It is with regret that I must cease updating the Pop House Blog. I think between the book and the blog we’ve covered about every topic. You’ve all been wonderful in sharing comments and stories about George and the Pop House. It truly was a magical place. In the words of George Stankewitz, “There has never been another Pop House and there never will be again.”
Unfortunately, I have to shut off the discussion board because the only comments I get lately are coming from “blog spammers.” It’s tough moderating the hundreds of spam comments I receive each week. I’ll leave the main postings up for you as long as I can.
Thank you all for your participation in this slice of Beloit local history!
jaccardi (at) alumni (dot) nd (dot) edu
(Pop House logo designed by Mike Fusello 1953)
Baseball season and the approaching summer got me thinking about the Pop House softball tournaments again. This time my thoughts turned to the tournament “royalty” that were the softball queens and their courts. Last year, Pam Choudoir commented that these young ladies were also referred to as “Snowball Queens,” maybe a reference to the softball looking a lot like a snowball. If anyone else knows about that, feel free to share a comment. Anyway… here’s a link to a very short PDF slide show featuring some of the softball royalty for whom photos were available. Hope it brings back some memories for you to share.
Last June, Jerry Wood (BCH ‘55) sent me a copy of the 1957 Chili Queen candidates that he colorized. It sort of fell by the wayside until I heard from him again recently. This time, through his correspondence with Mary Jo Witte who was a member of that group, all the girls in the photo are now identified. They are (l to r): Sally Stevens, Connie Bryant, Kay Buckwalter, Carol Chester, Carol Maryott, and Mary Jo Witte. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Now if anyone would like to verify the girls’ hair colors, please help Jerry out. If you know who the two grillmen in sombreros are, that would also be helpful. My only comment about the colorizing is that the stripes on the wall should be red and white. Jerry invites you to see a recent photo of him and a few other Beloiters that he posted to the Beloit Daily News web site at:
Here are some other crowd photos from Chili Festivals. Maybe you can name the year or spot some familiar faces — even your own! — and let everyone know by leaving a comment. (Click on the images to enlarge.)
Although I was careful checking facts for Beloit’s Club Pop House, there are a few mistakes that still managed to appear. I apologize for those and will attempt to correct them in this blog entry.
Received an email from Dave Luebke who sent a correction from his aunt Alice Bjorklund. I confused the faces of Bill Merkle and Bob McDowell in the 1949 homecoming breakfast photo. Aunt Alice also said that SHE (not her sister Frances) was the homecoming queen pictured in the photo. However, two separate sources I researched said Frances Bjorklund was queen. First was the Beloit Daily News from August 3, 1949 in which was written, “The team will have beauteous Queen Francis (sic) Bjorklund and her court on hand to cheer it on to greater heights.” Second was a videotaped Bill Guelzow “Builders of Beloit” interview with George himself who identified the queen in that same photo as Frances Bjorklund. So… I apologize as much as I can be responsible for that mistake. Thanks for passing along the corrections from aunt Alice, Dave!
p. 20 (lower caption)
Correct spelling is Bill “Ace” Hanewall.
p. 32 (upper caption)
The view is looking northwest (not southwest). Fireplace was on the north wall (not south). Ed. note: duh… I must be directionally impaired. –Joe
p. 42 (upper caption)
Dick D’Agostin spent part of his youth in Beloit, attending Beloit public schools. He was a friend of Jerry Wood (BCH ‘55).
p. 42 (lower caption)
Ral Donner perfromed at the Pop House in 1963. He was booked for the show through Ken Adamany.
p. 63 (upper caption)
Girl on the far right is Sally Bua (not Connie Guelzow).
Doug Killmer is in front of Lance Massey (not behind him).
Correct spelling is Roger Noss (not Ness).
If you notice any more errors, please let me know. Thanks.
Back in the spring of 2007, Ida and Richard Lenz gave me a cigar box of photos to use for Beloit’s Club Pop House. I’ve posted a few of them on the blog in the past and some appeared in the book. Among the ones remaining were about a dozen 35mm color slides that looked like they were very underexposed and faded. When I was putting together the final selections for the book, I couldn’t use the slides because I didn’t have a decent way to examine and restore them quickly. So I put them aside thinking I would get to their restoration later. One thing led to another and eventually I forgot about them entirely. My bad!!
Well… I just found them and spent a couple of days scanning and restoring them. The small slide box in which they were originally mailed — addressed to Bob Dill, 846 College St, Beloit, Wis. — was postmarked January 18, 1955. There was also one black & white negative stuffed in the box! Take a look at these gems by clicking on the following link and consider this a unique color supplement to Beloit’s Club Pop House…
Here’s a copy of an advertisement that appeared in the Tuesday, March 11, 1958 Beloit Daily News promoting the grand opening of “The New Club Pop House.” This was after the 1,500 square foot addition was completed that included a new entrance, new kitchen and lunch counter, a fireplace, and more seating. This is a copy from a microfilm printout. The quality, particularly of the pictures, wasn’t good enough to be included in the book. However, the story and some individual photos of the remodeling and the festivities are in the book. The photo on the left in the ad is of the exterior of the Pop House shown from Fifth Street. It appears in the book on page 34. The photo on the right is of the 1957-58 Chili Queen Carol Maryott and her court who presided over the parade and opening ceremonies. It would be interesting to know if any of the companies and people who helped with the construction or who were there that evening are around more than fifty years later. (Click on the image to enlarge in your browser.)
***** Hog Cabin defeated the Mouse in overtime, 12-6 *****
At the Mouse after the game I had an opportunity to talk with Vince. What a great guy! (Delores is cool too!)
The 61st annual Turkey Bowl will once again pit the Mouse against the Hog Cabin on Thanksgiving morning. This year’s event begins with an early breakfast at the Hog Cabin, followed by the crowning of Turkey Bowl Queen Ashley Combs and her court, Paige Gander and Summer Hill, at 9:00 a.m. They will parade to the Boys & Girls Club field at 9:15. Kickoff is at 9:30 a.m. Thus year’s game is dedicated to the memory of Bernice Fairbert who died November 2. She is the sister of Turkey Bowl founders George and Vince Stankewitz. Postgame awards will be presented at the Mouse on Madison road. Hope to see some Pop House alumni there.
Art Case officiating at the 2007 Turkey Bowl game.
Hog Cabin defeated the Mouse 22-2 that year.
My apologies for not keeping up with the Pop House blog well as I should have been, but other projects and life in general have taken up much of my time lately.
I did want to give a shout-out to Bill Watson who recently was inducted into the Beloit Historical Society’s Sports Hall of Fame. Bill was a member of the 1953 Beloit High School graduating class and was a four-sport letter winner his senior year there. Many Beloit citizens know Bill from his long tenure in Beloit city government. I think there are a few folks who still remember Bill from his Pop House basketball days too. Here he is posing wih teammates Vince and George Stankewiz, Don “Goose” Tamulis, and Bill “Ace” Hanewall, among others.
(Pop House Collection)
Also meant to introduce everyone to the guy who invented the “three colors” of Pop House French Fries, Coach Carl Nelson. Coach Nelson was at the Suds Pop House reunion back in June. I was pleased to meet and chat with him. He handed me a napkin on which he’d written “Desert Tan, Sunset Red, and Golden Brown,” asking if I knew the significance of those words. Coach shared his story with me that when he was a Pop House grillman long ago, he was the one responsible for naming the fries so colorfully. Nelson who was Beloit High basketball and football coach in the late 1940’s where he coached Gene Knutson before becoming head football coach at Beloit College in the early 1950s. Here he is at the reunion…
(June 7, 2008)
Thanks for your continued interest!
By 1966 the Pop House was playing host to regional bands from all parts of the country. Due in large part to George’s business relationship with Madison promoter Ken Adamany, Pop House members saw and heard many bands whose stars were just beginning to rise: the Buckinghams, the
Here are a couple of Adamany’s entertainment lists from 1966. The top bands he represented that year are pictured on the first page. Just click on the image to view it in your browser…
On the other side of the multi-photo poster was a printed list of more bands that were available early that year. How many of the bands do you recognize or remember seeing at the Pop House?
I want to thank all of you who came to the book signings last Saturday at Turtle Creek Books and Suds O’Hanahan’s. It was truly gratifying and humbling to see so many familiar faces. I hope you all had a good time. Thank you!
Mike Hutchinson of the Humpers softball team and Dave Luebke in the Pop House jersey had a good time.
In February 2007 I posted an item on bands featuring female vocalists who might have performed at the Pop House. (See: http://pophouse.accardiweb.com/?m=200702). A few days ago I received an email from Steve Seymour in Escanaba, Michigan who writes a weekly column about music in the Upper Peninsula. (See: http://rocknrollgraffiti.com/). Steve had just met with Tom Lucas, formerly of the Ravelles from Iron Mountain. The band toured the Midwest and also had been the opening act for the Cryan’ Shames and the Buckinghams. If you recall, I had spoken with John Richtig and Carmella Altobelli of the Ravelles and asked if they remembered playing at the Pop House. Neither could remember. Lucas, however, had a copy of Richtig’s journal that he kept about the band and its accomplishments. It was noted in the journal that the Ravelles performed at the Pop House on Oct. 12, 1968. The dance lasted from 8:30 to 12:30. They were paid $300. Richtig said about 250 kids arrived after a football game. “Kind of a long trip, but it went pretty well anyway,” Richtig wrote in his journal about the appearance. So there you have it. Too late for the book, but an interesting anecdote for the blog. Thanks to Steve for sharing this story.
Another band featuring a female vocalist was Marcia and the Lynchmen from Minnesota. Marcia Wilcox, who joined the group as lead vocalist when she was only 16, was also among the first female singers in a Midwestern rock band. The band toured the Midwest for a number of years, playing teen clubs, ballrooms, and nightclubs. They also had been an opening act for the Buckinghams and cut one single, “Won’t Turn Back.” The exact date of their appearance at the Pop House was unknown, but a number of alumni remembered them. Marcia and the Lynchmen are one of the bands featured in the book.
If you remember either of these Midwestern bands, you can share your memories on the blog. Thanks.
Hi everybody. Thanks for all your interest and support for Beloit’s Club Pop House. I was asked by a very nice newspaper reporter if I could provide names of former Pop House members who would be willing to share some of their memories for a forthcoming article. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes sharing some Pop House memories, please let me know by Saturday, May 31 either by email or by leaving a comment. (I won’t post the comment… I’ll contact you privately.) Thanks! Joe
Well, this is the week for Beloit’s Club Pop House to be published. Among other places, it’s available locally at Turtle Creek Books (http://beloit.bkstore.com/). I’ll be there on Saturday, June 7 beginning at 10:00 a.m. to sign your copy. The Pop House reunion party will be later that evening at Suds O’Hanahan’s Irish Pub, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Hope to see you all there.
I received an email from Jerry Wood (BMHS 1955). He was interested in knowing who were the members of the 1957 Chili Queen Court. So, here is a photo that didn’t make it into the book (though there are a couple of others in the book that feature Chili Queen Carol Maryott, seated in the booth, second from right in this photo). You can help Jerry out by identifying these folks, including the guys in the sombreros…
Also, here’s a picture of Beloit’s own Mic’s Masters after they became the Leopardmen in 1964. Looks like there was at least one personnel addition. Are these five guys Roger and Robert Mickey (at each end), Chuck Voss, Steve Leitz, and Jim Rogers? Can anyone confirm this? Bob… or Pam Barrs… are you still out there?
I was contacted by someone interested in one of the “Top 50 Events to Remember” in Wisconsin sports history. It was the 1969 state high school basketball tournament. The specific event was “the shot heard around Wisconsin.” At the final buzzer, Beloit Purple Knight Lamont Weaver, made a 55-foot shot that banked in to tie the game. Beloit won the game over Neenah in double overtime and took home the State Championship. The date was Saturday, March 22, 1969. The question: Was there a dance at the Pop House that night… record jam or band (and who was the band)… or was the night reserved for watching the game? Was there a TV on? If anyone has any memories of what was happening at the Pop House that night, please leave a comment. Thanks.
***** NEWS FLASH *****
Looks like on Saturday, June 7 I’ll be signing copies of Beloit’s Club Pop House at Turtle Creek Books in downtown Beloit, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Later that evening, 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., there will be a “Pop House Reunion” at Suds O’Hanahan’s Irish Pub, across the street from the bookstore. Hope to see you all there.
Thought I’d draw your attention to the publisher’s information about Beloit’s Club Pop House. The official release date for the book is May 12, 2008. Don’t rush out and order your copy just yet though. The publisher and I will be trying to organize possible book-signing events with some
Here’s the link to the book promo: http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/book/0738552097
Stay tuned for breaking news as it happens.
Well it’s officially spring, though you’d never know it by today’s weather. We’re into March Madness(R) and “bracket fever.” Also, baseball season is right around the corner. To celebrate, I’ve put together another Pop House softball team photo gallery. This group of “Whoozdis?” pictures haven’t been published previously on the blog and won’t be included in the book. There are many teams and faces to identify, so have a good time!
P.S. The web site has been migrated to a new server and I’m getting used to some new software. It may be a few days to a week before I can moderate your comments on this, so please be patient.
Gary Myers, author of Do You Hear That Beat and On That Wisconsin Beat, was interviewed by Stan Milam on Janesville’s WCLO 1230 AM radio on Tuesday, March 4 at 11:00 a.m. Both DYHTB and OTWB describe Wisconsin bands from the 1950s and 1960s who made their mark by recording one or more 45rpm singles. More than 350 bands are covered including a number of them who performed at the Pop House such as Mic’s Masters, the Beau Gentry, the KnighTranes, etc. More information about the books and how to buy them can be found on Gary’s web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~gem777/.
I have both of Gary’s books and they are filled with information that would interest local music fans.
The interview may be downloaded at as a Podcast or an MP3 from the WCLO “Stan Milam Show Archives” at: http://wclo.com/podcasts/stan-milam-show/2008/mar/. The audio file is available now from that site. Thanks to Gary for mentioning my book about Beloit’s Club Pop House to be published in May.
Last month I was contacted by Janesville Gazette reporter Cathy Idzerda who came across the Pop House Blog while she was researching the answer to a question submitted by a reader. The question pertained to a music venue called “The Meadow.” The Meadow was a psychedelic environment created mainly on weekends inside the old Ace Hi Roller rink on West Court Street in Janesville. The owners brought in many fine bands from around the Midwest, some of whom are mentioned in the following article that appeared in the January 13, 2008 issue of the Gazette. Some of the other bands I heard at the Meadow in 1968 were the Cryan’ Shames (Sugar and Spice) and the Robbs (Race with the Wind), both of whom had performed at the Pop House years earlier. The Robbs, from the Milwaukee area, played as Dee Robb & the Starliners (and then as Dee Robb & the Robbins) in the early 1960s. The Cryan’ Shames were at the Pop House in 1966. During the summer of 1968 my band, Volume One, played at both the Pop House and the Meadow. Unfortunately, there were no photos of Volume One. :(
(Courtesy of the Janesville Gazette)
As it happens there were a number of photos that didn’t make it into the final version of the book. Here are a few that I hope you’ll enjoy seeing. Feel free to comment on any or all of them…
(Pop House Collection)
This must have been one of the summer softball team cars getting ready for the big tournament parade. It’s a Chevrolet (looks like about 1959) with a roof rack holding a sign for the SANFU Jrs. Some of the names written on the sign that I could make out on the original photo are Kerm, Mitch, Saverio, and Pavish. Sounds more like a law firm than a softball team! Anyone know what year the SNAFU Jr’s played?
(Pop House Collection)
Looks like the Rookies captain and limo driver posing with Sandy Thorpe and another tournament court member after parading to the playing field. This must have been around 1970. Is that Dave Hanson on the left, and are those Pop House jackets they’re wearing?
(Pop House Collection)
I’m pretty sure this band is playing for a Chili Festival sometime before the ballroom was built, 1959-1963 era. The only clue I had is that they were booked from the Al Schultz Booking Agency out of Waukegan, Illinois. Even remaining associates of that agency couldn’t remember the name of the band. Anyone recognize them?
(Pop House Collection)
And speaking of Chili Festivals, this one was a bit of a mystery until just a couple weeks ago. Last fall someone at The Mouse identified the young lady on the left as Chris Witlich — don’t know if I have that spellling correct. Couldn’t tell who was behind the hands until Patti and Bob Harrer sent me the next photo recently…
(Courtesy of Patti and Bob Harrer)
It’s the 1964 Chili Queen, Patti Choudoir! Easy enough to figure out now from the sweater, corsage, and hairstyle. But who is the dignitary performing the coronation? Thanks for the photo, Bob and Patti.
Well, that’s it for now. BTW… happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.