Alright, another issue of the digitalized Old Manville News. I believe this is our 8th consecutive issue of this vintage weekly town newspaper. In other words… we’re on a roll. I used a big preview for this, since this is one of the more visual issues we seen so far. Featuring the preparation for the arrival of Governor Charles Edison. This seems like a big moment for Manville, and the town was urged to roll out the patriotism as “Flags, Buntings and Cutting the grass were rushed to make him feel welcome” Here it is. Manville News 08-08-1941
Very few youngsters are aware of Manvilles early contributions to rock & roll. Being a music nerd myself, I had a hard time wrapping my head around how awesome this era was. Sadly I was too young to participate. The main story everyone knows about is when Hermans Hermits showed up to play the Manville High School gym on April 1st, 1965 and couldn’t even get off a note due to the 2000 screaming fans ready to tear them to shreds. The story goes that, that the adoring crowd bum rushed the stage, scarring the bejeesus out of the band and every adult in the building, while reducing the Gymnasium’s urethane coated floor to the bare boards. After 3 unsuccessful attempts at playing the band had to leave. It was Herman’s Hermits first American show… and the British Invasion was pounding down the doors of American teenage culture.
Unbelievably, the source of Manville’s right to rock and roll was a Christ the King Church priest named John A. Dzema. Father Dzema was a friend of Allentown, PA Disk Jockey Gene Kay. Gene Kay hosted the shows along with ex-American Bandstand hosts Monty Montez and Eddie Nixon. The Hermits weren’t Manville’s only claim to it’s contribution to rock & roll culture. The Manville High Gym had a weekly dance/show that boasted performances by The Four Seasons, Patty LaBelle and the Blue Bells, the Duprees, Ronnie and the Hi-Lites, Lesley Gore, Chubby Checker, Shirley Ellis, and Bobby Rydell. It must have been a phenominal time, unfortunately in the end the kids let violence and racism destroy probably the best thing the town ever had going in terms of entertainment.
I had been looking for some newspaper coverage of this event for awhile, and I know some folks have asked if I had any. Thanks to the Ogiba family for contributing this Gemm. Here is a link to download a flashback article from the Courier News that printed in 1979. DOWNLOAD
I was pretty excited on Thursday when I received an email from Richard Onderko. Not just because I was being contacted by one of Manville’s current Councilman candidates. It was rather the content of the email which was something to the tune of “Hey Mike. Meet me over on South 5th I found some great stuff”… and I mean who am I to stand up a possible future Manville Council Seat holder, so I went.
I arrived to meet Richard and a guy named Kevin Shutack, who explained to me the far reaches of his family participation in the towns history. The Manville Police, The Building Commitee, and most thankfully owner of the Manville Print Shop that was right next to the Krausers. I remembered the print shop as a kid… we used to peer into the windows there to find out what went on inside of it. But not to get off track… it seems the print shop handled most of Manville printing needs going at least as far back as the early 40s including the printing of The Manville News. Kevin gave me all sorts of printed goodies that were produced by the shop including A LOT of issues of the paper from 1941-1943. Just as soon as I work out the best way to archive these I will be posting digital copies of the issues just as fast as I can get them up. They are in a super fragile state, with much discoloration and edge damage, but they are brilliant and contain tons of great stories and history including some key Manville events like the building of the row homes, robberies and the Manville train derailment in the 40s in Lost Valley. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg… there are tons of wedding and birth announcements. Deaths, car accidents, reports from the war involving Manville residents, honor role lists, sports scores. I can’t wait to get these up.
This marks the most fruitful batch of town history I have found since Neal Ranauro’s photo archive. I feel like so many mysteries have just been solved. On behalf of the town of myself and Manville’s lost history we definitely own a huge debt to the Shutack family, Kevin, and Richard Onderko for making the connection happen. None of the afore mentioned ever had to waste their personal time to help me communicate this stuff to everyone, but they did. That’s awesome. I also got to spend some quality time with Rich and Kevin who were both very knowledgeable and very willing to share some information with me. Overall I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Saturday morning than striking another victory for my perpetual quest for Manville’s past.
Today was a suprise victory for Manville cultural material. A lot of you on this blog know me as a guy with a heavy interested in town history, but my first love is really music. I spend obscene amounts of time scouring used record stores, antique shops and cruddy disgusting basements for hidden vinyl treasures. So all of you out there in the Blogosphere reading this…. if you have a pile of records you want to sell… I’m your guy. I like all kinds of music primarily psych, jazz, funk, and PUNK ROCK (…eh-hem … Tom Kopsko) ANYWAY… this afternoon I was scouring a local antique store when my worlds collided. I came across a record from a guy named Marc Zydiak. The cover grabbed my attention, and like always when I become intrigued I flipped it over to look at where it was made. When I read the words Recoreded at TransAudio Studios, Manville N.J. ” • “Asbestos I knew how” I almost fell over. The label that released it was called Nirvana Records based at 1145 Green Street Manville, N.J. 08835. After a little internet research I learned that one of the songs “Frosty the Dopeman” appeared on a Dr. Demento record. As a lifelong music enthusiast and record collector HOW DOES THIS GET BY ME! I even own a record made by a certain member of this board many years ago. Anyway, my frustration is a a happy one, because ultimately I do now own a copy of this album. Color me excited. There is lots of instrumentation on this record including a few last names that I recognize… The A side is a comedy laden folk rock record, the B side is completely instrumental focusing on Zydiaks 6 and 12 string guitar stylings… with some slide guitar thrown in on the opening track. I must add that he does actually have some skill. Anyone out there know about this?
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This is one of the most incredible looking photos that I have pulled out of Neal Ranauro’s photo archive. “The First Manville Band” The back of the photo is dated “1922”, which gives you an idea on how early the vision of Manville existed before it’s emancipation from Hillsborough in 1929. We know that it took many years of battling for Manville’s Independence to be recognized, and this photo alludes to the idea that it was operating as a defacto town for many years before. I wouldn’t want to say too much here, as this photos speaks loudly for itself. According to Ranauro’s notes the following folks are pictured (a few of the names are missing )… John Shutack, Charles Kozar, George Malinowski, Ed Zujkowski, Frank Lewandoski, Enoch Malinowski, George Sopko, Al Fiala, Walter Zawalla, Pat Mayernick, C. Marshall, Jack Marshall, Joe Krasnansky, Jack Malinowski, John Fiala, Joe Lewandoski