1954 Chickens’ Ball – Champagne Days in San Francisco

The theme for the 1954 Chickens’ Ball was taken from the book, “Champagne Days in San Francisco,” by Evelyn Wells. Rose Witt and her talented decorating committee created french pink and black decorations which were declared to be authentic gold coast reproductions.

One new group which made its inauguration in ’54, was the Costume Bar, headed by Win Gale. The ladies were busy urging everyone to get into the spirit of the occasion by dressing in appropriate period style. Their “wears” included a large supply of hats, canes, net hose, handlebar moustaches, plumes, checkered vests. Not only did the group handle the sales concession, but evidently feeling they didn’t have enough to keep them busy, took on the gigantic job of planning costumes for the general committees, casts and usherettes. They dispensed information and materials on the ’90’s and manned a booth in Woodruff’s Store on San Carlos Avenue before the Ball.

1954 also marked the beginning of outdoor decorations and the beginning of earnest pleas that the weatherman cooperate with Ball Time.

The weighty T.O.P.S. once again wowed onlookers with their fantastic Les Petite Poules – The Little Chickens – which featured Dorothy Gutman as Diamond Lil, singing St. Louis Woman. Also featured in the skit were Glisson Morris, Enrico Rolle, Irving Gutman, Alice Norbut, Ruth Frey, Irma Stone, Jennie Rolle, Marcella Morris and Ann Brugger.

The seasoned champs, the Masonic Club, were a nightly favorite with their excellent choreography as they portrayed Boardwalk Belles who entered as old-fashioned bathing beauties and departed in long, fluorescent underwear.

The St. Charles Mens’ Club presented Stage Door at the Hippodrome and featured Frank Carillo singing Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, in his role as an attractive (if rather large) prima donna.

The Junior Matrons made history in ’54 for a skit noted for its fantastic dance routine and outstanding costumes. Drue Morrison and Suzanne Parsons were featured and the set – a dockside rendezvous took prizes for scenic effects.

The entre’ acts came into full glory in ’54 with much of the credit going to Warren Hayden and Rose Witt, Roy Nott, Paddy Adams, Jeannine Rimhall, Anabel Mueller and Dorotha Rogers, whose individual talents grouped together guaranteed an instant hit.

It is reported that 50 clubs vied for the ten spots available in the 1954 Ball and that 500 people were involved in the production. The Chickens’ Ball grew a lot this year, thanks to the inspired leadership of General Chairman, Helen Nelson, co-chairman, Thelma Chapman and Jack Kemp and Ann Cross as Production Managers.

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