Sunday, May 26, 2002

Supper Club workers to reunite

By Cindy Schroeder,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — For the first time in 10 years, employees of the Beverly Hills Supper Club have organized a reunion.

        “We were like one big family,” said reunion organizer Joan Vandergriff, a former waitress at the Southgate, Ky., restaurant and nightclub. “Like me, a lot of the employees worked there from the day Beverly Hills opened (in 1970) until the day it burned down. We all work in different places now, and we rarely see each other.”

        Mrs. Vandergriff has a list of more than 130 former Beverly Hills employees she hopes to see at the reunion. Ten workers died in the May 28, 1977, fire that killed 165.

        The employee reunion will be at 6:30 p.m. June 2 at the Greater Cincinnati Airport Hilton, 7373 Turfway Road, Florence.

        “You could go up there for next to nothing and have a good meal and see a show,” said Wayne Dammert, a former banquet manager and card dealer at the Beverly Hills Supper Club. “We were packed night after night.”

        Wayne Township administrator Ivan Theiss remembers visiting the club on special occasions to see big-name entertainers such as Ray Charles.

        “It was unbelieveable how many people they stuffed in that Cabaret Room. The bigger the crowd, the more tables they brought in,” Mr. Theiss recalled. “There'd be four, five, six people around a teeny little cocktail table.”

        Mrs. Vandergriff said she often runs into young adults who've heard their parents or others reminisce about the club.

        “Today, there's no showplace like that east of the Mississippi River,” she said.


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