Jimmy Menutis: Houston Heart of Rock ‘n Roll

Jimmy Menutis: Houston's Home for Rock 'n Roll

Sometime in the late 1950s, a swarthy-looking, cigar-chomping, ever-smiling Greek fellow named Jimmy Menutis bought The Wayside, an east end suburban movie theatre on Telephone Road, near Wayside Drive, and turned it into a club for contemporary music and dancing. For about five years, the place flourished as the biggest big-name rock ‘n roll music venue to ever hit Houston.

Jimmy Menutis’s place boomed fast as no ordinary club in town ever had – and with good reason. Jimmy started bringing in some of the biggest, most popular rock ‘n roll, jazz, and blues stars in the country – and they were all pumping their talents into the lore of the Houston East End at a scale and rate that no one could ever  have predicted, or accepted as reality, until it actually landed on top of us and happened.

Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Brook Benton, Sam Cooke, Earl Grant, Jimmy Reed, and countless others were simply a few of the headliners who played at Jimmy Menutis. Except for Elvis, and I’m not sure what happened there; Elvis loved playing Houston; just about everyone else made it here to play this hottest venue in the South.

Menutis had gutted the old theater seats, replacing that area with ample table settings and plenty of room left over for dancing. The old stage remained for performers, but acts were free to wind their away into the seating areas and perform up close and personal for members of the audience.

As a young man who got to experience the greats of rock and roll in live performances because of Jimmy Menutis, all I can tell you is that it was one “cool and crazy” ride, my friends. For me personally, on a site  that stood no more than two miles from my childhood home in Pecan Park, I was getting to hear all of my major music heroes in person, doing all the popular music I then still owned on vinyl .45’s and very  breakable .78s.

“Maybelline” by Chuck Berry, “Good Golly, Miss Molly” by Little Richard, “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino, “Jeepers Creepers” by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World It Will Be” by Sam Cooke, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Jerry Lee Lewis, and “Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby” by Jimmy Reed,  are just a few of the great songs that came straight to the heart of Houston because of Jimmy Menutis.

Jimmy Menutis closed sometime in the mid-1960s, during the time I already had moved to New Orleans for graduate school at Tulane. Music was changing by then and so was the country. By then, the Beatles had captured the hearts of the even younger generation and Viet Nam and the Civil Rights Movement had put a final wrap on our old 1950s age of innocent denial or oblivion to weightier matters.

Rock ‘n Roll wasn’t going away with the death of places like Jimmy Menutis. It was simply heading into a quieter phase of it’s still continuous evolution as an American musical art form. Those of us who came of age with Chuck, Fats, Jerry Lee, and Little Richard will keep their brash bashing of words, beat, and melody alive for as long as we all last and longer.

By the time I came back to Houston from school and teaching at Tulane, some of the old rock ‘n rollers were still skirting through Houston for a few gigs and, as a still single young man at that time, I did what I could to catch their acts whenever any of the biggies came to town.

My favorite memory dates back to 1970, when my date and I went out to the Club Bwana in Pasadena to hear a weekend performance by Chuck Berry. It’s good we made early reservations for the Saturday night show because the little place was packed with people waiting on stand-by in the hope of getting in. Our small table was right near the performer’s dressing room, which was great because Chuck Berry would have to pass right by us to get to the stage. My back was to his dressing room door, but I kept looking over my shoulder, hoping to catch him from the moment he appeared.

I didn’t make it. I got distracted by the emcee’s introduction. Then it suddenly dawned on me that he was no longer doing a blah-lah about someone else. He was introducing Chuck Berry.

Chuck Berry Rocked the Club Bwana Back in 1970!

I turned to my left and abruptly found myself staring eye-level into the shine of a beautifully red-surfaced, heart-shaped guitar. Lifting my gaze, I just as suddenly found myself staring into the eyes of the one and only Chuck Berry. He was standing right beside our table, waiting for the emcee to finish his intro.

“Hi Ya, Chuck!” I blurted out.

“How you doin’, man?” Chuck Berry answered.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, … THE ONE AND ONLY … CHUCK BERRY!” The emcee boomed.

The golden moment had ended, but the imagery lives on forever in my brain, right there with the time I made eye contact with Joe DiMaggio in April 1951, right after he caught a fly ball in the outfield at Buff Stadium and I was standing behind the SRO crowd ropes in left center field near the spot of his catch.

People like me never forget a conversation with someone like Chuck Berry, even one as short as ours in 1970.

The rest of the night was legendary for all who crowded into the Club Bwana that night. Chuck Berry played on violently for about two hours, stopping only long enough to wipe perspiration and slug down another glass of water. He was getting all of our love that special night and he fed on it with a non-stop heart and soul performance.

I don’t get around much, anymore, but I sure remember the times I did. And I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything in the world. And places like Jimmy Menutis and the Club Bwana hold a lot of very special memories for me.

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68 Responses to “Jimmy Menutis: Houston Heart of Rock ‘n Roll”

  1. Bill McCurdy Says:

    e-mail from St. Thomas HS ’56 Classmate Elbert Marshall …

    Bill,

    Great article-really makes us feel much older. The one thing that you did not mention in your coverage is the unique dance done only at JMs called the “whip”.

    I was never coordinated enough to really (get) the rhythm and the cool moves.

    Keep it up, and hope to see you at one the the luncheons if I can ever get a timed trip to Houston from the Hill Country,

    Bert

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Bert:

      Thanks for remembering “The Whip.” Yeah, a lot of us learned that dance at Jimmy Menutis and then did our best to spread it elsewhere.

      Try to make it into Houston some time, friend. A lot your old classmates (and I do mean “old” classmates) would love to see you again.

      Regards,

      Bill McCurdy

      • Mona Anderson Says:

        Hi Bill, I just stumbled onto this blog site because it was connected with a posting on Facebook. I was just talking with my mom, Kay Smith, about Jimmy Menutis. I have heard his name all my life. My mom and her brother, Johnny Smith (Saints Quartet member), use to be big dance partners (the whip) at the Wayside (1956-1958). Johnny and Jimmy M. were good friends! She doesn’t do the computer, but was wondering if Jimmy was still living?? Reply here or email me at austinhousekeepers26@yahoo.com. We would appreciate it so much! Thank you! Mona Anderson

    • Jack Crummett Says:

      What ever happen to Jimmy ? For what it is worth, I worked there as a clown for a lot of years..If you know the whereabout of him let me know, JaxTex@aol.com.

  2. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    Again, WOW! Another good memory. However, I was saddened when the Wayside Theater closed because of good memories too; but happy there was a dance place with good music. I only went to Jimmy’s twice because the guys I dated at the time and the fellow I eventually married were not dancers; therefore, it was difficult to go and just listen to the fabulous music without dancing.

    I did finally marry (second time around) not only a wonderful, wonderful husband but a great dancer too. My husband Oscar is from Cuba and you know the Cubans are great dancers. He too has fond memories of places where he danced in Cuba and in Upper Manhattan, New York; some like Jimmy’s but more like the dinner clubs you see in the older black and white movies.

    Now, that he is a paraplegic; we are so thankful that we had 20 wonderful years of dancing together here in Houston at the Chandlier Ballroom in the Heights; the Paradise Dinner Club on Nasa Rd. 1 (now closed), Rio Pasada Dine and Dance (off of Fulton now closed), and numerous places in Galveston where Big Band music and music of the 50’s was played.

    Again, thanks for always helping us older ones to recall the great times we had in Houston.

  3. James Anderson Says:

    I too had some great memories of some of the great music legends who played Houston years ago.
    A favorite spot in downtown Houston in the old section near Buffalo Bayou was the LaBastille Club that converted one of those old deserted buildings into a club. I think Minute Maid Park now sits atop that old spot.
    The other was Dean Scott’s Club on Westheimer. He later called it Dean Scott’s Dinner Club. Wanted to be a bit fancier I guess.
    At both of these clubs I had memorable moments I’ll never forget and two of them both involved the great Antoine “Fats” Domino.
    The LaBastille Club was rather small and likely seated maybe 100 people. Maybe not even that much. The tables were round and just slightly larger than common bar stools.
    After Fats finished his first set, he came down at sat at our table and asked if he could share in our food tray while he visited with his family sitting right next to us. I said sure! Also coming down to sit at our table was a young looking skinny white kid with curly hair. He was carrying Fat’s small case of jewelry that he wore when playing. I asked him his connection to Fats and he said that Fat’s picked him up off the streets of New Orleans and raised him like his own son. He then told us this incredible story about how he actually sang on Wilbert Harrison’s cover version of the song Kansas City and not Fats. I thought the guy a few cards short of a full deck until he went up on stage sat at Fat’s piano and started playing and sang “Blue Monday”. This skinny white kid sounded just like Fat’s Domino! I couldn’t believe it.
    Fat’s turned looked up on stage and then turned back looking at us and just smiled and laughed and that was the end of it. The young kid came back down sat at our table and told us that Fat’s let him record the song so he could earn the royalties off the song himself. Crazy story…There is no way I can confirm the story unless I could ask Fat’s himself and I have long forgotten the name of that skinny white kid with the curly hair.

    The other memorable event took place at Dean Scott’s on a very stormy night. Fat’s and his band was playing. The storm was so bad that many streets were flooded and only a few brave souls (including us) showed up.
    There were so few people that that I kept noticing his bespeckled Sax player beckoning to Fat’s to end the program early and get out of there because the place was almost deserted.
    Fat’s looked out at the audience and asked us to come up on stage and stand around him and his piano while he played. I stood right next to Fats while he played. When he finished a song he tell us, I’m going to play another sone ya’ll might remember and went into a long version of “The Fat Man”. I purposely took a head count to see how many people were there standing around Fat’s piano. There were 17 people there includimg me and my wife.
    Fat’s played on till after midnight and I kept watching in awe his fingers pounding those ivories!
    What memories!

    We caught the Chuck Berry performance at Holfheinz Pavillion where he first introduced the song “My Dinga-Ling”
    He had just come back from London where he first played that crazy and very funny song. We had never heard it before and shortly afterwards was released domestically on the “London Berry Blues” album. That was a lot of fun because it is a sing along that requires the audience to participate in the song. It was hilarious…when Chuck came to the end of the some where he sings..”you must be playing with your own dinga-ling!” spot lights were rolling all over the crowd and one of them stopped directly on us! I wanted hide under my seat!!

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      James:

      Thanks for those awesome additions to our memories of some great times. Your thoughts take us back to the Market Square entertainment era of the late 60s and early 70s. What fun it was while it lasted – and LaBastille was a big part of it.

      By the way, I also caught that Chuck Berry Show at Hofheinz. I’ll always prefer my earlier time with Chuck at the Club Bwana because it was much more personal and it went on forever.

      Throw in Carl Perkins’s sell-out show at the Sam Houston Coliseum in 1956 as another lagniappe Houston music memory. His “Blue Suede Shoes” finale caused an SRO crowd crunch that almost killed several of us. We were lifted through the air by the mass movement of the crowd. It was pretty hairy for a while, but we were young and rode it out in style.

      Loved your Fats Domino recollections. – “He da man!”

      Regards,

      Bill

  4. Tom C. Says:

    The Wayside theater and Jimmy Menutis Club surely brings back great memories. I met my wife of 51 years at the Wayside theater in 1953 and I took her for a date at Jimmy Menutis on a New Years party with Tommy Edwards as the Entertainment before we got married in 1959.
    Tom Cary

  5. James Anderson Says:

    Bill-
    Well whattaya know…we were both at that Chuck Berry concert at Holfheinz! It was pretty crazy and a lot of fun wasn’t it!

    By the way….after that Fat’s Domino performance at Dean Scotts I developed a tremendous amount of respect for him as a human being and not just a performer because here was a man who was going to give you the best he had no matter if he was playing in front of an audience of 17,000 people or 17.

  6. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    How do I respond directly to the editor of the Park Place Eagle? There are several other locations that I would like to know about such as the CITY AUDITORIUM since this is the first and only time that I saw Fats Domino perform. His performance was going great until all of the black and white kids jumped out onto the floor and started Booping with one another. The police tried to stop everyone from dancing and made the black kids leave the floor and when this happened Fats Domino stopped playing the piano and said, “IF MY PEOPLE CAN’T DANCE, THEN I DON’T PLAY.” And, he left the stage…….end of concert.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Hazel:

      We will be hitting the City Auditorium and other places around the town that used to be Houston in future columns. Meanwhile, thanks for your report on Fats Domino’s response to racism that time you attended his concert there. Those were stupid, ignorant, embarrassing times and Fats Domino handled the hatred of segregation in the only civil way open to him.

      “ ‘IF MY PEOPLE CAN’T DANCE, THEN I DON’T PLAY.’ And, he left the stage…….end of concert.” – Hazel Loving Camara.

      Gotta love it. Fats Domino was – and still is – the man!

      – Bill McCurdy

  7. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Menutis’ was a tad ahead of my time…my favorite was Liberty Hall in the early 1970s on Chenevert around where the George R. Brown is now. I saw Springsteen there when he was soon to be somebody promoting Asbury Park and Jimmy Buffett before he released Pink Crustacean, among many others. There couldn’t have been but 100-150 people there for Springsteen and Buffett. They’d come out and drink beer with the audience during breaks.

    • Randy Sones Says:

      I was at both of those shows, too! I remember that Buffet had to go back on stage because he forgot to play Come Monday, which was getting airplay at the time. Apparently his A&R man, who was present at the show, reminded him. Other shows that stand out – Steely Dan, Joy of Cooking and Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys. I was also there the night that Johnny Winters walked on stage to jam with Rocky Hill.

  8. John K Says:

    My wife, Johnnie, and I worked at the Wayside when it was a theatre. She was a big time ticket taker and worked in the consession stand. I was an usher and got to wear the dorkey uniform. We were just friends at the time. It was a couple of years later that we started dating and later married. That was 54 years ago(when we got married). Johnnie was probably working there when Tom C and his girl friend dated there.

  9. richard l Says:

    What about CL&the Pictures – house band.What was the name of the diner across the street?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Richard:

      I couldn’t understand the first part of you’re request, but I think you’re thinking about “The Chicken Shack” when you ask about the diner across the street from Jimmy Menutis.

      Regards,

      Bill McCurdy

  10. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    One person asked about the CHICKEN SHACK; I can still smell and taste the fried shrimp. Even though the restaurant was called the CHICKEN SHACK; the shrimp was probably the best I have ever eaten other than the mouthwatering shrimp at CAL’S OYSTER BAR, next to WISHING WELL DRIVE-IN on Telephone Road. WHERE HAVE ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL RESTAURANTS GONE?????????????

  11. Vito Schlabra Says:

    It was the Famous Chicken Shack. Had the best fried chicken ever. Had something to do with the batter. I found a place in Waco that taste just like it. It’s called the Elite. Opened in 1919 and has been restored. Great Food and service and not expensive. We go their often since I only live about 45 minutes away in Georgetown.

  12. Jerry Langford Says:

    Everybody called the cafe across from the Menutis club, “The Chicken Shack “. But, the actual name was ” The Famous Chicken House “. My mom was a waitress there.

  13. Jerry Langford Says:

    The restaurant across the street from the Menutis club was called the “Chicken Shack”. The real name was “The Famous Chicken House”. I know because my Mother worked there as a waitress for about 5 yrs.

  14. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    Jerry Langford, did you go to Milby High School and are you about 50 years old or soon will be?

  15. Pacman Frazier Says:

    I remember those days. Teen Hall, and then JIMMY MENUTIS. I used to live in that joint. Great music and lots of fun. Then South Park where there was this Soul joint. I caught Joe Tex when he was hot. I was probably the only white person in there. I went to the Club Delta on Reed Road, Latin World. I wasnt no big thing then. It was the groove that everybody liked. Sure wish I had a time machine to go back and do it again. ACT III. All you cats out there know about that place too.

  16. Jerry Langford Says:

    To Ms Camara: No , I didn’t go to Milby ! I played a lot of football against them, though ! I graduated from Stephen F. Austin in 1961 ! So, I’m also a lot older than 50 !

  17. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    To Jerry Langford……my brother, sister and I also went to Austin HS. You may have known my brother; Jerry Loving but everyone called him Slug or Sluggo….he was the manager of the football team, graduated in 1960 and eventually became a medical doctor; he is still practicing. My sister, Dianne Loving was cheerleader at Jackson Jr. High for several years and also at Austin for several years, she graduated in 1962. She is a retired principal. I retired from teaching at Austin in 2004. It is true you can never go back as Austin certainly was not the wonderful school it was in the 1950/60; even the buiding had major changes. Thanks for answering Jerry.

  18. Barbara Richardson Grammer Says:

    Best of times. I remember that Jimmy Menutis Club would have Sunday matinees for kids. I saw Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and got to dance like crazy. Then later spent my summer holidays in Garner State Park and learned the Whip. Check out Garner 60’s style website. Teen Hall, Dome Shadows, Act III (Johnnie Winter played all the time) Cinder Club,Sands, Casino Royale, Latin World, soooo many. I saw Stevie Wonder at Latin World put on a fabulous show. He ended up playing every instrument in the band. Little did we know then he would be come a superstar. By the way, checkout http://www.domeshadows.com. So many great memories of Bobby Bradshaw. Lots of pics. I heard he passed away right before this website came up. Will never forget The Soul Brothers at Shandy Ballroom and Cactus Club. RIP Charlie Greenway. And if you have dish satellite, try channel 6053. Soul Town plays some of the best music. gene Chandler, James Borwn, tons of Motown, you just won’t believe. Peace and love,
    Barb

    • Brenda Smith Davis Says:

      Barbara,

      I saw that you mentioned “RIP Charlie Greenway,” was wondering how you knew him. Charles was like a little brother to me for so many years. I knew his whole family, Mom & Pop Greenway, wife, Barbara and family. Loved them all very much. I worked with his Mom for years at Dugan Drug Store in Pasadena, for many wonderful years I might add. Just wondering if you knew that whole wonderful family.

      Brenda Smith Davis

      • John Benson Says:

        Wow. I discovered this site by accident. I knew Charlie Greenway very well (and the rest of his family*). I was his bass player when we had a high school “garage band”. We played music in a club over on Wayside all during high school. We also played the Cactus club, The Nesadel (later became Gilley’s I believe), Pleasure pier and Taylor Hall (in fact we backed up Bruce Chanelle one night). Charlie is missed. *you are right, his Mom was a wonderful person. She named our band “The Valkyries”.
        Johnny Benson

  19. jerry langford Says:

    To Hazel Camara : Well knock me over with a feather ! ( Excuse the adage ) Sure I know Sluggo and Dianne ! Sluggo was the trainer on our football team ! I went to Jackson Jr. High with both of them. Dianne was a Leopard cheerleader ! She used to date my best friend in school, his name is Frank Waltermire. We went on a lot of double dates together ! Sluggo married Arlene McMahon, also a girl we went to school with ! Arlene recently emailed me on classmates.com and said they were living up close to Huntsville, I think on her parents old farm. Tell Dianne Hi !

  20. Dottie Hogan Brewer Says:

    I love all the clubs you have mentioned, but, no one has mentioned my favorite place. Jimmy Menutis’s “Silver Spur” downtown. The Winters twins used to play there a lot. Also “Van’s Ballroom” and “The Act III” which belonged to John L Maida. Roy Head used to come in all the time. Does anyone remember ‘Tin Hall”? I guess we all live on these beautiful memories. By the way, there is one more “Four Palms” thanks Dottie Milby 54

    • Kathy Says:

      Hello.

      I was researching the Four Palms in Houston, Texas and saw your post.

      Could you please tell me if Jimmy Menutis owned the Four Palms in the early 1950s?

      My mother used to tell us stories of when she went there in the early 1950s. She talked about the regular “Sam” (I think his last name was Bryant,” and her friend, the owner Jimmy.

      I wanted to see if they were still alive to perhaps interview them for good stories about my Mom so my sister and I can finish our “thank you for our stories” book for her.

      I would sincerely appreciate hearing from you.

      Take care.

  21. Dottie Hogan Brewer Says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation, what does this mean?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “Your comment is awaiting moderation, what does this mean?” – Dottie Hogan Brewer

      Dear Dottie:

      It’s just the way WordPress has this thing set up. The first time a new reader comments, the site waits for me, the author and owner of The Pecan Park Eagle, to approve posting of whatever a new reader says. I always do. After that one single time, all your future comments on anything get posted without the approval pause. As publisher/editor here, I retain the authority to delete anything that might be considered SPAM (selling a product), or any post laced with lewd or inappropriate language, but I’ve never had to take that action, nor will I ever delete a contributor’s thoughts because they either dislike or disagree with anything I say. That would be no way to run a legitimate informational/entertainment website.

      My main topical reasons for starting The Pecan Park Eagle are my interests in baseball, particularly the local history of the game, and the history of everything Houston and “the way we were.”

      On the personal level, I’m a writer who believes that what writers need to do to stay connected to life is to write. To me, that means writing this column daily, whenever practical, along with any other project I may have going on. There’s no money involved here. I simply do it to be doing it, hoping that some others may enjoy reading some of the stories that I love to write.

      Does that answer your question? If so, it is my hope that you will hang around for more and comment all you want, and that you may choose to invite friends to join you who are also interested in baseball, local history, and usually lighthearted fun articles. As this particular column illustrates, The Pecan Park Eagle is sometimes a place also where people connect with others who share their particular interests or history with Houston.

      The Pecan Park Eagle is not a “Meet and Greet” program, anymore than Chron.Com is, and it bears no “interest in” or “responsibility for” whatever transpires if people who meet here get together through exchanges of personal information.

      It’s probably always well to remember that this is the Internet, which is sometimes like the wild, wild west, with two important exceptions: If you get into trouble with people over the Internet, there is no sheriff or cavalry to come rescue you.

      Regards,

      Bill McCurdy
      Writer/Editor/Publisher
      Pecan Park Eagle

  22. Marty Says:

    I was at the LaBastille Club when “Fats” Domino played there. The thing that stuck in my mind was it was so dark the only thing you could see of “Fats” was his white teeth. Do any of you remember Art Boatwright? He was a local that played Menutis. My fun bunch sat on the left fount known as “Skid Row.” Those crazy tricycle races was really fun. I wish I had the time back I spent on learning the “Whip”. I went to Milby. The guy I won dance contest was from Galveston & we would leave Menutis for the after hour clubs down there. What fun times.

  23. Hazel Loving Camara Says:

    Being a new subscriber; I appreciated you comments to Dottie…..this helped me to know more about your purpose in writing the PECAN PARK EAGLE. Did you live in the Pecan Park area and go to Milby HS? Have you written anything that has been published and thatI might be interested in reading?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Hazel:

      Thanks for asking.

      I have a new book that I co-authored with former Houston Astros Great Jimmy Wynn. “Toy Cannon: The Autobiography of Baseball’s Jimmy Wynn” is on the fall list from McFarland’s and will be available over Amazon and all book stores in time for the holidays. Amazon is already taking pre-pub orders. My previous book of possible interest is “A Kid From St. Louis: The Life and baseball Times of Jerry Witte” that I wrote with the former Houston Buff star in 2003. It’s still available through my Pecan Park Eagle Press by mail order. The price on the Witte book is $21.60 for a hard back copy (including tax) and the mailing address to order is: Pecan Park Eagle Press, PO Box 940871, Houston, TX 77094-7871. Just make any order check out to “Bill McCurdy” and note the book on your check before placing your order in the mail. I’m also working on a couple of other books right now, but we’ll talk about those later.

      As for my East End roots, yes, I grew up in Pecan Park, I went to the first grade at Southmayd Elementary, then to St. Christopher’s, then to high school across town at St. Thomas. All my close friends and buddies were Milby High School kids, including people like Kenny Kern and Randy Hunt. Did you know either of those guys?

      Bill McCurdy

  24. Jimmie menutis Says:

    I am very happy to see all the reply and fond memory. I too have great memory of all my friends and customers. Guess what…..my wife of 50 years and I still dance the whip.
    We are living in new orleans, also have a condo in the metropolis o w.gray in Houston. We have a business in Lafayette, la and spend time there.

    We are considering having a reunion In new Orleans with one of the name artist if you wish to be invited send your name and address by mail to
    Jimmie menutis
    110 Travis street
    Lafayette, la. 70503

    Circulate this message to others you know would want to attend.

    Regards
    Jimmie

  25. Jimmie menutis Says:

    Love to hear from all my friends.

    Jimmie menutis
    110 Travis st.
    Lafayette, la.

    Email
    Rmenutis@brandedworksinc.com

  26. Kermit L. Harper Says:

    I danced at Jimmy Menutis’ from 1960 until it closed. The Art Boatwright Band ( with Henry Boatwright) was the house band. I now dance to the music of Henry Boatwright and The Greatful Geezers. He still plays good music.

  27. John Nichols Says:

    I met Jimmy and Ruth Ann Menutis in the early 60’s. Great down to earth and nice people! I also remember local acts that played at Jimmie’s, such as Steve Tyrell (he was at St. Thomas High School, I believe) and C.L. Weldon of C L and the Pictures. C L and I graduated from Galena Park in 1959. The “Whip” still lives in my heart. After Jimmie’s closed I moved down the road to the Four Palms Lounge on Telephone Rd., and then out to the Esquire Ballroom on Hempstead. What a ride and what great memories.

  28. Marty Says:

    Marty Writes:

    I danced at Menutis in late 50?s to Art & Henry Boatwright at places like Rusty Bucket, Whip Club, Ramada Inn by Hobby Airport. If the reunion does happen, I hope there will be a ambulance someone that does CPR. Bobby Armbruster who started the Houston Whip Club is a friend of mine. We did contest with Dallas for the finger trophy. Haven’t heard from him or his wife Gloria in a while as they move to East Texas. Gloria has been very ill. Been friends from Deady days back early 50?s. I lived on Ilex, then we moved close to the sea wall called Meadowbrook.
    Where & what are the names where Henry is playing. Mention to him about the reunion to see if he would play it too.
    I love Dancing With The Stars. We use to do a little of that at half time with a whole lot more clothes on. Does anyone remember Earlene who was a waitress there for years. She died several years ago. I saw her son & he remembers how she loved Jimmy’s. Thanks so much for this!!

  29. 2010 in review « The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    [...] Jimmy Menutis: Houston Heart of Rock ‘n Roll August 2010 37 comments 4 [...]

  30. Sam Cochran Says:

    Does anyone remember a group called the “Del Rays “that played in and around Houston in the late 50’s and early 60’s ? They had a record that was pick hit of the week on KNUZ in 1961 called “You Know I Love You Baby” followed by a record called “The Freeze”. They played a couple of gigs at Jimmy’s club, Teen Hall and several other clubs around Houston during that time period.

  31. Office Blinds Says:

    Can I reference this post from my blog? I find myself at your blog more and more often to the point where my stops here are practically each day now! Thanks again for putting this up. I certainly liked every part of it.

  32. Jean Krauss Davis Says:

    Who remembers Al Pliner’s 88 club on Montrose – I think? great music too.

  33. Arnold Richie Says:

    My era!! As a young teen, I taught the “Whip” to other teens during the summer. We are opening Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story at UpStage Theatre in July. Full of the old Rock ‘n Roll songs we all love.

  34. Gene Maples Says:

    Johnny Williams who played at the Dome Shadows, Gilley’s and some other Houston Clus has a CD called Vilume One. His last song is called The Houston Whip and memoralizes Jimmy’s club. You can find it on CD Baby.

  35. Gene Maples Says:

    Volume One is the name of the CD.

  36. Brenda Smith Davis Says:

    I too have such wonderful memories of Jimmy Menutis’ Night Club and of Jimmy also. Sshhh, don’t tell anyone, but Jimmy used to let me and several of my friends in to the club to dance before we were of age to go in! We were only 17 yrs old when we first started to go there to dance. I loved to whip, it was my favorite to dance! Jimmy, in the summer of 1960, sponsored several of us girls to be in the “Ms. Splash Day Contest” in Galveston Tx. But, I think they had changed it that year to be the “Ms Tanfastic Contest because Tanfastic Sun Tan Lotion was one of their biggest sponsors at that time. We had a blast, got to model at Moody Gardens the night before the actual swim suit contest the next day. Believe it or not we all actually placed in the top 20 in the contest. We then were all going to our floats for the parade and Jimmy grabbed me and a girl named Judy and told us to follow him. We had to be the “hood ornaments” for the car carrying the singer Jimmy Clanton of “Just a Dream” fame. He was very popular then. Such a blast. That same night Jimmy had a contest at the club called, (don’t laugh) “The Ms. Night Life Contest”! Such absolutely wonderful memories! Thank you Jimmy for all of those memories, I wouldn’t take anything for them, and thank you for kind of taking us under your wing for all those “special times” You were great!!!!

  37. Jack Buxton Says:

    This is great!

  38. Betty Rich Baker Says:

    No matter how many guest musicians played at Jimmy Menutis club Art and Henry Boatwright were the soul and heart that brought in the dancers. When they played, the club was packed!

    brbaker@gvtc.com

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  45. Ben Says:

    Went there many times in the 50’s. I grew up in the Bellaire area when it was considered to be “out in the country”! When I would tell people where I was going they would say–“man, that’s a long way, do you know how to get there”? Good times.

  46. Doug Paschal Says:

    WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE LOCAL BAND THAT PLAYED THERE ON A REGULAR BASIS?

    • Walt Beville Says:

      The band that played at Jimmie’s
      club was Art Boatwright’s band. One
      of the best bands I ever heard, also
      one of the two best Whip dance bands
      in Houston. The other was Roy Heads
      band that played at Van’s Ball Room
      On Shepard Drive.

      Walt

  47. Walt Beville. W.C. As I went by in High school Says:

    Started going to Jimmie’s club in 1959 when I had to borrow a friends ID to get in. I thought it was the coolest place in the world. Had some friends that were a couple of years older that went to Jimmie’s and to Van’s and I loved dancing with Mary Williams and
    Her sister Audrey, so when I got a chance to take Audrey we would
    Go to Jimmie’s to see some great performers. I remember the first
    time I saw Jimmy Reed he was signing Big Boss Man and fell off the stage and landed about 4 feet from our table. I was going to Galena Park HS at this time the girls in high school really liked to
    Jimmie’s if they could get a ID that they could use to get in with. Van’s and the Four Palms were the best places to go dancing and
    It was exciting dancing with the ladies in their 20s and 30s. During this time the Whip or Push was “The Dance” and and I learned a lot
    at these 2 clubs. I remember Whipping at Garner State park at the
    concession overlooking the river, man those were great times.

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  49. Robert Ingram Says:

    I went there with my sister
    Went to garden villas Hartman jr high jones and Milby

    • Walt Beville Says:

      Robert,

      I went to Galena Park HS but dated a girl from Milby named Janet Connors,
      she was a majorette and I took her to
      Jimmie’s several times. Love to dance to the GOOD music. I started going to Jimmie’s place in 1958 when I was 15
      Had a good ID to get in. I used to take
      Janet to Garner State Park in the summers, she was a great dancer. I didn’t marry her, but we dated for about three years. Jimmie’s place was the best club in town at that time, with Van’s off of Sheppard a close 2nd.

      Walt Beville

      • hvcamara@comcast.net Says:

        Memories are soooooo great to go back to and relive.  For your readers who went to Hartman Middle School on Belfort and Westover…..here is something you may not have heard about; the old school was  torn down, a few years ago,  and a brand new building and field have taken it’s place.  I taught at Hartman for 16 years and enjoyed every minute.  Later I went to Austin High School and eventually retired from TRS while at Austin.

         

        The ole say “You can not go back” is so true.  While at Hartman, I often thought about all of the Garden Villas kids that went to Jackson before Hartman was built.  As I walked the halls at Hartman, was in the library, cafeteria or auditorium…..I would imagine how Hartman was for them during the 1950s.  It was much different in the 1980s when I taught there as there were so many cheerleaders about 12 to 16 with skimpy costumes; twirlers who twirled themselves more than the baton and sadly too many discipline problems.  Who would have ever thought that uniformed police officers would be needed in a middle school.   I guess I  wanted things to be like the wonderful fabulous fifties; as I remember them at Jackson Jr. High School and at Austin.

         

        My first year at Austin, my heart truly hurt because the building had changed so much.  The cafeteria was no longer on the 3rd floor as it has been sectioned off into classrooms; the gym was gone as it too was now classrooms; the principle’s office along with the counselor’s offices were in different locations and even the library had been sectioned off into classrooms.  I guess the greatest hurt was no high school band that once proudly filled the football field; no Scottish Brigade that completely filled the football field and the  sound of the drums and bugles  brought chills to a person and yells from the crowd.  Gone were the beautiful and talented majorettes who were replaced by girls carrying flags.  My last year at Austin, I attended the last football game and had to cry, we played Milby….forgot the score…….but the Milby attenders were laughing their heads off.  Our high school  band now consisted of a guitar player, a drummer and an according player who stood behind a microphone on the track.  As all of you remember high school band members either took private lessons when in elementary or middle school or they were taught an instrument in middle school and was in the middle school band or orchestra.  My sister and I played the violin for a while.  Back to Austin’s band……it seems that a lot of the middle schools had cut out the music programs or they were into the Merriochie music and groups.  When going to Austin,  it was the music, drama, choir, various clubs, sports such as football, baseball, basket ball, golf, track and swimming; brigade and ROTC that made most of us stay in school and want to go each day; as well as threats from our parents that dropping out of school was no option.

         

        Probably the sadest thing of all and the biggest shock and I mean the biggest shock during my first year as a teacher at Austin was the number of pregnant girls, 70 in all; and to the girls and the fathers of the baby  this was a badge of honor as there never appeared to be any shame.  As a teenager, I can not recall anyone being pregnant in school or leaving school because of being pregnant.   Being sexually active was not even thought of and certainly not being pregnant and going to school.  Of course parking was a big thing, especially at the FAMOUS FOUNTAIN AT FOREST PARK CEMETERY; but if a boy got fresh, his hands were slapped and he was put in his place.

         

        Another shocker was how many girls and boys were living together at one or the others parent’s home.  This was something that simply blew my mind.  My father, as crazy as he was, would have killed me if I even talked about just an idea.  My father’s morals were not the best, but he was going to make sure that his kids maintained a good reputation, no matter what he did.  Of course, being curious about so many of my student’s living arrangements, I talked to several of them and it seems that it was no big deal to them or to their parents………..my, my how things have changed from the good ole days of the 50’s.  No, we can not go back

         

        In defense of all good and responsible teachers who today do take their jobs of educating students serious…….A TEACHER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TYPE OF STUDENTS THAT PARENTS SEND THEM.  IT IS NOT THE TEACHER’S RESPONSIBLE TO INSTILL RESPECT  FOR OTHERS, MANNERS, SELF RESPECT, SELF ESTEEM AND GOOD BEHAVIOR IN ANY ONES CHILD…………………A TEACHER CAN ONLY WORK WITH WHAT A  PARENT SENDS THEM.  AND, FROM WHERE I STAND………STUDENTS NEED MORE PARENT INVOLVEMENT  AND MORAL INSTRUCTION AND STRUCTURE IN THEIR LIVES.

         

        Now, I will get off of my soap box.  If I have offended anyone due to my comments……I apologize……but these comments are my own personal feelings, opinions and ideas.

         

        Hazel Loving Camara 

      • hvcamara@comcast.net Says:

        SORRY for not correcting the spelling….MARIACHI BAND.  In defense of those who do play in Mariachi Bands……several of my students did and one went on to the high school for performing arts and several started their own bands after graduation.

  50. Happy 54th, Jimmie and Ruth Menutis! | The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […] http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/jimmy-menutis-the-houston-heart-of-rock-n-roll/ […]

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