Pleasure Island, Wakefield, Massachusetts, 1959-1969


1959 Character Actor Rehearsal Shots from Bob Harmon  
Don Ameche with his "International Showtime" Featuring the World's Greatest Circus, 1962  
  Cesar Romero Cesar Romero, 1966, from Lisa Vousboukis-Brown  
  1959 character actors and their coach from Bob Harmon, click here.  
1960 Jazz Festival at Pleasure Island. For the complete program, saved by John Gavreau, plus tickets, click here.  
Joe Tringale & Friend Dancing to the Banjo & Accordian in 1965  
Can Can Girls in 1959 from James LeBrun
Diamond Lil Show in 1959 from James LeBrun
Diamond Lil & Ragtime Cowboy Joe in 1959 from James LeBrun
    Champ Butler played "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" during the 1959 season at the Diamond Lil Show. Here's an instrumental version of this old favorite and one by "The Modernnaires"  
Diamond 'Lil Herald Rotogravure cover featuring Pleasure Island's Diamond Lil -- Charmaine Harma in 1959, saved all these years by Donald Graham. Click image for larger version.
1960 visit of the Three Stooges to Pleasure Island from Robert Deveaux  

Character actor Lou Ciarfella at the Pleasure Island Booth, Wakefield's Homecoming 2001. Lou ran the Trading Post concession at Indian Village. Lou is shown with the spear in his hand in the postcard below this picture.

    Not Ricky Nelson, but Michael Landon, from William Strogilis, but what year? 1964, 1964, 1966?  

Unless otherwise noted, or a news article, all the pictures in this section came from Priscilla DiDonato Hendrick's wonderful scrapbook.

  • Old Prospector: Could this be the Armand Davis that Joan Pond remembers? 1959 Photo from Dave Yetman of Seegull Productions, Temple, NH
  • Pleasure Island Jazz Festival
  • In 1960 I was Ricardo, King of the Pirates and took people to Treasure Island. I also did swordfights with Captain Kidd (Herb Sauve) on the pirate cove dock and rooftop fist fights/swordfights/gunfights in Western City. Cy Milano was the sheriff. Billy O'Brien, then of Wakefield, worked at the Indian Village and subsequently became Sergeant Billy, Rex Trailer's sidekick after Pablo.

I remember the Glenn Miller Band coming to the park. It was then led by Tex Beneke, probably most famous for his rendition of Chattanooga Choo Choo. After the band and singers (Paula Kelley, Ray Eberly, the Modernaires --I think I have the names right) finished "work," they would play for us until the wee hours, or at least what were the wee hours for us in those days.

Do you remember the beach parties at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester? Dion, of Dion and the Belmonts came to one. I remember him at a the party wearing his eyeglasses, talking about how he couldn't really sing all that well, couldn't really play the guitar all that well, wasn't really all that good looking, and couldn't figure out why all this had happened to him. He was kind of what you hope for in a celeb.


Will Buddenhagen

In 1960 my future wife and I went to a jazz concert at Pleasure Island. The highlight of the evening was a performance by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. For many years we had a signed program of that evening by Mr. Ellington but unfortunately it ws lost in the many moves around the country. I can't believe there was anyone more famous than Duke to perform there. My wife and I will always remember that evening. I am sure you know about all this but just thought I would mention it as I came across your web site. For a couple of years back in the mid '80s I worked in the office complex on the site of the old Pleasure Island. On lunch hours we would go for walk and find remnants of the park which can still be found in the words there.


  • Cy Milano
1962 (flyer page)
  • Ricky Nelson Stars At Pleasure Island A.M. GLOBE JUN 24 1962
  • Rick Nelson Photos and Program from Marilyn Peters
  • Totty and Muldoun (Joe Ross & Fred Gwynne) from "Car 54 where are you?"
  • Robert Horton Star of TV's "Wagon Train"
  • WHDH TV's Bozo's International Circus
  • Prince Hara's International Magic Revue
  • Gene Jones "Community Auditions" Featuring New England's Greatest Amateur Talent
  • Danny White's International "Aquarama"
  • Don Ameche with his "International Showtime" Featuring the World's Greatest Circus Acts from Barbara Holloway's scrapbook
  • Hugh O'Brien, Star of TV's "Wyatt Earp"
  • Jimmy Dean from Barbara Holloway's scrapbook
  • Dion, of "Dion and the Belmont's" fame (song "Run around Sue")
  • Modernnaires from Barbara Holloway's scrapbook
  • Mordernnaires from Steve Garfield
  • Rocket Man
  • The Agony Trio -- Gia, The Gypsy, Hobo The Clown and me, Dirty Sidney. We sang at the Bowl and all over the Park. collecting about $500 for the Jimmy Fund. (from Hank McGonagle)
  • Bob Jeronimo as Capt. Bob The Pirate
  • Lone Ranger
  • Lassie
  • "Dirty Sydney" meanest cowpoke north of the Saugus — a walk-around character — Hank McGonagle


Johnnie Crawford — 1967?
Click for larger version
Johnnie Crawford
from Rob Sears, Burlington

The news clippings in for the performers listed below are from the Pleasure Island GAZETTE, 1967, copies donated by Richard Krol and Shirley Brown  
  • Bob Weatherwax & Lassie
  • World's Most Famous Dog
  • Lassie Photos from James Repucci: Showbowl, On Stage, Close Up
  • The Sensational Leighs in 1967 (also from James Repucci)

    "There are several of Lassie at the Show Bowl. We were lucky to get very close at one point. The acrobats performed during the Lassie show. All pictures were taken by my father in 1967 when Lassie visited Pleasure Island....I don't remember how many times we went to Pleasure Island (it might have been only once) but the memory of actually seeing Lassie for real was to a 12 year old boy something special. This is the main reason I will never forget Pleasure Island!" voyager-2@mediaone.net

A hand drawn poster of the 1969 Pleasure Island Dixieland Band drawn by Priscilla DiDonato Hendrick from Russ Berube.


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