Sunday, May 9, 2021

Helen Ettline - The Mother of All Dell Rats:
Adorable... and a Little Bit of Heaven

 Shady Dell owner Helen Ettline 
 didn't have any children of her own. 
 In a way, we were all her kids 
 and she was our mom. 

Clearly Helen & John
loved kids. Why else
would they have
put up with the
aggravation all
those years?

The Ettlines
believed in kids.
They enjoyed
counseling and
helping kids.

The pictures above and below remind me ever so much of Helen's snack bar
and the jukebox in the adjoining room where rows of diner booths were located.

To remember and honor
Helen on Mother's Day,
I picked four songs that
I think she would enjoy.
Helen, these are for you.

"Straight A's for Helen." My "A to Z" friends
might appreciate knowing that the titles of
all four songs begin with the letter "A." 


The first of my 'A" songs for Helen is by Ronnie Dove, a Virginia
country pop singer whose records were quite popular in Central PA.
Ronnie put together a string of hits in the mid 60s and here's one of
them. Cracking the top 5 on the Easy Listening chart and hovering
around the top 15 on the pop survey, Ronnie Dove describes what
it's like to be with his girl-- "A Little Bit Of Heaven." 

 "A Little Bit Of Heaven" - Ronnie Dove 
 (June/July 1965, highest chart pos. #4 Easy Listening
 #15 Cash Box/#16 Hot 100


The song "Adorable" was first recorded in the fall of 1955 by the California
based R&B group The Colts. The original 45 on the Mambo label is worth hundreds
of dollars to collectors. At Christmas that year and into the early weeks of 1956,
The Fontane Sisters, famous for recording capable covers of R&B originals,
charted their version of "Adorable" on the B side of their hit "Daddy-O."
The most successful recording of the song was by The Drifters who
hit #1 on the R&B chart during the Christmas holiday season.

 "Adorable" - The Drifters 
 (Nov./Dec. 1955, highest chart pos. #1 R&B


In the early weeks of 1961, the San Diego doo-wop group Rosie & The Originals
achieved a top 5 crossover hit with "Angel Baby." A great cover of the doo-wop
classic can be found in a scene from the 1995 film My Family. In the movie
Jeanette Jurado, lead singer of the popular 80s freestyle group Exposé,
portrayed Originals' lead singer Rosie Hamlin. Watch and listen!

 "Angel Baby" - Jeanette Jurado 
 (orig. version Jan. 1961, highest chart pos. #5, 
 scene from May 1995 film My Family


Finally, I'm thinking Helen might enjoy being serenaded by teen idol Ricky Nelson.
In March, 1957, Ricky waxed his first set of songs and so began his very successful
recording career. One of the songs, a cover of Fat Domino's chart-topping R&B hit
"I'm Walkin'," was released as the A side of Ricky's first single. Ricky's version
became a major hit as well, cracking the top 5 on the pop chart and reaching
the top 10 R&B. As it turned out, Ricky's first record was a doublesider.
The killer B, "A Teenager's Romance," surpassed the A side and went
all the way to #2. Ricky performed the ballad on an episode of his
family television series The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet

 "A Teenager's Romance" - Ricky Nelson (June/July 1957, 
 highest chart pos. #2 Hot 100, #8 Cash Box, B side of 
 "I'm Walkin'"... scene from 1957 ep. of TV series 
 The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet

 Happy Mother's Day, Helen! 

 We love you and miss you! 


  1. My mom loved Ricky Nelson. So glad to hear that we'll be seeing more of Wolfman Jack.

    1. Hi, Mary!

      Thanks for being the first in the door today, my new friend! I am happy to have you here to help me remember Shady Dell owner Helen Ettline on Mother's Day.

      Ricky Nelson was loved by women of all ages, and he also had plenty of rock & roll street cred which made him popular with the guys as well.

      Yessum, the old Wolfman will be back with his own series on SPMM Retrosonic please stick around. One of the artists Wolfman Jack is sure to feature on his new show is R&B/rock & roll pioneer Lloyd Price. You might have read the news that Lloyd passed away this weekend.

      Thanks again for your kind visit and comment, dear Mary. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a super week ahead!

  2. I know that sometimes Mother's Day can be hard for those who never had kids. But I bet Helen felt the same way about the teens that came to the Dell as they felt about her. Maybe not kids of her own but loved anyway. Your tributes are always so thoughtful. Another Dell question: Did Helen and John ever dance at the Dell or just leave that to the kids? I'm imagining them dancing in heaven to these tunes today. Happy Mother's Day Helen!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thanks for coming by again this year for my tribute to Helen on Mother's Day! I'm glad to have you here for perhaps the ninth year in a row, dear friend.

      I remember people commenting over the years and mentioning John and Helen dancing together, but I think it was always as you put it here, a vision of them reunited and dancing in heaven. I for one do not remember seeing the Ettlines dance together at the Dell. I think they were wise not to invade the privacy of their teenage patrons by joining them on the dance floor. Perhaps Dell rat Jerre or Dell rat Ron saw the Ettlines dance at some point and will let us know, but I did not.

      I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day at The Pines, and I thank you again for showing up here for Helen again this year. Have a safe and happy week ahead, dear friend YaYa!

  3. Nice Mother's Day tribute to Helen. I like that faraway look in Ricky Nelson's eyes.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thanks for staying up late to drop in and help me salute Helen on Mother's Day, good buddy!

      YouTube has that entire scene from Ozzie And Harriet including a minute or so before Ricky sings. He sits down with mother Harriet and asks her opinion of rock & roll, the phenomenon that's sweeping the nation. Cool Harriet didn't knock the rock like many of her generation were doing at the time. It's interesting that the Nelson's family sitcom came to television in 1952, the same year that R&B great and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lloyd Price released his first record "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and introduced The New Orleans Sound. Lloyd Price died one week ago. Ricky Nelson looked vanilla, but he performed black music with authority. A good example is Ricky's cover of "I'm Walkin'" by New Orleans rock & roll pioneer Fats Domino, the A side of Ricky's single that had the teen pop ballad "A Teenager's Prayer" on the B side. Ricky also sang "I'm Walkin'" on an episode of his O & H TV show.

      Thanks again for reporting in, good buddy Kirk!

  4. She would be so thrilled to know she impacted so many people and that her legacy will live on for years.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for dropping by and writing kind words about Helen, good buddy! It's getting close to 40 years since Helen passed away but as long as I can keep this blog going The Mother of All Dell rats will be remembered and honored.

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, good buddy Alex!

  5. Tom,

    I'm happy that Helen and John had the Dell rats to call their kids. I suspect they probably wanted kids but couldn't have any and since they wanted them then having a place for kids to congregate at the Shady Dell was just as beneficial for them as it was for you rats. How nice of you to year in and year out to send out special Mother's Day wishes on behalf of the Shady Dell rats to this lovely woman. Fabulous song collection! Have a great week, my friend!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thanks for joining me for what I believe is the 7th year in a row as a follower of my blogs, to celebrate Mother's Day with Helen Ettline, every Dell rat's mom.

      Yessum, perhaps Helen and John surrounded themselves with young people all those years as a way of filling the void of not having kids of their own. We were a handful, the lot of us, and it took lots of love, patience and understanding on their part to put up with us.

      I'm glad you like the songs I picked to play for Helen this year. Thank you again for coming and for expressing such kind words for the Mother of all Dell rats. Enjoy your week, dear friend Cathy!

  6. Happy Mother's Day, Helen!

    Shady, these songs were perfect for Mother's Day and wonderful to accompany the life of a wonderful woman. :)

    The Drifters have always been my favourite and "Adorable" describes your experiences at the Dell so well. Same with Ricky Nelson.

    I hope that Mrs. Shady had a wonderful Mother Day too!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      I hope you had a nice Mother's Day weekend with your mama, dear friend. Thanks for coming to remember Helen on this special occasion!

      I'm pleased that you liked The Drifters song "Adorable" and didn't mind getting Ricky-rolled with that tender ballad by the young Mr. Nelson.

      Thanks again for taking a peek at the post, dear friend JM, and enjoy the rest of your week!

    2. Hi Shady,

      We had a quiet Mother's Day since mom was recovering from her 2nd COVID shot. I treated mom to a Panera lunch and we had Shish Kabobs for dinner. She loved the gifts I gave her. We took photos and celebrated more on Monday. She loved her two days. :)

      My soundtrack for a peaceful day. Thanks for adding music to my days, especially as I work. :)

      Have a happy Hump Day!

    3. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      I'm sorry if your mother is having a reaction to her second COVID shot. I hope she is better now that we've reached mid-week. I was happy to read that things went well with her on Mother's Day and on Monday.

      Adding music to your day is job 1 here at Shady's Place.

      Thanks again for stopping in, dear friend JM!

    4. Hi Shady,

      She was feeling better by Monday! I get my 2nd shot on Saturday and I'm hoping for the same thing. Not too ill, maybe a sore arm like the first, and back and ready to go by Monday.

      Have a great Thankful Thursday, dear friend!

    5. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      I'm glad to know your mom has bounced back, dear friend. Mrs. Shady had problems for a couple of days after her second. I hope you stay feeling well through the weekend. A little soreness and stiffness at the injection site is to be expected.

      Happy TT to you, dear friend JM!

  7. I have not heard of any of these but I enjoyed listening to them as always and I bet Helen does as well. You always remember her so fondly and showcase such great songs for her. Ricky was such a hunk back in the day but I do have a smile on my face at how well he sings this in his livingroom with all the extras one needs when one is in a recording studio.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thanks for being on hand again this year for my Mother's Day tribute to Helen, dear friend!

      I'm pleased that all four songs I picked for Helen are new to your ears and I'm glad you liked them. That leads me to believe that Helen would like them too.

      Yessum, some people called Ricky Nelson a teenage idol. In fact, many did, but he was the real deal - authentically performing rock & roll and doing a great job on pop ballads, affording him crossover appeal and success. I'm sure dad Ozzie was elated when he realized Ricky went over well with young record buyers. Every second or third episode of Ozzie & Harriet featured Ricky performing one of his latest releases. The exposure helped record sales and garnered many young viewers for the TV series.

      Thanks again for being here for Helen and for Shady, dear friend BB. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. Hi Shady! A very nice Mother's Day gift for Helen. If she were here, I am sure she would be happy to receive such a thoughtful celebration of her. She and John must have had a mutual compassion for the happiness and wellbeing of kids and teenagers! I believe they were always teenagers at heart! And, they were there if a need for help came their way.

    I only recognized one song, and it was a cover-what a fabulous job Jeanette Jurado did on "Angel Baby". sounds as good as the original, and she is a very lovely girl! I might add, the band is great too! I am fans of The Drifters, but must confess, I don't know "Adorable", and it hit #1! Maybe I was too young (7) and wasn't hearing a lot of soul yet, haha!

    I may have heard Ricky Nelson's "A Teenager's Romance", or even saw it on the series, we watched faithfully, but I just don't remember it. I think I would be too busy watching Rick, and not paying attention to the song! :)

    Shady, you always manage to celebrate Helen and John for their outstanding contributions to you and your friends' youth. I'm sure most of the Dell Rats remember this wonderful couple, and, the impact on some of their lives.

    Long live the Shady Dell!

    Take care, dear Shady!

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      I'm happy to see you, dear friend! How are you and Scootie doing? I hope this week finds you both well and in good spirits. Thanks for making time for a visit and helping me remember and honor Helen Ettline for Mother's Day 2021.

      You're right, Suzanne. John and Helen remained young at heart, a lesson for us all. I still remember seeing them seated in the audience of the grandstand attending James Brown's live show at the York Fair in 1968. You are also correct in writing that The Ettlines were always there if a need for help came their way. I have solid evidence of that coming up in my June 2 post, so please stay tuned.

      Thank you for taking an interest in the musical selections in this year's tribute post. I'm sure you remember the hot 1980s Latin freestyle girl trio Exposé featuring Jeanette Jurado who did the lead vocals on the groups' biggest hits "Come Go with Me," "Point of No Return" and "Seasons Change." I was thrilled to come across that clip of Jeanette in the role of Rosie Hamlin doing a sensational job of singing Rosie's sig song "Angel Baby" in the 1995 film My family that starred Jimmy Smits (of L.A. Law), Edward James Olmos (of Miami Vice), Constance Marie (of The George Lopez Show), Scott Bakula (of Quantum Leap), Mary Steenburgen (of Melvin and Howard, married to Ted Danson), Dedee Pfeiffer (of Cybill, now in the main cast of the ABC series Big Sky) and J.Lo (one of the Fly Girls dancers on In Living Color, landed the title role of Mex-Am singer Selena, and became one of the top Latin dance-pop singers in the business, a "triple threat entertainer" and a pop culture icon).

      The Drifters version of "Adorable" is one of the group's few recordings with Johnny Moore on lead vocals. I think Johnny sounds a lot like Clyde McPhatter.

      I am very happy to be finding so many nicely restored clips of Ricky Nelson singing on his family's TV sitcom. As he performed "A Teenager's Romance," mother Harriet, brother Dave and dad Ozzie all looked on with approval. It was just beginning to dawn on them that the youngest of the clan was a budding rock star, a major draw to keep The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet high in the ratings year after year.

      Ronnie Dove is an underrated artist. I get the feeling none of my readers ever heard of him. I guarantee he had a string of hits and his records were mighty big in my neck of the woods.

      I hope you had a nice Mother's Day, dear friend Suzanne. Thanks again for checking out my tunes so carefully. Stick around for another mom & pop quiz - a Brain Buster to test your musical knowledge - coming up in my next post this Friday. I hope to see you then!


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