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Aruban1962
06-03-2013, 03:44 PM
25242525 I'm posting a pair of photographs taken by my father (Henry C. Steeber), 'round about 1961, who was managing the Aruba Caribbean Hotel and had the pleasure of hosting Jack Benny on a few of his Aruba visits. Benny was friends with Morrie D. - one of the hotel's owners. He performed in the hotel's club and was a smash, even though many had never heard of him(!) This hotel, of course, is now the Radisson. Our family left the island in 1966, after six years of life at the hotel. By the way, I believe the gentleman handing Benny the Aruba book is ATA director Michael Kuiperi.

Arubalisa
06-03-2013, 06:06 PM
OMG :D Love, love, love the wind blown tie look! I can only imagine what his comments on the wind were like ;) :D

Aruban1962
06-03-2013, 06:27 PM
The wind actually made it into a monologue at the nightclub - a reference to golfing amid stones and rocks, sand and wind. He liked the island, though. It was an escape.

AndyM
06-03-2013, 07:11 PM
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

danadog56
06-03-2013, 08:30 PM
Thanks, that was cool !!!

CK1
06-03-2013, 09:33 PM
Wonderful pictures, so nostalgic! I didn't know who Jack Benny was, so I looked up some clips on YouTube. He made me smile from ear to ear ~ what a character! I bet your Dad and everyone else had a blast back then! :)

Aruban1962
06-03-2013, 11:36 PM
Wonderful pictures, so nostalgic! I didn't know who Jack Benny was, so I looked up some clips on YouTube. He made me smile from ear to ear ~ what a character! I bet your Dad and everyone else had a blast back then! :)
Oh, absolutely. My parents heard Benny on network radio then TV for years. Meeting him was a particular mesmerizing joy for my mother, who had grown up during the Depression when Benny was on NBC radio every Sunday evening at 9pm. His was probably the greatest comedy show in radio history, and his career was one of the all-time great ones as well. We adored Jack Benny.

CK1
06-04-2013, 01:10 AM
Oh, absolutely. My parents heard Benny on network radio then TV for years. Meeting him was a particular mesmerizing joy for my mother, who had grown up during the Depression when Benny was on NBC radio every Sunday evening at 9pm. His was probably the greatest comedy show in radio history, and his career was one of the all-time great ones as well. We adored Jack Benny.

Thanks for the explanation. I can only imagine how life must have been during the Depression but I guess people like Jack Benny brightened everyone's day. It reminds me of the movie "Seabiscuit" where the Great Depression was quite well captured, IMO.

Did your parents meet other celebrities while living on Aruba?

Looking forward to your pictures when you have the time to post some. Looking at some vintage postcards from Aruba, it must have been a little Gem in the Caribbean.

Aruban1962
06-04-2013, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the explanation. I can only imagine how life must have been during the Depression but I guess people like Jack Benny brightened everyone's day. It reminds me of the movie "Seabiscuit" where the Great Depression was quite well captured, IMO.

Did your parents meet other celebrities while living on Aruba?

Looking forward to your pictures when you have the time to post some. Looking at some vintage postcards from Aruba, it must have been a little Gem in the Caribbean.

Aruba was a special deal in 1960, when my parents came down from Ohio (where my father had a hotel job in Downtown Dayton). There was a job offer through a boss, and my dad took it -- a tropical island in the Caribbean? Why not. It ended up being six fun years, though it did kind of run its course, as the island, then as now, was small. The celebrities were many - Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Cyd Charisse, Liberaci, Tony Martin, Eddie Fisher, Harry Belafonte, Sonny and Cher... and the list went on and on.

Aruba's government and tourist bureau were particularly proud of the brand-new Aruba Caribbean Hotel. It was the only sizable resort hotel on the island. The tiny Basi Ruti hotel was the only other real accomodation. The casino was a big draw, and the Klompen Club was a hot room for Vegas-type performers of all stripe who might want to get away from Vegas itself. I'll be happy to put together some photographs of Aruba (1960-66) which capture the glamor of that era.

In the old days, I'd say I was born in Aruba, and nobody had heard of it. Now - different.

CK1
06-04-2013, 01:22 PM
Aruba was a special deal in 1960, when my parents came down from Ohio (where my father had a hotel job in Downtown Dayton). There was a job offer through a boss, and my dad took it -- a tropical island in the Caribbean? Why not. It ended up being six fun years, though it did kind of run its course, as the island, then as now, was small. The celebrities were many - Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Cyd Charisse, Liberaci, Tony Martin, Eddie Fisher, Harry Belafonte, Sonny and Cher... and the list went on and on.

Aruba's government and tourist bureau were particularly proud of the brand-new Aruba Caribbean Hotel. It was the only sizable resort hotel on the island. The tiny Basi Ruti hotel was the only other real accomodation. The casino was a big draw, and the Klompen Club was a hot room for Vegas-type performers of all stripe who might want to get away from Vegas itself. I'll be happy to put together some photographs of Aruba (1960-66) which capture the glamor of that era.

In the old days, I'd say I was born in Aruba, and nobody had heard of it. Now - different.

Love reading your stories from back then and I definitely look forward to your pictures. I heard before that some celebrities liked to escape to Aruba instead of being in Las Vegas, it was like a 'secret treasure'. :)

Wished there were a time machine to make a trip to the past.

Aruban1962
06-04-2013, 07:52 PM
http://www.aruba.com/forum/f22/radisson-history-51826/
At the end of this thread there are a few new pictures. I'll have to figure out an efficient way to share more. We did take a lot of pictures.

CK1
06-05-2013, 12:30 AM
Just came across an old article from "Aruba Esso News", dated August 13, 1960. As you stated, Elizabeth Taylor visited Aruba and she can be seen here:

http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA03400001/00553/2j

CK1
06-05-2013, 01:45 AM
http://www.aruba.com/forum/f22/radisson-history-51826/
At the end of this thread there are a few new pictures. I'll have to figure out an efficient way to share more. We did take a lot of pictures.

There are free Slideshows available. Like Picasa:

http://download.cnet.com/Picasa/3000-2193_4-10160334.html?tag=rb_content;contentBody

Maybe that's an option?

Aruban1962
06-05-2013, 06:12 PM
More Jack Benny in the early 1960's:

2540 The gentleman on the left, Morris (Morrie) Dewoskin (from Chicago) was one of the hotel's owners and a friend of Jack Benny. I'm not certain who the fellow next to him is. Then Jack Benny and my father, who was likely general manager by this time. 2541 My father, Henry C. Steeber at the aiport cafe with new arrival Jack Benny. 2542 Jack Benny performing at the Klompen Club. A number of these photos are by 2543(J. Keijzer)

Aruban1962
06-05-2013, 06:15 PM
There are free Slideshows available. Like Picasa:

http://download.cnet.com/Picasa/3000-2193_4-10160334.html?tag=rb_content;contentBody

Maybe that's an option?

Possibly. For now, uploading smaller versions of these things to the forum seems to be okay. When there are far more images, I'll have to re-think it.

Aruban1962
06-05-2013, 06:18 PM
Just came across an old article from "Aruba Esso News", dated August 13, 1960. As you stated, Elizabeth Taylor visited Aruba and she can be seen here:

http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA03400001/00553/2j

How interesting. Gene Berry (pictured with Taylor) was my father's boss, both at the Pick-Miami Hotel in Dayton and in Aruba at the ACH. My father was assistant manager. When Berry moved on to Arizona, my father became general manager. Years later, in NY, I encountered a woman about my age who had grown up at the Lago neighborhood in Aruba.

CK1
06-06-2013, 02:03 AM
Again, thanks for posting your wonderful pictures and giving some explanations, loved the wall decoration (painting?) of the Kompton Club, so vintage. It must have been exciting to meet all those celebrities so close.

A few years ago, I had met a gentleman on another forum who had lived at Lago as a child. And had returned to Aruba for a visit many years later, as an adult. I believe had had met some former friends/neighbors on Aruba and he was just ecstatic to be finally back on Aruba after so many years! :)

Aruban1962
06-06-2013, 08:12 AM
Again, thanks for posting your wonderful pictures and giving some explanations, loved the wall decoration (painting?) of the Kompton Club, so vintage. It must have been exciting to meet all those celebrities so close.

A few years ago, I had met a gentleman on another forum who had lived at Lago as a child. And had returned to Aruba for a visit many years later, as an adult. I believe had had met some former friends/neighbors on Aruba and he was just ecstatic to be finally back on Aruba after so many years! :)

Everything you say is right on the nose. For me it was more the children of those celebrities I enjoyed spending time with (like young Gina Belafonte). My mother, particularly, was enjoyably star-struck, and I know my father enjoyed it. Returning sometime would be great.

cpjones
06-06-2013, 08:24 AM
Great stuff.... thanks again.

Aruban1962
06-06-2013, 12:18 PM
Great stuff.... thanks again.
My pleasure, of course.

CK1
06-10-2013, 01:53 AM
Everything you say is right on the nose. For me it was more the children of those celebrities I enjoyed spending time with (like young Gina Belafonte). My mother, particularly, was enjoyably star-struck, and I know my father enjoyed it. Returning sometime would be great.

Thanks for sharing your childhood memories.

Hope, you will be able to return sometime. I think it's much more then just those memories. After all, it's the place where you were born. :)
Did you mainly stay at the beach area of the hotel? Or did your parents take you all over the island? Like to the harbor of Oranjestad? Or to the Natural Bridge? Where the ocean is so strong and mighty?

Aruba has probably changed a lot, especially the beach area where you and your parents spent all those years.

But then, I believe, many things really did not change: the size and shape of Aruba herself. The tropical warmth and the constant trade winds. The turquoise-colored ocean along the white sandy beaches. The breathtaking sunsets with colors ranging from golden yellows to oranges reds, from light blues to dark purples. The impressive wild ocean on the north-side of Aruba where the Natural Bridge is. Even in Oranjestad are still some wonderful buildings with great architecture from a time built way back then. Driving through Savaneta or San Nicholas seems to me like going back in time. Then there are the people of Aruba with their kindness and warmth, smiling a lot. The life style, being tranquil, enjoying a good meal or a good talk, pausing to enjoy the beauty of Aruba, spending time with family and friends, embracing their children.

Many one day you discover the new Aruba and find some of your old Aruba. :)

Aruban1962
06-12-2013, 12:41 AM
CK1, thanks.
We went all over, as you suggested, and I have a great image of the Natural Bridge (while it still stood). We even took at least one ship to New York on the Grace Line. My mother kept carbons of her weekly letters, so we have a kind of six-year diary. I know we all looked back fondly at Aruba. So amazing to realize it's a household name now, all over the world. We even went to Isla D'Oro, which is just a memory now. Is there still a shark-feeding place on the other side of the Island from Palm Beach? Sometime, if life will allow it, I'll make the trek back. Yes - it was and is the land of my birth. I still remember the sundowns, which one could watch as if seeing a slow-motion replay.