Selected 1972 Voice ads for the Academy of Music...which occasionally included announcements for Howard Stein-promoted shows at other venues.
|6/8/72 "Riffs" column excerpt.|
|8/3/72 issue. Not much happened over the summer...we shall read why later in this post.|
|10/26/72 "Scenes" column excerpt.|
|11/23/72 issue, full-page ad.|
Bouncers at the Academy, Carnegie, and MSG, 6/8/72 "Riffs" column (links to nearby ad).
Johnny Winter with Black Kangaroo, 11/2/72 "Riffs" column (links to nearby ad).
Steeleye Span, 11/23/72 "Riffs" column (links to nearby ad).
Now let's fast foward a bit. I was recently contacted by one BillyG, who worked as House Manager at the Palladium for several years, among other management and tech stints at numerous notable New York niteries. He kindly offered to share some of his insights into the operation's inner workings. First, here's part of a comment he posted to WNYC's Vanished Venues Palladium page:
I was House Manager of the Palladium from 1978 to 1981...worked for Ron Delsener's Ardee Productions (10am-6pm M-F, plus "last man out" of theatre for every show). Did it all...from changing the lettering on the marquee, to box office ops, to security (remember Dominic and Dana?), to fixing the seats after heavy metal gigs, to crew and talent hospitality backstage, to paying the talent...
The moment that Clash photo was snapped? [The "Simonon Smash" shot on the cover of London Calling.--Ed.] I did the "voice-of-God" upcoming concert annoucements after every show and was standing next to the production mgr. and the stage mgr. (Keith Kevan & John Bave) on stage right...it was at the end of the set. As I recall, despite our jaded music-biz attitudes, we found the whole thing a hoot....we surely had no idea we were witnessing rock and roll history!
In the summers, when the theatre was primarily dark (the air conditioning unit was abysmal!), I was the Stage Manager of the Dr. Pepper Summer Music Festival at Wollman Rink...3 yrs. every show...
As "management" I was paid flat $200/wk. (before taxes). It was a great learning experience. Left Palladium in '81 to become Stage Mgr. of the re-opened Studio 54...did that for few years...but that's another story.
Favorite memory of the Palladium? Once, mid-week, in the middle of the night, when the hall was completely empty (there was no watchman--I was the "caretaker"--I lived one block away on 3rd Ave.), we played an "ultimate frisbee" game throughout the empty 3400 seats, orch., loge, mezz., and balc. up the stairs and down the hallways.
He elaborated further in an e-mail exchange with me:
Palladium--the offical name was "Mateus Concert Series at the Palladium" (Academy of Music).
The difference between the Academy of Music and the Palladium? A coat of paint.
The Academy of Music was a dump….so was the Palladium. We did our best, but the place was held together with chewing gum and baling wire.
We took a lot of bad press for the sticky conditions of carpeted areas of the theatre. Years of sugary soda spills turned barren “lounges” and carpeted aisles into “walking Velcro.”
The names on the marquee? Who do you think climbed on top of the marquee and hung over the edge to change the letters of the names of talent? (I got there by crawling out the window of Julian’s Billiards--it was easier than setting up the big A-Frame ladder on the sidewalk--both sides of marquee.)
Familiar with the lovely, huge mural above the marquee? Conceived and painted by a team of ONE. Just the artist, no helpers. Guess what he got paid? He received the princely sum of ZERO DOLLARS. He hadda beg Delsener to spring for the paints!...So anyway, guess who Ron “volunteered” to help the artist set-up the giant ladder on 14th St. every morning and strike / store it every afternoon? Every day, seven days a week. Took him the whole summer to finish that thing. But it’s OK, I was a fulltime employee of Ron’s Ardee Productions. A 40 hour week, Mon thru Friday, during the day--to receive deliveries or fix stuff (mostly broken chairs after metal gigs)--pre-production planning for the bigger artists, plus on performance days, I hadda be there all day, from lunch-time load-in to “last man out” in the wee hours.
Remember, this was a different time, in a different market. It wasn’t unusual to have TWO shows a night...7:30pm or 8pm and 11:30pm. That's what we aimed for, anyway.
Those dates started with lunchtime load-in, set-up, and sound checks for the headliner, then opening act. If there was a third, “introducing..." act (a concession booking agents often foisted on local promoters, in exchange for unfettered access to this artist in the future), they usually got a few hurried minutes before we opened the house. All acts would do their sets and we'd "turn over the house." Throw everybody out, scramble to clean-up the place a little bit, re-set the stage, and let in the next full audience. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of artists did the exact same sets, no longer or shorter, but at the late show they were more, er.....warmed-up.
For promoters, the lower production and advertising costs of that “extra show added” -- on the same date--that’s where the money is.
I have mixed emotions about the voracious NYU gentrifying everything south of 23rd Street into an academic-industrial complex--I AM, after all, an alumnus. The place was gutted when it was converted to a disco. Of course the disco lighting and sound there was removed, leaving nothing usable. No stage, no seats, no proscenium, no nothing. The heating, cooling, plumbing, roofing, walls, etc, were shot., but ya know what? Once your tear down a theatre, it's gone. For good. NYU could have built a new dorm someplace else. I wish the Palladium was still there. It was a magnificent structure.
Thanks BillyG! If I'm real good, maybe he'll regale me with more behind-the-scenes tales from some of the other joints where he worked.