Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Teenage Fair

More of my upcoming-if-anyone-publishes-it book on growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 60s. This is spring break, 1965. I'm still too young to drive.
The Hollywood Palladium was a theater built in the 40s in Hollywood to stage big band concerts. From Tommy Dorsey to Doo Doo Brown this art deco palace has hosted ‘em all over the last seven decades. In the 60s it was the spring break home of the Teenage Fair. The Palladium inside and outside was filled with exhibits and booths. Guitars on display, decals, flyers, motorcycles, dance contests, electronic equipment, cosmetics, surfing demonstrations, radio remotes, record racks, and live concerts.

I wanted to bring a date but the two-hour bus ride each way proved to be a deal breaker.

In ten minutes I’m already bored. So I meander past the drug paraphernalia exhibit and adjacent Army recruiting booth to see which superstar was performing in the main room. It was a couple and they were God awful. No wonder they were booked for noon. She was this scrawny Goth chick and he was this middle aged goomba with a huge schnoz, a Beatle haircut, and a fur vest. Luigi Flintstone & Morticia. She at least could sing. He sounded like an ambulance siren. There were maybe eight of us watching this pathetic display, convinced that these were the two biggest losers on the planet. On the other hand, I can say I discovered Sonny & Cher.

23 comments:

Richard Jensen said...

And now you know...the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard Sonny lately? He's a little flat.

Bob Harlow said...

Ken,

Sonny & Cher were really makin' the rounds in Spring '65.

I saw them at a Park in Ontario
along with the Byrds(nobody in the crowd had ever heard of them) We
were all there to see Jan & Dean!!

Brian Phillips said...

Were they billed as Sonny and Cher or Caesar and Cleo?

VP81955 said...

And of course, in May of '65, KHJ began the Bill Drake format, and Top 40 would never be the same. I eagerly await Ken's remembrances of the first time he heard Drake's KHJ (what did he listen to beforehand? KFWB? KDAY?).

wv: "ousnev" -- Buckwheat's description of a place, up in a tree, where a certain wise old bird rests.

wv2: "briari" -- new Italian wine; has a rather prickly bouquet.

SharoneRosen said...

and in 1965, the duo, then known as Caesar & Cleopatra (at least for that night), sang for my brother's High School grad night party at the Veteran's Auditorium in Culver City. Ken (my brother, not you) said all the boys were...mmm, distracted by this lanky girl singer.

Casey said...

Re: The Cheers Post. "No One Ever Bought..." Didn't I read this post some time ago? Did no one notice this? Am I insane?

funny girl said...

I worked at the Teenage Fair...I remember that it was the first time yogurt was introduced. Tried it and made a face. Yuk...

TE said...

Warner Bros. Records was holding a promotional event to showcase new acts at the Kaleidoscope, across the street from the Palladium. The crowd was so sparse, the label sent emissaries to the Teenage Fair to wrangle kids to the event.

Those who came must have been puzzled indeed when they saw the U.S. debut of a UK band whose lead singer jumped around on one leg and played the flute.

Baird: a bird from Scotland

Aaron Barnhart said...

I was too young for solid food in 1965.

Anonymous said...

During the early R&R years, Bakersfield Civic Auditorium was one of the first stops for bands out of LA. We had every band come through, and we were able to see them all for very little money. Sonny & Cher, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the surf bands... even Jimi Hendrix swept through our city.

Fun times!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I think of S&C as The Scientologist and the Slut.

Harvey said...

I too grew up in the those fun filled world changing times.

The teenage fair was a place to enjoy your friendships and be in with the in crowd.

West Hollywood wad my turf and later the San Fernando Valley.

Great memories!!

Anonymous said...

I saw URIAH HEEP at the Palladium in the early 70's the first of many concerts i would see there.

Linda D said...

I loved the Teenage Fair. My Mom would drive us in from Canoga Park in the SF Valley and leave us for the whole day, then come back and get us in the evening. We were all 13-15 yrs old, I don't think parents would do that now. I got a lot of free acne cream!! I loved the bands and just walking around w/other teens and checking out the boys!

Jeffrey Leonard said...

I remember the 1966 Teenage Fair the best. KRLA (with Dick Biondi) had a monkey in a cage with a typewriter. The promotion was that they weren't going to let him out until he typed K-R-L-A. Today, they would be arrested for animal cruelty.

Roger Carroll said...

Ken when did you join us at KMPC?? rc

Unknown said...

Ken when did you join us at KMPC ?? rc

Ken Levine said...

January 1969 is when I joined KMPC. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. KMPC was the Tiffany of radio.

Anonymous said...

How's Al Burton doing these days?

ejcm55 said...

Does anyone remember the Preview House? Rating the newest T.V. previews. I saw Time Tunnel, Flying Nun, Batman. Ellis from Cahuenga.

Bill said...

My dad has a an old copy of Teenage fair magazine and program that he would like to part with dated april 1965. If anyone is interested, drop a comment and we can go from there

Ken Levine said...

I would love that copy. Email me at bossjock@dslextreme.com. Thanks.

Ken