Chapter Five by Frank Katzenmeyer
The Sugar Palm's 1947 Chevrolet played an important part for the Club. It was parked at the front door every night. It was used for parades, festivals, publicity photos, and personal photo opportunities.
On non-band nights (Thursdays and some Sundays) the large vacant stage was set up with cocktail tables and chairs. This proved to be a popular move; as people enjoyed sitting there overlooking the dance floor.
The media was now doing stories about the club and dancers. Almost every Saturday Night, Media of some sort was there. Television Channels for miles around were there either taping or doing live for the eleven o'clock news. Newspapers, public, college, and high schools were writing articles and interviewing us. A Cable Channel from Orlando was there every Saturday Night for a period of time taping for a Thursday night show called "CLUB DATE".
The Club was rented out for private parties. The most elegant affair was for the Cable Channel 66 the week before going on air. I was privileged to be a host. The theme was ''A Place in Heaven" and done entirely in white. At the foyer entrance a lady in a white evening gown was playing a Harp. The people climbed the stairs to Heaven (The Ballroom) White pillars and statues were rented and placed through out the room. White Chiffon draped from the ceiling. Several candle light buffet tables were set up around the room.
Basic swing lessons were given and the Hosts were there to assist. A beautiful night for all.
DJ Matt, was a popular figure in Ybor and had other club gigs, so the Sugar Palm had to have backups. A Radio DJ was hired and fired the same night. He brought in a huge banner advertising himself and the radio station and hung it on the wall. The club was paying him and he was advertising himself at their expense. Also he did not know swing. He was fired in less than an hour.
Angel, Paul, Abdel, and Belinda were learning the trade and became the fill ins. Thus the DJ problem was resolved.
To be continued...