Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version “REWIND”
April 15, 2016
The World’s Fair: A Boy Scout Adventure in NYC
Our April 1, 2016 Rewind column focused on the Warren County Days at the World’s Fair in New York City. In 1964 and again in 1965, two days were identified as ‘Warren County Days’ at the Fair. At the New York State pavilion on those days, it was up to people from Warren County to provide entertainment for those attending the Fair.
A committee chaired by Joseph P. Fiore was established to select the entertainment to represent Warren County. In 1964, fair goers were entertained by The Myrna Chapman Tabor Dance Studio; the local Boy Scouts of the Order of the Arrow, Lodge 48; Eunice Hubbell from Lake Luzerne, performed with an Australian bullwhip show; Miss Adirondack of 1964, Miss Jean Hayden, sang folk songs and accompanied herself on the guitar; The Fafard Ensemble, a local group of musicians; the Merry Mohicans, a local square dance group; and a group from the Glens Falls Operetta Club. A contingent of the Warren County Sheriff’s Mounted Police attended as good-will Ambassadors, and they handed out travel brochures advertising Warren County.
In 1965, performers for the Warren County Days at the World’s Fair included the returning Merry Mohicans square dancers; the local Boy Scout Native American dancers; Bert Fafard, this time by himself at the piano; and the Glens Falls Operetta Company. New entertainment the second year included the Warrensburg Rondackers, a group specializing in folk music; The Four dynamics, a local barber shop quartet; the Marcabes, a local rock and roll group; and the Merrylites, a vocal group from Lake Luzerne.
For this issue of Rewind, we are reproducing a letter written by John K. Bright to Mr. Fiore. Mr. Bright was the advisor to the local Order of the Arrow, Lodge 48. He accompanied the boy Scout Native American dancers to New York City. In this letter he provides a detail of the Boy Scouts’ adventure in New York City.
Order of the Arrow Indian dancers performed both years.
Members of Order of the Arrow Lodge 48 Boy Scout Indian performers pictured in the front row above included Mr. Frulla; Ken Bump; Ed Barker; and Roger McQuain. Standing are John K. Bright, adviser; Claude DeGrush; John J. Mahoney,Director of Boy Scout Camp Wakpominee; Russell Cook, Chief Robert Dahlgren and Joseph Berlant
The letter written by Mr. Bright is reproduced here with some editing.
July 29, 1964
As promised, this is a narrative of the big excursion.
Fourteen (14) Order of the Arrow braves from Wakpominee, Lodge 48 of Mohican Council, myself as Lodge Advisor, and Lin Harmson, Scoutmaster of the Johnsburg Troop and an Order of the Arrow Committee Advisor, climbed on buses in front of City Hall Saturday morning after the preliminary ceremonies.
The symbolic passing of the peace pipe between myself and Dick Bartlett evoked considerable laughter among the boys who knew that Dick and I are opponents in the forthcoming election. On the bus with us was Miss Adirondack, Jean Hayden. Rennie immediately set up a hoot-nanny on the bus with the boys, and it was clear that they had adopted each other for the duration of the trip.
Smoking the peace pipe before leaving City Hall. Assemblyman Richard Bartlett is in the center smoking the peace pipe and John K. Bright, second from the left, who was the advisor who accompanied the boys from the Order of the Arrow, Lodge 48. Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Bright were running against each other in an election later that year. On the left is Robert Dahlgren , Chief of the Mohican Council Order of the Arrow and on the right is Stephen Johnson, Chief of the Lodge.
After arriving at the Hotel Edison in New York, unpacking and refreshing ourselves, the boys decided that they would like to take in various e vents in New York City Saturday night. Although time was limited, we were able to take the boys on a N.B.C. tour.
After that we had dinner with you, Rennie, and others at Delsomma’s Restaurant, near the hotel. Since it was too late after dinner to take in a stage show, which the boys wanted to see, they decided that they would like to go to Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building. Rennie accompanied us and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening touring the city. Lin Harmson and myself got the boys tucked in about 1:00 a.m. in the morning and then again at about 2;00 a.m. In the morning.
Sunday morning, we left the hotel at about 7:30 a.m. and had breakfast in the Times Square area, after which we took the subway to the World’s Fair. The view of the fair is very exciting on first approach, and the boys were very enthusiastic as we walked towards the New York Pavilion. They were very impressed by the varied architecture of the fair, and it was with great difficulty that Lin and I had to push them along to get them to the New York Pavilion as soon as possible.
On arrival at the Pavilion we were led to the dressing room area where all the boys removed their clothes so Lin Harmson and myself could apply the Indian body paint to them from head to toe. This is a messy job.
Just in time the boys completed their costuming and entered the stage for their first performance. I was very proud of the confidence and poise with which they handled themselves. There was no stage fright at facing the largest audience they have ever faced. Their dance came off beautifully and they finished about five minutes ahead of schedule.
It was obvious to them that they had given a very successful performance because they were very loudly acclaimed by applause.
After the performance we bought Cokes for all the boys and had them cool down for a few minutes prior to additional activity, then, in complete Indian costume they went in two groups to church at the fair.
Lin Harmson took the Catholic boys to the Vatican Pavilion, where Catholic Mass was held, and I took the Protestant boys to the Protestant and Orthodox Church Pavilion for services there. The people at these Pavilions were quite impressed by the boys and the boys were very impressed with the exhibits at the religious pavilions, including the Pieta at the Vatican Pavilion and the charred cross of Coventry at the Protestant Pavilion.
We then visited, in costume, the International pavilions in the area of the Unisphere, such as Greece, China, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Thailand and several more.
It was almost impossible to go anywhere because wherever we walked, people would ask us to stop to take pictures and it was obvious the boys enjoyed having their pictures taken because they straggled along in groups inviting every little boy they could see to stand with them for another picture. They met many Boy Scouts from many countries, and stopped to chat whenever the Order of the Arrow sign was given.
The second performance at 12:30 Sunday was even more crowded than the first, and one of the officials estimated that there were more than 7,000 people in the New York State Pavilion watching the dances. The boys again acquitted themselves admirably and added on additional dance to their repertoire. In this dance, called the Tomahawk Challenge Dance, young boys are invited from the audience to learn the dance step and challenge each other for the tomahawk.
After cooling down from the second performance, we got the boys lunch at the Wisconsin Pavilion. This lunch consisted of steak, salad, and baked potato, with ice tea or lemonade, and without exception, every plate was cleaned.
After lunch, we took the boys to the transportation area; this time under orders not to straggle and to keep moving. However, this again proved almost impossible to do and it would not be rash of me to say that everyone at the fair had a camera and everyone at the fair took pictures of our Indians. At the transportation Pavilion we were able to see the General Motors exhibit and the Chrysler exhibit. Unfortunately, there had been a fire at the Ford Pavilion and we could not see that.
Rennie Hayden accompanied us on our trip around the fair grounds. We then went to the United States Pavilion and from there back to New York State Pavilion for our third performance of the day. Again the boys danced with great skill and before a packed assemblage. We were asked to have our pictures taken for publicity purposes by several Pavilions and with other groups, including the Watusi Warriors at the African Pavilion.
After this performance, the boys showered and changed back into their scout uniforms. We left the New York Pavilion at about 8:00 p.m. in a group, and went to the Mexico Pavilion where a group of Toltec Indians of Mexico performed. The boys were so impressed by the Toltecs that they have determined to include the Toltec dance in their own performances at scout camp in the future.
In this dance, four Indians in Birdman costumes jump backwards, head first, off the top of a pole 140 feet high, while a fifth Indian dances and plays a fife and drum on top of the pole. The Indians, of course, have ropes around their waists attached to the top of the pole. These unwind so that each one of the Indians spirals down very gracefully to the ground.
The boys were interested in trying foreign foods, so we took them to the Mexican Restaurant at the Mexico Pavilion where they all had assorted Mexican foods, including tortillas, enchiladas, tacos, chili, and rice. After dinner we took the boys to the amusement area where they rode on the Log Flume, Monorail, visited the wax museum and aerial tower, as well as the Texas Pavilion and Hawaii Pavilion. At 1:30 a.m. we boarded the subway for Times Square, and the boys had no trouble sleeping that night.
Monday morning, after eating breakfast at Howard Johnsons in Times Square, we proceeded back to the fair grounds and repeated the preliminary painting and costuming as before. Ed LaFave, dance team advisor, was able to come from Shiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey where he is teaching Junior Leader Training this summer. He performed with the boys throughout the day. There were as many, if not more, at the performances on Monday than there were on Sunday, and again, the boys acquitted themselves admirable.
After the first performance we took them to the Ford Pavilion which had been repaired. We then took the Swill Skyride back across the fair and arrived just in time for our second performance. The boys were so enthused about the reception that they were receiving that they outdid themselves at this performance and took to leaping off the stage from time to time down in front of the audience. One of the boys hurt his ankle while doing this, but there is no question that they impressed everyone who saw them.
The boys then had lunch and wanted to go to the Boy Scout Pavilion, General Electric, and Kodak Pavilions. When we arrived at the Boy Scout Pavilion, they asked us to dance for them, and since the Order of the Arrow is bound to serve cheerfully when called upon, we did so.
We were then invited to come to the fair to perform for an extended period at the Boy Scout Pavilion, and they told us that they had seen no Indian dancers as proficient or colorfully costumed as our boys. Of course, by that time we had no time to see the other Pavilions and we returned immediately to the New York Pavilion for our evening performance. After the dance the boys showered and changed into their uniforms and asked to ride up the Towers of the New York Pavilion, which was the highest point of the Fair. We then left the with our luggage, arriving back at the hotel about 9 o’clock.
The boys rested for about fifteen minutes, then we went to Delsomma’s Restaurant again, as your guests for dinner. We had brought Rennie’s guitar with us, and after dinner, Rennie sang for us and the boys sang along with her. After dinner some of the boys went directly to bed, but some, as usual, wanted to keep up the pace and so I accompanied the hardy ones on a tour of the Great White Way. I had no trouble bedding them down about 1 a.m. in the morning!
After breakfast on Tuesday morning they asked if there was time to go to the United Nations building, and I thought that if we hurried we could manage it. So Lin Harmson and I took the boys to the United Nations where they took the guided tour through the buildings. We arrived back at the hotel just in time to board the buses that were coming back to Glens Falls.
The dances that the boys did are authentic Indian dances taken from various tribes throughout the country. The first dance they did was the Elk Mystery Dance, which is a story dance depicting the way of life of the elk from birth to death. The second dance was the Hoop Dance which is almost universal in all Indian tribes. The third dance was the Eagle Dance, which is a story dance of the Eagles’ life.
Next, the Tomahawk Challenge Dance pits one Indian against another, and then he against another in an effort to win the tomahawk through nimbleness and bravery. This is the dance where young boys in the audience are invited to take part. The Apache Devil dance is a story dance that tells of the young brave who is set upon by a devil that saps his strength and energy so that he can no longer dance., and how the good spirits then overcome the devil to revive the fallen brave. The Chippawa Brave Man Dance is also a story dance of the hunt, and we use this as the grand finale because at its end, all the Indians dance together as in celebration of a successful hunt.
The Patchaqua Indian Dancers, which is the name out boys have given to the Dance Team, are quite proud of themselves this morning, and I think that they have much right to be. They are all so very grateful for the opportunity that they had to represent Warren County at the World’s Fair. There are many things about Warren County people gathered from these lads while talking to the, as they wandered around the fairgrounds in their very colorful costumes.
Lin Harmson and I are very pleased that we could accompany these fine boys because it is through such service that we find the satisfaction that scouting has to offer, and we are not along in this since many people recognize the fine abilities and character of these teenagers. It is nice to feel that we had something to do with getting them that way.
Thank you again, Joe, from ourselves and for the boys, and let us know when you would like us to come back. We stand ready to serve cheerfully anytime.
ORDER OF THE ARROW
John K. Bright, Lodge Advisor
(Editor’s Note: the Order of the Arrow Indian Dancers, because they were so popular, were invited to do a repeat of their performances the following year during Warren County Days at the World’s Fair.)
We have also included additional photos of the people participating
in the second Warren County Days, in 1965!
Joseph P. Firoe was the chairperson for both Warren County Days at the World’s Fair
The Fafard Ensemble performed in 1964.
The Four Dynamics, a local barbershop quartet, performed. Members included (l to r) Bruce Wisely, Gary Gidden, Floyd Harris, and Norman Perkins.
The Warrensburg Rondackers specialized in folk music.
Warrensburg Rondackers included (l to r) David Demarest, Stewart S. Farrar, Douglas Niles, Susan McMane, Jeanne Decker, and Carolyn Cleveland
The Merrylites of Lake Luzerne are (l to r) Dudley Holland, on the wash tub base; Carol Holland, vocalist; and Donna Shiel, on the guitar and vocalist
The Fafard Ensemble performed in 1964.
The Marcabes, a local teen rock and roll band performed. Left to right in the photo are Richard Garand, David McDonnell, Joseph DelSignore, and Patrick Fiore.
For the second year, the Merry Mohicans performed at the Fair. Left to right in the photo are Mr. & Mrs. Lyle Trowbridge; Mr. & Mrs. James Brower; Mr. & Mrs. Carl Laats; Mr. & Mrs. John Oudekerk; and Mr. & Mrs. George Van Vranken.
For the second year, Bert Fafard performed original compositions at the piano
The Warren County Historian’s office has a large 3-ring binder that Mr. Fiore put together with photographs, correspondence, and related material. Anyone who would be interested in seeing it can call the Historian at 761-6544. The office is open on Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 am – 4 pm at the Warren County Municipal Center.