Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Happy Birthday, John!

John Ettline was born 113 years ago
on the 12th day of March, 1906.
John was a card shark, a gambler, and a wheeler dealer, a larger-than-life
type of person, a colorful, loveable, and memorable character. John cared
about people and about kids. As a member of his family once told me,
"John was loved and respected by everyone he came in contact with,
especially his family. He offered love, guidance and advice to
anyone who would give him the respect and listen.”

John also loved music and dancing, and to celebrate his birthday
this year I selected two up tempo dance songs and a sweet ballad.


First here's a number found on the various artists compilation Mark Lamarr
Presents Mule Milk 'N' Firewater, a collection of obscure R&B recordings
from the late 40s to early 60s culled from the vaults of the King,
Federal and Deluxe R&B labels. It's saxophonist Fred Clark
who played with Johnny Otis and His Orchestra doing
an unreleased nugget called "Bobby Sox Rocker."

"Bobby Sox Rocker" - Fred Clark
(circa 1953, unissued Take 2)


Now that Fred Clark's "Bobby Sox Rocker" has the joint jumpin'...
singer and showman Bobby Freeman is ready to take the stage and
ask the musical question "Do You Want To Dance?" In this vintage
clip, Bobby shares the spotlight with a boppin' baby elephant as
he performs his top 5 hit from the spring and summer of 1958.

"Do You Want To Dance" - Bobby Freeman
(May thru July 1958, highest chart pos. #5 Hot 100/#2 R&B)


On his birthday I think John will appreciate being serenaded by
America's sweetheart, Miss Shelley Fabares aka Mary Stone,
as she sings her signature song "Johnny Angel" on her hit
television series, the family friendly Donna Reed Show.

"Johnny Angel" - Shelley Fabares
(Mar./Apr. 1962, highest chart pos. #1
scene from The Donna Reed Show)




  1. Happy birthday to John. Their birthdays were really close together, weren't they?

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thank for being the early bird yet again, good buddy! I'm pleased you could be here to help us celebrate the 113th anniversary of John Ettline's birth. It's true, Alex. I pay tribute to three Shady Dell V.I.P.s - John & Helen Ettline and Margaret Schneider. All of their birth and death dates fall within the first five months of the calendar year.

      Thanks again for coming to wish John a happy birthday in heaven. Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!

  2. I so do love visiting you in your place, friend Shady … and your mama Margaret and your mentors Helen and John. Always, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for joining us as we remember John Ettline 113 years after the day he was born. That number is hard for me and other Dell rats to fathom. John was much younger than I am now when I first started going to the Dell, another fact that is hard to accept.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend cat!

  3. "Johnny Angel" is so appropriate, Shady, because John Ettline is definitely in the Angel category! And, who better than Shelley Fabares and her pretty voice to have recorded this song!

    Mr. Ettline was a true sweetheart, confidant, and proprietor with a heart of gold. I don't think I could have tolerated the shenanigans of a large group of teens, but John had a certain savoir faire, didn't he!

    Shady, you so graciously honor John as he should be honored and remembered. I hope many of those who knew him are still around and come across your blog frequently to remember him as you do!

    One of our favorite songs growing up was "Do You Wanna Dance" by Bobby Freeman. I enjoyed seeing the video of him and Fred Clark with his sassy "Bobby Sox Rocker" song.

    Have a wonderful day, Shady. Here in Fort Worth we are having rain with some bouts of thunder. Hoping it slows down so Scootie and I can get out of the house. He is on Spring Break this week, but my plans for a getaway fell through! Maybe another time, huh? Take care, dear friend.♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      Thanks so much for coming by to help me salute John Ettline again this year on his birthday - 113 years and counting!

      I'm glad you appreciated my selection of "Johnny Angel" for John on this occasion. What man wouldn't appreciate being serenaded by sweet Shelley?

      Yessum, John was a man of style, swagger and confidence. Deep down inside I think he remained as young as his teenage patrons. That's why he cut kids some slack as long as they didn't take advantage, disrespect him or wreck the place.

      I'm delighted that you remember Bobby Freeman's original version of "Do You Wanna Dance." Did you see the baby elephant swaying to the music near the end of the video? As you know, the song was covered seven years later by The Beach Boys. It is one of the few instances that immediately comes to mind where the original recording by a black artist charted higher than the cover by a popular white band. "Do You Wanna Dance" was also successfully covered in the UK by Cliff Richard and the Shadows. I am also happy to know you appreciated the old time R&B sound of "Bobby Sox Rocker."

      We need some of that rain, dear friend, but w/o the thunder and lightning if you please. The a/c is on day and night now and we're hunkered down for the duration of the hot weather seasons. I hope you and Scootie have more chances to get outside and enjoy his spring break.

      Thank you again for joining me, dear friend Suzanne!

  4. Oh Dear...I almost forgot! Happy 113th Birthday John!

    1. That's AOK, dearie! I'm sure John heard your message loud and clear. Thanks again for coming over and have a wonderful week. (Next post is coming right up this Friday!)

  5. When Bobby Freeman sang , ‘Do Yo Wanna Dance’, everybody said yes.

    Happy Birthday to John and and may he still be dancing in eternity.

    1. Hi, Arleen!

      How are you today, dear friend? Thank you very much for being on hand to help me celebrate the 113th anniversary of Shady Dell owner John Ettline's birth. The pieces of trivia about John that I added to this year's post enable a new friend like you to get to know more about the man who influenced me so much as a teenager. It shakes me up to realize that I am a decade older now than John was when I first started frequenting the Dell!

      I'm glad you remember Bobby Freeman's late 50s version of "Do You Wanna Dance." Did you see the baby elephant bopping near the end of the song? :)

      Thank you again for your kind visit and sweet sentiments, dear friend Arleen, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  6. Nice tribute, Shady. He sounds like a fun guy!

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thank you very much, dear friend! John was an educated, wise man. He had a strong, deep voice and a larger than life quality about him. It's hard to believe he would have turned age 113 today and would be one of the world's oldest people. That's a staggering statistic.

      Thanks again for joining us for this annual tribute to John. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Kelly!

  7. Happy Birthday to a dear sweet man who meant so much to so many people. I couldn't get the first one to play but love the second one with the baby elephant. The military man clapping was very strange:) Shelley looked so sweet but she kind of messed up her face now. She is married, happily, to Mike Farrell-BJ Hunnicutt from MASH fame. Anyway a wonderful tribute to a man who meant the world to you.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you very much for being here for John Ettline again this year as we salute The King of the Dell Rats on his birthday. I'm glad you caught the dancing baby elephant in the second video. I suppose that was a Dick Clark Bandstand TV special because at the beginning of the video Clark is seated next to Tony Randall. I don't know who the clapping military man is, but the entire video is rather creepy if you ask me. :) Yessum, Shelley F. looks a lot different nowadays but, thanks to videos like this one, we can always remember her as the fresh faced, sweet teenager she played on Donna Reed. Thanks for adding tidbits about her personal life.

      Thanks again for coming by and contributing to the discussion, dear friend BB. I am sure John appreciates your visit. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. What a lovely birthday tribute to John! He was born around the time of my paternal grandmother. I think her birth year was 1908. My late FIL shares the same birth month as John. He would've been 96 on the 7th and the first anniversary of his passing is next week. I can't believe how quickly the year has gone. Boy, I get side track so easily! Sorry about that. :) It's been a long day. Anywho, I know John would enjoy Shelley singing to him on his birthday. That would make him feel like a young man again, wouldn't it? lol

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming by for John's birthday as you have for several years now. I appreciate it, dear friend!

      I also thank you for sharing interesting facts about your paternal grandmother and late father-in-law. All four of my grandparents were born in the 19th century! Yessum, the years fly by, and it astounds me to think of John Ettline at the age of 113. As it was, he lived to a ripe old age, but I wish he would have lived longer - Helen, too.

      I am sure John would be smiling from ear to ear as pretty Mary Stone sang that love ditty to him, a song with his name in the title. What man wouldn't feel special were that to happen?

      Thanks again for being here for my annual birthday salute to John, dear friend Cathy. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. Hi Shady!

    This was so sweet! I'm sure Mr. E has enjoyed this as much as we do. "Do you want to dance" was the very first song I ever danced to and I was still in diapers! I imagine it will keep my feet moving until they can't anymore. I still get 'carried away' by "Johnny Angel" yet I never even knew a guy by that name. Thinking of it from a guy's perspective, I bet Mr. E felt much the same - if not more so. I'm sure you've earned a smile today ;-)
    Happy week!

    1. Hi, diedre!

      How are you, dear friend? Thank you very much for swinging by as we observe and celebrate John Ettline's birthday 113 years ago today!

      What an interesting tidbit, dear friend, that "Do You Wanna Dance" was the first song you danced to as a toddler. I can't help wondering if it was this recording or the cover by The Beach Boys. I was a little surprised to learn that Bobby F's original performed better on the chart than the single released several years later by the red hot Beach Boys. That's the one I owned, and it's one of my favorites by the group.

      I was very happy to find that nicely restored and remastered video of Shelley Fabares as Mary Stone singing her signature song. I found it interesting that the camera lingered so long on her mother, Donna Reed's reaction and facial expressions. The same was true when Paul Petersen sang "My Dad" on the show. Most of Paul's performance was a shot of his dad with tears welling up in his eyes.

      Thank you again for spreading cheer for John's birthday, dear friend diedre, and enjoy the rest of your week!

    2. Hi again, my friend!

      It had to have been Bobby Freeman's version that so excited me back then. By 1965 I was seven, excluded from decision-making, and well on my way to my first pair of Pointe shoes;-)

      I had no idea of the film (as well as kindred) connection between Shelley and Donna - they sure look like they could be related. I did think the cameraman found Donna a bit irresistible. Now I'm guessing it was part of a bigger show.

      I can't begin to guess the reason for an elephant in the video. But with that in mind, here's wishing you bushels of Shamrocks to ward off strings of snakes and scorpions ;-) (Farmer's Almanac)

    3. Hi again, dear diedre!

      First I want to mention that today, for the first time, I saw your comment on my "Guy Under the Seats" post, the one with Debbie Harry, Eddie Murphy, etc. I wrote a reply for you. Thank you very much for reading, listening and commenting on that post!

      Shelley Fabares was not related to Donna Reed in real life but, according to Reed's IMDB bio, the two had a close relationship and Donna was considered by Shelley as her second mother until Reed's death in 1986. IMDB also points out this interesting fact about Donna Reed: "Although her image was generally associated that of the the squeaky-clean, conservative 1950s housewife and mother, she won her Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953) for playing a prostitute."

      Bobby Freeman was dressed as a ringmaster for that performance, and he and the somewhat reluctant dancing elephant gave the impression of a circus act, but I don't know what that has to do with the song he sang.

      Yessum, this Sunday is Saint Patrick's Day and I wish you a happy one.
      Thanks so much for returning to chat, dear friend diedre, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  10. I struck by just how much Shelly Fabares and Donna Reed did look like each other, even if they weren't related in real life, though they look more like sisters than mother and daughter. I once saw Reed in an Andy Hardy movie where she played a teenager (whether she actually was in her teens or not) and I'd like to see it again, because I think the resemblance might even more striking.

    Speaking of old movies, when I saw the name Fred Clark, I immediately thought of a character actor who appeared in many films from the 1940s and '50s. That Fred Clark was a middle-aged, balding white man, very different from your Fred Clark. And perhaps, at least as far as music goes, we're better with your Fred for today. Always interesting hearing songs with the word "rock" in it that were recorded before the music itself was called that.

    And finally, nice to hear "Do You Wanna Dance?" again, but an elephant? Oh, well, Elvis once sang to a basset hound on Steve Allen. Maybe Freeman was trying to top him.

    Fine tribute to your friend and mentor John.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thanks for coming by to help me pay tribute to John Ettline on his birthday. I appreciate it, good buddy!

      I agree it wasn't a stretch to imagine Donna Reed and Shelley Fabares as mother and daughter. They both had that dreamy, sappy, starry eyed expression on their faces. I see that Donna Reed played Melodie in the 1942 film The Courtship of Andy Hardy. I probably saw it because I binge watched Andy Hardy movies ten years ago. I also saw Donna in a very tense 1956 suspense film called Ransom! She starred opposite Glenn Ford in the role of his wife.

      Thanks for the share about the Fred Clark you know. I never heard of this one, the musician. His "Bobby Sox Rocker" is apparently an unreleased nugget freed from the vaults. It is interesting that the word "rock" was used in that song before rock officially became a thing. 1953 was the year Bill Haley & His Comets were getting cranked up, and so the birth of rock 'n' roll was definitely underway at that time.

      I don't know what they were going for in that Bobby Freeman video. It's bizarre, isn't it? Bobby finally got the little elephant to do some boogieing late in the song. Dick Clark and Tony Randall are seen sitting together in the audience. I wish I knew the story behind that clip.


  11. That should be "I'm struck...", otherwise I sound like Tonto.

    1. Thanks for the second comment, good buddy. That was heap big nice of you! :)

  12. Shady,

    I never knew John but, I know he would've been very humbled by all the tributes that you’ve posted about him every year. I think he would've loved your pick, “Johnny Angel” the best. My favorite, is, “Do you want to dance”. There again, I swear Donny Osmond did a version of that song. It also reminded me of Bette Midler’s, “ Do you want to dance”. I loved that song. I don’t think I’ve heard it since 1972. It’s hard to think of her as a sultry singer!

    Happy ( what would have been) 113 Birthday, John!

    1. Hi, Toni!

      Thank you very much for dropping in again this year and helping me salute John Ettline on his birthday - his 113th, no less!

      I'm glad you approve of the "Johnny Angel" song for John and also that you like "Do You Want To Dance." That is the official title of the Bobby Freeman single. It was changed to "Do You Wanna Dance" when the Beach Boys covered it. I never heard Donny Osmond do the song and I only vaguely remember the sultry jazz version recorded by Bette Midler. I listened to it on YouTube just now and enjoyed it. I see that Bette's 1972 version, with the title changed back to "Do You Want To Dance," made it to #17 on the chart.

      Thanks again for being here for John this year as you have so many other years, dear friend Toni. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  13. You're such a loyal fan and friend to the Ettline's. Your tributes are wonderful and heart felt. My fave was " Do you want to dance " which I know will come to no surprise to you! HAHA.

    1. Hi, Holli!

      Thanks a lot for coming over as we honor John Ettline, King of the Dell Rats, born 113 years ago this week!

      Yessum, I know you're quite a dancer, have been all your life, and I am happy to know that the song "Do You Want To Dance" resonated with you. Based on that baby elephant's reluctance to perform, his answer to the musical question seemed to be "Must I?" :)

      Thanks again for coming by, dear friend Holli, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  14. Happy Birthday John Ettline! You always do such wonderful tributes and I love the songs you picked for this special 113 birthday. Do you want to dance is a favorite...the little elephant was a bit weird but the song still makes you want to get up and dance! I loved the Donna Reed Show and Johnny Angel was another favorite. I've always thought that Shelly Fabares looked like she could really have been Donna Reed's daughter. Fun bday post and I'm sure John is toe tapping up in heaven and enjoying the fact that his greatest fan still remembers him every year. Hope all is well with you Tom...take care!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thank you for visiting this week to wish John Ettline a happy 113th birthday in heaven. I know John appreciates it and so do I, dear friend!

      Yessum, that video of Bobby Freeman and the baby elephant is rather strange. I'm pretty sure Bobby was appearing on The Dick Clark Beech-Nut Show, a TV program that aired three seasons from 1958 through 1960. IMDB placed Bobby in an episode of the show that aired Nov. 28, 1959, more than a year after Bobby's record charted, but it was common for Clark to invite big name artists on his shows to perform their signature songs even though the records were sometimes "oldies" by that time instead of current hits. Often an artist performed two songs, his older hit followed by his latest release. IMDB indicates that Frankie Avalon and Lloyd Price also performed on that episode of The Dick Clark Show.

      Based on the positive response, a new tradition has been born here at Shady's Place. From now on, Shelly Fabares will sing "Johnny Angel" to John every year on his birthday just as her TV brother Paul Petersen sings "My Dad" to John every year on Father's Day.

      Thank you again for being here for John's birthday and for your wonderful comment, dear friend YaYa!


I wanna know
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There are some things you can't hide
I wanna know
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Tell me what's on your mind