Disco fever spreads around Tucson
Published in the Autumn 1979, Youth Awareness Press, Page 9.
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Photo of KTKT radio station personality Ed Alexander hosts one of the Summer 1979 Teen Discos at Santa Rita High School where over 230 teens attended. Photo by Robert Zucker.
During the summer of 1979, a teen disco show traveled through Tucson to bring ten neighborhood dances to nearly 1,500 teenagers from June to August. School gymnasiums, cafeterias and meeting rooms were turned into discothèques on six Thursday nights, three Fridays and one Saturday evening those three months to provide youth a place to dance during summer break.
Several community groups sponsored the teen dances, including the Tucson City Parks and Recreation, Kalil Bottling Co., Tucson Police Department’s School Resource Officers, five Tucson schools, three neighborhood centers, Pima County Collaboration on Children & Youth, the Southern Arizona Youth Athletic Association and Youth Awareness Press.
Photo of KTKT DJ Jim Bednarek (with baseball cap) hosts one of the summer 1979 teen disco dances on August 6th at Rincon High School where 250 teenagers traveled across town to dance. Photo by Robert Zucker, Youth Awareness Press archives.
The dances were scheduled to reach all sides of the city: on the south side at Santa Rita High School (June 21st), the west side at El Rio Neighborhood Center (June 28th), the north side at Amphitheatre Junior High School (July 5th), the south side again at Sunnyside High School (July 12th), the far east side at Sahuaro High School (July 19th), in mid-town at Rincon High School (July 26th); at the centrally located Tucson YWCA (Aug. 3rd) and on the west side at El Pueblo Neighborhood Center (Aug. 10th). Youth Awareness Press publisher Robert Zucker and the staff helped organize and operate the disco events.
Mark Schwartz, general manager of KTKT radio station agreed to be a co-sponsor and provide, at no cost, public service promotions, disc jockeys to host the discos, prizes and promotional give a ways like vinyl records, movie tickets, t-shirts, etc. KTKT DJ’s Ed Alexander and Jim Bednarek took turns hosting the dances.
Disco Inferno the beginning of the end
The beginning of the end of the disco phase began abruptly on July 12, 1979. The Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois was a baseball half-time promotion that got out of hand. A crate filled with disco records was ignited on the field in protest of disco music. The explosion, and stampede of tens of thousands of rowdy patrons, damaged the field and the Chicago White Sox had to forfeit the second game of the doubleheader to the Detroit Tigers. Disco was on its way to fade away.
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