Monday, April 11, 2011

6 A.M. Swing Party - Rendezvous Ballroom

In honor of last week's post about the Balboa Rendezvous, I thought I'd share a 1938 Look Magazine article with you about some of the incredible dancing that used to take place there! The Rendezvous Ballroom was huge, roughly 1 city block wide and 1 city block long - but I think 5,000 kids in there would still have been crowded! No wonder they could only dance chest to chest. :)

5,000 Young Californians Rise at Dawn for a... 

On June 18 in Balboa, Cal., the amazing swing music fad in the U.S. hit a new high. On that day some 5,000 "cats" and "alligators" rose at dawn to "cut rugs" and "kick out" at 6 o'clock in the morning. The occasion was a "jam session" or "swingaree" staged by radio station KEHE to celebrate the end of the school year.
The night before the party, "ickies" and "jitterbugs" started arriving. Many came in parties composed of members of local swing clubs. Most of them came by car, some by foot. One young man drove 396 miles from Tonopah, Nev. One came on crutches.
From 6 to 8 in the morning, the ballroom of the Balboa Rendezvous shook with their dancing of the Big Apple, the Varsity, the Suzie-Q while the orchestra and a phonograph "gave out" with "licks" and "solid senders."

Those shirts! Those ties! So terrible, and so AWESOME!

Dancing in a hat and gloves...but no stockings. Those wild jitterbugs!

This photo has been one of my personal favorites since I was 16 years old - 
I wanted to be her SO badly.
Still do. :)


  1. Wow! That article is something! I'm not so sure I'd be up for dancing at 6 am. LOL Great photos of those crazy cats ;)

  2. What awesome photos! I love some of their names... Pronto Quick? Snookie Bishop?

    That last photo is surely my favorite!

  3. wow, what a blast! I love that one guy slept in the ballroom the night before!! Who knew there was a Snookie before that trainwreck of a girl on trash tv's Jersey Shore. LOL

  4. AMAZING!!! Someone needs to recreate this event; I'd be there bright and early!

  5. Amazing, thanks for posting. For me, it sheds a light on that famous crowded rendevous picture. And I'm ever so intrigued by the shirts of these guys.

  6. I think I would have been up for 6am dancing back when I was 17 and starting summer vacation...these days? Maybe. :)

    I love the names too, but it makes them darn hard to track down now! No way is Proto Quick his real name, and I've had zero luck with Snookie. Apparently Roy Damron is alive and well, out in Hawaii, but I've been too shy to contact him. Need to enlist Chris's help for that!

  7. Hey pardon my ignorance but did Snookie also go by the nickname Choppy/Choppie Seed?

    One of the pictures above and the Turner Classic Movies website, lists Ray at this event with her:

  8. That's a question I've wondered about too, and I don't know the answer. My best guess is that they were different girls as both were photographed and captioned for this article, but it's hard to make out their faces and both of their names seem like nicknames, so it might be the same person. Roy has moved to Hawaii so I haven't yet been able to contact him, but this is definitely one of the questions I plan to ask when I get the chance!

  9. Betty "Choppy" Seed, and Snookie Bishop were 2 different people. Snookie up and left around 1939, moved to Panama. Roy Continued dancing with Betty.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...