DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Go See Jimmy!

Posted in Interviews by darielb on August 26, 2009
w 2 pics
Go See Jimmy!
When the Rolling Stones got in hot water with Myrtle Beach’s finest, it was Jimmy Lathan who came to their rescue
Horry County native Jimmy Lathan doesn’t consider his job a job. It’s too much fun. He’s the live production engineer for Sea-Cruz, one of the most sought-after Carolina beach music groups in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He has a blast, even getting involved with some of  the skits and routines.
“I’ve known Dino [Dino Fair, Sea-Cruz keyboard player and vocalist] for some 40 years … I met him when I was working for Burroughs & Chapin … Myrtle Beach Farms back then … and he was with the Shakers and they were playing the Pavilion at the Magic Attic, back when it was  still the  Pavilion Ballroom & Dance Hall.
Jimmy was the go to guy for the Pavilion for about 30 years.  You needed something, you went to Jimmy. A contractor, handyman, electrician, diver, golfer, music lover and more  – officially, he  was general services manager at Myrtle Beach’s famous Pavilion from 1966 to 1997, and he’s got some stories to tell.
“I booked the entertainment for the Pavilion, the national acts that came in and played upstairs plus all the free acts that we put out on the beach.
“The Flying Wallendins used to perform on the beach, at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Their shows lasted anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes.”
Jimmy’s stories tend to remind him of other stories, which is what happened here.
“Do you know that the beach here used to be much, much deeper? Back in the fifties, Slim Mims [musician/comedian who also owned Uncle Ugly’s Record Shop in Florence, S.C.] used to emcee a country night at the Pavilion. He would fly his own plane from Nashville to Myrtle Beach and land right there on the beach … what is now the horseshoe at Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. The beach was so wide, nobody cared. Mr. Husted used to go pick him up and at the end of the night, he’d bring him back to his plane.”
According to Jimmy, Husted was originally a traveling carny. When the Pavilion first opened, he used to bring his rides for the summer and then move on to the next gig. The company wanted to keep them longer, so they bought them and Husted came on as general manager.
While Edward Burroughs was alive, Jimmy had a standing weekly golf date with him.  “In the early 70s, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. – and I don’t mean 12:59 or 1:01– I mean I p.m. – Mr. Burroughs,  Mr. Husted, the general manager for Myrtlewood Golf Course and I would play. Every Wednesday. It was another part of my job.”
Jimmy also coordinated all the Sun Fun activities with the Pavilion. “I loved meeting all these people … the dignitaries … the inductees.  Mickey Spillane was inducted into the Sun Fun Hall of Fame in 1988 along with Alabama and the Thunderbirds. Mickey was all dressed up on the red carpet; thousands of people were wanting his autograph. An hour later, I noticed him on the beach in his shorts and a Miller shirt and not a soul knew who he was. ‘I like it this way,’ he told me. I like that guy!
“I loved the free acts, too. There were monster trucks, wrestlers. Andre the Giant used to work the Pavilion. Man, that guy was so big he could drop a silver dollar through his ring.
“The Ballroom held some 3,000 people. The dance floor was made out of South American Maple, milled to perfection, tongue in groove. It was beautiful.
“Back in the 60s, late 60s, maybe ‘66 or ‘67 or ‘68, I was running the free bands, working the side doors. There was no AC, no fan. But it was a great time.
“The music then … we didn’t call it beach music. It was Motown. I was fortunate enough to see that era of entertainment. The Drifters, the Platters, Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Tams – with Joe Pope, The Temptations – with David Ruffin, Sam & Dave, Little Anthony and the Imperials. In fact, when Anthony was in town for the Carolina Beach Music Awards last year, he told me he remembered me working the side door.
“You know, we didn’t realize that the music being played at the Pavilion was dictating what was being played east of Mississippi. We didn’t even know.”
“We used to have the best regional groups come through. We’d have General Johnson and Jackie Gore on the boardwalk.
You never knew who was going to stop by the Pavilion and either sit in or just hang out.
“In the 70s, there was a southern rock band I liked a lot – Eastern Seaboard. They had a banjo player. He used to play ‘Rocky Top’ for me all the time. They knew I liked it. Well, one day, they started playing it, I looked up and there’s Alabama and Charlie Daniels up on stage with Eastern Seaboard … playing Rocky Top. I just loved it.
“I met some great people. One night, in 1974, I was back in my office, and one of my staff came back and said, ‘This guy out front just wants to come in and listen to the music. So I went out front, said hello and let him through. Later on, he stopped by the office, poked his head in and said in his English accent, “I just wanted to thank you for letting me come and see your bloody pub.’
“At that point, I had to say to him, ‘I don’t know if you’re him, but you look like someone I saw in concert five years ago.’
“And he said, ‘Oh, you were at Woodstock. I’m Pete Townshend.”
It turns out Pete Townhend was  into the teachings of Indian mystic and spiritual leader Meher Baba, and came to Myrtle Beach on occasion to visit the Meher Spiritual Center, a retreat which, ironically, had been established in the forties by Elizabeth Chapin Patterson, daughter of Simeon B. Chapin, one of the original developers of Myrtle Beach. (Ah, synchronicity)
Years later, in Greensboro, N.C. at a Van Halen after party,  Jimmy would run into Townshend again, and this time the Brit introduced him to another buddy, Roger Daltry.
“We had the Stones at the Pavilion, too,” Jimmy tells me.
“In 1978, they were playing the Convention Center. Well, it seems that Keith Richards got in a little trouble with the local police. They wanted to put him in jail. I got involved and said, ‘Let’s not put him in jail; let’s make them do another show. So the police agreed and the Rolling Stones came down to the Pavilion and did one song: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
Jimmy Lathan had a lot of other special nights at the Pavilion, too.
“Some nights were just magic. Mother’s Finest put on one of the most dazzling, fast-moving shows I’ve ever seen. In the 70s, Eastern Seaboard was one of my favorites. Then Sugar Creek came along in the 80s. What a great band.
“Harry Deal and the Galaxies used to play the Pavilion. You know he still owns a chicken farm in Taylorsville, N.C. and still has a group.
“Steve Perry from Journey used to come by. Gerry Rafferty sat in once.
“I loved the music, but it was more.  “We had some pretty weird people, too: the fattest twins in the world, Billy and Bobby McGuire. Police used to have to stop traffic to give them time to cross the street.
“And there was this sword swallower. One night I hear Eastern Seaboard playing. Well, Vernon Dick, the lead singer, had met the sword swallower drinking beer and had him on stage. Too funny.
Along the way, Jimmy has put together one of the most comprehensive Pavilion memorabilia collections around.
“I have a parchment I’m going to donate to the Horry County Museum. It’s dated 1801, signed by the governor and it’s a death warrant.
“I’ve been collecting stuff forever. I have a 1929 Horry County dog tag, a Sloppy Joe’s free bingo token, bath house tickets from 1948, posters of lots of the acts and events.”
Jimmy has amusement ride tickets at every denomination ever produced for the Pavilion rides: ten cents,  which were used during the 50s; 15 cents, from the 60s; 20 cent tickets; 25 cent tickets; and the new tickets: 60 cents, 75 cents, 90 cents and the most recent one-dollar tickets.
“I also bought the last five tickets ever purchased at the Pavilion in 2006,” he said. “I gave three of them away and I’ve kept the last two… the last two tickets.
About two hours into the interview with Jimmy Lathan, it crossed my mind that he should write a book.
“Well, I am working on a book,” he says, “with Freakin’ Deacon.”
Gary “Freakin’ Deacon” Dawson is a longtime Myrtle Beach deejay. These days you can hear him on QROCK. Back then, he was in the WKCQ booth at the Pavilion.
Until they finish what is sure to be one of the most colorful, interesting books written about the Pavilion and Myrtle Beach, look for Jimmy whenever Sea-Cruz is in town and get him to tell you a couple of his stories. He’s the man!
This was originally published at http://darielb.wordpress.com. Author Dariel Bendin can be contacted on the Internet on MySpace  (MySpace.com/culturejunkie); Facebook and Twitter (Twitter.com/darielb). Read Beach Newz online at MyrtleBeachAlternatives.com/beach-newz.
cutlines:
Jimmy Lathan shown with one of the posters from his comprehensive collection of Pavilion memorabilia.
Live production engineer for Sea-Cruz since 2007, Jimmy Lathan often takes part in the group’s performances. Photo by Willie C.
#########################
Jimmy Lathan, right, has been the live sound engineer for Sea-Cruz since 2007, and gets in on some of the performances, too!

Jimmy Lathan, right, has been the sound man for Sea-Cruz since 2007, and gets in on some of the performances, too!

When the Rolling Stones got in hot water

with Myrtle Beach’s finest,

it was Jimmy Lathan who came to their rescue

Horry County native Jimmy Lathan doesn’t consider his job a job. It’s too much fun. He’s the live production engineer for Sea-Cruz, one of the most sought-after Carolina beach music groups in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He has a blast, even getting involved with some of  the skits and routines.

“I’ve known Dino [Dino Fair, Sea-Cruz keyboard player and vocalist] for some 40 years … I met him when I was working for Burroughs & Chapin … Myrtle Beach Farms back then … and he was with the Shakers and they were playing the Pavilion at the Magic Attic, back when it was  still the  Pavilion Ballroom & Dance Hall.

Jimmy was the go to guy for the Pavilion for about 30 years.  You needed something, you went to Jimmy. A contractor, handyman, electrician, diver, golfer, music lover and more  – officially, he  was general services manager at Myrtle Beach’s famous Pavilion from 1966 to 1997, and he’s got some stories to tell.

“I booked the entertainment for the Pavilion, the national acts that came in and played upstairs plus all the free acts that we put out on the beach.

“The Flying Wallendins used to perform on the beach, at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Their shows lasted anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes.”

Jimmy’s stories tend to remind him of other stories, which is what happened here.

“Do you know that the beach here used to be much, much deeper? Back in the fifties, Slim Mims [musician/comedian who also owned Uncle Ugly’s Record Shop in Florence, S.C.] used to emcee a country night at the Pavilion. He would fly his own plane from Nashville to Myrtle Beach and land right there on the beach … what is now the horseshoe at Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. The beach was so wide, nobody cared. Mr. Husted used to go pick him up and at the end of the night, he’d bring him back to his plane.”

According to Jimmy, Husted was originally a traveling carny. When the Pavilion first opened, he used to bring his rides for the summer and then move on to the next gig. The company wanted to keep them longer, so they bought them and Husted came on as general manager.

While Edward Burroughs was alive, Jimmy had a standing weekly golf date with him.  “In the early 70s, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. – and I don’t mean 12:59 or 1:01– I mean I p.m. – Mr. Burroughs,  Mr. Husted, the general manager for Myrtlewood Golf Course and I would play. Every Wednesday. It was another part of my job.”

Jimmy also coordinated all the Sun Fun activities with the Pavilion. “I loved meeting all these people … the dignitaries … the inductees.  Mickey Spillane was inducted into the Sun Fun Hall of Fame in 1988 along with Alabama and the Thunderbirds. Mickey was all dressed up on the red carpet; thousands of people were wanting his autograph. An hour later, I noticed him on the beach in his shorts and a Miller shirt and not a soul knew who he was. ‘I like it this way,’ he told me. I like that guy!

“I loved the free acts, too. There were monster trucks, wrestlers. Andre the Giant used to work the Pavilion. Man, that guy was so big he could drop a silver dollar through his ring.

“The Ballroom held some 3,000 people. The dance floor was made out of South American Maple, milled to perfection, tongue in groove. It was beautiful.

“Back in the 60s, late 60s, maybe ‘66 or ‘67 or ‘68, I was running the free bands, working the side doors. There was no AC, no fan. But it was a great time.

“The music then … we didn’t call it beach music. It was Motown. I was fortunate enough to see that era of entertainment. The Drifters, the Platters, Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Tams – with Joe Pope, The Temptations – with David Ruffin, Sam & Dave, Little Anthony and the Imperials. In fact, when Anthony was in town for the Carolina Beach Music Awards last year, he told me he remembered me working the side door.

“You know, we didn’t realize that the music being played at the Pavilion was dictating what was being played east of Mississippi. We didn’t even know.”

“We used to have the best regional groups come through. We’d have General Johnson and Jackie Gore on the boardwalk.

You never knew who was going to stop by the Pavilion and either sit in or just hang out.

“In the 70s, there was a southern rock band I liked a lot – Eastern Seaboard. They had a banjo player. He used to play ‘Rocky Top’ for me all the time. They knew I liked it. Well, one day, they started playing it, I looked up and there’s Alabama and Charlie Daniels up on stage with Eastern Seaboard … playing Rocky Top. I just loved it.

“I met some great people. One night, in 1974, I was back in my office, and one of my staff came back and said, ‘This guy out front just wants to come in and listen to the music. So I went out front, said hello and let him through. Later on, he stopped by the office, poked his head in and said in his English accent, “I just wanted to thank you for letting me come and see your bloody pub.’

“At that point, I had to say to him, ‘I don’t know if you’re him, but you look like someone I saw in concert five years ago.’

“And he said, ‘Oh, you were at Woodstock. I’m Pete Townshend.”

It turns out Pete Townhend was  into the teachings of Indian mystic and spiritual leader Meher Baba, and came to Myrtle Beach on occasion to visit the Meher Spiritual Center, a retreat which, ironically, had been established in the forties by Elizabeth Chapin Patterson, daughter of Simeon B. Chapin, one of the original developers of Myrtle Beach. (Ah, synchronicity)

Years later, in Greensboro, N.C. at a Van Halen after party,  Jimmy would run into Townshend again, and this time the Brit introduced him to another buddy, Roger Daltry.

“We had the Stones at the Pavilion, too,” Jimmy tells me.

“In 1978, they were playing the Convention Center. Well, it seems that Keith Richards got in a little trouble with the local police. They wanted to put him in jail. I got involved and said, ‘Let’s not put him in jail; let’s make them do another show. So the police agreed and the Rolling Stones came down to the Pavilion and did one song: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Jimmy Lathan had a lot of other special nights at the Pavilion, too.

“Some nights were just magic. Mother’s Finest put on one of the most dazzling, fast-moving shows I’ve ever seen. In the 70s, Eastern Seaboard was one of my favorites. Then Sugar Creek came along in the 80s. What a great band.

“Harry Deal and the Galaxies used to play the Pavilion. You know he still owns a chicken farm in Taylorsville, N.C. and still has a group.

“Steve Perry from Journey used to come by. Gerry Rafferty sat in once.

“I loved the music, but it was more.  “We had some pretty weird people, too: the fattest twins in the world, Billy and Bobby McGuire. Police used to have to stop traffic to give them time to cross the street.

“And there was this sword swallower. One night I hear Eastern Seaboard playing. Well, Vernon Dick, the lead singer, had met the sword swallower drinking beer and had him on stage. Too funny.

Booking entertainment for the Pavilion from 1966 to 1997, Jimmy Lathan amassed one of the most comprehensive collections of Myrtle Beach Pavilion memorabilia around!

Booking entertainment for the Pavilion from 1966 to 1997, Jimmy Lathan amassed one of the most comprehensive collections of Myrtle Beach Pavilion memorabilia around!

Along the way, Jimmy has put together one of the most comprehensive Pavilion memorabilia collections around.

“I have a parchment I’m going to donate to the Horry County Museum. It’s dated 1801, signed by the governor and it’s a death warrant.

“I’ve been collecting stuff forever. I have a 1929 Horry County dog tag, a Sloppy Joe’s free bingo token, bath house tickets from 1948, posters of lots of the acts and events.”

Jimmy has amusement ride tickets at every denomination ever produced for the Pavilion rides: ten cents,  which were used during the 50s; 15 cents, from the 60s; 20 cent tickets; 25 cent tickets; and the new tickets: 60 cents, 75 cents, 90 cents and the most recent one-dollar tickets.

“I also bought the last five tickets ever purchased at the Pavilion in 2006,” he said. “I gave three of them away and I’ve kept the last two… the last two tickets.

About two hours into the interview with Jimmy Lathan, it crossed my mind that he should write a book.

“Well, I am working on a book,” he says, “with Freakin’ Deacon.”

Gary “Freakin’ Deacon” Dawson is a longtime Myrtle Beach deejay. These days you can hear him on QROCK. Back then, he was in the WKCQ booth at the Pavilion.

Until they finish what is sure to be one of the most colorful, interesting books written about the Pavilion and Myrtle Beach, look for Jimmy whenever Sea-Cruz is in town and get him to tell you a couple of his stories. He’s the man!

This will also post to my Beach Newz column in Alternatives, Myrtle Beach’s independent newspaper, for the August 27, 2009 issue.
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4 Responses

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  1. darielb said, on February 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I’m sad to say Jimmy Lathan died either late last night or early early this morning. I don’t know what happened, except that he’d been sick since returning from the cruise with Sea-Cruz. According to a photo and post on Facebook this morning, Dino Fair found him and he had already passed. RIP Jimmy.

    • Buddy Winland said, on February 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Dariel, I worked for Jimmy from 1989 until he retired in 1997 at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. I was part of the old General Services Crew or what we called J.L.C. (Jimmy Lathans Crew). What a trip it was. I’ll never forget him or the great time I had while on his crew. He was a great boss man and a true friend. R.I.P. Jimmy

  2. darielb said, on February 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Hi Buddy, I bet you had a blast working with him. He told me about some of those days and the assortment of jobs the crew did!!

    • Buddy Winland said, on February 12, 2011 at 12:26 am

      We always said “working with Jimmy wasn’t a job it was an adventure” because of all the differant jobs we would get into.


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