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"My dad was manager of the Pla-Mor Ballroom at Linwood and Main, which was a very well-known place in the old days. That was in the big-band era, with the Dorseys and the Goodmans and all those famous big-band people, whom I got to meet on many occasions.

The dance floor at the Pla-Mor was unique; it was very large and set on about 10,000 coil springs. If there was no one there, you'd walk across it and you could feel it creak and kind of bounce up and down in a small way. You could get a whole crowd of customers there on a busy evening dancing, and they could dance all night long and never get tired because the floor 'gave.'

I remember, when Tommy Dorsey came he had a singer by the name of Frank Sinatra. He was just a skinny little Italian kid, and sang a song every four or five numbers, and that would be it. When the big bands were there, I got to take my various dates and go down there. They were always thrilled, and some of them still talk today of how I took them to see Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey. Sometimes you wouldn't do much dancing. You would just stand in front of the bandstand and watch the band itself, or the famous singers, particularly someone like Louis Armstrong, who even then was very famous and quite a magnet.

The Pla-Mor had a bowling alley underneath, with 36 lanes, and there was an ice-skating rink and a softball diamond. It cost maybe $2 or $3 to get in. You could buy beer and that's all. They wanted to keep a good decorum and not have people getting mad and starting fights. Seldom was there any problem; people just came to have a good time.

—Chuck Wittig, 89, Prairie Village

Chuck Wittig
Chuck Wittig