When April through its sweet showers brought flowers come the lawns that May and also birds filled the air with melodies, Dan-Dan the Yo-Yo male made his annual pilgrimage come our playground in ~ St. Mary"s School. That drove increase in a dark maroon 1950 Hudson us all well-known on sight: It had actually the Step-Down journey that permitted it to out-corner Fords and Chevys in ~ the stock automobile races the end at the fairgrounds. To own a car like that was to it is in a Duncan Yo-Yo professional.

You are watching: Hooray hooray the first of may

Dan-Dan dismounted ~ above the far side the the large Hudson, and also when he walked into view there were already two Yo-Yos turn in the air prior to him, do a whirl the red and also yellow. The walked smiling toward home plate, allow the yo-yos bounce off it, and also snapped them on the fly into his pockets. He took out one, and rocked the baby, walked the dog, skinned the cat, do the monkey rise the string, and also went about the world. Then he pulled out a Camel, lit up, and passed out flyers because that the city-wide Duncan Yo-Yo challenge that would certainly be organized on the phase of the Princess theater on key Street in Urbana for the following three Saturdays.

The marathon began with an remove contest. Whoever couldn"t do a sleeper, the easiest trick that all, had to leaving the phase in shame. This an initial Saturday to be run favor a livestock call: Contestants onstage at the right, offstage come the left, save it moving. Ushers made sure no one sneaked through twice. Survivors were offered a map to display the next weekend. What if they offered the map to a buddy? The Princess didn"t care. Then the girlfriend would need to buy a ticket.

Dan-Dan"s Step-Down Ride

The Saturday matinee in ~ the Princess at one time cost nine cents. This I clearly remember. Popcorn to be a nickel. Liquid bars to be a nickel. So were bags the drops: Licorice, lemon, root beer or horehound. One all-day sucker through Mickey computer mouse on the was 2 cents. Jawbreakers a penny. Girls would buy a roll of Necco wafers, ten cents, and share castle out. Coke or Nehi Orange? in ~ a kiddie matinee? girlfriend gotta be kidding. You gave your ticket to the usher and also got her serial card punched. Eleven punches, and also you gained into the 12th present for free.

We raced inside and also grabbed our favourite seats. Then big kids take it them and also told united state to get lost. The interior would be flooded with light together someone permit a buddy in totally free by the alley door. Much whistling and also stamping the feet. An usher would race come collar the sneak prior to the door slammed and also he take it cover in safety darkness. Boys sat v boys and also girls v girls. Sometimes older children might be going steady. She would have his course ring approximately her neck, that is weight ever before so slightly depressing the uncanny valley in between the sweet tiny bumps of her cashmere. If you sat behind them and also said anything, you could get a knuckle sandwich.


Saturdays in ~ the Princess to be a severe commitment. The show started about noon, with a card supplying a $5 reward for the apprehension the vandals. Then a map reading, Ladies! hold onto her bags! carry out not location them ~ above the seat beside you! Your teamwork will aid them in not getting lost!

Then the ads. Busey Bank. Hudson Dairy. Urbana Pure Milk Company. Lorry"s sport Shop. Mel Root"s, offer fine food in ~ affordable price 24 hrs a day--we never ever close! climate the comes attractions. Following week! Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys! Cheering! Dale Evans, Queen that the Cowgirls! Booing! coming soon! Hoppy! Rex Allen! The Bowery Boys! climate five shade cartoons. Mickey Mouse. Daffy Duck. Tom and also Jerry. Mr Magoo. Goofy. Then the serial. Batman, Superman. Rocket Man. Flash Gordon. Cheering together the hero escaped from critical week"s fatal trap, only to loss into one more one 10 minutes later. Climate the newsreel. Commie loss in Korea! A-bomb tests! Premiering the brand-new Studebakers! look at speedy--but which means is it going? chairman invites Ike come White House! In Florida"s beautiful Cypress Gardens, syncopated mermaids parade ~ above water skis! their smiles say, come on in--the water"s fine!

By this time just the girls doling out the Neccos to be still in business. Also the all-day suckers were gone; lock hadn"t to be licked, yet gobbled in greed. There was a delirious fanfare, and also on the screen searchlights crossed over the words, Our function presentation. There to be a rush below to the boys" room. It had a semi-permanent populace of underage smokers, looking like they were ready to dough you.

Through these sacred portals Dan-Dan The Yo-Yo man walked the dog

It was constantly a dual feature: A Western and also a comedy. That the comedies, usually the Bowery Boys, the Dead End kids or Abbot and Costello. As soon as Bud and also Lou met Frankenstein, it fear the shit the end of us. Then the Western. For part reason, I have vivid memory of two enigmatic cowboys, Whip Wilson and Lash LaRue. They packed wicked bullwhips. It was incorrectly thought by part that castle didn"t bring guns. Untrue. They brought them, however they didn"t need them, because their whip snatched your gun out of her holster faster than you could draw. In later years ns wished they"d to be married, like Roy and Dale. Ns fantasized about Whippet Wilson and also Lashes LaRue.

As the afternoon came to an end, the theater, now hot and also humid and also smelling the sweaty T-shirts, prospered quiet in suspense. Dan-Day the Yo-Yo man strode onstage--from the steps, because there to be no backstage--with twin yo-yos spinning, possibly Whistlers. The yo-yo showdown began. The 2nd Saturday, the prizes to be cartons of six Coke bottles, courtesy the the Champaign-Urbana Coca-Cola Bottling Co. On southern Neil Street. Third weekend, after ~ a making it through handful met the difficulties of advanced tricks, the winner acquired a brand brand-new Schwinn. Ns assume the Duncan company paid because that this and also Dan-Dan"s salary out of the Yo-Yos castle sold throughout the street at Woolworth"s. What Dan-Dan did to pass the moment Monday with Friday, I have no idea.


Renaming that missed the whole allude (Click come enlarge)

After some lucky kid had actually his brand-new bike handed under to the from the stage, us staggered out right into the sunshine with sugar headaches, and also went to the dime store to to buy a skilled Yo-Yo; those cheap red and black models would never win girlfriend a Schwinn.

But one year i lingered end a display for the miracle Gro Garden in a Pan, and brought it house to mine bedroom window sill. It to be an aluminum pan prefer chicken pot pies came in, filled through vermiculite and embedded with eager seeds. I bathed the rootlets v water, and also it brought forth young shoots, and also it was spring, and also everyone was in love, and also flowers picked themselves.

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Coming next week! Abbott and Costello fulfill Frankenstein!

Coming following week! Whip Wilson in Shadows of the West!

Chapter 9! Frankie and Betsy room taken come Murania!


Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert to be the film doubter of the Chicago Sun-Times indigenous 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer compensation for identified criticism.