Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

WILL THE REAL WAYNE KING PLEASE STAND UP?

July 31, 2016

To Tell The Truth is a television game show that began in 1956.  It featured a panel of four celebrities who, through the questions they asked, tried to determine the correct identification of one of the three guests who was appearing because of their unusual occupation or because of an interesting experience they had had.  The two impostors could lie if they wanted but the real celebrity was required “to tell the truth.”

The show aired in the evening on prime time television and, two years into their run on Tuesday, January 14, 1958, Wayne King, “The Waltz King” appeared.

Wayne King was a nationally known orchestra leader who was renowned for his saxophone playing and the waltzes his orchestra performed.  The orchestra had a Chicago-based radio show and television show at various times after World War II but was most renowned for their performances at the famous Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.  In fact, his orchestra performed “The Last Waltz You Save For Me” on the final day of the Aragon’s long run.  In addition, he put out a number of LPs highlighting his waltzing, orchestral sound.Wayne King 2

But, in Schaumburg Township, Mr. King was known personally.  He purchased a weekend, get-away farm along Roselle Road in August, 1951 where the Mennonite Church is today.  In fact, their barn-like church was the barn that housed his animal stock back in the day.

During his years here, Mr. King endeared himself to the people of Schaumburg Township with his quiet, unassuming ways.  A number of the oral historians on the library’s Local History Digital Archive speak fondly of him and remember him going to Lengl’s (now the Easy Street Pub) for a bite to eat and even serving as Master of Ceremonies at the Fall Dance Frolic at the Roselle Country Club (now the Schaumburg Golf Club.)

Mr. King sold the farm in 1957 and the following year appeared on “To Tell The Truth” to try and fool the panel made up of Polly Bergen, John Cameron Swayze, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner.  You can watch it here on YouTube at 15:56.  See if you can tell who the real Wayne King is before the panel casts their vote!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

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LEVIATHAN! A MONSTER OF A ROCK BAND

May 22, 2016

 

Band photo 2

Kurt Cobain didn’t know it but there was Nirvana in Schaumburg Township long before his band came on the scene.  In August 1972, seven local guys began meeting in the houses and garages of their parents, jamming and kicking around various songs as well as a possible name for their new band.  With the early working name of Nirvana, they played for as long as each set of parents could take it before they moved on to the next house.

By September not only were they scheduled to perform at Schaumburg’s back-to-school dance, but they had also settled on a new name for the group.  Calling themselves Leviathan! after the large sea monster from the Old Testament, they fittingly told the press they were a “monster of a rock band.”  Roy, one of the band members said, “Back then we tried to make sure Leviathan always had an exclamation point in print –i.e. Leviathan!  But it didn’t always work so well, and it was often misspelled too.”

Flyer of band playing

The group of seven consisted of both current students and graduates of Conant, Schaumburg and Palatine High Schools.  They were:

Greg Pasek (Lead Guitar, Vocals)
Jim Polecastro (Lead Vocals, Guitar)
Steve Polecastro (Bass)
Irwin Rudolph (Tenor Sax, Flute, Vocals)
Hermann Schneider (Keyboards)
Roy Vombrack (Alto, Soprano, Tenor Sax)
Greg Walsh (Drums)

Jim and Steve, the two brothers, founded the group with Greg Pasek and Hermann Schneider.  Not long afterwards Irwin, Roy and Greg Walsh joined, bringing their prior experience and talent.

In the nature of a lot of bands, some members came with formal experience and some were self-taught.  Hermann, Irwin, Roy and Greg Walsh played in their high school bands while Steve, Jim and Greg Pasek had taken up the guitar after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Their sound, according to a local article, focused on “powerful saxophone arrangements and gut vocal.  The gentler side of the band create[d] flute duets and acoustic guitar work.”   Roy said, “We played mainly fairly progressive music… a huge range, from popular music by Loggins & Messina, Jethro Tull, and Stevie Wonder to lesser known performers like Johnny Winter, White Trash, Jack Bruce, and Gypsy.  We mixed in a few originals by several of the guys, too.”  Steve also noted that Roy did some rearrangements.

Band photo

 

Following the Schaumburg High School dance they were invited to perform at Schaumburg’s  annual Septemberfest (where they also played in the fall of 1973.)  Their next date was on October 14, 1972 at the Rally Dance for the Democratic team of George McGovern and Sargent Shriver in the St. Francis de Sales school gym in Lake Zurich.  “Dancers…worked up an appetite grooving to the hard rock sound…”   [The Frontier Enterprise; October 19, 1972]

Democratic Dance Flyer

After playing at a number of colleges, high schools and teen centers, they were written up in Carpentersville’s Cardunal Free Press.  On Saturday, February 3, 1973 they made their debut at “The New Expression” teen center in Carpentersville at a dance held from 8 to 11:30 p.m.  The band was described as having “eccentric vocal and instrumental talent” and playing music from Edgar White [Winter], Jethro Tull, Traffic and “hits like ‘Superstition’ and ‘Mama Don’t Dance and Daddy Don’t Rock n’ Roll.”  They also mentioned that Leviathan “is best known for their own arrangements of rock n’ roll hits.”

Leviathan followed this up with a mention in NIU’s Northern Star on April 27, 1973 detailing the fact that they would appear as part of the Student Association Concert Committee’s May Fete in front of Douglas Hall on April 29, 197 at 7 p.m.

They also had the opportunity to back up Styx at Jane Addams Junior High on August 1, 1973 and later at Papa Joes in Park Ridge.  Another date at Papa Joes found them backing up “Rufus,” a Chicago area funk band.

The band continued to perform for a few years, playing their own style and getting gigs.  They remain friends and sent me the articles that I used to write this posting.

When things were rockin’ in the 70’s, the sky was the limit in the music scene.  The seven band mates of Leviathan! took full advantage of that opportunity and turned it into something special.  As Hermann said, “[It was] a small but fun part of our past.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

[Roy Vombrack remains part of the local music scene with The Roy Vombrack Orchestra.  Everything came full circle when his orchestra performed–fittingly–at Schaumburg’s 50th Anniversary Gala in 2006.]

[Leviathan’s photographs were taken by Roy Vombrack’s father, Paul, who was a professional news cameraman for WLS and WGN as well as a movie cinematographer.]

BEING A KID IN HOFFMAN ESTATES!

April 10, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

There were so many fun things to do for children growing up in Hoffman Estates in the early years of the village.

With so much construction going on in the neighborhoods, starting in 1955 and continuing into the 70’s, there were always those wonderful piles of dirt the seemed to draw the kids like magnets.  But our early town had so many fun places to go to.

During the cold days of winter everyone could go ice skating on their local pond.  Some had warming houses to help take the frost from their frozen feet.  If you had enough guys, you could get a hockey game going.  With enough snow on the ground, you could head over to Fleetwing Farm on Central Rd. and go tubing with your friends.

Hoffman LanesHoffman Lanes bowling alley was a busy place for both adults and children.  The adult bowling leagues were filled with moms & dads who enjoyed the competition & the opportunity to meet others.   Saturday afternoons found the kids really getting into their own bowling competitions.

When the Thunderbird Movie Theater opened in the Golf Rose Shopping Center in the early 60’s, the kids headed to the Sunday matinees and gave their parents a few hours of peace and quiet.  Snyder Drugs was right next door to the theater and a great place to buy your candy.

A favorite eating place that the kids really enjoyed was Ground Round on Golf Rd.  Where else could you eat all those peanuts and not get scolded for throwing the shells on the floor?  The burgers were awesome as I remember.  Lum’s Hot Dogs on Golf Rd. was another great place.  Everyone liked the idea that the dogs were steamed in beer.  They tasted great.

In the 70s the hang out that Hoffman High kids liked was Barrington Square.  You could see a dollar movie at the Barrington Square Movie Theater, stop in for a slice of pizza at Garabaldi’s Restaurant and check out the latest albums at Flip Side.  Lines would form outside Flip Side for tickets to the hottest concerts.  A great hang out for the Conant kids was Hippo’s Hot Dogs on Higgins and Plum Grove Roads. They had the best Chicago style hot dog around. Hippos

Fireside_ArenaFireside Roller Rink on Roselle & Higgins, the world’s largest indoor rink, was one of the most popular places in town.  The local schools always had skating parties throughout the year. You never missed one.  They were a blast.

As the kids grew older, they were treated to more great entertainment at the Poplar Creek Music Theater.  In the 80s the 20,000 seat open air theater offered great performances by the most popular entertainers of the day.  Located at Route 59 and the Tollway, the theater is fondly remembered by everyone who enjoyed the music under the stars.

It is all gone except Garabaldi’s Restaraunt.  It’s fun to remember those days.  What do you remember?

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

POPLAR CREEK’S FIRST SEASON

November 20, 2011

As I’ve noted before, it’s always interesting to see what people are looking for when they stumble across this blog.  And they really seem to be interested in the many concerts that were held at the Poplar Creek Music Theater.

Some people are nostalgic, some people are curious and, after quizzing one of my colleagues, it appears that some fans often try to account for the shows of their favorite performers.    So, as a salute to these groups, I’m providing the concert list from Poplar Creek’s opening year—1980.

This list was derived from both the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune and is as complete as I can make it.  If you’re aware of any changes, please let me know!

June 6                        John Denver
June 7                        Henry Mancini and Sarah Vaughn
June 8                        Bob Hope and Barbara Eden
June 18                     Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
June 19                     Jefferson Starship
June 20                     Marvin Hamlisch and Liza Minnelli
June 23                     The New York Philharmonic
June 25                     Sammy Hagar
June 27                     The Blues Brothers
July 5                         Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reef Band
July 11                       Kenny Loggins
July 12 & 13             Engelbert Humperdink
July 18, 19, 20        Barry Manilow
July 27                       Isaac Stern and members of the Boston Symphony
July 28                       Chuck Mangione
July 30 & 31             Diana Ross
August 4 & 5            Beach Boys
August 8 & 9            Johnny Matthis
August 10                 Sha-Na-Na with John Sebastian
August 11                 Joe Jackson Band
August 12                 Santana
August 14                 Harry Chapin with Arlo Guthrie
August 15                 Anne Murray with Michael Johnson
August 17                 James Taylor
August 18 & 19       Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
August 20                 Willie Nelson
August 22 & 23       Tom Jones
August 26 & 27       Chicago
August 29                 Waylon Jennings

Prices for a series of tickets ranged from $44 for lawn seats to $67.50 for pavilion seating.  Tickets for individual concerts varied from $6 to $12.50.  What a steal!

It’s an interesting list and who wouldn’t want to go back in time and hear these performers in their prime?

WHO WAS THE FIRST PERFORMER AT POPLAR CREEK?

April 4, 2010

For 14 years at the intersection of Higgins Road and Route 59,  Hoffman Estates was home to a wonderful outdoor concert venue called Poplar Creek.  The covered pavilion had reserved seating for 7000 and the grassy slope could accomodate 13,000 more.

Various acts such as Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, The Beach Boys and REO Speedwagon performed through the years.  I, personally, saw Anne Murray and Julie Andrews.  Who did you see before the theater closed in 1994?  And who was the first act?  Any guesses?   And, no, it’s not Willie Nelson!