Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hey, Hey Paula!

Today is a very special day.

It's my cousin Paula's

70th birthday

and I'm taking her (and you)

on a trip down memory lane!

Tommy and Paula at the beach in Wildwood, NJ

Among my happiest childhood memories are those made with Paula in the
early 50s when our families vacationed at the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey.
Here, just for you, Paula, is one of Philly's Phinest, Bobby Rydell, singing
about "Wildwood days, party lights and wild, wild Wildwood nights!"

"Wildwood Days" - Bobby Rydell
(May/June 1963, highest chart pos. #17)

As I display a few more pictures taken by my dad,
the shutterbug, at fun-filled family gatherings of the 50s...

sweet girl Paula on right

...there are a few more things I'd like you
to know about my cousin Paula.

Paula, more than anyone, was responsible for getting me interested in
pop music and pop culture. In the late 50s Paula got me started watching
Dick Clark's American Bandstand. She introduced me to the music of teenage
idols like Ricky Nelson and the boys from Philly which included the singer you
just heard, Bobby Rydell, along with another young Philadelphia dreamboat
and heartthrob - Fabian. In this scene from Bandstand, you will catch
glimpses of Fabian signing autographs (at 52 sec. and 1:20) as the
kids in the studio dance to the Newbeats' hit "Bread And Butter."

"Bread And Butter" - The Newbeats
(Sept. 1964, highest chart pos. #2, ep. of American Bandstand
with Fabian signing autographs at :52/1:20 mark)

Speaking of Philly teenage idols, let's not forget the very popular Frankie Avalon.
In recent years, Frankie toured with Bobby Rydell and Fabian as a trio called
Dick Fox's Golden Boys. (Dick Fox is a Manhattan producer and promoter.)
Now let's turn back the clock to 1959 as cute and cuddly Frankie Avalon
performs his signature song-- "Venus."

"Venus" - Frankie Avalon
(Mar./Apr. 1959, highest chart pos. #1)

Cousin Paula and I lived in York, PA. Down the road a hop, skip and a jump is
the city of Hanover, hometown of the much loved girl group The Pixies Three.
To honor Paula on her special day, The Pixies sing their hit "Birthday Party."

"Birthday Party" - The Pixies Three
(Aug./Sept. 1963, highest chart pos. #40)

Cousin Paula was named after her dad, Paul, (above right) and that brings
to mind the Texas duo of Paul & Paula and their chart-topper "Hey Paula."

"Hey Paula" - Paul And Paula
(Jan./Feb. 1963, highest chart pos. #1)

"Hey Paula" by Paul and Paula reminds me of "Tall Paul," a top 10 hit
for Mouseketeer Annette Funicello in 1959. Here's a wonderful hybrid
video combining two vintage clips of Annette performing the ditty,
including the time she shrank to puppet size on Bandstand.

"Tall Paul" - Annette
(Jan./Feb. 1959, highest chart pos. #7,
perf. on American Bandstand)

Paula, my dear cousin...

Feb. 1951 - posing before we went to Sunday school

... you were close to me from the
very start - a wonderful companion.

Thank you very much, Paula...

for being my childhood chum.

Thank you for igniting my passion for
 pop music and for helping to make
my childhood years so much fun.

In closing, here's Neil Sedaka with a
musical message just for you, Paula:

"Happy birthday, sweet sixteen!" (+ 54)

"Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen" - Neil Sedaka
(Dec, 1961, highest chart pos. #6, perf. on American Bandstand)

Hey, hey, Paula... I love you!