1944 Chickens’ Ball – Even War Can’t Stop It

The Chickens’ Ball was extended to two nights in 1944 as the Fire Chief had put a limit of 700 persons allowed in the gym at Central. Chairman, Beverly Wheeler and others firmly believed that tickets were in such demand that even with two performances, the Ball would be its usual sell-out hit, and the ladies were proved right.

John Kemp, with excellent performing experience behind him, took on the job of Production Manager with the assistance of David S. Painter, Jr. and together, these gentlemen helped create more happy memories for San Carlos.

The 1944 performance benefited for the first time, two new schools besides Central – White Oaks and Arundel. It was decided that a portion of the proceeds from the Ball should also be spent to purchase stage curtains for the school auditorium and Viola Fredericks took charge of having these made. Less than $200 was advanced so Jack Kemp and Beverly Wheeler combed the San Francisco stores until they found a suitable bargain. Once the bolts of fabric been acquired, Mrs. Fredericks and her group set to work and did all the sewing. School custodian, Arnold Hausch put on the necessary hardware and a proud and happy group of volunteers participated in the “hanging.”

This year, there were twelve acts on the program. First prize was awarded to the Scout Mothers for their presentation of After the Ball is Over. Second prize went to the Masonic Club for Pin-up Girls of the Gay Nineties and third prize was won by the Junior Matrons’ Ladies’ Quartet. Second night honors went to the Faculty Club, the Players’ Club, the Garden Club and the American Legion. War bonds and stamps were substituted for the usual “Poke of Gold” prizes.

Master of Ceremonies was J.R. Deas, with comedy relief provided by Ivan Olsen. Many new ideas were instituted in the 1944 Ball, such as the authentic Gay ’90’s ads in the programs, which were produced for local merchants by George Ybaretta and Ralph Shaw. Loudspeakers, borrowed from Ernest Becker in Palo Alto, were used for the first time and spotlights, donated by Sequoia High School, added another touch of professionalism to the production.

Box seats were installed on each side of the balcony at the suggestion of Virginia Forbes. These were gaily decorated and served as a place of honor for town dignitaries who attended the Ball in full costume. Highlight of the program, was the presentation of the infamous oil painting, Beulah to school custodian, Arnold Hausch, who it is said, was properly impressed with the magnificent gift.

Source: 1968 Reflections

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