gene Pitney. I knew of his hit; “Town Without Pity”, but the pompadour he was donning in his headshot already seemed like a relic from the past to this 70's kid.
Some oldtimer in Taipei who once told me that Bob Hope did a Christmas show from CCK in 1969. Keep up the good work.

Don said...

Very cool comments, Jim. (I think I can use the word "cool," since my generation invented it.) ;-)

Just a bit of trivia:

-- Gary Lewis was the son of comedian Jerry Lewis. He and The Playboys got their first job performing at Disneyland, without telling anyone who his dad was.

-- Gene Pitney was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

I wore out a lot of vinyl listening to those guys.

titojohn said...

I saw Louis Armstrong and Orchestra at Club 63 in 1963 or 1964. I remember I had a seat right down front. It was a great performance that I remember to this day.

Jim said...

titojohn-
That is history my man. Satchmo was one of the true giant in annals of American music.
How was the show? 63 or 64 huh?
I guess he was doing his "Wonderful World" and "Hello Dolly" stuff by then.

Jim said...

Don-My 13 yr old uses the "way-cool" version today.
Good expressions never go out of style;)

titojohn said...

According to a news article/photo I found. I guess my memory on year I saw Louis Armstrong is not too bad. He probably performed at Club 63 the night after he performed at the officer's club.

I found this a news photo in the Stars and Strips archives of Louis Armstrong appearing at the MAAG Officers club with the following caption:

Taipei, Taiwan, December 16, 1964: Jazz great Louis Armstrong is greeted by Mrs. Donald Johnson, wife of the Military Assistance Advisory Group's protocol officer, at the MAAG Officers Club. Mrs. Johnson once sang with Fred Waring's band under the name of Bernie Thrush. Armstrong and the other six members of his band played for a crowd of about 450 people at the club.

Link to PHOTO!

titojohn said...

Jim, I remember Satchmo singing and playing Hello Dolly, Mack the Knife and lots of blues songs. I think What a Wonderful World came later in his career.

John

Les Halfhill said...

During my stay (78-79), the club was called the China Seas. We saw Chubby Checker, the Four Aces...

Mike said...

I remember emceeing a show at the MAAG O'Club circa 1976 when Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones of the Monkees were trying to revive Monkee persona as a two-person act.

Also remember aspiring songwriters/artists from Nashville performing as they visited Taiwan to have clothes custom-tailored (with sequins, of course).

jandhbakker said...

Jim, Saw the photo and yes we are still alive and well. Alas no longer the Chantinos. Drop me a line and LOVE to refresh some memorable times in Taiwan. Regards John.

Don said...

John, please drop me a note at ustdc@yahoo.com so I can forward your address to Jim. Thanks. Don

Anonymous said...

John: Please email Don with
your contact point and I'll also
send it to Bill Kolb (You stayed
with Bill and June in Tien Mu
when playing here)..

Jim Sartor

jandhbakker said...

Don, My wife and I are off tomorrow on a month holiday. Will be in touch when we return. Pass on our best wishes to Jim as well. Thanks John Bakker