“The Cinnamon Cinder Kid”
I guess it must have been a genetic thing, because my Father had been an avid dancer in the 40’s and I keenly followed suit some twenty years later. In 1962 a local D.J. by the name of Bob Eubanks opened the first of three alcohol-free dance clubs for teenagers. His Cinnamon Cinder (C.C.) Club opened in December 1962 on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, in an existing facility that had been the French restaurant, “La Ronde Rue”, on the “traffic circle” just off of Lakewood Boulevard.
I was in my senior year of high school and only had to attend half-days because I already had enough credits to graduate. I opted to attend classes in the afternoon, as I was working as a dishwasher at Hoefly’s4 restaurant in Belmont shore two nights a week and on the other five nights I would go dancing at the Cinnamon Cinder Club. On Wednesday nights they held a weekly dance contest, which had a cash prize for the first place winners. I would always enter religiously and a couple of times I made it to the last three couples, but as ever, in the end, no cigar. However, that all changed on the first Wednesday of March’63.
I was also involved in a car race at the time, to wit the “A Gas Dragster” (A G/D)5 and was due to leave the following morning for the United States Gas & Fuel Championship Drag Races at the Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield. (Actually it was located in McFarland, California, but it was always referred to as Bakersfield. Go figure!) Anyway, my buddies with the racecar were pissed off that I was going to the dance contest at the C.C. and was not instead at the shop helping to ready the dragster for the morning’s upcoming races. On this particular night, Bob Eubanks himself was in the house, which was a rarity. The dance contest began and I danced my heart out. Only this time I made it not just to the last three – but I actually WON! I wish that there had been the technology available then to have scanned the check for fifty-bucks that I won, as it bore Mr. Eubanks signature and would have made a great keepsake. The win was all the more sweet when I produced that check to show to my drag racing buddies. Too Cool! Thank you, once again, Mr. Eubanks.
I was lucky enough to see some great entertainers of the day at the Cinnamon Cinder Club, including the house band, The Vibrants, The Beach Boys, Dick & Dee Dee, The Rivingtons (of “Papa-oom-mow-mow” fame), The Orlons, The Olympics, Dee Dee Sharp, Marvin Gaye, Tammy Terrell and Bobby Day. I miss those days, big time! Can you dig it? Where can you go for a great night out these days and spend just $1.50? Below is a photo of the “Cinnamon Cider” Kid in his “hoodlum priest” jacket taken in the summer of 1963.
The excerpt above was taken from Chapter 3 (Degar: The Life and Times of an "Odd Duck" Vol. 1 Book 1)