|Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2007 - 6:26 pm: |
I am FRANK GILLEECE, the older (by 4 minutes) of The Gilleece Twins. John and I are still both very much alive. John is The Executive Artistic Director of The Rockaway Theatre Company, Fort Tilden, Breezy Point, NY; I split my time between Port Jefferson in Suffolk County and Riverside County in California.
Both of us are retired HS English teachers (although John is an Adjunct Professor now); both of us are still very active in theater; and both of us sing together (guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc.) professionally several times a year.
The memories that some of the comments on this web site have re-awakened in me are astounding. We danced with both The Butleroff Dancers and The Merry Perry Dancers (especially daughter Barbara)even though we trained with Miss Minerva Nove in downtown Brooklyn.
We sang and traded jokes with Bob Hookey (sorry to hear about his death), Kenny Best, Cricket "Marrowbone" Skilling, Ed Herlihy, Roy Langer (the ventriloquist), Al DeSio, Irma DeSantos; we were friends with Jay Saunders, Sammy Tagg, his cousin Charlie Tagliarini, Eileen Pollack, and Debbie Rouse.
We danced with The Blackburn Twins; we clowned with Arnold Stang. We ran a perfume shop one week; we were characters from ALICE IN WONDERLAND another week. We harmonized to "Moon Over Miami;" we had fun with "Mention My Name in Paducah."
We rehearsed down the hall from both CAPTAIN VIDEO and THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW on Saturdays; we used Milton Berle's and Johnny Carson's old studio for our Sunday morning dress rehearsal and LIVE show.
We were one of the first to see the new, bulky color cameras come into use; we were recorded (Yes! we were!) on that old-2-inch video-tape on big reels.
John and I were "on the show" for its last 10 years, from 1948 until 1958 (that last year on Channel 5, The Dumont Network). For many years, it was broadcast on radio (WRCA, 660 on your dial)as well as on television (WRCA-TV, Channel 4, with Loft's Candy and Hoffman Beverages taking over the second half-hour of sponsorship on the television portion.
What a wonderful, fulfilling 10 years it was. I don't think we could have had a better preparation for our future.
Thanks for the memories!