Saturday, January 3, 2009

Palladium in the 1960's

  • Palladium's New '60's Look
  • Lawrence Welk 
  • Teen-Age Fair
Palladium's  New Look

In August of 1962 the Palladium went through major interior and exterior redecoration at great cost. It got a shiny new white and gold facade with an eye catching new Plexiglas upright sign and a shiny new marquee.
Palladium in the '60's

LAPL photo database

2008 photo: tlc

The theme of the interior was gold, black-and-white with under-the-skies highlighting. 

The Hollywood Palladium became the largest and most beautiful banquet facility in Southern California.  It was the place U.S. Presidents and foreign Royalty came for benefit galas and charity balls of all sorts.

Events at the Palladium included: 
  • Benefit dances
  • Antique showcases
  • Political Party meetings and fundraisers
  • Presidential Appearances by:
John F. Kennedy 
Ronald Reagan
       Richard Nixon
Dwight Eisenhower 
       Harry Truman 
  • Interior Decorator's Show
  • Junior Achievement Awards
  • Fashion Shows
  • Miss Teen USA Pageants
  • Teen-Age Fairs
  • March of Dimes fund-raiser 
  • Red Cross 
  • TV Emmy Awards
  • Hollywood Deb Stars
Concerts held here in the '60's included those by:
  • Duke Ellington
  • Frankie Avalon 
  • Ray Charles
  • Glen Campbell
However ( for me) the Palladium was all about the convergence of two generations.
  • Lawrence Welk and his Orchestra every Friday and Saturday night
  • the annual Teen-Age Fair!
Both these shows spanded the decade of the 1960's.  Both started out with much excitement and fanfare. Both ended in a whimper. In like a lion - out like a lamb. 

Lawrence Welk Show

Wunnerful! Wunnerful!  And ah-one and ah-two!

Those born in the '50's probably got a good dose of the Lawrence Welk Show every Sunday night,  7:00 on ABC-TV. The Lawrence Welk Show became one of the most popular TV Show of all time.  

From 1961 thru 1971 Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music-Makers played at the Hollywood Palladium every Friday and Saturday night.  This was just wunnerful! 

Autograph seekers

Lawrence Welk was born in North Dakota of German stock. During the 30's he had a traveling big band that specialized in sweet music. It later became known as champagne music
Welk first started televising a show from the Aragon Ballroom in Venice Beach California. 

LA Times

ABC-TV pick up the show in 1955 and it ran it for the next 16 years at 7 p.m. Sunday evenings. 

When ABC cancelled his show in 1971, Welk went on to produce his own the show and it ran on independent stations until he retired in 1982. He died in 1992.

Lawrence Welk  featured music was music that was tried and true from the '30's and '40's. He occasionally included a pop song from the '50's and '60's.  He would play all tempos - from fox-trots to cha cha cha.  In 1962 when the twist was all the craze Lawrence Welk had a twist demonstration on his show.  Arthur Murray dancers demonstrated the Bossa Nova.

The Bubble Machine
A regular feature (gimmick) of the Lawrence Welk Show was the bubble machine. Actually, on occasion he used nine bubble makers.

The bubble machine called for a special bubble making fluid so that the bubbles won't pop too soon under the hot lights used for TV. The bubbles was suppose to look like champagne bubbles.  Lawrence Welk's music had a bubbly effect.  It was often referred to as champagne music. So Welk came up with  the idea of having bubbles in his show.  The theme music to his show was Bubbles in the Wine.

The Welk Regular Performers

The Lawrence Welk Show featured top notch performers including:
Alice Lon - vocalist
Myron Floren -accordionist
Larry Hooper-singer pianist
Buddy Merrill-guitarist 
Bobby Burgess (mouseketeer) and Barbara Boylan - dancers
The Lennon Sisters

Lawrence Welk stopped performing at the Palladium in 1970. By this time Welk had pretty much lost his Champagne punch and it was time for him exit the Palladium.

The Teen-Age Fair (1962 - 1972)

1966: LA Times photo

In the spring of 1962 the first of 11 consecutive Teen-Age Fairs came to the Los Angeles. 

The first Teenage fair was at POP (Pacific Ocean Park). It was held at April 13 - 23. It attracted 250.000 visitors. 

The second annual  Teen-Age Fair was held at Pickwick Recreation Center in Burbank April 5 - 14, 1963.  One highlight of that fair that year was the public demonstration of a rocket belt with which a man could fly more than 100 feet. 

In 1964 the Teen-Age Fair moved the the Hollywood Palladium. 

The Teen Age Fair was a 10-day long event. It promised  hundreds of activities of special interest to teen-agers, including: surfing clinics, hot rod displays, outdoor amusement rides, midway with all the carnival booths, dance contest, a car bash and cramming contest,  yo-yo championship,  Karate exhibition, skydiving and surfing films upstairs in the balcony. The big highlight of the fair was the annual  Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant and the Battle of the Bands competition. 

Miss Teen Finalist 

CSUN digital archives

This winners of the 1965 Battle of the Bands was Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band

The fair was from noon to midnight. Admission was $1.50.  

Emergence of the Youth Market
In 1960's advertisers and retailers realized that teenagers had large amounts of disposable income to spend. Heavy marketing thinkers came up with their  best ideas on how to shape the youth's lifelong consumption patterns and brand identification.

Big advertisers for the fair included Pepsi, Chevrolet, Clairol, Curtiss candy, US Rubber and Coca Cola. Of course they  ran contest and games that featured their products.

Start-up companies tested new product ideas at the Teen-Age Fair such as Hobie Surfboards and Yardley of London with it's mod-look makeup. 

Kustom Kar artist such as Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, Dean Jeffries and Van Dutch (Kenny Howard) took the LA car culture to a new level of coolness with artwork. Everyone ran out to customize their cars. 

Ed Roth's Rat Fink

Dean Jeffries Monkee Mobile

There was plenty of hi-fi gear and automotive equipment on display.  This is where Mattel premiered it's Creepy Crawlers, Incredible Edibles and Thingmakers. Other fun stuff aimed at a kids were Wham-O Frisbees, SuperBalls and Slip 'n' Slides.  

Teenagers were a huge market. The Teen-Age Fair displayed booths featuring contemporary fashions, custom cars, musical instruments and interior design. The fair was an important advertising medium for reaching the youth market. 

In 1967, the major rock n' roll stations in Los Angeles were KHJ, KRLA and KFWB. They continued to battle it out over the Number 1 position. This competition was played out with an onslaught of  publicity and promotion. 
KHJ was an RKO station that switched to pop/rock format in 1965. It was home of the fictitious Tina Delgado. KHJ was the Boss Radio - meaning anything fabulously wonderful and it's Boss Jocks such as the Real Don Steele and Gary Mack. KHJ aimed at playing the most music a possible. 

KRLA achieved high acclaim for sponsoring the Beatle concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It had the zany and successful disc jockey Dave Hull - the Hullabalooer. KRLA has All Request Radio 

KFWB was once the leader of the pack, but by now it's glory days were behind them. It had contests aimed at forcing the listeners to keep tuned to the station. 
By 1967 there were Teen Age Fairs springing up all over the country. 

In 1967 there was a psychedelic fashion show and a hair coloring demonstration by Clairol. Remember Clairol's Endless Summer?  It launched Nice 'n Easy product line aimed at a younger market. Even guys would use it.

The Times They Were a Changing
In 1967, much of the youth at this time were engaged in building a new counter-culture that wanted no part of what the establishment was selling them. 1969 was a real turning point for the fair. There was a general feeling the Fair had run it's course. 

This was all happening in the mist of and after Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Haight Ashbury, Hendrix the Airplane Joplin, 1967  Summer of Love, the Democratic Convention of 1968, the growth of the counter culture, Woodstock and the generation gap. The Vietnam war was taking its toll on the country.  There was the emergence of the civil rights movement. The youth were much more politically aware. They developed new modes of dress and new life styles.
Love by Peter Max, 1968

In the late 1960's Hollywood was a very different place - and the youth were in a very different place than they were in 1961. Most were not buying into the products being marketed at them.  

In 1969 the Teen Age Fair became Pop Expo '69.  The entrance fee was now $2.00.

There was still the usual bombardment of  games, tents, carnival booths and rides. This time there was a psychedelic whale ride, a loud motorcycle pit and a psychedelic light show.

The fair tried to bill itself as a Celebration of Life  and  Renaissance of the Arts.  Amongst all the strobe lights and loud rock music,  teenagers could  learn about the Peace Corps, watch abstract student films, track their personality, and test their knowledge about VD. 

Kim Fowley and Michelle Phillips at the Fair
photo source:

There was a rock festival featuring Mama Cass, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Dr. John the Night Tripper. There were nightly jam sessions where people like Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa would showed up. The annual Battle of the Bands was now called a Pop Rock Tournament. 

Across the street Hair played at the Aquarius Theater (former Earl Carroll's Theater).

 This truly was cool

In 1969 the Pop Expo fair attracted 288,635 paying attendees. The record attendance was 301,000 set in 1967. The promoters noticed. But this may be due to the rain on the final two days of the fair. 

In 1970 the Fair struggled ahead. But by 1970 the youth market boom was passe. Teens weren't spending like they were before. Even the new owners (Filmways) were in financial trouble.  

This time the Palladium was all decked out with a hip, striped psychedelic facade. 
This annual teenage spring fling included the usual amusement rides, games, booths and lots of natural and fattening food shops for teens to spend money on. However, the music was now mind blowing and ear piercing. There was the usual carny feel about the whole thing. Or was is just cheesy? Been there done that. 

Kids were looking for all things cosmic

Peter Max - CosmicJumper

Now the most popular section of the Fair was the occult section - especially any booth offering free information in astrology or tarot cards

Time cover: 1972. Photo Credit: Jack and Betty Cheetham

 After all, this was the Age of Aquarius.

Another popular  area was where were young artisans were selling pottery, multi colored frangrant candles, leather goods and other hand made wares.

Inside the Palladium hall there was highly powered music playing while fashion shows were going on.  Amateur films were being shown up in the balcony. 

1972 was the 11th and final year of the TeenAge Fair (now called Pop Expo). 
This time there was an Environment Center with ecological exhibits and a Health Happening Exhibit that emphasized natural organic foods. Kids weren't buying into it like they did before. 

There was the annual Miss Teen USA beauty contest, the carnival style midway, and cosmetic oriented Beauty Clinics.  But it was obvious that the Teen-Age Fair was out of style with the interest of the current batch of teenagers. 

Woodstock, 1969

source: TimeLife

Presidential Appearances

In December 1961 President Kennedy was a guest at a $100-a-plate Democratic Party dinner at the Hollywood Palladium. The entertainment was by Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra, Nat King Cole and Ralph Bellamy. While in town Kennedy stayed at the Beverly Hilton but spent time with his sister Pat, the wife of actor Peter Lawford

President Kennedy came again to the Palladium in 1963 for a $1000-a-couple plate dinner.

In January of 1962 former President Eisenhower addressed the L.A. Chamber of Commerce at the Palladium.

1965 photo: LA Times


Anonymous said...

I think there is an error in your articla about the Teen Age Fair. I have in my possesion a program from the first Teen Age Fair at Pacific Ocean Park. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I attended the fair during the week of April 13-22, 1962. I think the first time it appeared at the Palladium would have had to be in 1963.

Phil Walter

Domenic Priore said...

True, the first Teen Age Fair was held at Pacific Ocean Park in 1962, then it moved in 1963 to the Pickwick Recreation Center just East of the Warner Brothers lot in the San Fernando Valley. In 1964 it found a permanent home at the Hollywood Palladium. Amazing site and blog, thanks for doin' it and keeping old L.A. alive. - Domenic Priore, author of "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone recall The Battle of hte Bands Tri County in the early 60s? I'm trying to locate any info on a group called "THE COLLEGIATES".

mary borland said...

Sorry...If anyone remembers THE COLLEGIATES can you email me at

Authentic psychic readings said...

The old generations past is account for in history. It's a great memoir that deserves to be cherished, as well as to be learned from. :)

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Anonymous said...

I worked on the Hollywood Palladium when it was under construction, the vintage sign that was put up in 61-62? was demolished, but I managed to save a piece of it's history. beause of timing the vintage sign was stored in the parking lot and it needed to be moved or (Disappear) accoring to Palladium owners to make parking room for next days concert event "Jay-Z". It was scapped and during lunch as I watched laborers take it apart I walked over with my carpenter tools and removed the top Spike (Spire) and base. and drove down the 101 taking up 2 lanes with this long spike sticking out the window of my tiny nissan sentra hoping I don't take someones head off all the way to Riverside county. Frank. any questions email at

epsychic said...

The retro years is such a joy to reminisce. Even styles in the past becomes a trend in the present.

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Anonymous said...

i'm looking for any info on new years eve 1967 Band "the Jems" and who else played that night!!


Greg Schmidt said...

At the '66 fair, a new radio station had a booth . IT's call letters were KBLA. I believe that it was out of Burbank KBurbankLA. One of the bands it promoted was the Black Sheep. Neither lasted another year.

beachgal said...

Correction - Lawrence Welk didn't broadcast all those years from the Hollywood Palladium - I worked at ABC over at 4151 Prospect - He was broadcast from the big theater stage there other than 1 yr he got to broadcast from the Hollywood Palace in the mid 60s. He did start in the 50s with broadcasts from the Palladium but it was not too long after he moved over to the 4151 lot.

beachgal said...

I think some of the confusion about Lawrence Welk's TV show broadcasting from the Hollywood Palladium all those years stems from he did have concerts at the Palladium from time to time, so his name would be on the marquee and ads would appear in the papers for the shows and ticket info - but those were not the Lawrence Welk TV show - those were just some of the many concerts he did outside of his shooting schedule.

beachgal said...

The Dodgers came to LA in spring 1958 playing their first years at the Coliseum. That ad for Lawrence Welk welcomes the Dodgers to town and also says it's LW at the Aragon Ballroom - so that ad would be from 1958, after LW was already broadcasting from ABC lot over oon Prospect. He did give concerts at the Aragon Ballroom after he started the show over at ABC lot - it was one of many places around LA LW gave concerts. He also was out at the MellodyLand - and the Carousel out in West Covina. There were lots of places he played in the southland as well as traveling out of Calif too. I'm not a big old LW fan - I watched him on TV in the 50s like many - just know your blog info is pulled from for write ups all over and would like to help you clarify some things that seem to get mixed up. Know you have not said here specifically that LW broadcast all those yrs from the Palladium - but I think a lot of folks read the text and assume that is what is implied. He was really just one of the many venues he preformed at and was one many did associate with him. I am positive he did not play the Palladium however every Friday and Sat nights all those yeas! He was on the road a lot with the band and portions of his featured artists.

beth kleiman said...

I worked at the Palladium about 1965 for a short tie for Sterling Way. Was a great place and we would watch Lawrence Welk and Don Ho rehurse for their shows at lunch time

Mark Arevalo said...

Hello all, great stuff! Can anyone help me figure out the band line-up for the 1967 Teenage Fair ??? I have a poster advertising the fair as being March 17 - March 26 made by Columbia Records. No mention of who is performing etc. Thanks in advance to anyone that can help! Cheers, Mark

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