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Carole Brooks

 

My buddy Carole helped me through my transition from nerd to Regular. My first weeks on the show, I tended to hug the wall insecurely; I would dance one number and sit out the next 2 or 3 because I was still not very confidant with my dancing. She would spot me trying to hide and she would come over and announce, "we are going to dance." It seemed that just as I was getting to the point where I really could dance, she was gone. She created a cocky, dancing monster and left the other girls to suffer me.   I kid, of course ... sort of.  LOL

I was not to see her for 38 years, but, when we met up again just before our 1997 reunion, it was as if time had stopped. We picked up, at being good buddies, right where we left off. Time had changed us both, but the core essence of who we are was still there. She jumped right in and gave me much help with the reunion, and provided some nice touches that added to the festivities. Carole is one of a small group of Regulars whom I regard as family. Whatever hardships I underwent in arranging the first reunion were well worth it for the reward of reestablishing Carole's, and the other's friendships. Carole has an interesting background, and could easily write an inspirational book based on her life. She has traveled to her birthplace of Australia, and other interesting places. I tease her because every time I see her, she is driving a new car. She lives a comfortable life now, but I know that she has experienced lean times. She had to overcome some bad breaks, but she was strong, and smart enough, to meet the challenge. She has done well, and achieved a comfortable life. This comfort comes, to a large degree, from her skill at picking stocks in the stock market. I could go on, but I will let her tell her story with her own words. Here is the Dance Party remembrance of my buddy Carole. - Manny Interiano

In the late 1950's rock & roll swept the nation, there were so many artists making one big hit after the other. Almost every one had a radio in those days and we always had it tuned in to the station with the rock & roll sounds.

At this time, I was attending Balboa High School in the city. I was a average girl, very much the same as the "girl next door." I can't say there was anything unusual or different about me. The one thing I enjoyed doing above anything else was dancing, and listening to rock & roll music. I practiced dance steps every chance I got. It seemed as if I had more guy friends than girl friends, and, when they would drop by my house, we would put a record on the hi-fi and practice all kinds of dance steps.

I remember that there were a few television dance shows for teenagers. There was the Dottie Hansen Show, the Ted Randall Show, and then came the Dick Stewart Dance Party Show. One day I came home from school, and my Mother said, "look who is on dance party;" to my surprise it was "George Acacio," who's family had been friends with my family for years. I had known George since I was three years old. My Mother called his Mother, her name was Marie, and they chatted. Marie suggested that I should go down to the show and dance too.

I sent away for a ticket, and it seemed like it took forever before I got it. When I got to the set I was so excited. I looked all around so bright eyed, it was like being in a fantasy world; I was mesmerized. The kids, the set, the cameras, and the lights, I took it all in and wanted so badly to be a part of it. I remember trying to muster up the courage to speak to Dick Stewart. I knew how long I had waited for a ticket, and if I didn't say something, it may be a lost opportunity forever.

I remember asking Dick Stewart if he would consider having me be a Regular on his show. He said, "I will keep an eye on you, and watch you dance." I was given a pass and went back a few times. When I was selected to be a Regular on the show, I was over the moon. Yes! Yes! My whole life was about to change; I went from being an average girl, to being one of the most popular girls at school.

I remember getting a letter from a fan, and Dick Stewart interviewed me on the air. In those days, most television was in black and white. Here was this young man writing in to ask the color of my eyes, what school did I go to, and did I have a boy friend. I felt like I had to pinch my self to believe this was really happening to me. We Regulars were signing autographs, getting fan mail, and meeting incredible movie stars.

I will never forget the day when Neil Sedaka came on the show, and sang "Oh Carol," it was incredible. There is no way to even begin to describe it. He was just one of many entertainers who made guest appearances on the show. Until then, I had never seen a movie star, in person, in my entire life.

Dance Party did different fun things; they would have theme shows, like Hawaiian day, and we would dress up in Hawaiian clothing. Once we had a picnic day, and I was chosen to be like the picnic girl. I sat on a blanket, with a wicker basket in place, and Dick Stewart came over to ask me what I had in the basket. Those were some of the fun things they did with the Regulars.

We had song dedications; I had dedicated a song to a boy I liked at the time. The song I dedicated was titled "Put Your Head on My Shoulders," but somehow the wires got crossed and the song they played was called "Forty Miles of Bad Road." I had a hard time living that one down.

I didn't date anyone from the show because my Mother was rather strict, and did not allow me to date until I was sixteen; however friends were always welcome to come to my house. Joe Piazza and I did like each other, for a brief time, in between our break ups.

In looking back, I realize one thing about the Dance Party Show, they accepted kids from all different backgrounds, and the most important thing was that you could dance. If there is one thing that I regret, it is not keeping my fan mail. I know my children would have really thought that was a hoot.

In remembering Dick Stewart, I can say that he was a class act. He was always a professional. We had a lot of respect for Dick, but I got the feeling he also had respect for us too. Dick was always approachable, and he really took the time to listen to us, and respect our feelings. I want to thank Dick, for the incredible opportunity he gave me to be a part of the Dance Party family.

I came away from the show with a self-confidence, and inner strength, that I may not have had before. I learned that even an average person, like myself, can do things that make them special, if they believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.

I started on the show early summer of 1959, and left at the end of the year. I had a boy friend, whom I was sweet on, but it was difficult to find a balance between the show and a relationship. We eventually got married, but as with many couples who marry young, it ended in divorce. I remarried, and my husband Gary, is everything that I ever wanted in a partner. We are the perfect compliment to one another, and together we have six children, fourteen grand children, and one great grand child. I have met Gary and found him to be a good man and an excellent husband. They have the kind of marriage that many of us envy - Manny Interiano

There have been a few bumps in life's road, but overall it's been a good life. If I can offer one thought, it is to keep a sense of humor, it makes the good times even better, and helps get you through life's more difficult challenges. I wish all of you, the best that life has to offer. Carole Brooks, Regular


Carole Brooks' Scrapbook

 
 

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The Regulars
Scrapbook
1997 Reunion
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In Memoriam
2004 Reunion
 

 

 

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 by M. Interiano
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 4,200409/10/06 09:26:33 -0700.