Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Archive for the ‘Liberace’ Category

Liberace and Friend … Updated ……

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Liberace with Girl_Retouched_1_16_14_SFW

I posted this photo years ago and I did not know who the lady is.  Someone had mentioned a name for her when I posted this on the first blog that I had on Blogger six or seven years ago.  But I cannot what they said her name was and when I “googled” it nothing came up. So I did not pay that much attention to it.  Recently, I have been reading a book by author Steve Fischer entitled ” When The Mob Ran Vegas “.  On page 113, there is a photo of Ruth Gillis and it said that she was one of Liberace’s show girls when he played the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.  I am not going to bother trying to get permission to see if I can post it here, you are just going to have to take my word for it.  On the web there are several photos of her with various other entertainers, one being Ernie Kovacs and here is a link to the photo.  I have tried ( not very heard though ) to find some other photos and information on Ms Gillis, but have not turned up much.  I do not know a date for the above photo and if I had to guess I would say that it would be 1955 or 1956.  In the book it says that she started as a show girl with Liberace on April 20, 1955 at the Riviera.  I was hoping that someone might have remembered seeing Liberace in Pensacola when he came here, but I have not received any comments from anyone.  I might have to go down to the PNJ and see what it takes to go through there microfilm files.  If anyone has any thing to share, please let us hear from you.  Thanks again for looking and please check back … Frank

Behind The Candelabra … Pensacola Style …

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Liberace with Girl_Retouched_SFW_14 June 13

I made a post a while back with a photo of Liberace that my father made back in the late 1950’s when he would travel to Pensacola to purchase antiques.   I said that I would tell a little story that my father used to tell about a conversation he had with Liberace on one of his trips to Pensacola, but I never got got around to sharing it with you.  He and Liberace were talking, waiting for Liberace’s luggage was  to be unloaded off the plane.  My father was telling him that he saw a pianist  playing at the Palmer House in Chicago back in the late 1930’s.  My father’s brother was getting married and they were having the wedding rehearsal dinner in a room at the Palmer House.  My dad was walking around looking at the hotel and could not get over how large the place is.  In fact it, it takes up a whole block in downtown Chicago on the lakefront.   Being from Pensacola, he had never seen anything like the Palmer House before and was surprised how many ballrooms the place had and they all seemed to have something going on in each of them.  In one of the ballrooms was a teenager from Wisconsin playing the piano and entertaining the crowd of several hundred people.  As he was telling Liberace this story, Liberace stopped my dad and told him that was most likely him  playing at the Palmer House.  Playing at the Palmer House in the late 1930’s was the first professional job that he ever had.  Liberace never won any musical competition to achieve  nation acclaim.  It was because of playing at the Palmer House that music company executives and other booking agents  got to see him … and the rest they say is history.   I do not know who his ” lady friend ” in the photo above is.  I had posted this photo on the first blog that I had and somebody had mentioned a name, but it was not a familiar name and I cannot remember the name that was mentioned.  Here is one of Lee by himself …

Liberace 4_4x5_SFW_6_15_13

Nice looking jacket, Lee.  I read a biography of Liberace years ago and he mentioned traveling to Pensacola to purchase antiques in the book.  He mentioned an antique business and it might have been one named “Bercaw’s”, but I cannot be sure and I have no idea where the book is now.  It was because of Ada Wilson that my father got involved … she had original LouisXV ( or whatever the number ) furniture and Liberace was a big fan of this French Provincial furniture.  I have seen some photos of Liberace sitting on these sofas with Mrs Wilson, but I cannot find any of the negatives.  I also do not know if Liberace ever came to Pensacola to play a concert and that is how he came to know these antique dealers.  Maybe some of you out there might know and would share it with us.  Finally, here is a photo of Lee’s  “assistant” …

Liberaces Friend_RTP_SFW_6_15_13

I guess that Lee always had a ” Scott Thorson ” with him back in the 1950’s.  Thanks for looking and if any of you remember meeting Liberace on one of his ” buying ” trips to Pensacola, please let us hear from you … Frank

Written by Frank Hardy

June 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Liberace Arriving in Pensacola …

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This is Liberace arriving in Pensacola back in the 1960’s.  He used to come to Pensacola to buy antiques from several dealers in the area.  One of them was my father’s friend, Ada Wilson, who would always tell my dad when Liberace was coming to town so that he could take some photos of him.  I will share a story  that my father shared with Liberace about seeing him in Chicago in the late 1930’s when I have more time.  Thanks for looking …

Written by Frank Hardy

August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

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