Betsy Kane - Transcript

Transcript of “My Father, Johnny Weissmuller and the Edgewater Beach Hotel”
Interviewee: Betsy Kane
Interviewer: Dorothy Nygren
Place: 5206 N. Paulina, Chicago, IL 60640
Date: June 15, 2012
Time: 3:29 minutes

BK: Well the story that my dad was very proud of relating was his relationship with Johnny Weissmuller when he was a young boy. Definitely been in the 1920s, sometime probably the mid 20s, He and Johnny were good pals. They were both very big swimmers. They loved to swim. At that point Johnny was practicing, hopeful to be in the Olympics. They would practice swimming out to the crib - from the beach - back and forth. They got to know people at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. They were also big divers. They loved doing the high dive and actually had gone to Acapulco [Mexico] to do the cliff diving at one point. Anyway they were hired to do the shows at Edgewater Beach Hotel at the swimming pool that was outside. I guess there was a big dinner place out there where the tables were set up around the pool. They would have music and everything. This was kind of a side show.

DN: Did they get paid for these shows?

BK: Oh no. They didn’t receive any money which I was kind of surprised at. But my father said they could eat anything they wanted – free meals all the way. And I can guarantee you, they ate very well.

DN: Time went by. Your father stayed in Edgewater and he met your mom.

BK: When my dad got married to my mother, it was kind of a hurried wedding because he was getting drafted in 1942. So they had a quickie wedding but the people at the Edgewater Beach gave them a very nice wedding and paid for everything – whatever friends they wanted to come; music; dancing; and food. It was very elegant location and it was a very special event for them.

As kids, when we were growing up, we would be going there for the shows all the time. I would say at least once a month, we were going to Edgewater Beach Hotel. They had wonderful musical shows there – main headliners that I would remember were the Kim sisters. They played every instrument under the sun. They put on a fantastic show. They also had big band music there and everything else.

DN: Was it a special occasion when you would go there?

BK: Oh yes. Everybody was dressed to the nines. I would dance with my dad. I would probably dance with my bother and my sister. It was an event. You would go there for dinner and you would stay. Those were great old times. Those were the good old days. You don’t find that anymore.