Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Dirty dancing" in the Sixties: Remembering Rusty's, the Bunny Hop, and the Hokey Pokey

Since Doug Strand added a comment about the Rusty's and the Bunny Hop to the previous post, I'd thought I'd do a fast update on the situation during my morning coffee break.

Rusty's is still in business on University Avenue. I haven't been there in decades, so I can't report on whether or not they still have "I Wanna Do It" on the jukebox. I'm guessing at the correct spelling of the song title, so I'll also guess at the name of the group responsible for this titillating 1960s single: I think it was Robin and the Seven Hoods. I know where to find the authoritative answer to these questions, but don't have time today to drop everything and run to the library. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment about this subject: You know you want to do it.

The Bunny Hop, in Middleton, to the best of my recollection, bit the dust decades ago. I'm also not certain of the spelling here. Was it a bit more cutesy? I think I was there only once, so I don't remember much about it, but I know there are Madison Central High School alumni who can contribute some insights by leaving comments. I also vaguely remember that lots of Madison East High School alumni hung out there, too.

Of course, very few people hung out at these bars while they were in high school. You did have to be 18 to drink beer and Champale way back then.

The Bunny Hop, of course, is also the name of a dance that was very popular when we were in grade school. I also remember doing it at the street dances held on Rusk Street by the Hawthorne Playground. While searching for a good link to information about the origins of the Bunny Hop, I discovered something truly amazing: The flip side (B side) of the "Bunny Hop" single was the "Hokey Pokey," another dance I remember from elementary school, but one that also showed up at high school events, offering those of us who weren't very good at rock 'n' roll an opportunity to get out on the dance floor and shake our backsides.

If you want to hear the "Bunny Hop" music and read some "refresher course" instruction on how to do the dance, click HERE. And if you just want to see some bunnies hop, click HERE -- and no, these are not Playboy bunnies, they're animated versions of the fuzzy kind.


D Strand said...

I don't think that I ever saw you at Rusty's, Nadine. But, then, I didn't go there very often, especially since I was in Mankato for our first two years after graduation.
I Wanna Do What? I don't think that anyone at Rusty's wanted to do anything except..oh, yea, that!
Guessing Robin and the Seven Hoods is outstanding, Nadine. We'll have to call you the Princess of Rock and Roll for that one!!
I can't believe that you weren't very good at rock and roll. Didn't you ever dance with John Mound at Noon Hour Dancing in The Crackerbox??
Next time I'm in Madison, I'll have to take you to Rusty's, Nadine. You can shake your bee-hind all you want, but no Bunny Hopping there!!

Anonymous said...

Our group, mostly the swim team guys,
used to make the trek out to Rusty's
in our senior year. I remember it being considered out in the woods and
a minor adventure to go there. Why we
thought we had to go to Middleton to
chase girls escapes me.

I started drinking beer at the Union
well before my 18th birthday. "Open" study hall? That meant
State Street to me.

WJE '67

Nancy Ellis Schuttenhelm said...

So for all of you around circa; 1965ish....
What about the BLACK LEMON????

A straight shot out East Wash to Sun Prairie....151?
Cars parked juxaposed, fake ID's and lotsa kids "over served and found puking in the parking lot around 12:30-1:30 AM..........
God forbid if it had been one of my kids!

Marlene said...

Just to let you know Nadine, I Wanna Do It is NOT on the jukebox at Rustys!!!! There isn't much of anything on their jukebox. The bar is still the same horseshoe shape and they are still using the original old time cash registers. The dance floor has been long gone. Now there are pool tables and tables and chairs in its place. I haven't been there myself in a year or so......but I have it on good authority it is still how I have described it. Had a lot of good times there ...back in the day :)

I turned 18 in April of our senior year and I remember first going to The Bunny Hop with Pam Garvey. Later, Jo Ann Benell, Cheryl Larson, Sharon Bentley and I would go there a lot. I remember two groups in particular. The Chieftones and Johnny and The Hurricanes. That is the place that seemed out in the boonies to me.

Nancy........I can honestly say I NEVER heard of the Black Lemon.

D Strand said...

We didn't have "open" study hall, WJE '67, did we Nancy and Marlene. Our's was very closed with Mr. Bond patrolling. Jesse Sprague called him "Serge" because he always wore the same blue serge suit. I had one just like it. Very comfortable compared to wool.
I can't believe that you never heard of the Black Lemon A-GO-GO, Marlene. That proves your not an East Sider! It was just like, Nancy described with the puking and all. For some reason, everybody got a little drunker there than at Rusty's. I got in there under age once and thought I was really getting away with something. The Black Lemon even sponsored a baseball team that some Central guys, e.g. Harold Ellington, played on in the summer leagues!
I can't believe there is no dance floor anymore at Rusty's. How is Scott Gomez going to come in late and entice all the girls??
Is Mike Morgan still the bouncer there. I was sitting at a table once when Mike pinned a guy to the floor under it. Most people behaved around Mike!!
We didn't get to the Bunny Hop often because we (usually Art Masshardt, Danny Fix, Jim Dalbec, Bill Lewis, and Harold) always stopped at Rusty's first and never could leave there early enough.

Marlene said...

No, Doug.............Mike Morgan is no longer a bouncer at Rustys!!
It amazes me that you know about Scott Gomez. I remember danceing with him to "Daydream........or What a Day For a Daydream by John Sebastion of The Lovin Spoonfull. The hysterical thing is when my daughter went to Homecoming ...or Senior Prom, a few of the parents went to her best friends house for pics. I saw Scott there and wasn't sure if he would recognize me . The girls were acting crazy and my daughter kicked her leg up in the air. Scott came over and whispered in my ear ("like mother, like daughter" ) I guess he remembered me. :)

If people got more drunk at the Black Lemon than is a good thing I didn't go there.!!! Some nights at Rustys I dont think I could have gotten any more drunk. SAD........BUT TRUE :)

D Strand said...

Of course, I remember Scott, Marlene. He was practically a Rusty's legend in both the guys' and the girls' minds. So Scott's daughter went to high school with your daughter. What high school would that have been? East?
I would always laugh when my friends got a little drunk. I don't know why, I always thought that was so funny. I guess cause we were young. I still like the music they used to play at Rusty's. Everytime I hear "Time Won't Let Me" I think of Bev Tully who went to East. I'm sure she doesn't even know me. Maybe, I danced with her once. I wonder wear all these people are now.