Pine Cove Dance to Recall Teen Record Hops

By Tribune-Review, The | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Pine Cove Dance to Recall Teen Record Hops


Tribune-Review, The, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


They're getting ready to turn the clocks back at Pine Cove Beach Club in Fallowfield, but the move will have nothing to do with daylight-saving time.

"We've been thinking about this for a long time," said Jim Rach in reference to a nostalgic event scheduled for next month. "So many people have approached us about the idea. They recall how it was an important part of their lives."

Rach and his wife, Connie, own and operate Pine Cove.

A "Return to the Sixties" oldies dance July 14 will commemorate the highly popular outdoor teen record hops staged by multi- talented disc jockey Terry Lee at Redd's Beach and then Pine Cove in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Jim "J.D. the D.J." Dudas, host of the Sunday afternoon "Mon Valley Memories" radio show on WJPA (93.5 FM, 1450 AM) in Washington, will be featured at the 8 p.m.-to-midnight event, which also will include swimming.

A BYOB "everything" format will be in effect, but Rach emphasized that patrons will not be permitted to bring glass containers of any type. He also said a full concession stand offering food and soft drinks will be available.

Admission will be $10 and tickets will be sold in advance at Pine Cove and at the gate the night of the dance. Parking will be free. Additional information is available at 724-239-2900.

"We want to re-create the atmosphere that prevailed in the '60s, the music and the fun under the stars," Rach said. "The pool will be open, just as it was in those days for the weekly Moonlight Swim and Dance.

We're looking to make the night a wonderful trip down Memory Lane."

Terry Lee has vivid and fond memories of the original dances.

"There were wall-to-wall crowds every week, a sea of humanity around the pool," Lee recalled. "It was always one of my favorite places to work."

Although similar dances were held at Redd's Beach earlier in the 1960s, it wasn't until Lee started working behind the turntables at the pool in 1962 that the concept moved into high gear.

A newspaper archives advertisement cites Lee's appearance at the Fallowfield venue on June 10, 1963. It called attention to a "Record Hop, 8 to 11:30 p.m., featuring radio station WARO disc jockey Lee and The Rivieras in person." The ad also touted "Moonlight Swimming" and "Free Records" with admission at 75 cents.

A few weeks later, on July 1, 1963, Lee was doing a live broadcast of his radio show on WARO in Canonsburg from Redd's Beach. Dances also were held there on Saturday nights in the summer of 1963 with live entertainment complementing Lee's music.

"The kids always enjoyed the bands who appeared with us," Lee said. "We were fortunate in that we had some of the biggest names in the recording business as well as many of the popular local groups. The Fenways and the Fantastic DJ's were really crowd favorites."

Lee had moved from WARO to WMCK in McKeesport in 1964 and that enhanced the popularity of the Redd's Beach dances, primarily because Lee's show was the only one on the air in the evening hours.

Kicking off that summer's lineup was a June 1 show featuring The Cadillacs of "Speedo" and "Gloria" fame.

The list of live performers grew over the years and included such local favorites as The Mystics, The Undertakers, The Chains, The Electrons, St. James Place and The Ithacas, as well as national acts. Live broadcasts also were featured over WMCK.

"We were fortunate in being able to overlap our bookings because of our other weekend dances," Lee said of such venues as the Night Train, White Elephant, Burkeland Ballroom and Red Rooster. "We would book an act for four straight nights -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then Redd's Beach on Monday night.

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