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HARLEM IN HAVANA GUESTBOOK 
Please share your stories, memories and thoughts 
about the Harlem in Havana stage show here. 

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NameMaurice Fontane (Blog Post)
Date2012-03-25
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageI was Band leader during the years when Shaun McGowen, Wilma Alie, Yevonne and Nolan Strong and the Foshay Dancers were with the show. During those years Leon jr was about 11 or 12 and I think the man called (Skin) who was also Mr Leons’ bodyguard, did most of the cooking for the troup. I would love to share my experiences with the show.


NamePhyllis Kelley (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageMy mother and her twin sister danced with Mr. Claxton, in the Royal American Shows. They were known as the Wingo Twins. I never saw the show, but I remember going to the Royal American everytime they came to St. Louis. Both my mother and her twin are deceased, including all of their siblings when I saw your web-site I was pleasantly surprised and wondered if you had any pictures or documentation about the Wingo Twins in the Harlem Revue in the Royal American Shows. I would love to share this info with my children and grandchildren.


NameJames Hodges (email) Part 2
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageIt is interesting that I have been in show business for last 35 years – presenting and producing live shows in night clubs,
theatres and site-specific locations. I also have toured shows across Canada and some in the USA. I’ve produced TV shows
and have done many other types of performing arts type events. My greatest claims to fame are presenting the great Muddy
Waters just before he died and more recently working with Canada’s Alberta Ballet in presenting Joni Mitchell’s THE FIDDLE
AND THE DRUM. See photo attachment of us celebrating this occasion in my house following one of the shows.

Let me know if you want to talk with me further about Harlem in Havana. I believe this was one of the experiences in my young
life that gave me a sense of what show business was all about.

Thank you,

James Hodges
Roadside Attractions
Saskatoon, SK
CANADA


NameJames Hodges (email) Part 1
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageJust saw the Harlem in Havana article in Saskatoon’s The StarPhoenix – Jan. 9, 2012. I remember very vividly this show
appearing yearly at Saskatoon’s Exhibition as I was growing up. I grew up on a farm outside of Saskatoon and each year
we would come to the summer Exhibition for a couple of days (we stayed with relatives who lived in Saskatoon) and take
in all the sights and sounds. I always looked forward to seeing this show as it had the most exciting front-of-show pitch.
Being a poor farm boy with little money I can’t remember ever going into the live show but would always make a point of
catching the show pitch several times during each visit to the Exhibition. SEE PART 2.


NameLarry Clinton Peterson (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageMaurice Fontain has just called me regarding the website and your search for anyone who was connected with the Leon Claxton Review of Royal American Shows. I had the good fortune of playing in the Harlem in Havana Shows for two years (1964-1965) When your grandfather picked me up at the bus station, he took me to his home on Grace Street in Tampa, where he fed me, housed me, and made me feel like one of the family. As fate would have it....my daughter Joy Peterson now lives just a few blocks away on LaSalle Street...and we had the pleasure of touring your grandfather's house when I spent two months in the Tampa area in 2011. It was such a wonderful memory to relive with my wife and daughter. The house was just as beautiful as I remembered it...and the life and laughter I experienced while living there with your grandfather will be forever treasured in my heart.

The tour with the show included Irving Reason, the arranger, alto sax; Henry Raymond, Band Leader; Donald Harrison, Trumpet; James Warren Dempsey, first Trumpet; Nathan Smith, Jr., Bass; Walter Karl Hamilton, Guitarist, and Larry Peterson, Drummer. Also on the tour were, Les Fouchee Danseurs, the Avalons, and additional guest artists.

I have many pictures I would like to share with you. Please feel free to call me here in Maine at 207 576-0673. It would be an honor to contribute my library to your project. Sincerely, Larry Clinton Peterson


NameShauna Garland (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageMy mom and dad were good friends of the Claxtons and we visited them at their hotel and home in Florida as well as Gwen, Leon and Leon Jrvisiting us at our home in Davenport Iowa and staying with us.

My mom just visited John in California a few months ago. Is he your dad or a relative by any chance? He looks just like Leon Sr.

My dad was a commercial artist and he would do the announcements for Club Lido when they came to town. I have a lot of happy memories regarding the show.

I am so excited about your documentary and wanted to know
if there is a way to make a donation in another person's name.

I wish you great success and can't wait to see the finished product.

Sincerely,

Shauna Garland


NameMarvin S Robinson (Email) Part 2
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageI think is why, I have turned-out and am turning out-to be one of the most important organizers regarding the :
" QUINDARO RUINS / Underground Railroad "
and Environmental Justice, in Kansas City-in our area, long story short- Aunt Gwen has I think one living niece on her side of the family in KC, and Uncle Leon has one niece and one nephew on his side of famliy here in KC- EVERYBODY will be sent-OVER - & -Over your most important, beautiful and moving tribute to one the nation's most IMPORTANT original producers and agents in the ARTs Industry. YOU have nothing, but the most EXTREME resoect and admiration for your already powerful and and stirring endeavor to tribute and recall the legacy of the Great LEON CLAXTON ][
Appreciate yA,
Marvin


NameMarvin S. Robinson (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageWe had the chance in our life-times to visit with both of them and went to his show in TOPEKA and once in Milwaukee, or Madison, Wisconsin- There use to be a couple of different women who danced in his shows, when they came to this area of the country and they would boast and brag about how people came from near and far to see them perform with the travelling "HARLEM in HAVANA" show, as if it had been yesterday.
Both are now passed, but, there is this one guy, I am not sure if he is still living, or not: Mr. Wesley Smith who is a retired Attorney in Kansas City, he's probably close to 90 years old by now. MY cousins remember Uncle Leon and Aunt Gwen, anyway. I just wanted to go anextra step and tell you that this guy: LEON CLAXTON, your grand-father, our late grand-mother Elizabeth Duncan Patton-Claxton's brother, had such an impact on me - See Part 2.


NameDennis J. Fisher (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageInteresting article in this morning's paper - Saskatoon Star Phoenix - by Bob Florence - interview with Leslie Cunningham.
I well remember HIH in the 1950's. Now I want to tell you something new for the book. A friend here in Saskatoon,
Mr. Ned Powers worked for the Star Phoenix for many years. He is still writing but now for a weekly Saskatoon Express.
I remember a day in 1954..I was 20 years old...the day was Wed. July 21st, 1954 and at 1:30 in the morning I went into a 2nd Avenue restaurant ,the Shasta Cafe. There sitting alone in a booth was the famed "Brown Bomber" Joe Louis. He was in town to referee a wresting match. Ned Powers was the local promoter for the wrestling matches. That same week the Saskatoon
Exhibition was on and HIH was a main attraction. Ned Powers took Joe Louis to the "Ex" to Harlem in Havana and visited with the performers. The exhibition featured the midway of the Royal American show (Royal for Canada - American for USA) it was owned and operated by one Carl Sedlmayr. Ned Powers is a friendly , helpful person and a gifted writer. I copy him
with this message so you may contact him for further information..Best regards...Dennis J. Fisher - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


NameBob Florence (Email)
Date2012-03-12
Locationclick picture for more information
MessageLeslie
I am a columnist with a newspaper in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and have the opportunity to write human-interest stories.

I was reading an old newspaper in our library and came across a story which talked about Leon Claxton and the performance he was bringing to Saskatoon during Exhibition week as part of Royal American Shows midway. In further reading, I found out Leon and Gwendolyn were married in Saskatoon in 1937.

The website on Harlem in Havana and the work you have done in continuing his story is impressive. I think this lends itself to an article in the newspaper here, especially considering Leon's connection with Saskatoon.

The article would be about Leon and the show he led then, but also on what you are doing now. If you have the time, it would be good to talk with you and hear more.

Thank you Leslie. I look forward to hearing from you.


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