Feature Story, Latest News, Los Angeles, Research
Leave a Comment

The Beach Boys at Rainbow Gardens in 1962 – A Research Challenge

In the 1991 film JFK, Joe Pesci portrayed David Ferrie who famously describes President Kennedy’s assassination as “a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.” The quote was borrowed from a radio address Winston Churchill delivered over the British Broadcasting Company October 1, 1939, to bolster Britons’ concerns about an impending war with Germany. In that stirring address, Churchill described Russia as “a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

But what does Churchill, JFK, or Joe Pesci have to do with researching Beach Boys concerts in 1962? Well, that quote aptly describes what it felt like trying to document the band’s appearances at Rainbow Gardens—a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. Only there was no key. Until now. Maybe.

Rainbow Gardens c. 1930s

Rainbow Gardens c. 1930s

Rainbow Gardens was a nightclub and dance hall located at 150 East Monterey in Pomona, California, thirty miles east of Los Angeles. It held about 800 people. By early 1962, it was owned by LA record promoter Eddie Davis who managed the Mixtures, an ethnically diverse R&B septet from Oxnard who played there Friday nights and filled the role of house band backing up other artists. Mixtures promo photoDavis became aware of the Mixtures through Dick Moreland, a former disc jockey on Oxnard’s KACY-AM and later program director on KRLA.  Davis and Moreland conceived of the KRLA/Friday Night Dance and enlisted KRLA disc jockey Bob Eubanks as master of ceremonies.

The Mixtures’ sole album, Stompin’ at the Rainbow, was recorded live at Rainbow Gardens February 16, 1962, and released March 19 on Eddie Davis’s Linda Records 3301. Mixtures - Stompin at the RainbowThe group’s first of six singles was “Rainbow Stomp – Part 1” (b/w “Rainbow Stomp” – Part 2,” Linda 104) released that March, the same month they played the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. The success of the live album led to gigs at El Monte Legion Stadium, Cinnamon Cinder (Studio City), Pacific Ocean Park (Santa Monica), Pop Leuder’s Park (Compton), and a show for the NAACP in Santa Monica April 11. They also appeared on local television shows P.O.P. Dance Party, The Wink Martindale Show, and the Rock-n-Rudy Harvey Show.

Meanwhile, on February 8, 1962, the Beach Boys recorded four songs—“Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfer Girl,” “Judy,” and “Beach Boy Stomp” (aka “Karate”)—at World Pacific Studio at 8715 3rd Street in Hollywood. By February 11, Al Jardine had quit the band, deciding to devote his time and energy to the rigors of his pre-dental academic curriculum. For about three weeks, the Beach Boys were a quartet before recruiting their thirteen-year-old neighbor David Marks to play rhythm guitar.

“When I was a disc jockey at KRLA, I would hire the Beach Boys,” Bob Eubanks recalled. Bob Eubanks“I would pay them a hundred and fifty dollars to come out on Friday night and play Rainbow Gardens. I had a good relationship with the guys. It was obvious the father was the true boss of what was going on. I always thought Murry was a bit of a bullshitter, but he was in there plugging for his boys. For that, I admired him. I tried to get them to change their name because I felt their name was so regional they wouldn’t have much success out of a coastal area.”

Eubanks asked Murry if any of the boys surfed. “Denny is the only one who surfs,” Murry replied. “They know a lot of kids who surf. It’s all image, the whole beach thing. You don’t have to surf to sing about it, do you?” When Eubanks expressed doubts about the group’s name, Murry said, “We tried some others, like the Pendletones, but changed it. Russ Regan over at Era Records came up with the name. I think the Beach Boys is fine. We’re sticking with it.”

It was once thought the Beach Boys may have played back-to-back Friday and Saturday nights at the Rainbow Gardens on February 9 and 10, February 16 and 17, and Friday night shows March 9, 23, and 30. However, neither I nor Ian Rusten, author of The Beach Boys in Concert: the Ultimate History of America’s Band on Tour and Onstage (Backbeat Books, 2013), could find any documentation for these dates. Keep in mind that in early 1962 the Beach Boys were just starting out and were not well known. Not even in Southern California. Furthermore, any promotion for these appearances was likely done on KRLA radio. Radio marketing was affordable and expedient, but unfortunately impermanent. It is likely the Beach Boys played the Rainbow Gardens a Friday night or two in the early months of 1962 as there are anecdotal reports of them singing and the Mixtures backing them instrumentally. It is, however, extremely unlikely they ever played there on a Saturday night. On Saturday nights, the Rainbow Gardens swung to the rhythms of Latin and Chicano artists.

Parade of Hits, a weekly live television show featuring guest stars and Top 40 tunes, premiered Tuesday, July 10, 1962, on KCOP-TV, channel 13, from 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It replaced Dr. Albert Burke, a show hosted by the Yale professor who pioneered educational television. Parade of Hits was sponsored by White Front Discount Department Store and radio station KRLA, and hosted by Larry McCormick, who later became news reporter on KTLA channel 5 in LA. The Mixtures were the house band during the show’s twenty-six week run. The Beach Boys performed “Surfin’ Safari” live on Parade of Hits July 31, 1962.

While continuing his research into the Beach Boys’ appearances at the Rainbow Gardens after publication of his book, Rusten reviewed the Pomona Progress Bulletin for February, March, April, and July of 1962. He found only one documented Beach Boys’ appearance at Rainbow Gardens—Friday, July 27, 1962, four days before they appeared with the Mixtures on Parade of Hits. While it remains likely the band played the Rainbow Gardens one or more Friday nights in early 1962, further research is needed.

Here’s what we know about Fridays and Saturdays at the Rainbow Gardens January through April 1962:

Friday, January 5

Saturday, January 6

Friday, January 12

Saturday, January 13
Dance, Rudy Macia and His Orchestra, plus Joe Rios and His Orchestra featuring Virginia Ybarra, admittance only $1.75

Friday, January 19

Saturday, January 20
Dance, Johnny Martinez Cheda and Their Orchestra, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra, admittance only $2.00

Friday, January 26
The Beach Boys played in the cafeteria of Hawthorne High School at 7:00 a.m. as part of Black Friday activities bemoaning the distribution that day of report cards.

Saturday, January 27
Dance Tonite, In Person, Amalia Mendoza “La Tariacure” with Mariachi Los Camperos, plus “Vydreyras” Star from Mexico, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra, admittance only $2.75

Friday February 2

Saturday February 3
Dance Tonite, Mariano Merceron and His RCA Recording 20-Pc Orchestra, plus Joe Rios and His Orchestra, admittance only $2.50. The Beach Boys appeared on Dance Party television show broadcast live on KRLA-TV from the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Friday, February 9
It is possible the Beach Boys appeared, but were not listed.

Saturday, February 10
Dance Tonite, In Person, Loa Beltran, Queen of Ranchero Singers, plus Mariachi Occidental, plus Bobby Montez and His Orchestra, and Abby Chavez and His Orchestra, admittance only $2.75. The Beach Boys appeared on Dance Party television show broadcast live on KRLA-TV from the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Friday, February 16
A show with the Mixtures, the Citadels, and the Emeralds recorded for a live album.

Saturday, February 17
Dance Tonite, Rene Touzet and His World Famous Recording Orchestra, plus Treni Menor and His Orchestra, admittance only $2.00

Friday, February 23
It is possible the Beach Boys appeared, but were not listed.

Saturday, February 24
Dance Saturday Nite, Rudy Macais and His Orchestra, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra, admittance only $1.75

Friday, March 2
An advertisement for the Mixtures and “Special Guest Stars”
The Beach Boys played in the auditorium of Millikan High School in Santa Monica, CA, at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

Friday, March 9
It is possible the Beach Boys appeared, but were not listed.

Saturday, March 10
The Beach Boys played the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades, CA, at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 16
The Beach Boys played the Monica Hotel in Santa Monica, CA, with the Bel-Airs and the Vibrants from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday, March 17
The Beach Boys played the Santa Monica Hotel in Santa Monica, CA, with the Bel-Airs and the Vibrants from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

Friday, March 23
The Beach Boys played Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA, with Spencer and Allred, the Two Tones, and Tommy Terry.

Saturday, March 24
The Beach Boys played a short set during a Vibrants concert on the athletic field of Newport Harbor High School in Newport, CA, at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 30
An advertisement appeared for the Mixtures and “Special Guest Stars.”

Saturday, March 31
The Beach Boys played the National Guard Armory in John Galvin Pak in Ontario, CA, at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, April 6
It is possible the Beach Boys appeared, but were not listed.

Saturday, April 7
Dance Tonight, Chuy Castro and His Orchestra, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra, Free Pachanga Lessons, admittance only $1.75.

Friday, April 13
No dance held that night at the Rainbow Gardens.

Saturday, April 14

Friday, April 20
The Beach Boys played for an Easter Week Stomp in the auditorium of Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, CA, that evening.

Saturday, April 21
Easter Holiday Dances, Rene Touzet and His Orchestra, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra, Twist and Pachanga Dance Contest, Pachanga Dance Lessons 8:30 to 9:00, admittance only $2.00.

Sunday, April 22
Easter Holiday Dances, Saturday and Sunday, Mariachi Occidental, plus Rudy Macias and His Orchestra, plus Manny Armenta and His Orchestra , admittance only $2.00.

April 27, Friday

It is possible the Beach Boys appeared, but were not listed.

Saturday, April 28
Dance Tonight, Nita Cruz and the Crescendos, plus Joe Rios and His Orchestra, Free Pachanga Lessons, admittance only $1.75.

Friday, May 4
The Beach Boys played the Inglewood Women’s Club in Inglewood, CA, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday, May 5
Dance and Show, Sat Nite, In Person, Cantinflitas, plus Medesto Duran and His Orchestra, Rachel and Her Conjunto, Roben Reyes, Maria Antonieta, Hollywood Twisters, Dancing 8:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., admittance only $2.00.

Friday, May 11
The Beach Boys played a Community Fair as part of Camino Welfare Week at El Camino Community College. As this was during the day it is possible they played elsewhere that evening.

May and June
Not yet fully researched regarding the Rainbow Gardens.

Friday, July 27
The Beach Boys recorded their appearance in One Man’s Challenge at the Azusa Teen Club in Azusa, CA. That evening they appeared with the Mixtures and the Paris Sisters at Rainbow Gardens at 8:00 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s