Dick Lee’s (Pennant East)
Did you know that this vacant building once held national and local acts? It was once called Dick Lee’s prior to the Pennant East. The name Dick Lee was named for the man himself… Actually, his real name was Richard Lee Beurer.
Dick Lee appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s national talent show, “Talent Scouts” in 1951. Lee was introduced to the show by his girlfriend who later became his wife. After Lee’s memorable appearance, he was offered a record contract.
Photo of Dick Lee. Courtesy of http://www.secondhandsongs.com
His voice captivated audiences for years. Dick’s first hit was called, “All I Want is a Chance” (Click this link if you would like to hear it. He’s got quite a vocal range….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66hFPYNufXQ&sns=em). It was released in the UK and reached the top of the charts. He then went on to produce a billboard hit record called, ” Oh Mein Papa.”
He was nicknamed “America’s Golden Boy.”
Dick was frustrated about the music business so he started his own night club in 1956. It was a place where many local acts got their renowned start…such as Frank Stallone and Roy Buchanan. Dick was known to be a very kind and upstanding man, helping others to try to catch a break in life or in the music industry. The Dick Lee nightclub was very successful. Lee sold the business in 1992 and is now retired in California.
He operated this South Jersey landmark for 36 years.
After Lee sold the business, the name was changeD to The Pennant East. It quickly rose and fell from 1992-2011.
This building has over 57 years of musical history. Former owners of the Pennant had to close its doors due to a lawsuit in exceeding their maximum occupancy in the club. Plus, there was history of many fights and altercations between patrons of the establishment. One was pretty brutal at the end. A stabbing occurred outside one night AFTER the club was closed for the evening. Youth these days, huh?
This event was the last straw for the owners.
The Pennant did close their doors with a bang! On its last opening day, former bands who were opening acts (for example… Don’t Call Me Francis) played their last performance here… They called it “Pennantpalozza” and it will go down in SJ history.
Anyone from Camden County has probably been a patron at this place during its decades of operation. Who doesn’t recall some “White Trash Wednesdays” ? Now looking back it doesn’t seem so classy (the name), but hey… what do you really know at that age? I’ll tell ya what.. When you’re young and strapped for cash (as many young adults are) The Pennant was THE PLACE to be on Wednesday nights to hear local acts, dance and have great times with friends.
Now this building sits vacant. Perhaps she’ll be resurrected one day… Or she’ll just wither away.. be knocked down like most old buildings who sit vacant and a Wawa or gas station put in its place. Nonetheless, it brings back a lot of treasured memories for a lot of folks in South Jersey.
Until our next adventure, my friends!