It’s A Hullabaloo!

April 11, 2023


This is an update to a Classic Tuesday Newsday from April 11, 2017

Last week I shared the amazing feat of the Beatles and their five songs at number one through five on April 4, 1964. Well this week we are going to go forward two years to April 11, 1966. It was on this date that the last episode of the TV program ‘Hullabaloo’ aired. What? You’ve never heard of Hullabaloo? Neither had I but here’s what I learned from the always Infallible Wikipedia:

“Hullabaloo was an American musical variety series that ran on NBC from January 12, 1965, through April 11, 1966 (with repeats to August 1966). Similar to ABC’s Shindig! and in contrast to American Bandstand, it aired in prime time.

Directed by Steve Binder, who went on to direct Elvis Presley’s 1968 ‘comeback’ special, Hullabaloo served as a big-budget, quality showcase for the leading pop acts of the day, and was also competition for another like-minded television showcase, ABC’s Shindig! A different host presided each week—among these were Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Gary Lewis, Petula Clark, Paul Anka, Liza Minnelli, Jack Jones, David McCallum and Frankie Avalon—singing a couple of his or her own hits and introducing the different acts. Chart-topping acts who performed on the show included Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas & the Papas, Dionne Warwick, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Sonny & Cher, the Supremes, Herman’s Hermits, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Animals, Roy Orbison and Marianne Faithfull.”

I can guaran-darn-tee that my mother would have had that TV off in a heartbeat if this program came on. Of course my mother also banned us kids from seeing Gunsmoke and the Monkees (which, ironically, was the show that took over the time slot vacated by Hullabaloo).

My mother’s philosophy was that impressionable young minds needed to be protected from such decadence. Dancing like this, as a friend of mine commented recently, was not tolerated in the early 1960’s. And those who did dance in such ways must have been ‘those kind of girls.’ In some ways my mother was a feminist in that she objected to women being judged upon their looks and their bodies and certainly would have found this display quite inappropriate. By today’s standards, this compilation is rather tame.

Which got me to thinking about my own experience with dancing. Up until I joined the Rainbow Girls in 1971, I had maybe only ever been to one ‘dance’ – which would have been at Wilson Junior High School. Now, to call it a dance was really a misnomer. More like an excuse for the young teenagers to hang out in the cafeteria after school with the girls clustered on one side of the room and the boys on the other while loud music played. Occasionally some boy would cross the invisible line, a warrior marching bravely to battle, and ask a girl to dance. Mostly, however, the boys remained on their side and the girls on theirs.

But, back to the Rainbow Girls. Our group, called an Assembly, boasted over 70 members in the 1970’s and once every four months a new set of officers would be installed. This was, of course, cause for a celebration and the party afterwards was crowded and ALWAYS included a dance which featured, for several years, a live local band.

Unlike that first Junior High experience, people actually danced at these things! Well, at least the older girls seemed to while us younger ones hung out in a group we dubbed ‘The Wallflowers.’ But that was, not apparently, entirely accurate as my diary from May 29, 1971, chronicles my first Rainbow dance ever:

“…the best part (of the installation) was the dance. A.L. asked me to dance a fast dance which wasn’t that fun. Well we (who ‘we’ is I have no idea) were talking to ‘Becky’ and she decided to get somebody to ask one of five girls to dance. Well, BB asked ‘Sally’ and his friend asked me.”

I go on to write that the particular song turned out to be a slow one. And there was nothing WORSE than slow dancing with some guy you had never met. The whole experience apparently left my stomach in knots.

Okay, so maybe there was something worse. And that would have been the time I was dancing with a guy – initials of DW – who I had a bit of crush on. It was a slow dance which, when you have a bit of a crush on a guy, is a good thing. A slow dance, in the 1970’s, often meant that you had your arms around each other, eyes closed, and were swaying together to the music. All very romantic. That is until the moment when someone taps you on the nose.

That someone turned out to be my Dad who happened to waltz (literally) by with my Mom since they were chaperones! Talk about embarrassing. That event is etched in my memory. My parents are both laughing as they continue waltzing past. I was mortified but I think “DW” thought it was funny.

There were many, many more dances over the years which followed but there was something special about those first few. It was definitely a Hullabaloo!


What dances in the 1970’s looked like for teenagers. From the 1974 tolo dance as pictured in the Eisenhower HS Reveille yearbook.

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