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  • Plaza Gardens Music Memories

    I have great memories of so many summer nights standing next to the bandstand at Carnation Plaza Gardens, listening to some of the greats of American musical history. I invite any other such memories into this thread.

    I saw...The Glenn Miller Orchestra
    Duke Ellington (himself and later his Orchestra)
    Count Basie (my favorite)
    Buddy Rich
    Woody Herman
    Les Brown

    and others I am sure that I will later remember...

    of course, usually accompanied by the incomparable Fantasia ice cream cone!

    --Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  • #2
    Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

    barry, i cant tell you how jealous i am.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

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    • #3
      Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

      Originally posted by frecky View Post
      barry, i cant tell you how jealous i am.
      Those are some treasured memories. There was at least one summer when I worked six nights a week at the park (48 hours) and came back on my only night off, because most of these bands were only in for a week at a time.

      My buddy and I would usually stake out a spot right next to (across the railing from) the bass player, to the far left as you would see the stage straight on.

      --Barry
      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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      • #4
        Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

        When in high school some friends and i were kinda into swing dancing and would go to dland just to dance. saying that right now makes me feel very lame... i regret nothing!
        "There's no off position on the genius switch"

        Twitter: @WRDinc | Instagram: @WRDinc

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        • #5
          Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

          I always loved the "Dixieland At Disneyland" event. Some great music, bands and Louis Armstrong was a fixture there each year.
          "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." Oscar Wilde

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          • #6
            Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

            Barry,

            If Werner Weiss can locate Mr. Peabody, let's ask him to set the Wayback Machine so we can return to the Carnation Plaza Gardens and listen to Count Basie.

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            • #7
              Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

              Originally posted by 10-97 View Post
              Barry,

              If Werner Weiss can locate Mr. Peabody, let's ask him to set the Wayback Machine so we can return to the Carnation Plaza Gardens and listen to Count Basie.
              I would be all for that. If only I took pictures back in those days! It honestly just never occured to me. DOH!:bang:

              I have told before that in watching him the last few summers, (82 was the last I saw him and I believe he died the next year)
              he was so feeble that they had to turn up the amps on his piano all the way possible for him to be heard. He'd come out in his motorized chair, and be lifted onto the piano banch.

              There were young men in his band easily young enough to be his grandchildren, at least.

              But when he got ready to play, there was just no question about who was in charge.

              They'd stop each set, of course, with his signature "One O'Clock Jump". Three piano notes finish the piece. Each time at the end, the huge crowd would wildly shout in time with the notes...COUNT...BAY-SEE! Followed by a long standing ovation.

              The memory gives me chills.

              --Barry
              God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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              • #8
                Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                I really like the swing bands on Saturday nights, it's always a stop by when ever I am there on Saturday, which is rare. There is a song from long ago called "Date night at Disneyland" that I have heard a couple of times on one of the internet radio stations. I remember being there when I was kid and getting to hear Les Brown, Buddy Rich and the amazing Count Basie.
                Hello everyone!

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                • #9
                  Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                  Oh boy, I really miss the old Carnation Gardens. I miss all the giant attraction posters, and the burgers (I think one was called the "lamplighter") and as I recall you could even order hotdogs. I miss the fantasia ice cream.

                  About 15 years ago or so there were 'regulars' who danced Friday and Saturday nights. One couple who looked to be in their late '70s wore matching outfits. She would wrap her leg around his hip and they would shimmy together. Another couple was in their late 80's and were so adorable. Their stamina was inspiring!You can't beat the fun swing dancing brings.

                  me

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                  • #10
                    Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                    I guess, technically, Carnation Plaza Gardens isn't a part of Yesterland because it still stands...but the bringing in of the big name bands is long gone.

                    Is there still a fast food and ice cream operation in there? What is it primarily used for?

                    Fantasia flavor ice cream is sadly a part of Yesterland.
                    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                      Still wondering exactly what Plaza Gardens in used for now, and if others have musical memories as have been shared above!
                      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                        I had an annual pass in 1987-88, and it was a different cool band each weekend. It was like going back in time. Basie was always the highlight: what a huge sound came from that stage! Other musicians working in the park (Side Street Strutters, Thunder Mountain Boys) would gather to watch these shows, equally in awe. We all knew we were seeing something rare and special, in a perfect setting.

                        Lionel Hampton is another amazing memory. He must have been in his eighties by that time, and getting frail, but he could still play the vibes and lead his orchestra -- and even the drums on one or two songs. It was like watching living history.

                        I no longer go to Disneyland regularly (too many touchstones of my youth are gone, and it's too sad to see the travesty that is Tomorrowland), but I so miss those big-band gigs at Plaza Gardens. It's kind of saddening to find out they're no more.

                        By the way, new person alert. Hi all!

                        -Ken

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                        • #13
                          Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                          Hi Ken! Count Basie died in 1984. Was it just his orchestra who played at Plaza Gardens?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                            Originally posted by Jestyr View Post
                            Hi Ken! Count Basie died in 1984. Was it just his orchestra who played at Plaza Gardens?
                            Yeah, you're correct -- I should have clarified. I'm fairly certain it was Frank Foster directing the Count Basie Orchestra. They had many veterans of Basie-led bands, but their drummer really stood out. Young guy named Duffy Johnson, who to this day is the most exciting swing drummer I've ever heard.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Plaza Gardens Music Memories

                              Sounds wonderful!

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