YOU FIGURE 4.8 shows a week for 50 weeks for three
and a half years, plus 18 Annual Farewell performances,
including house turns . . . well, maybe it hasn't
been a thousand times, but the words, "LADIES
AND GENTELMEN - - THE BIG FELLA" have been
followed by the first four bars of "Sh-Boom",
that incandescent grin as wide and bright as the
sun itself, and the mile a minute patter of that
platter pushin' papa, The Big Fella aka Bob Sarlatte
more times than we can count. With ciggie-butt
in one hand and spinning 45's in the other, the
Big Fella mugs and the background singers croon
"life could be a dream sweetheart".
A pause for applause, the flash of a smile, the
phone rings, and without another breath its "Hello
Baby", and we're off into "Chantilly
After the Guatemala run, Craig and Laz announced
that they could no longer wait for their ship
to come in but would row out and meet it and,
thus, left for Europe with the blessing of all.
The two beanstalk bookends were replaced by one
Bob Sarlatte -- all night D.J at all black radio
station KSOL in San Mateo, former Cal football
player and future Mr. San Francisco (the personality,
not the body builder).
Big Fella was created in an intimate dimly lit
room, with dark wood-paneling, soft music, a piano,
a huge bed and a fully stocked bar - Bob's bedroom
since age 10 -- better known as DE's (after "Dirty
Ernie" Sarlatte, Bob's dad, who saved all
of the Dutch women during WWII) set in the basement
of the Sarlatte home, fully accessible at all
hours without disturbing the rest of the family
upstairs - DE's would be the creative hub of the
Glass Packs for years to come. Just don't show
up during the daytime and disturb the sleeping
Mole within -- DE's is closed till dark.
so no one at DE's writes music or reads it for
that matter, but we know what we like when we
hear it, and we've pretty good sense of what is
funny. The solution was simple -- we'll write
our own jokes, steal other people's songs, strip,
chop and repaint them and run them at speeds and
in places where they were never meant to go, like
musical stock car drivers with rodeo clowns for
a pit crew. We'll package them in comedy sketches
- blend current cultural references into a day
in the life of character types we all grew up
with -- use the lyrics to drive the plot, work
the plot around the lyrics, interrupt the flow
with seemingly unrelated sketch material, sing
the songs the way people want to hear them, reverse
expectations, fill the space between songs with
instrumental passages - no dead air - and tie
it all up at the end with "Graduation Day".
We will make these songs come to life; we will
become the songs. Bob will be Moose, Gary will
be Lance the nerd, the Mighty Quinn will become
cool as Steady Eddie Sullivan, Julio and Bruce
will remain Julio and Bruce.
A formula was born - a musical comedy magazine
blending the old with the new, thematically bound
in the center by the Glass Packs' revolving costume
changes. Part stand up comedy, part stage play
set to rock & roll music.
to do this right, we needed more musical muscle.
We had already added a new guitar player before
the Guatemala trip, Mike Haggerty (featured in
the Teen Angel Video). Hag went to Sacred Heart
in the City with the Family and was the lead guitarist
of the Humans, Laz' teen club band. From the moment
the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show,
Hag did nothing, and we mean nothing, but sit
in his room and play by ear what was on the radio.
Eight years later, Hag was more at home with B.B.
King and Jimi Hendricks; but when the Glass Packs'
logo flashed across the San Francisco Skyline,
he realized that down deep he was one of Chuck's
children, so Hag picked up his blonde Fender
Telecaster, joined the band and played
B. Goode" every night like only
to do this authentically, no two ways about it,
we needed a sax and keyboard man. However, we
were on budget, so we hired one soul survivor
to do both. At age 20, Karl "Cheesecake"
Young, was already a jazzman slumming, as he viewed
it, with what would still be regarded by today's
standards as a jam up jelly tight three sets every
night, six nights a week club dance band. Karl's
audition began with a near tumble off of the upper
deck at Candlestick cheering on Willie Mac as
the guest of the Glass Packs. These jazz guys
are really sophisticated.