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February 8, 2016 / thackersam

The Girl in the Cage

Lada Edmund Jr.Though we were three years apart, and my brother was of the Howdy Doody era and I was an unofficial member of the later Winchell Mahoney club, we shared the same tastes in music until I entered junior high school and veered off on my own. But during those earlier years of The Ed Sullivan Show, and then those shows geared toward the “be-bop” music that the kids were listening to, as it was referred to by my father, such as Shindig and Hullabaloo, we sat in the den together in front of the television and loved everything that was thrown at us.

I was again reminded of those days when someone posted a video of the Young Rascals on the WNEW-FM Fan Club performing “Good Lovin’” on Hullabaloo. Quite some time ago, I don’t remember when, maybe you do, I wrote about The Rascals after finding a “best of” CD in the discount racks, and the video of “Good Lovin’” on The Ed Sullivan Show. I took a look at the recent Rascals video, remembering that drummer Dino Danelli was the looker of the group, bearing a striking resemblance to Paul McCartney (as did the late, fabulous Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five). The focus was mostly on Felix Cavaliere as he sang lead on the song. I waited for a shot of Dino, who was also an amazing drummer, and I noticed the dancers in the cages that flanked the group. There she was. The girl on the right. Dancing in an elevated cage. That crazy dancer that caught everyone’s attention back then. She danced wildly in her fringed dress and her untamed hair flew all over the place. Other dancers were a bit more subdued and their hair stayed put. My brother was enthralled with her, and was particularly impressed with her moniker, as you didn’t hear of many women back then, or now for that matter, with Jr. after their names.

What was her name? I fixated on her in the video and wanting to see more, tried pulling more than just Jr. from the recesses of my memory. Ada – Ada Ladman Jr. – is what I came up with and started the search. And there she was. Lada Edmund, Jr., the well-known dancer in the cage on Hullabaloo. I wanted to be her I recall, and at ten years old did have my very own pair of white go-go boots. Most of us little girls and big girls did too. Fact is, my brother, Davey, probably wanted to be her as well. Of course, growing up in my house, it was not uncommon for us to want to be anyone else than who we were, for different reason but with the same cause.

I can only assume that my brother suspected he was “different.” I don’t think many little boys constructed Barbie Town in their basements and made clothes for the apartment dwelling, world-traveling career girl Midge, who really set an example for me that women didn’t need to get married, have children and become suburban housewives. Neither of us became wild go-go dancers, but both of us shared Midge-like qualities later in life.

While it was the post of the Rascals that led me to think about Davey and his admiration for the unconventional woman, it is not the anniversary of his death or birth, which are practically the same day in September, except they’re three days and 33 years apart. It is however, the anniversary of the passing of my dearest and oldest friend Vicki, who died two years and two days ago.

Btw – Lada Edmund Jr., now in her late 60s, had a very successful career as a stuntwoman after her Hullabaloo days, and seems to be still going strong as a trainer. Most Hullabaloo videos are somewhat fuzzy, but available on YouTube, and I recommend the stalkerish “Look at That Girl” video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r60nCJVmdy4&feature=youtu.be.

In the photo, Lada Edmund Jr. is the dancer sitting on the B.Hullabaloo

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