The King of the Twist Marries Miss World – Highlights from the 4/12 Rock and Roll Revisited

Up Front:

As details of Disney’s forthcoming streaming service begin to emerge, we learn that The Mouse will have the Simpsons and a library full of Disney magic. But with competitive pricing and a ton of exclusive content, the company aims to be a formidable foe to Netflix. Via @Vox

Jerry Lewis refurbed LA’s Hollywood Playhouse Theater twice as part of his 35 million dollar contract with ABC to produce a variety show. When it bombed, producer Nick Vanoff came up with the notion of a vaudeville program with different hosts and a plethora of guest stars each week. That idea evolved into The Hollywood Palace. Here’s a fascinating short history of the program. Via

Today in History:

1861 The Civil War began when Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest-serving president in U.S. history, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Ga., three months into his fourth term. About 3 hours later, Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as chief executive.

1954 Bill Haley & the Comets recorded (We’re Gonna’) Rock Around The Clock

1955 U.S. health officials announced that the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk was safe

1966 Jan Berry of Jan & Dean was seriously injured when he crashed his car into a parked truck on Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles. The crash site was eerily close to the section of Sunset Boulevard that Jan & Dean had made famous in the song Dead Man’s Curve.

1988 Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs, California.

2007 Kurt Vonnegut Jr., whose novels such as Slaughterhouse-Five resonated with a generation, died in New York at the age of 84.

2009 U.S. Navy SEALs rescued a U.S. ship captain, Richard Phillips, held hostage by pirates off the Somalia coast, by killing three of the kidnappers four days after the standoff began. The incident inspired the 2013 Tom Hanks movie, Captain Phillips.

Happy Birthday to:
1913 Lionel Hampton – King of the Vibes(d. 2002)
1932 Tiny Tim – Tiptoeing Through the Tulips (d. 1996)
1940 Herbie Hancock
1942 Frank Bank – Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford in “Leave It To Beaver”(d. 2013)
1947 Tom Clancy – Hunting for Red October(d. 2013)
1947 David Letterman
1950 David Cassidy (d. 2017)
1956 Andy Garcia
1957 Vince Gill
1971 Shannen Doherty – 90210
1979 Claire Danes

Today’s Quote Worth Re-quoting: “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” ~Voltaire


The King of the Twist Marries a Beauty Queen.

Two 22 year olds getting married in 1964 wouldn’t normally be much of a story. Hundreds of marriages in that age group took place that year. But when the groom is credited with popularizing “The Twist” and the bride is a former Miss World, that deserves special notice. Add the dimension that one was African American and one was Dutch in an era where interracial partnerships still caused tension and it becomes front page news.

And so it was on this day in ’64 for Chubby Checker and Catherina Lodders. The two had met in January of 1963 when the former Ernest Evans was touring in the Philippines and found himself on the same stage with beauty contest winners. Lodders, a former model and sales executive accepted Chubby’s proposal. Then the challenge was finding a place where they could be married.

That turned out to be The Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken, New Jersey. The Reverend George L. Garver officiated after being approached by Checker’s manager, Henry Colt. The pastor insisted on meeting with the couple, a typical prerequisite, to determine if they were approaching the union thoughtfully and with commitment. He was satisfied that the youngsters were serious and agreed to solemnize the ceremony.

It drew a crowd. Checker’s fame was at its zenith. The 200 invited guests swelled to 500 as the limousines rolled up to the church. Being 1964, there were the requisite death threats and concern among some members of Reverend Garver’s congregation. There were a few boos as the couple emerged, quickly drowned out by adoring fans. By the time the ceremony was concluded, over 1,000 people were there to cheer the newlyweds.

Although the pastor noted at the reception that followed that he was never more proud of his community, the growing divisions that extended beyond race to the Vietnam War, women’s rights and economic justice lead to an early exit for the preacher from his role as head of the local church.

The union he blessed has endured to this day. Chubby and “Rina” had three children, including WNBA player Mistie Bass and musician Shan Egan. When the former Reverend Garver celebrated his 100th birthday he recounted the tale for friends and family. He died at 102 on October 29, 2018.