Wall, Breck Interview, 2003 July 3. OH-01903. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Standardized Rights Statement
An Interview with Breck Wall An Oral History Conducted by Nancy Hardy Oral History Research Center The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas 2007 ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University Nevada, Las Vegas, 2007 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director and Editor: Claytee D. White Interviewers and Project Assistants: Suzanne Becker, Nancy Hardy, Joyce Moore, Andres Moses, Laura Plowman, Emily Powers, Dr. Dave Schwartz LAS VEGAS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Project Director, Peter Michel, Special Collections, UNLV Library, 895-3252 Name of narrator: Name of interviewer: WE, the above named, give the the Las Vegas Oral History Project the tape recorded interview(s) initiated on AiL a 10p 3 as an unrestncted gift, to be used for such scholarly and educational use£ as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV. to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly uses. There will be no compensation for interview. Signature of narrator Date Address of narrator ~7 y.uuj l-k^u y Signature of interviewed Date Recorded interviews and transcripts composing the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer and the Libraries Advisory Board. Lied Library provided a wide variety of administrative services and the Special Collection Department, home of the Oral History Research Center, provided advice, archival expertise and interviewers. The Oral History Research Center enabled students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. Participants in this project thank the University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcripts received minimal editing. These measures include the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Additional transcripts may be found under that series title. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University of Nevada Las Vegas IV Preface Breck Wall grew up tough and honed that toughness into solid business acumen. He also grew up talented and that talent took him to movie sets in Los Angeles and allowed him to produce shows in Dallas, New York, Tahoe, and Las Vegas. Though his family became nonexistent early in his life, he formed his own broad family from a group of faithful friends around the country. One special friendship makes this interview worth reading — the one with Jack Ruby. Wall's talent though is the primary reason that this interview is good history. He did many shows and had up to five running simultaneously. The creative process was the fun part that allowed him to produce Passion , Alias, and Night Beat among many others. Bottoms Up is his signature production and has been at several venues in Las Vegas for the past 40 years. Breck Wall is living a full and interesting life. A good example is a phone call from The London Times'. "Mr. Wall?" 1 said, "Yes." He said, "Are you aware that your best friend, Jack Ruby, just shot Oswald?" I said, "What?" I was in shock. 1 said, "No, I'm not." And I talked to him very briefly, and I hung up the phone." The phone continued to ring as calls came in from the Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc, etc. Today is July 3, 2003, and I am backstage at the Flamingo Hilton with Break Wall. The release form has been read, and it has been signed. Vd tike to begin today by asking you where and when you born, and something about your childhood, your early life. Well let's see. 1 was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1934. My father was a bootlegger, and I was probably not more than three weeks old when the cops were closing in on him and we had to split town. So they went to Texas and that's where 1 was raised. 1 was raised in Texas. My earlier, I don't know, it was just outside of Houston. My father became a welder, and I had through my lifetime, five mothers. There's no one surviving me right now. In other words, I'm it. I've always had a love of theater and nightclubs and movies. It's always been in my blood. I followed my father wherever he went in Texas, and he would marry different women and what have you, and some were very nice and others not so nice. And most of them were jealous of me, because he'd pay all the attention to me, and it was not nice at times. But the last woman that he married really, really disliked me. I was probably about 14 years old, and we lived in Fort Worth (phone rings). We were living in Fort Worth and I was about 14 years old, and they were alcoholics. Both of them were alcoholics, and they would fight starting every Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday, and then wake up Monday morning and go to work. And it was a very stressful time on my life. 1 just hated every weekend. And this particular weekend 1 was in my bedroom and they were screaming and fighting again. And then she hollered out, "Oh my God, he's got a gun, he's got a gun!" And it scared me to death, and 1 said, I just can't take this anymore, so 1 went out the window, and 1 ran down four houses down the way of a couple that were married and had four children. And 1 always played with them and they were a lot of fun and what have you, so 1 stayed there. And of course, my dad came down and tried to persuade me to come back to the house, and I would not do it. So 1 got the idea of going to Fieeport, Texas, which is just 60 miles out from Houston, to live with my father s fourth wife, who I really liked, and was very nice to me and good to me. to live with her mother. So 1 think the reason I matured faster than most people is that 1 put myself through — 1 mean I came from a very poor family. 1 mean, very poor. And I had to work all my life when 1 was young, and I think that's the reason I matured faster. Did ygoou t o school? Oh yes, I went to school. How did you do in school? I'm going to get to that. Okay. So I went there when I was about 14 years old, and I did very, very well in school, and 1 worked during the days at different department stores. I know in my sophomore, junior, senior year, I worked for JC Penneys. And I was an average student, but I was extremely popular because I matured faster and I could take responsibilities quicker. 1 think we had 360 [students] in our class. And 1 was always the "Jerry Lewis" of high school. And I stayed with my grandmother. She really wasn't my grandmother, I called her. And 1 raised myself. I got up every morning to go to school, which I wanted to do. I went to work immediately after, which I wanted to do, and I was in charge of my life at 14, which is very unusual. And after high school, and I had a lot of fun. In fact, this coming October, we celebrate our 50th anniversary, so I'll be going to the reunion. And of course, all the kids in school are very happy, and they come here all the time to see me. And I'm very, very close to my friends. Extremely close; and very, very loyal to my friends. It's just part — because my friends are my family, have always been my family, and that's my outlook on it. And so I wanted to go to the University of Texas, which 1 went to work there in a jewelry store. And 1 studied acting, but it was just too much for me because I was in my freshman year. I was voted - They have like 50 what they call "good fellows" which are populai people that are good fellows, you know. You can be a junior, senior, sophomore, and 1 was one of two freshmen that were elected. And when 1 was studying drama, there were people in my class like [Elizabeth] Ann Wedgeworth, Rip Tom. We had some wonderful people that became very well known. But it was just too much for me mentally to work. It was different from high school. And my teacher said, "You don't want to be a dramatic actor. You're a comic. You're funny. You should go to New York." So I went to New York. And 1 lived in New York for three years, and I did different shows and different workshops and what have you. And I lived in a wonderful house, which is about seven stories high, called The Footlights Club. And the gentleman below me became very well known and very famous, and 1 can't think - Jimmy - it's awful. Awful. Let me think. Jimmy... He was on Broadway, starred in, Neil Simon wrote plays for him, and he was in of MLaa nM ancha, the movie. My mind is blank right now. We can look that up. And Neil Simon wrote like three Broadway hits for him. And he did Man of La Mancha, the movie. Jimmy Coco [James Coco]. I'm sorry, Jimmy Coco. And it was just a fun time forme. 1 loved New York City. I thought it was just, it was just my life. And I loved the ••• 4 freedom. And I was a doorman at Luchow's [Restaurant], which is on 14l" Street. And this was - probably it was one of the most exciting things in my life, because as a doorman, Luchow s w as the number one restaurant for celebrities to go to. And one night alone, when Ingrid Bergman came back to get the New York Critics' Award, we had Ingrid Bergman, Rock Hudson, and Cecil B. DeMille. And every weekend there would be - Jackie (deason would eat there every Saturday after his show, and Hd Sullivan would eat there on Sunday nights. And we would have at least 15 or 20 stars there a night. And it was so thrilling for me to just be able to wait on them and see legends, you know. And I loved New York. And I got a job working in a movie with James Craig, who was an actor, B-actor, what have you, like that. And 1 did like three movies. 1 did End us a Man [based on the novel by Calder Willingham] in Florida with new people like Ben Gazzara and Pat - I want to say Pat Hingle. And from that, I got a little walk-across part with Tyrone Powell and Faye Hmerson and Arthur Treacher in a touring show called Back to Methuselah. And we toured one-night stands starting in Orlando, Florida, and we would play city to city because the play was so bad. It was Bernard Shaw's play. It was horrible. It went on forever. It actually ran eight hours. 1 think they cut it down to 2-1/2 hours. It was so boring. But it was thrilling to be able to be in such company, you know? Tyrone Power, they gave him a Rolls Royce and he liked to ride on the bus with the show kids, so he would give us the Rolls Royce, like rotate it around so we could drive it in back of the bus. And it was a thrill because he was a wonderful person. And then when we closed, we went to the Ambassador Theater in New York City. It closed, it had two performances 5 and closed, that s how bad it was. Then he went to make a movie in Spain and had a heart attack and died. I became very sick in New York City about that time, and the only person 1 could think of to back to is the people that 1 ran away from home and ran four doors down. They lived in Dallas [Texas], So I went to Dallas because they were like my mother and father. And 1 got this idea for a show, and 1 had no money, so 1 went to a wonderful theater there. It was brand new in Fort Worth, called Casa Manama. And in the old days, in the '30s and '40s [1930's and 1940's], it was Billy Rose. He had a Casa Manama in Fort Worth. So they rebuilt it and it was spectacular, but they didn't have a full season. The summer open, and they played in the fall, so I got a contract for eight weeks for Shoestring Revue. That's what it was called. And we had wonderful people who became stars out of it. And when that ended, 1 had nowhere to go, so I went back to Dallas and became friends with the number one leading columnist of the Dallas Morning News. And he wrote on my ideas. I was a kid, and 1 was probably around 21, 22 by then. And he liked it a lot, so he went to probably the most elegant hotel in Dallas, downtown Dallas, called the Adolphus Hotel. And he made a pitch. He said, "Look, you have your winter season like Sophie Tucker, Ted Lewis, Abbot & Costello, all these people. But your summers close. Why don't you give it to these kids and pay them" like twelve hundred bucks for like ten of us, so we made like 80 or 90 dollars apiece. And 1 put pieces of Shoestring Revue plus some numbers that I wrote. And it was an enormous hit. You would not believe. We were sold out before we even opened like for three months. Before it even opened, because 1 was smart enough to take key people in Dallas: the news lady who gave the news, who used to be a performer; and this person and that person, and 6 it worked out just great. And we opened and it was just like a rocket. So the general manager, Andy Anderson, canceled the fall season, and we stayed there for a year and a half. And we got so big and what-have-you in Dallas that we decided we'd open our own nightclub. Which was a good idea and a bad idea. The good idea is that we did very well there, too. But the bad idea is that 1 had to get up at five am every morning and order food, order booze, do everything, and it was just overpowering for me. So I did it for a year and half, and then this gentleman that I had become friends with was named Jack [Leon] Ruby. And he had a girlie club. Let me put it nicely: a girlie club. Because in Dallas we had no nudity anyways. Like bras and g-strings and everything. And it was called the Carousel Club. And he wanted to make it very elegant. He wanted to step up, because he was like a hood, like a two-bit hood. But a wonderful man. How did you first meet him? In Dallas, because the Adolphus Hotel is across the street from the Carousel Club. If I walked out my front door, I would walk into his club if 1 wanted to. And we became friends and had lunch every day at the same place, the Copper Cow. And we became friends, and then when the Playbill closed, he approached me and said, "Breck, come to my place and I'll change it. We'll make it a very elegant club. A private club." Because we didn't have drinks. You had to bring your own bottle. And so I went there. I said to him, "Look, we have a contract at the Adolphus Hotel for a club night. They pay us $1,000 for one night. That's the only thing 1 have to do if you promise me that we can do it." And he said, "Sure." 7 So we opened at the Sovereign Club. He named it the Sovereign Club. And it was a beautiful hotel. And we went there and we were very successful. And then eight weeks, twelve weeks into the run, we were getting our clothes to go walk across the street and do an industrial for a thousand dollars, and Jack stopped us and said, "Where are you going? And I said, With the costumes. We're going to go across the street and do that industrial 1 talked to you about." He said, "Well, I want half of it." And 1 said, "No. You can t have half of it." And my partner, who was my best friend, we were actually on the third floor, equivalent to the third floor, and Jack, without any knowledge it was coming, socked him and he fell all the way down three floors. So 1 was so angry 1 just left. Was that the first time you'd known him to be violent with people? No, because he owned the club and because of it being a girlie club before, he was real tough. Had to throw people out all the time because that comes with owning that kind of club. But he never bothered us. He loved us and he was very funny. He was desperate for money, and he was like a little hood. He was a little mafia, a little hood. So 1 left costumes and everything there. And the hotel, Adolphus, wanted us back. So I went over there and got a room for the night and went down to see Andy Anderson the next morning. 1 said, "We're available." He said, "I'll put you in three weeks, but you eat here and stay here as my guest." So we did, and we opened up the Adolphus, and again it was strong. It was probably the most popular show ever to play Dallas. 1 mean, it was like in the newspaper every day, of the celebrities and things that came there. And then Andy Anderson wanted us to close, and I remember going, "Okay, okay." Tell me a little bit about what the show was like. What was the draw? What made it so popular, do you think? 8 The critic that I told you that helped us get there plugged us every day. 1 mean we were in the headlines every day. He made us a hit. The show was good anyway. I mean the show was wonderful. It was funny, it was different. It was like Burlesque and comedy. And we did political things about Dallas, and put-downs and stuff, and people absolutely — 1 mean we'd get a standing ovation every night. Did it bear a lot of resemblance to Bottom Js Up today /Bottom's Up stopped showing in Las Vegas in October 2004]? Oh, yes. We still do one number in Bottom's Up. You just saw it: Hold-Up. You know, the robber. That's still from the original Bottom's Up. And we do things from time to time, we just change it a little bit, the storyline. But the punch lines are the same. He Knows Mother was done probably in the fifth year that was just an old joke that we worked on. Were you doing one or two shows a night? Only one show. It was an hour and five minutes. And we went on at 9:00 because they had dinner, dancing, and the show for an hour and five minutes, and then I was out by 10:30. I mean it was a breeze. Of course, we only made $1200 for ten people, and that was, we're paying them, so the kids got like $70, dancers got like $70, but this was in '58, so they got like $50, and some of the principals got $70, and I got like $120 or something like that. And is there anything else you want to ask before I proceed? No. Okay, so he said we need to close it down for a little while and then reopen with the new edition type thing. So we went searching, and again Tony Zapi, he's the columnist that was there, said, "I've got a friend down in Houston [Texas]. Let me try and get you booked down there. We went to a hotel called the Continental Hotel in Houston, and it was a private club, and we went there tor tour weeks, and because 1 was from Freeport [Texas] and Maxine Messenger was a columnist and she was a friend of Tony's and she was on the fiont page ot the newspaper every day, beginning of her column, then she was inside. Again, she was great to us, and she was powerful, and we were there twelve weeks, sold out, solid. In the meantime in Las Vegas, there was a production show at the Frontier, or the Mirage — no at the Frontier. The Frontier Hotel. And it was called Tokyo by Night by Steve Parker, who was married to Shirley MacLaine. And it was a magnificent show. It was like all the French shows that were here in town, like The Lido that you were in, and the holies Bergere that you were in. And so he did a turnabout with a different group, Asian. And it was a huge hit, and because Steve Parker was married to Shirley MacLaine, he made it bigger. But there was a little rinky-dink casino, which I'm sure you remember, called The Castaways. The Castaways opened a show, a take-off of that, with like six girls, two boys, and an act called "Panties Inferno." And it opened opening night, and the owner of the casino knew he had a rigger. 1 mean he had a coronary when he saw the show because it real tacky. Because I saw the show, too. And the entertainment director was a singer friend of mine called Bill Norvis. It's good to have friends. All this is because of friends. And Bill Norvis was the entertainment director, and the owner said, "Oh my gosh, we have to get something quick. I can't have this in my casino. It's awful. What can we do?" And Bill thought for a minute. He said, "Well I have this show that's kind of different. It would be different for Las Vegas. I don't know if it would work or not, but it's very funny, and it's called Bottom's Up, and they're in Dallas. Let me call 10 and see if they re available." He said, "I want this show out right now. 1 mean right now. As soon as you get the show, we'll close this show." So he got on the show, called the Adolphus, they said, "Oh no, Breck is in Houston at the Continental Hotel. Here's the number," and gave him the number. So the phone rang and I answered it. And this was now in our twelfth week and doing great, and he said what his problem was and he said, "If we come there and like the show, would you be available to come now?" 1 said, "Let me go talk to the manager, because he likes us." So 1 said, "Oh my gosh, you won't believe this, they want us maybe in Las Vegas if we can get out of our contract." He said, "Oh Breck, take it. I'll let you out. Do it. That's a great opportunity for you." So 1 called Bill back, and 1 said, "They said we could do it." So they got on their private jet about an hour after they talked to us, flew to Houston: Joe, my friend and partner, picked them up at like 5:30. They saw the show at 8:00. They said, "We'll take you. Here's a contract. Sign it." So that was like on a Thursday. We closed on Saturday, drove all night, all night Sunday, and got here and opened on Tuesday. And we opened, we opened opposite an unknown comic named Redd Foxx. Jerry Lewis was in the audience that night with a table of twelve, and he was so rude to us. He never looked - 1 mean I've never liked him. Because here a bunch of kids onstage, and Jerry Lewis is in the audience, and that's what I used to be known as, Jerry Lewis in junior high school, high school, and here he was, just smug and just staring at us. Patti Page, the singer, light skin girl that sang on Mitch Miller. She's a singing star. She was a big star, became a big star, singing, 1 can't think of it - [Leslie Uggams sang on the Mitch Miller Show.] 1 1 We can look that up, too. Mitch, Mitch - Sing Along With Mitch. Yeah. And she was there, 1 mean all the stars. Forrest Duke was in the audience and Ralph Pearl and Joe Delaney, and they all just loved the show because it was different. Gave us tiemendous publicity. You could not get near the casino. I mean, we were like in awe of everything. So we stayed there and then from there we went to Harvey's in Lake Tahoe foi the first time in Lake Tahoe. We went to the Riverside, directly there to Riverside. We got a job in Hawaii, and we stayed there for six months. And then I went on the road with the Playboy Clubs, where we played New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Dallas. While we were in Atlantic City — and Los Angeles. While we were in Atlantic City, the partner that 1 had stayed here because I wanted to make this my home. He became entertainment director of the Thunderbird [Hotel and Casino], His name was Joe Peterson. And they got the idea to do an afternoon show, and I said, "God, I don't know if we want that" but they called Atlanta and said, "Get on the plane and get here." And Tony - I can't remember the president of the hotel, Anthony - it doesn't matter. He became the president - It's on the tip of my tongue. Anthony. Anyway, he said, "Yeah, let's do it." And there was a French show called C'est la Boom or something like that with a woman who was a star of the movie - Not , but - Oliver! She was the star of Oliver! The singing star. Shannon, Shannon... So she was the star of a nighttime French show there. Shannon - just find me who the star of Oliver! was, the movie, and she was the star of the show. [He is trying to think of Shani Wallis, who played Nancy in the 1968 film, Oliver/] 12 And we opened, and I've got to say, in all my life, it was everything you'd dream of. Because Bruce Banky, who has since passed on, was the publicity person there who actually went to the Hilton and dealt with Elvis Presley and was at the Hilton for like 12. 14 years. But he did such a drive and such a push on us, the line to get in to see Up went the length of the casino, the width of the casino and back down again. 1 mean my eyes - I would come in every day to come in and see that line. And it just overwhelmed me. And that s when 1 met this girl named Nancy Austin, and we were like partners, comedy partners and stuff like that. And it was just a rocket. It just went on - I think we weie theie like for two years, and we were so strong they moved us to the night slot, and we were in the night slot. And then there was a gentleman in Dallas, going back to Dallas, that I became friends with, who owned a casino, a miniature version of Caesars Palace, and his name was Jay Sarno. And Jay Sarno was a big fan of Bottom's Up. So he built - he got the monies from the Teamsters and built Caesars Palace. And Dave Victorson was the entertainment director there, and Academy Award eve, 1 got a call from Dave Victorson backstage, and he said, "Breck, what are you doing?" 1 said, "Nothing." He said, "Well, my boss wants to bring you here to Caesars." Well my heart just probably nearly popped out of my body, and 1 went, "Caesars Palace." I can't believe that. Because they had a beautiful Nero's Nook [cocktail lounge, now called Cleopatra's Barge] there, and they had major stars there. 1 can't remember the comedy team that we opened with. They were three brothers, legendary brothers in their 70s. Slapstick comedy and things like that. Ritz Brothers. The Ritz Brothers. 1 played with the Ritz Brothers. I played with Ike and Tina Turner. All these people before they became famous. And he said, So, would you like to 13 come get your Oscar tomorrow?" And 1 went, "Gosh, I can't believe this." So we went down, signed the contract, and one month later, opened at Nero's Nook. And that was in '66  or '67  for sure. And we had three years there, and we would take off in the winter, December, January, February, and we'd fly to the Bahamas for three years (sic) and play El Casino then fly black here with a new edition of Bottom's Up. And again, 1 mean, there were so many exciting days and so many stars that came to see us, like Carol Channing. We used to have the family - what's the family in Utah, hundreds of them - they have a television show, the sister and the brother - Oh, the Osmonds. The Osmonds. The Osmonds were like six years old, five years old, in the light booth watching Bottom's Up. And then we'd have like - 1 mean I'll never forget this as long as I live - We had George Bums and Edward G. Robinson sitting together watching Bottom's Up. We would have a whole table one day that seated 12. Nothing but comics like Kaye Ballard from Laugh-In, the loudmouth, the big loudmouth, she's a good friend of mine, my gosh. I mean, all of them sitting there, and my eyes would just bulge out, and then they'd come backstage and see us. So then Dave Victorson - Oh I'm sorry. Jay Sarno had a fight with the Teamsters Union and they gave them a pile of money. And he went and built another hotel, and that hotel was Circus-Circus. In the meantime, Victorson moved over to the International Hotel, which is called the Hilton Hotel now. So he took us with him, and we opened the showroom, the lounge. And we played there until — I know we played two years for sure. And Dave Victorson passed away while we were there. Had a heart attack and died. And then Bill brought Elvis Presley there. Bill Miller was the entertainment director here at 14 the Flamingo Hotel. So he brought us over here. And there's a plaque up on the wall behind you. 1 think we opened here in '71 , '72 . On the gold one, see it? Flamingo? Uh-huh. October 2nd, 1971. When was it? October 2nd, 1971. We opened before that. That was just celebrating how many performances we did - 10,000. You've got a lot of plaques here. I know. I m old. And so we came here, and then we just, we played all over the country. 1 love playing theateis, and for many, many, many years, ten years, we would spend three months in Dallas at Granny's Dinner Playhouse, three months in Houston at the Windmill [Dinner] Theater, with the theater version: first act, second act. Then we'd fly back here and do six months, then go back there. Then we went to Australia three times. I've had a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful life. You got around. How often do you change parts in the show? We just changed not more than six weeks ago, seven weeks ago. This is a new edition of it. We opened with the other one three years ago, and it ran for three years. And we put in the new one. Except for the finale. The finales will be changed on the seventh and eighth of this month, and then we'll have a whole new show. For the most part, Bottom's Up has been a daytime show? Oh we played nighttimes many times. Many times. And what are the differences? Do you have a preference what you like to do? Afternoons. 15 You toli kdeo afternoons. 1 love afternoons, because at night you have to go there at 6, 6:30. You do an 8:00 show, 10:00 show, and you don't get home, by the time you eat, until 1. Here, 1 come to work. 1 m one of the few people, 1 come here at 11:00 in the morning. The show's at 2. But 1 do all my office work here, I do all my phoning here. 1 just am comfortable here. And then 1 go out the door at 5 after 5. Go home and eat, go to a restaurant and eat, and I'm home, and 1 do all my work at home. H hat are some typical problems that you face in a show that runs that long? Do you deal with boredom very much or...? Boredom? Mm-hmm. Oh, no. No, I think you see that onstage. If it was a drama or the same thing, but we have the freedom in Bottom s Up to ad lib and have fun. We do lines to each other that we don't tell each other about. So it's always fresh. The kids in our show are wonderful. We have no temperaments. We have - It's fun, it's like a family. And now I'm able to see it probably for - we're in our 44th year. We actually started it July Is' of this year, but we're not going to celebrate until November, on my birthday. But I have three swing dancers so that the girls and the guys can do convention work and one-nighters and make anywhere from $500-$ 1000. So I give them that freedom. And 1 think because of it, it makes it happier. And also, I've never been able to take a day off from Bottom Up. 1 mean, even when I was sick as a dog, when I had the flu and I was in Houston and they had a cot that they had fixed for me offstage, and I'd come offstage - END TAPE 1, SIDE 1 16 --1 was in Houston at the Windmill [Dinner] Theater and 1 had the terrible flu, 1 mean really bad. 1 had a doctor there. 1 had a cot there so I'd walk offstage, they'd help me dress. I d walk back on, and that is no more. I can take off whenever 1 want to, because all the four principals have learned different parts that you can cover. And you never know that person s gone. Never know I'm gone. Sue [Motsinger], my singer, one of the dancers does her part and it's brilliant. 1 mean she's brilliant. So we don't lose a laugh, r they can take off when they want to, and 1 let them. It's a wonderful life and 1 have a wonderful time. You're able to take vacations now. Yeah. And besides doing this, I have shows elsewhere. I have a big hit up at Caesars Tahoe [renamed MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in 2005] called Passion Extreme. I had a wonderful show that was just — absolutely belonged in Las Vegas and we were cominu here but it wouldn't fit on the stage, called Alias. Was one of the most exciting things you could ever see. 1 mean, people raved about it. And at the same time I had Night Beat. I do a lot of shows. I've had up to five shows going at the same time that my partner, Patrick Maes, takes care of. I will do the creating and having fun with it. He liked the business. What is the process you go through to produce a show from conception to opening night? It starts in your head somewhere. We make a presentation. They say, "Okay, we want you to make a presentation." We come up usually with three different formats. We put it down on paper, have drawings done, costumes done, just show them what our ideas are. I think it's because the respect that we have with businesses, because we're very honest. There's no one temperamental in our group. 17 we Patrick is without a doubt one of the most wonderf