Sunday, September 13, 2009

Washington at Murphy, Sunnyvale, CA: Wayne Manor 1966-67



























How popular was ABC-TV's Batman show? While it only ran for two and a half seasons (Jan 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968), it was on twice a week for most of its run. It rapidly went from hip to camp to passe. When it was popular, however, it was a huge hit, in an era when there were only three TV channels, so its appeal cut a wide swath.

By the middle of 1966, there was a club in Sunnyvale called Wayne Manor, designed to look like the "Bat Cave" from the TV show. Mind you, this club sold drinks and was intended for adults. It was successful enough to stay open at least into the middle of 1967. I don't know exactly when the club closed, but the Batman show ended in early 1968, so I'm sure the club had closed or changed its name by then.

The top ad is from the July 22, 1966 edition of the San Mateo Times, and the lower one is from the October 21, 1966 San Mateo Times. Sunnyvale is the town just South of Mountain View, which in turn is just South of Palo Alto. Washington and Murphy is roughly between El Camino Real and Central Expressway (Alma), next to Los Altos Town Center and the train station (now the Cal Train station). Since there isn't a precise address, I can't say if the building is still standing.

Sometimes you will see 60s South Bay musicians refer to this club, although they usually call it "The Bat Cave." According to the San Mateo Times (October 21, 1966), the owner or manager of the club was named Joe Lewis. I believe Emilio Castilio's first band, The Gotham City Crimefighters, were regularly featured here, before he formed The Motowns, who then evolved into Tower of Power. In the various ads I have seen for the club, the only group I have heard of is The Music Machine, who were scheduled to play on October 25, 1966 (they were mentioned in a notice, but not in the weekly advertisement above).

17 comments:

  1. A hunt around has shown up a number of different lists of performers - the Wiki entry (and others) shows up Big Brother and the Holding Company as playing which seems unlikely to me as Janis Joplin had departed after a show on December 1, 1968 and the band played only a handful of shows over the following year.

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  2. In fact, when Joe Lewis created Wayne Manor, he wasn't inspired by the Batman TV show but by the DC comic book. I know because I was there. Lewis, who owned Wayne Manor, got the idea from his 11-year-old son who was a big fan of the Batman comic book. Lewis had opened Whiskey A-Go-Go in an old bank building he had purchased on South Murphy and was looking to relaunch the club with a new concept. His son naively told him to "make it about Batman" and he was smart enough to adopt the theme before the Batman craze hit. He toyed with naming the club "The Bat Cave" or "Wayne Manor" and chose the latter because it seemed to fit the old bank building's architecture. Some months later, the TV show became a hit and Batman-mania swept the country. Life Magazine even featured a picture of the club in its issue on the Batman craze. A pretty big deal for the city of Sunnyvale. Lewis was clever enough to capitalize on the publicity and even brought a measure to the City Council to change Sunnyvale's name to Gotham City. Naturally, that made all the papers resulting in lots of free publicity for Wayne Manor.

    The building no longer stands, having been razed in preparation for the Sunnyvale Town Center construction.

    You mention some of the artists who played there, but don't forget Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dobey Grey, and Johnny Rivers.

    Many of the performers were soul acts. Lewis was committed to civil rights and brought a lot of African-American performers to Wayne Manor including Jackie Wilson and Sly Stone. I remember one night the headline act was The Coasters (or was it The Platters?) I honestly can't remember. I was only 11 at the time and my father had invited me to his club, just a little kid with a Batman comic book in his back pocket.

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  3. Wow--what an amazing story. I have only recently discovered the details about Sly and The Family Stone playing at Wayne Manor (May 2-21, 1967). I know that the drummer Frosty sat in with them at least once during that time (Lee Michaels' guy). Its very interesting to here about Creedence as well (under the name The Golliwogs, I presume?).

    Can I pick your brains about the reference to "Whisky A Go-Go?" Do you mean that in general, or that it was actually called the Whisky A Go Go at some early point?

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  4. It was actually called Whiskey A-Go-Go. My father got the franchise and decided to open it in Sunnyvale rather than the more likely San Francisco or San Jose. That was a big deal for Sunnyvale back in the day. I'm in the midst of doing some research on both Whiskey A-Go-Go and Wayne Manor and will be glad to share what I learn.

    I'm not sure about whether it was the Golliwogs are just John Fogarty and others or what. What I was told was "it was Creedence before they were Creedence". I'll see if I can get more hard information that.

    I'm trying to write a story on the importance of Wayne Manor and Whiskey A-Go-Go to the revitalizatin of downtown Sunnyvale. Can you share any information you have? For instance, dates of operation, key acts who played there, and any impact it might have had on Sunnyvale or the local music scene? My email is garthl@live.com

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  5. I will try and pull some more bits together - but my current list (a few months old) is as follows:
    Opened - Early February 1966 seemingly.
    07 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    08 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    09 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    10 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    11 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    12 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    13 June 1966
    14 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    15 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    16 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    17 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    18 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    19 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    20 June 1966
    21 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    22 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    23 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    24 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    25 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    26 June 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    27 June 1966
    28 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    29 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    30 June 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    01 July 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    02 July 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    03 July 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    04 July 1966
    05 July 1966 The Persuaders
    06 July 1966 The Persuaders
    07 July 1966 The Persuaders
    08 July 1966 The Persuaders
    09 July 1966 The Persuaders
    10 July 1966 The Persuaders
    11 July 1966
    12 July 1966 The Persuaders
    13 July 1966 The Persuaders
    14 July 1966 The Persuaders
    15 July 1966 The Persuaders
    16 July 1966 The Persuaders
    17 July 1966 The Persuaders
    18 July 1966
    19 July 1966
    20 July 1966
    21 July 1966
    22 July 1966
    23 July 1966
    24 July 1966
    25 July 1966 Ladies Night
    26 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    27 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    28 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    29 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    30 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    31 July 1966 Sandy and The Vikings
    01 August 1966 Ladies Night
    02 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    03 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    04 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    05 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    06 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    07 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    08 August 1966 Ladies Night
    09 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    10 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    11 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    12 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    13 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    14 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    15 August 1966 Ladies Night
    16 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    17 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    18 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    19 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    20 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    21 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    22 August 1966 Ladies Night
    23 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    24 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    25 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    26 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    27 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    28 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    29 August 1966 Ladies Night
    30 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    31 August 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    01 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    02 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    03 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    04 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    05 September 1966 Ladies Night
    06 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    07 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    08 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    09 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    10 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    11 September 1966 The Prime Minisiters
    12 September 1966 Ladies Night
    13 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    14 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    15 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    16 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    17 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    18 September 1966 Gino Dentie Amen Blues
    19 September 1966 Ladies Night
    20 September 1966 The Aliens
    21 September 1966 The Aliens
    22 September 1966 The Aliens
    23 September 1966 The Aliens
    24 September 1966 The Aliens
    25 September 1966 The Aliens
    26 September 1966 Ladies Night
    27 September 1966 The Aliens
    28 September 1966 The Aliens
    29 September 1966 The Aliens
    30 September 1966 The Aliens

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  6. Part 2 of Performance List:
    01 October 1966 The Aliens
    02 October 1966 The Aliens
    03 October 1966 Ladies Night
    04 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    05 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    06 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    07 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    08 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    09 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    10 October 1966 Ladies Night
    11 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    12 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    13 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    14 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    15 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    16 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    17 October 1966 Ladies Night
    18 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    19 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    20 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    21 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    22 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    23 October 1966 The Thunderbirds
    24 October 1966 Ladies Night
    25 October 1966 Music Machine
    26 October 1966 Music Machine
    27 October 1966 Music Machine
    28 October 1966 Music Machine
    29 October 1966 Music Machine
    30 October 1966 Music Machine
    31 October 1966 Ladies Night
    01 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    02 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    03 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    04 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    05 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    06 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    07 November 1966 Ladies Night
    08 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    09 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    10 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    11 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    12 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    13 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    14 November 1966 Ladies Night
    15 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    16 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    17 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    18 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    19 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    20 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    21 November 1966 Ladies Night
    22 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    23 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    24 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    25 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    26 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    27 November 1966 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    28 November 1966 Ladies Night
    29 November 1966 The Secrets
    30 November 1966 The Secrets
    01 December 1966 The Secrets
    02 December 1966 The Secrets
    03 December 1966 The Secrets
    04 December 1966 The Secrets
    05 December 1966 Ladies Night
    06 December 1966 The Secrets
    07 December 1966 The Secrets
    08 December 1966 The Secrets
    09 December 1966 The Secrets
    10 December 1966 The Secrets
    11 December 1966 The Secrets
    12 December 1966 Ladies Night
    13 December 1966 The Secrets
    14 December 1966 The Secrets
    15 December 1966 The Secrets
    16 December 1966 The Secrets
    17 December 1966 The Secrets
    18 December 1966 The Secrets
    19 December 1966 Ladies Night
    20 December 1966
    21 December 1966
    22 December 1966
    23 December 1966
    24 December 1966
    25 December 1966
    26 December 1966
    27 December 1966 Dobie Gray
    28 December 1966 Dobie Gray
    29 December 1966 Dobie Gray
    30 December 1966 Dobie Gray
    31 December 1966 Dobie Gray

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  7. And part 3
    :
    01 January 1967 Dobie Gray
    02 January 1967 Ladies Night
    03 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    04 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    05 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    06 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    07 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    08 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    09 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    10 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    11 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    12 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    13 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    14 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    15 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    16 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    17 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    18 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    19 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    20 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    21 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    22 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    23 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    24 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    25 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    26 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    27 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    28 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    29 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    30 January 1967 Rivera Brothers
    31 January 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    01 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    02 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    03 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    04 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    05 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    06 February 1967 Rivera Brothers
    07 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    08 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    09 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    10 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    11 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    12 February 1967 Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers
    13 February 1967 Rivera Brothers
    14 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    15 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    16 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    17 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    18 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    19 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    20 February 1967 Rivera Brothers
    21 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    22 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    23 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    24 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    25 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    26 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    27 February 1967 Rivera Brothers
    28 February 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    01 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    02 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    03 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    04 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    05 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    06 March 1967 Rivera Brothers
    07 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    08 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    09 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    10 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    11 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    12 March 1967 The Persuaders with Joanne Vent
    13 March 1967 Rivera Brothers

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  8. also
    28 March 1967 Sly and The Family Stone
    29 March 1967 Sly and The Family Stone
    30 March 1967 Sly and The Family Stone
    31 March 1967 Sly and The Family Stone
    1 April 1967 Sly and The Family Stone
    2 April 1967 Sly and The Family Stone

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  9. April 67 The Seven Souls
    most or all of the month
    2 May-27 May 67 Sly and The Family Stone/Sam The Soul/Bonnie Lynn

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  10. The Big Brother show certainly never happed. I have listed what I know of on the web site and included any ads, press clipping etc. that I have. I only go as far as March 1967 at present, but will add Corry's updates. I have not written an introduction yet - perhaps Garth could help out. I was also wondering if their were any outside or inside photographs available at all.

    http://www.chickenonaunicycle.com/Wayne%20Manor%20-%20Sunnyvale.htm

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  11. A couple of points about the updates - May 27, 1967 was a Saturday and books ran Tuesday through Sunday with the Monday nights initially "Ladies Nights" and later the Rivera Brothers playing. So are we sure about the 27th rather than the 28th? Secondly, would you agree that Sam The Soul and Bonnie Lynn are likely to be Disc Jockey and some sort of dancer?

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  12. I'm sure you are right about the 28th rather than the 27th. I was presuming from some sort of SF Chron press release that probably said something like "coming this weekend."

    I'm sure you are right about Sam The Soul being a dj, but a lot of these Go Go type clubs also had a featured female "lounge/R&B" type singer (such as The Joel Scott Hill Trio with Joni Lyman). I wonder whether Bonnie Lynn, whomever she might have been, had her own group or was backed by some members of The Family Stone.

    Hey, didn't Bonnie Bramlett call herself Bonnie Lynn (she was born Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell)? She had moved to California by 1967, and was already a former Ikette. Just a thought.

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  13. Stunning recollection Corry - Sam The Soul and Bonnie Lynn it seems were a duo - and this must have been right before they went down the coast to LA and ended up on the bill at one of the last shows played by Delaney and his Shindogs (at the Carolina Lanes bowling alley in Inglewood - near LAX). I understand that Delaney and Bonnie were married about a week later. Great catch.

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  14. The Persuaders with Joanne Vent, Dennis Provisor, Dale Loyola, Dave Johnson and Lynn Ready opened on April 1, 1966.

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  15. Bonnie Lynn is Bonnie Bramlett

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  16. Interestingly, it seems that the Bat Cave was an entirely separate venue, albeit short lived, that could be found at 12, E Third in San Mateo - with hosts Jim Scott and Bob Pemberton.

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  17. There's a dissection of the Life magazine article on Batmania here:

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/20/batman-nightclub-wayne-manor-life-magazine/

    Which includes a photo of the interior of Wayne Manor.

    I have a photo of the Persuaders too, Dale Loyola and Dennis Provisor went on to join Buddy Sklar and Bobby Arlin in the Hook. Provisor had a brief spell in the later incarnation of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, circa 1969/70.

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