El Monte Legion Stadium
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John

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#1 Apr 26, 2009
Remember this place well. It was the premier entertainment center in all of SoCal & beyond in it's day. Too bad nobody wanted to save it from the wrecking ball. So much for the farsighted city officials in El Monte. That place would have made a fabulous rock 'n roll museum. Oh well!
jimbeaux

Spokane, WA

#2 Jun 28, 2009
I moved to Whittier,Cal. in Nov.1959 when I was 17.My friend Karl Shaw turned me on to the legion stadium and we went nearly every weekend.I really loved the house band'The Phantoms".My god they played for everyone and sounded just like the records!I wonder where they are today?I was so lucky to see all the great acts...THe Carlos Bros.,Don& Dewey,Larry Bright,The Penguins,BoDiddly,Tony Williams,etc.I was a lucky guy to be there
jimbeaux

Spokane, WA

#3 Sep 3, 2009
Where are the'Phantoms"today?Who were they?They wrer to good to be forgotten.Some one please let me know.My E mail [email protected]
Chuck

Huntington Beach, CA

#4 Jan 5, 2010
Hi.......I live in El Monte..I know that they recently tore down a small portion which remained of the Legion Stadium down. I'm curious.....When was it built and what year did they take the wrecking ball to what should have been a Music landmark. I'd appreciate it if someone could give me that information.
Den S OC

Los Angeles, CA

#5 Mar 15, 2010
Great idea, a rock and roll museum. Short-sighted indeed.

"No levis or capris, please!" lives on though.
gio

Tarzana, CA

#6 Mar 16, 2010
it looks like a hunted house or something i live in el monte where was this??
Gina

Chapel Hill, NC

#7 Jun 23, 2010
I remember there were often rummage sales at the legion building. My mother was a huge rummage sale fan, as were many people back in the day! If I remember correctly, the roller derby also used to be held at the legion building. Can anyone confirm that?
Ray Jacobs

Lawrenceville, GA

#8 Sep 25, 2010
Born & raised in El Monte and I attended my first Rock & Roll concert at "the Legion". When I was a kid my Father used to take me there to see the wrestling matches. WOW,,,,,,what a bunch of mostalgic memories. Have not been back to El Monte in over 40 years now.
My sincerest to all there!

Ray
DJG1972

Menifee, CA

#9 Oct 23, 2010
Check out all the grafetti!!! Typical El Monte!
Huggie Bob

Altadena, CA

#10 Apr 24, 2013
Big dance and show at the El Monte Legion Stadium! No Levi's or capris, please....and surfers, there is still time to repent! I grew up in Rosemead and remember this place well. They should make of movie about this place!!
Maria Vargas

South Gate, CA

#11 Dec 10, 2013
Does anybody remember going there to see the Wrestling Matches on Thursday nights? Those were the good old days in El Monte.
Drew Simpson

Tustin, CA

#12 Mar 12, 2014
Maria, I certainly do remember! Riding along with "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers in his white Jaguar convertible to the stadium and then carrying his suitcase up the steps into the dressing area was one cool experience for a teenager. I even got a kick out of being booed. I lived there for the first 16 years of my life, and you are right: "Those were the good old days in El Monte"
Kenny

Las Vegas, NV

#13 Apr 13, 2014
History of the Phantoms.
I was the bass player in the back-up band, Bill Destro & the Destinys. We played the Legion almost every Saturday night in 1958-59. When Destro fell out of favor with Red Gilson (The Old Red Cat), the announcer and promotions guy. a search was on to fill the spot. We put together a group that was basically the Destinys without Bill. Bud Deal; sax, Ben Brown-Benay; guitar, Joe Veronese; drums, Sonny deLeon; piano. Two hours before the show, Jim Rector (who was trying to ace Veronese out of the drum spot), Gilson and I were walking from the box office to the stage and Gilson was lamenting that the band didn't have strong identity without a leader like Destro. I said that we should all wear masks and suits the the Phantom in the comics. I suggested a white German Shephard and finding a muscular black singer and call him Lothar. Gilson and Rector said it was the dumbest idea on the planet. The following Monday, it was announced. The Phantoms, The World's Only Masked Band." My dumb idea was their brilliant creation. Costumes was the first order of business. We dyed white turtle neck shirts and white leotards purple and bought black Speedos to wear over the tights. My mother sewed purple hoods and we got black Lone Ranger masks. At the rehearsal, seeing the purple tights, drummer Joe, sax Bud, guitar Ben quit. Rector moved into the drum slot and we recruited Andy Gaydos; sax and Don Preston; guitar, from Don Julian & The Meadowlarks band. We added two girls, Phantomettes; Mina, a cute Latina from a duo, Mina & Lupe and a statuesque red head, Jeanne Mack. They wore girl versions of the same costume. I stayed with the band for about 6 months then Andy and I left to go on the road with another group. Several bass players replaced me and Andy was replaced by sax player, Bobby Rey.
Lupe Esparza Phillips

Orange, CA

#15 Jul 3, 2014
jimbeaux wrote:
I moved to Whittier,Cal. in Nov.1959 when I was 17.My friend Karl Shaw turned me on to the legion stadium and we went nearly every weekend.I really loved the house band'The Phantoms".My god they played for everyone and sounded just like the records!I wonder where they are today?I was so lucky to see all the great acts...THe Carlos Bros.,Don& Dewey,Larry Bright,The Penguins,BoDiddly,Tony Williams,etc.I was a lucky guy to be there
I was very surprised to see this, my Sister and myself were called The Petits and sang at El Monte and many other venues with Art Laboe and the Phanthoms. Jim Recter was the band leader and they were all from Altadena. I myseld lost contact with them and often wonder what became of them.I have pictures of them with their Phantom masks. It know seems surreal having sang on the same bill with all the greats of that time. The medalions the Olympics, Tony Allen. The Everly Bros. Don and Dewy, Ray Charles, The big Bopper. The crickets,... I didn't think anyone remembered The Phantoms.
Lupe Esparza Phillips

Orange, CA

#16 Jul 3, 2014
Kenny wrote:
History of the Phantoms.
I was the bass player in the back-up band, Bill Destro & the Destinys. We played the Legion almost every Saturday night in 1958-59. When Destro fell out of favor with Red Gilson (The Old Red Cat), the announcer and promotions guy. a search was on to fill the spot. We put together a group that was basically the Destinys without Bill. Bud Deal; sax, Ben Brown-Benay; guitar, Joe Veronese; drums, Sonny deLeon; piano. Two hours before the show, Jim Rector (who was trying to ace Veronese out of the drum spot), Gilson and I were walking from the box office to the stage and Gilson was lamenting that the band didn't have strong identity without a leader like Destro. I said that we should all wear masks and suits the the Phantom in the comics. I suggested a white German Shephard and finding a muscular black singer and call him Lothar. Gilson and Rector said it was the dumbest idea on the planet. The following Monday, it was announced. The Phantoms, The World's Only Masked Band." My dumb idea was their brilliant creation. Costumes was the first order of business. We dyed white turtle neck shirts and white leotards purple and bought black Speedos to wear over the tights. My mother sewed purple hoods and we got black Lone Ranger masks. At the rehearsal, seeing the purple tights, drummer Joe, sax Bud, guitar Ben quit. Rector moved into the drum slot and we recruited Andy Gaydos; sax and Don Preston; guitar, from Don Julian & The Meadowlarks band. We added two girls, Phantomettes; Mina, a cute Latina from a duo, Mina & Lupe and a statuesque red head, Jeanne Mack. They wore girl versions of the same costume. I stayed with the band for about 6 months then Andy and I left to go on the road with another group. Several bass players replaced me and Andy was replaced by sax player, Bobby Rey.
Kenny, I can't believe I found this. I have often wondered what happened to you guys. I would love to talk to you . What happened to Jim?
Asians Eat Dogs

Laguna Beach, CA

#17 Jul 4, 2014
F'n Asians bought out the area and now the area is a dump. Asians ruin everything they touch.
Lupe Esparza Phillips

Orange, CA

#18 Jul 4, 2014
Kenny wrote:
History of the Phantoms.
I was the bass player in the back-up band, Bill Destro & the Destinys. We played the Legion almost every Saturday night in 1958-59. When Destro fell out of favor with Red Gilson (The Old Red Cat), the announcer and promotions guy. a search was on to fill the spot. We put together a group that was basically the Destinys without Bill. Bud Deal; sax, Ben Brown-Benay; guitar, Joe Veronese; drums, Sonny deLeon; piano. Two hours before the show, Jim Rector (who was trying to ace Veronese out of the drum spot), Gilson and I were walking from the box office to the stage and Gilson was lamenting that the band didn't have strong identity without a leader like Destro. I said that we should all wear masks and suits the the Phantom in the comics. I suggested a white German Shephard and finding a muscular black singer and call him Lothar. Gilson and Rector said it was the dumbest idea on the planet. The following Monday, it was announced. The Phantoms, The World's Only Masked Band." My dumb idea was their brilliant creation. Costumes was the first order of business. We dyed white turtle neck shirts and white leotards purple and bought black Speedos to wear over the tights. My mother sewed purple hoods and we got black Lone Ranger masks. At the rehearsal, seeing the purple tights, drummer Joe, sax Bud, guitar Ben quit. Rector moved into the drum slot and we recruited Andy Gaydos; sax and Don Preston; guitar, from Don Julian & The Meadowlarks band. We added two girls, Phantomettes; Mina, a cute Latina from a duo, Mina & Lupe and a statuesque red head, Jeanne Mack. They wore girl versions of the same costume. I stayed with the band for about 6 months then Andy and I left to go on the road with another group. Several bass players replaced me and Andy was replaced by sax player, Bobby Rey.
Kenny Mina and I were the petites, I Lupe sang the lead and Mina harmonized. Also we didn't wear those costumes we wore matching dresses. Jim Balcom saw us singing with a local Orange County band and hooked us up with Art Laboe. I cherish the pictures I have.
The Phantomettes wore the costumes and I heard started singing after Mina and I left the band.
Kenny

Las Vegas, NV

#19 Jul 4, 2014
Lupe Esparza Phillips wrote:
<quoted text>
Kenny Mina and I were the petites, I Lupe sang the lead and Mina harmonized. Also we didn't wear those costumes we wore matching dresses. Jim Balcom saw us singing with a local Orange County band and hooked us up with Art Laboe. I cherish the pictures I have.
The Phantomettes wore the costumes and I heard started singing after Mina and I left the band.
Hey There, Lupe! Forgive me for getting my facts wrong. You are so correct! The Petites were the original girls before the Phantomettes and you wore tight black dresses. Was the deal-breaker you not wanting to wear the Phantomette costumes? Ron Kenney and I used to hang out at your Orange County apartment and you guys would always talk about going to eat at "The Bean Hut" where you would get "tacos with 'binz and shiz and lahtace and tomahtos." But you never took us there. We always wondered why. Don't know what happened to Rector. Ben, the original guitar player is gone. Andy, the sax player, lives in Las Vegas. He managed singer Morris Albert, "Feelings" for several years. Don Preston, guitarist, was a SHINDOG on SHINDIG and later recorded several solo artist albums. I don't know what happened to Corky de Leon (Sonny Stiles), the piano player. Ron Kenney became Art Laboe's Personal Assistant (Go-Fer) for a time, then did the Army, became a pilot and is now a photographer in Diamond Bar. I entertained until I retired in Las Vegas in 1992. I did a solo act for years. I did stand-up comedy, was a Cruise Director, and had a successful 50's-60's band called Kenny & The Cruisers. Later, Gator.
Lupe Esparza Phillips

Orange, CA

#20 Jul 5, 2014
Hi Kenney, so happy to hear from you. I would love to catch up and tell you what happened. I don't know how to contact you without posting where everyone can see. Any Ideas?

Lupe
Larry

Littleton, CO

#22 Oct 27, 2014
Kenny wrote:
History of the Phantoms.
I was the bass player in the back-up band, Bill Destro & the Destinys. We played the Legion almost every Saturday night in 1958-59. When Destro fell out of favor with Red Gilson (The Old Red Cat), the announcer and promotions guy. a search was on to fill the spot. We put together a group that was basically the Destinys without Bill. Bud Deal; sax, Ben Brown-Benay; guitar, Joe Veronese; drums, Sonny deLeon; piano. Two hours before the show, Jim Rector (who was trying to ace Veronese out of the drum spot), Gilson and I were walking from the box office to the stage and Gilson was lamenting that the band didn't have strong identity without a leader like Destro. I said that we should all wear masks and suits the the Phantom in the comics. I suggested a white German Shephard and finding a muscular black singer and call him Lothar. Gilson and Rector said it was the dumbest idea on the planet. The following Monday, it was announced. The Phantoms, The World's Only Masked Band." My dumb idea was their brilliant creation. Costumes was the first order of business. We dyed white turtle neck shirts and white leotards purple and bought black Speedos to wear over the tights. My mother sewed purple hoods and we got black Lone Ranger masks. At the rehearsal, seeing the purple tights, drummer Joe, sax Bud, guitar Ben quit. Rector moved into the drum slot and we recruited Andy Gaydos; sax and Don Preston; guitar, from Don Julian & The Meadowlarks band. We added two girls, Phantomettes; Mina, a cute Latina from a duo, Mina & Lupe and a statuesque red head, Jeanne Mack. They wore girl versions of the same costume. I stayed with the band for about 6 months then Andy and I left to go on the road with another group. Several bass players replaced me and Andy was replaced by sax player, Bobby Rey.
My name is Larry. I saw your post. I grew up in Alhambra, CA. My best Grammer School and early High School friend was David Rector, Jim's brother. The family lived 3 blocks from me and I spent most of my time at their home and in the pool. Jim was there including their sister, whose name I sadly cannot remember. They made me part of the family. I remember the band and costume very well. I met Candy Johnson, the Go-Go girl of the period when Dave and I tagged along with Jim. It was a personal appearance down toward the beach as I remember. The brand was in costume as I recall and Candy was wearing her fringed Go-Go skirt and they preformed. Her band in some beach movies as I recall was the "Exciters" and also managed by Red Gilson I understand was it not? I have a vague memory of The Masked Phantoms playing in just one of those beach part movies with Candy doing her go-Go dancing. On that point am I correct or his this just my 67 year old desired memory? You brought back great memories, thank you for your post!..My best regards..Larry (Colorado)

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