Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life With Fred & Lucy, Part 13: Palumbo


During the 1940’s and 1950’s, South Philadelphia was very important for promoting pop music. New York had nothing over us as far as show business went. Hell no! Not with all the talented performers who appeared weekly at the nightclub called Palumbo. Located near to the Italian Market on 9th Street, the building owned by Antonio Palumbo since 1884, served as a boarding house for Italian workers, but later the street level eventually under the guidance of Antonio's son, Frank Palumbo, became a nightclub, restaurant and banquet hall, which featured acts like Benny Goodman, Patti Page, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, the Clooney sisters, the Mills brothers, Mario Lanza; the names too numerous to list here. When my Uncle Pat was alive, my father and mother went out every Saturday night for dinner and a show.
             Uncle Pat seated in my parent's kitchen. Fred preparing ham for the grocery store.
Uncle Pat was my father’s best friend from childhood. He was married, but I never met his wife; only the girlfriend who would join my parents for the night out. Strange the things a kid will remember years later.
Once in a while, my parents along with Pat and his lady would buy tickets for a special show that we children were allowed to attend. My father knew we would enjoy the Three Stooges. Maybe it was because we four kids always acted like the stooges.
We four kids were in our glory. We got to dress up in our Sunday only clothing and we were allowed to order whatever we wanted from the menu. When Moe, Larry and Curly came out on the stage, we went crazy. I mean we watched these guys on Television and here they were right in front of our table.            

If we weren’t bad enough for our parents before the show, we were the weeks following the show…I mean they were our idols and you know kids! We had to imitate them. I forget exactly which prank it was that landed all four of us in permanent time out. It may have been us gluing the bathroom door shut, or my brother Michael hiding in the washing machine and screaming out “Boo!” when my mother went to load the clothes, or maybe the last straw was when the four of us were playing war in the house, with fresh eggs. Yeah…I think it was that one.
We weren’t allowed to watch the Stooges for a few weeks, but we didn’t care. We got to see our heroes live. I need my South Philly friends to tell me if they ever went to Palumbo's and did they see any acts? If so, who?