Yorkers Do More than Just Go to the Movies
I had such a good time researching what movies local people were watching while they were just coming out of the Great Depression in 1938 that I neglected to check on the other forms of public entertainment available to them.
Click here for the posts about movies.
So I went back to the newspaper microfilm to check see what kind of live shows were happening on Labor Day weekend in 1938. Music of all kinds was a draw, whether for listening or dancing. You could fill the weekend and more.
The Valencia in downtown York claimed that they were the “Coolest dancing spot in Pennsylvania,” probably because they had an “Air conditioned ballroom.” They offered a Student Hop from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Friday night, and dancing to the Blue Moon Orchestra from 9 to 1 a.m. Saturday. (Admission 35 cents)
Nemo and the Peaceful Valley Gang from WKBO, Harrisburg, would entertain at Valley View Grove [Hellam Township] on Sunday afternoon and evening. They advertised free admission and free parking.
Continuing the country vein, a Fiddlers Convention was to be held on Labor Day at Tourist Inn, sponsored by the Dixie Old Timers, with square dancing in the afternoon and evening.
You could pop just over the county line to the northwest to the 66th Great Grangers Picnic at Williams Grove Park. Radio performer Uncle Ezra Stebbins and his “Barn Dance Frolics,” and other acts were appearing “in person” on the stage. They also offered movies every night, fireworks, rides, exhibits and “a great midway.” Not to mention a “FREE ACT TWICE DAILY–The Great Siegfried, World’s Champion Ski Jumper.” It doesn’t say exactly what Siegfried would jump off of, but I don’t think it was snow on Labor Day weekend.
York countians were also enticed across the river to Rocky Springs Park, Lancaster, to be entertained by the Reg Kehoe Marimba Band and his 1938 all-girl revue and other acts. Fifteen cents was the admission for adults and ten cents for children. They also offered two nights of fireworks for the holiday, enthusiastically described as: “FIREWORKS!! Destruction of Pompeii–largest show ever presented here–30 People–3 Separate Displays Each Night–1 1/2 Hour Show Depicts History of Mr. Vesuvius Destroying Sinful City of Pompeii. Most Extensive and Costly Show Every Presented Locally.”
Finally, if that wasn’t enough, Hershey Park offered something for everyone, including big name bands. Saturday George Hall and his orchestra with Dolly Dawn would be in the ballroom, followed by Artie Shaw and His Crew on Monday. Admission was 77 cents plus tax, spectators 35 cents. The Ringgold Band and Allentown Band would perform free concerts at Hershey Park. You could also “Ride the Speedboat, Swim in the Pool or see Smokey Joe at the Zoo–He’ll amuse you for hours.”
They didn’t have TV or video games, but it looks like our parents and grandparents had no shortage of amusements at hand.
Anybody know how Valley View could provide acts with no admission? What the Great Siegfried used for ski jumping at William Grove? Why dancing cost more than listening at the Hershey Park ballroom? And what exactly was Smokey Joe at the zoo?
Click here to see what else was going on in York County in Sept. 1938.