¿Que Pasa? in New York


Palladium Home OF The Mambo
Has a Thousand Stories

(Born to dance & love)

Dancing at Corey’s for Augie & Margo was a blast for them and also very tedious due to the fact that Augie at that time was a featured dancer with Pajama game’s on Broadway that ended at 11:pm and then they had to hustle and drive to the Catskill a two hour drive, which they did with me.(Mike Terrace). Augie & Margo were the fore runners of the mambo popularity as were a number of the Palladium dancers, but A&M took it much further, they took it all over the world. They presented the mambo to millions on, The Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen shows not once but a half a dozen times.
The Palladium and Augie & Margo became so famous that other revivals such as the Roseland had to check it out. The Roseland owners Lou Brecker, the manager and a

few of his bouncer’s, made a reservation with Maxwell the owner of the palladium to see the show. Maxwell loved dancing and was a frequent visitor to the Roseland with Olga, a famous dance teacher and studio owner. Max felt honored that they who were on opposite sides of the dance and music world would want to see his show, but at the same time Max realized they had an ulterior motive, and made the reservation. Lou Brecker arrived with his entourage and to a stunning surprise finding a line at the entrance that circled the block.

Max a gentleman was waiting and immediately escorted them to a ring side table. Now seated they again are more then surprised, and angered by seeing their own clientele, seated next to them and saying politely “Hello Mr Brecker”.
Bringing out the old adage “One slap begets another” this time they see Marlon Brando, Geo Abbott and Sammy Davis. A kick in the head would have been far better for Mr Brecker who originally didn’t want the mambo played at the Roseland and was very Leary about allowing Blacks and Puerto Ricans into the Roseland. Surprises continue and the show was the cincher, when the audience was ablaze with excitement and Augie & Margo climax the show with thunderous applause. This new revelation put no doubt in Mr Brecker mind, his new interest turned to the mambo, and the Puerto Ricans and Blacks suddenly changed in color and became green his most favorite color. The next day he contacted Augie & Margo and offered them twice as much as Maxwell was paying them, for a Tuesday night show at the Roseland and made a promise to place them in the biggest dance event of the year, the Harvest Moon Ball at Madison square garden. Augie & Margo now aghast came to me (M.T.) and said “What ah you think. “I said “Maxwell will flip but he’ll get over it, besides its two different places and different nights, two needed incomes, take it”
They decided to talk to Max and Max immediately did flip and said “your both barred for life from the Palladium never come here again” Not long after that incident, Max sent two of his bouncers to convince Augie & Margo out of dancing in the Roseland show. Ironically the bouncers were big fans and they were hesitant to break their legs as was suggested by Max.

The head bouncer was warned by the Spanish mob in Harlem, “Go easy we like them and there are our kind, find an excuse”. The bouncers were in the middle so to say, but they couldn’t go against the boys. On the way to ballet school Augie & Margo were stopped by the bouncers and Escorted into a corner of a building.
Where they said to Augie, “look Max wants us to stop you from dancing at the Roseland and we don’t want to break your legs, so if Max asks you, tell him we scared you to death”. Margo was frozen and scared to death and could not mambo that day. An attorney dancing friend in the know, advised them to tell Mr Brecker. When hearing the scenario, Mr. Brecker acted outraged and assured her that he would take care of it and not

to worry. Having ties with the Irish Westside mob and Tammany Hall. Mr Brecker decided not to start a war ,but to pursue it legally and had a prosecutor summoned to Maxwell’s office and Max immediately recanted his story and told Margo that they could dance at both places, that he really loved them and wished them no harm. Relief set in and we all ended up dancing at the Roseland. Joe Vega knew the tough guys of Harlem he had groan up with them. He told Augie, “It’s a good thing they changed their minds and didn’t follow Max’s order. Those guys run Spanish Harlem and if you don’t do what they want, there won’t be much left of you for any one to want”
Now Mr Brecker had to cater to his new found love Augie & Margo and when they suggested to him that he augment the show with Mike Terrace and Elita , Millie Donay & Pete, Carmen Cruz & Gene Ortiz. Mr Brecker jumped at the idea. The dancers and the general crowd at the Roseland were completely different they were snobby ballroom dancers and almost all felt they were a few pegs above the Palladium dancers and accepted the Palladium people as lower class, people and inferior dancers.

Their sentiments changed when they saw movie stars pursuing their acquaintance and producers treating them like stars. It wasn’t long before Mr Brecker kept his promise and placed Augie & Margo in the Harvest Moon Ball at Madison Square Garden. This was a major break for Augie & Margo and it was the first time the mambo was introduced to such a large American audience, the total of twenty thousand people showed up to see the Mambo for their first time. Gleaming from ear to ear were Killer Joe and Maxwell Hyman, knew that the audience was associating Augie & Margo with the Palladium and the Roseland was only in the background.

When Augie & Margo were introduced Madison Square Garden sparkled and shook with applause and screams. Killer Joe jumped up and shouted “Vaya means go” the most popular slogan at the Palladium and the audience shouted with him, “Vaya mean go” and the Roseland owners were Insulted, stunned and dam mad. But that’s show business. For the first time the Madison square garden witnessed there first big Spanish audience ever along with the bad boys from Harlem. So elated was Maxwell that he closed the Palladium in observance of this momentous occasion. next page