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Wirth Watching: Saltair

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - It’s hard to believe it was ever here… It’s hard to imagine there was a palace of big bands here. It was the place to dance… It was Saltair.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - It’s hard to believe it was ever here… It’s hard to imagine there was a palace of big bands here.

It was the place to dance… It was Saltair.

The place is gone - but 12 years ago I got to talk to those who really knew Saltair before they passed away and their stories will always live on.

One was a former teenager named Bob Keller.

“When you got there in the first year of high school the big thing to go on a date. Oh you were ritzy and good to go there on a date; you were a king for a day,” said Keller.

The late Art Teese was the man behind the music. He booked those nights o’ magic at Saltair.

“We had such bands as Louie Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Andrews sisters, Ray Anthony, Eddy Howard,” said Teese.

“KDYL is broadcasting direct from salt aire, the west's most beautiful ballroom, the music of tony paster and his orchestra and now to keep our dancing going, a special request for blue moon.”

Art paid and the bands played. If you had a band you just wanted to play Saltair.

Perhaps the biggest night was when Glen Miller played one night.

“We put a lot of effort into refurnishing. Got the ballroom fixed. It holds the record for the largest dance crowd in Utah, Glen Miller in the early 1940's. 10,000 people. A lot couldn't get in,” said Meese.

Saltair was full of music. Some really do feel it was full of magic.

The late Dr. Keller went to dance to them all

“Went to listen to Glen Miller, the Dorsey brothers, tom and Jimmy Dorsey, and oh the pungent aroma of that salt permeated everything, but you didn't mind, the whole place and oh it was festive.  When you went to listen to them big band names,” said Keller.

Direct from Saltair, it’s been 30 minutes of dance with Tony Pastor and its orchestra.

So 60 to 70 years ago, there was no better place, no busier place to dance the night away. It was the legendary Saltair.

It seemed like it would never end… but it did.

“And now this is your announcer Art Teese saying good night for all the boys in the band… good night see you tomorrow…”

 

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