DEAR JERRY: I just heard a rumor that I'm hoping you can either confirm to be true, or say is false.
Is there a women's league professional basketball player (WNBA?) who is the daughter of Chubby Checker?
She obviously wouldn't have the name Checker, which makes it very hard to research.
If true, he must have had her late in life since he was making records in the 1950s.
Let me know either way, and share whatever details you have.
Frances Koster, Chicago
DEAR FRANCES: Most of what you heard is true, the exception being that Chubby Checker's daughter is a collegiate player and not yet a professional.
Mistie McCray Bass, born December 2, 1983, in Janesville, Wisc., is the daughter of Pamela Bass and Ernest Evans (a.k.a. Chubby Checker).
This of course puts Mistie at age 20 as of this writing. On the day of her birth, papa Checker was just 42.
Standing six-three, Mistie, a junior, plays the center position for the Duke Blue Devils women's team. Interestingly, most pro scouts rate her to be an excellent WNBA prospect.
When he is able to squeeze it into his performing schedule (he is still twistin' on stage), Chubby can be found among the fans cheering on the Lady Blue Devils, especially Mistie Bass.
DEAR JERRY: I swear there was a time, probably during the summer, when Dick Clark took his American Bandstand show to the Steel Pier in Atlantic City.
Yet whenever I mention this to anyone, they give me a blank stare as if to say I'm out of my mind.
Does this confirm my wife's belief that my memory is sometimes less than accurate? Or is it as sharp as I'd like to believe?
Chuck Weaver, Palmyra, Wisc.
DEAR CHUCK: I'm pleased to support, at least in part, the confidence you have in your memory. There is, however, a slight glitch.
When I first read Dick Clark's Foreword, written for “The Acrobat,” by George A. Hamid, Jr., it seemed you may be completely correct. In it he states:
“For the then unheard of sum of $10,000, George A. Hamid Sr. hired me to host a two-day show featuring relatively unknown teenage newcomers such as Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell to perform in the Steel Pier's ten-thousand capacity Marine Ballroom on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The concept was so successful that I starred at Steel Pier into the late sixties.”
But specifically to clarify whether or not those Steel Pier shows were actual American Bandstand broadcasts or just rock and roll stage shows, I called Dick Clark's office.
His associate, Jeff James, spoke to Dick for me and confirmed that the Bandstand show itself did not originate from the Pier at any time.
Perhaps those blank stares are somewhat justified.
DEAR JERRY: I recently found a Spinorama album titled “Italian Sing Along,” which is credited to a singer named Johnny Kay. I believe it was recorded in the early 1960s.
Though I have never heard of Johnny Kay, I have long been a fan of Perry Como, and the voice is unmistakably that of Perry.
Have you ever heard of Johnny Kay? Did Perry Como ever recorded under that name?
I do recall times when some artists recorded under an alias to avoid disputes or legal problems with the companies that held their contracts.
Frank Marcoccia, Newburgh, Ind.
DEAR FRANK: Johnny Kay may sing in a style similar to Perry Como, but he is definitely a different person.
In the late '50s and early '60s, Johnny Kay popped up on several different budget labels (i.e., mediocre quality recording and packaging, at discount prices).
Another of his Spinorama LPs is “Johnny Kay Sings in Italia” (S-3033), though he also can be found in the bargain bins on Diplomat, Premier, Promenade, and other cut-rate labels.
IZ ZAT SO? The late Laura Branigan is best remembered for her worldwide hit “Gloria,” but one of her lesser-known hits has a place in American Bandstand history.
Laura's “Shattered Glass,” a summer 1987 issue, is the last song to be performed on the final ABC-TV American Bandstand show (September 5, 1987).
As for the first record played, on the first ABC Bandstand broadcast (October 7, 1957), that would be prophetic “Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On,” by Jerry Lee Lewis.