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February 9 2001

Rockin' at Cicero's
One more memory of Cicero's Roller Rink is the rock and roll roadshow that came there in 1958. Unfortunately, I wasn't good at keeping a scrapbook, so the meagre one I have includes the column I wrote about that event, but it's not dated. The closest dated one to it is the end of January, 1958, so I strongly suspect the show was that year and probably in the winter, which would have been when I was 15. If in the summer it would have been after my 16th birthday. I don't remember how I got there; the column does indicate that the show was on a Tuesday evening, so if it was during the school year, my attendance as well of many others there would have been exceptional. I most likely persuaded my mother that the column to be written about the show was a must and got her to drive me and pick me up afterward.

The column is one of the most memorable; the scrapbook does have a handwritten note, "The Biggest Night." To my best recollection, it was the only all-star rock and roll review ever to come through Cambria County in those early years when public opinion about the "big beat" (which is the opening phrase in the column) ran strong and Elvis was still considered a danger to youth. It's possible, though I'm surprised if I've forgotten it, that my Journal editor, Andy Rogalski, could have called and asked me to write about it; that would explain a lot. I don't remember if any friend/s were along or if I had to pay an admission or was extended the "courtesy of the press." I was certainly there in a working capacity, getting interviews with all of the show's stars.

They were Duane Eddy (biggest hit, "Rebel Rouser"), a guitar soloist who was considered a major rocker at the time, though he was only 20 then (considered to be "older generation" by me); Jack Scott ("My True Love"), Dicky Doo and the Don'ts ("Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu"—yes!), The Elegants ("Little Star"), and the DeJohn Sisters ("Straighten Up and Fly Right"). The list here is in the order of "stardom" I considered them to rank at the time, but probably The Elegants' "Little Star" was the biggest record among them, with 1.5 million sold before the concert.

One thing that I remember, ironically considering how much I forget, and that is not mentioned in the column, is that an upcoming "star" touring with the group was Ike Clanton, a brother of Jimmy Clanton, whose "Just A Dream" was already a classic that made him a major figure in the industry (but who proved to be pretty much another one-hit wonder). The DeJohn Sisters, also, were considering rising stars though, unlike the Clanton younger brother, they had already had a somewhat successful recording career. However, I never heard of them again after that night.

The show was produced by a New York company and had talent from all over the country. It was my impression that Dick Clark had a hand in putting it together (whether true or not, I don't know; they had probably all appeared on his Bandstand Show and the biggest ones all definitely had). It was brought to the area by Indiana radio station WDAD disc jockey Bob McCluer (McClure?) and Altoona radio and TV personality Al Wolfe. Cicero's may have been chosen for the location because it was central to Indiana and Altoona. Another wierd memory: during break times in the show, the deejays played records, and several times played a brand new song named "Just Like In the Movies," which was not by any of the appearing artists, but which struck me as an instant hit. I had predicted a number of instant hits (meaning I "knew" that the first time I heard them). I still remember the tune and some of the words, but I never heard the song again after that night!

Unless we get more inspirational email on roller skating days, this is probably the last of the Cicero's series. Thanks to Bonnie Farabaugh for the description of the "horse race" at the end of the parties...that must have begun after I stopped attending. Joe Gordon (Blacklick '66) had mentioned them in a private email and that he has one of the horses in his possession.

Meanwhile, any new topics? Maybe this would be a good segue into the topic of pop/rock and roll music and how it affected us.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


An elderly Italian Jewish man wanted to unburden his guilty conscience by talking to his rabbi. "Rabbi, during World War 2, when the Germans entered Italy, I pretended to be a "goy" and changed my name from Levy to Spamoni and I am alive today because of it."

"Self preservation is important and the fact that you never forgot that you were a Jew is admirable," said the rabbi.

"Rabbi, a beautiful Jewish woman knocked on my door and asked me to hide her from the Germans. I hid her in my attic and they never found her."

"That was a wonderful thing you did and you have no need to feel guilty."

"It's worse, Rabbi. I was weak and told her she must repay me with her sexual favors."

"You were both in great danger and would have suffered terribly if the Germans had found her. There is a favorable balance between good and evil and you will be judged kindly. Give up your feelings of guilt."

"Thank you, Rabbi. That's a great load off my mind. But I have one more question."

"And what is that?"

"Do I have to tell her the war is over?"

Sent by Mike Harrison

The Last Supper

(Don't know if this story is true or not. I read it years and years ago. It touched me as a preteenager just as it does now, true or not. Thought I'd pass it along as a lesson on how morality or the lack thereof can affect even our physical appearance.)

The story of the painting, The Last Supper, is interesting and instructive. The two incidents connected with it afford a convincing lesson on the effects of right thinking or wrong thinking in anyone's life.

The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, and the time it took for its completion was seven years. The figures representing the twelve Apostles and Christ himself were painted from living models. The life-model for the painting of the figure of Jesus was chosen first.

When it was decided that Da Vinci would paint this great picture, hundreds and hundreds of young men were carefully viewed in an attempt to find a face and personality exhibiting innocence and beauty, free from the scars and signs of dissipation caused by sin.

Finally, after weeks of laborious searching, a young man nineteen years of age was selected as a model for the portrayal of Christ. For six months, Da Vinci worked on the production of this leading character of his famous painting. During the next six years, Da Vinci continued his labors on this sublime work of art. One by one, fitting persons were chosen to represent each of the eleven Apostles; space being left for the painting of the figure representing Judas Iscariot as the final task of this masterpiece. This was the Apostle, you remember, who betrayed his Lord for thirty pieces of silver. For weeks, Da Vinci searched for a man with a hard callous face, with a countenance marked by scars of avarice, deceit, hypocrisy, and crime; a face that would delineate a character who would betray his best friend.

After many discouraging experiences in searching for the type of person required to represent Judas, word came to Da Vinci that a man whose appearance fully met his requirements had been found in a dungeon in Rome, sentenced to die for a life of crime and murder. Da Vinci made the trip to Rome at once, and this man was brought out from his imprisonment in the dungeon and led out into the light of the sun. There Da Vinci saw before him a dark, swarthy man whose face, betrayed a character of viciousness and complete ruin. At last, the famous painter had found Judas in his painting.

By special permission from the king, this prisoner was carried to Milan where the picture was being painted; and for months he sat before Da Vinci at appointed hours each day as the gifted artist diligently continued his task of transmitting to his painting this base character in the picture representing the traitor and betrayer of our savior. As he finished his last stroke, he turned to the guards and said, "I have finished. You may take the prisoner away."

As the guards were leading their prisoner away, he suddenly broke loose from their control and rushed up to Da Vinci, crying as he did so, "O, Da Vinci, look at me! Do you not know who I am?" Da Vinci, with the trained eyes of a great character student, carefully scrutinized the man upon whose face he had constantly gazed for six months and replied, "No, I have never seen you in my life, until you were brought before me out of the dungeon in Rome."

Then, lifting his eyes toward heaven, the prisoner said, "Oh, God, have I fallen so low?" Then turning his face to the painter he cried, "Leonardo Da Vinci! Look at me again for I am the same man you painted just seven years ago as the figure of Christ."

This story of the painting of The Last Supper teaches so strongly the lesson of the effects of right or wrong thinking on the life of an individual. Here was a young man whose character was so pure, unspoiled by the effects of the world that he presented a countenance of innocence and beauty fit to be used for the painting of a representation of Christ. But within seven years, following the thoughts of sin and a life of crime, he was changed into a perfect picture of the most traitorous character ever known in the history of the world.

Sent by Zan
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