A Derrick Challenge…………..#138 (the 70’s)

Bob Wallace

 

Kenny Kannada

 .  With Jerry Cooper and Jack Hughes having bailed out of operating the Derrick Club, Gary excepting the challenge of keeping it a viable entertainment platform.  A call to his friend  Jerry Connell in Midwest City,  informing him of the circumstances, inquiring about his playing availability, discovering Connell willing to return to the bandstand and take an active part in club as a silent partner,  investing some financial assistance.    With Connell on board,  Gary’s immediate concern was acquiring a drummer, his good friend Glenn having once again returned to Indiana, but having another person in mind.

Bob Wallace was scripted, his self-assurance attenuated personality was blazon, but without a doubt substantiated by his vocal talent and percussion ability.  Gary meeting this slender tall resemblance of an Elvis in the past during the Derrick Club’s Wednesday sit in night, his smirking curling lip projecting an attitude of ascendancy.  With the departure of Jerry Cooper and Jack Hughes, Bob Wallace’s’ arrival was heralded as an asset, his duo presentation,  drums and vocal was recognized as an ordained deliverance for the band.

.  Gary’s good fortunate was short-lived,  Jerry Connell was having family problems.  Jerry’s wife Donna wasn’t happy with Jerry’s Derrick Club affiliation, giving him an ultimatum, resulting in him apologizing to Gary,  but bowing out of the Derrick venture.   With Jerry’s departure, Gary and Bob began a duo Monday thru Thursday.  Jerry Willis, guitar and sax still on the Bandstand Friday and Saturday nights.  Gary would arrive at 10 a m every morning to ready the club for it 12 noon opening. early one afternoon a guitar conveying,  six-foot two Stetson adorned musician, named Kenny Kannada entered,   asking Gary if he needed a singer, Gary replying, there was always a need for a good vocalist.

.  Without hesitation, brandishing his guitar,  Kenny took to the bandstand, Gary activating  the P A  system,  the Stetson adorned musician demonstrating his talent.  A bouquet of sound enhancing the atmosphere,  the guitar playing singer hosting the songs of country music icons,  with just enough impersonation in his voice, to give them recognition, without a doubt the pianist recognizing an immediate hire.   Gary soon discovered the lanky musician retained an essence of humility,  a warmness of personality prevailing in his character, a trait that would be recognizable and retain an immediate acceptance from an audience.  Gary was astonished how providence could change from a need to an abundance.

.  The Oklahoma adjoining  community of Edmond,  population 16,000, was a closed environment to interlopers in the beverage dispensing business,  a hierarchy status was in place, the established bars and clubs resenting the sudden procrastination of the Derrick-Club.    Gary was a believer  in innovation,  advancing the advent of a live radio broadcasts from the club, a first for Edmond.  The KW HP radio truck, accompanied by a search light flooding the nighttime sky,  it’s beacon giving notice, a drawing card for the club,  that in itself had become an attraction.  As advertised on the radio that night,  upon entering each customer would receive a numbered ticket stub, a drawing to be held  for five hundred dollars for a lucky person. The drawing to be held the following afternoon at the radio stations location, hosted by Dave and John, the broadcasting sales representatives who initiated the idea .  ,

.  Gary was opposed to the idea because of  financial reason, he didn’t have $500, but taking him aside Dave and John explained the drawing was a scam, it was engineered, the winning ticket would be palmed by Dave, the person winning would be an employee or an acquaintance whom would receive a nominal fee for her deceptive participation.   Gary still didn’t like the idea but a justification was pronounced from the broadcasting reps, unbeknownst to the public, deception  was common practice in the advertising profession.  The Derrick Club’ beginning to have an adverse effect on the competitions,  the  success of the club causing some consternation, Gary concluding besides adding a new entranceway door, redesigned band stand, decorative candles place on table and the installation of a large Derrick Club sign on Broadway , it was the addition of Kenny Kannada and Bob Wallace that was making the difference.  With the success of the club came a continuous  scrutiny and  pressure from local law enforcement, It became apparent their  reaction was a measure of the clubs accomplishments and the Derrick’s horizon looked promising.

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