Gillis Gold - First Year Inductees
Wheeler & Bush and all the Dancers
Turley & Johnson
Johnny O' Grady
Betsey & Robert
Tootie & Jonno
There have only been 2 people, besides Steve and me, who have attended every single tournament since its inception in 1971. Denny Smith and Alan Vallarine were there when we had 17 teams that first year, but a big reason we still know all the details of that first one, and every year since, is because Denny Smith chronicled all of them with his stellar photography. Both are St. Bernards grads, but Denny has known every player who ever played in Playa del Rey. He got a G with Mark Prior in 1978, Won the Hoffy with Ebba in ’92, won the 6-Man in ’96, and was King in ’89 alongside Queen Veronica Cressman. No one has contributed more than Denny over the past 38 years.
At Gillis 6-9, matching homemade trunks were the rage. At Gillis 10, a new standard was set by Turley and Johnson when they rented an antique car, had a driver bring them on the bike path and appeared at the tourney dressed as Laurel and Hardy. They even had 1920′s swimsuits and acted out the characters during games. After that year, they went to even greater lengths. They rented horses and came as The Lone Ranger and Tonto. They rented a camel and rode it down the beach dressed as oil sheiks. Another year, they arrived as the police, in rented uniforms and squad cars to bust the drinkers. They pulled down tarps covering a jail cell, erected the night before, to reveal a live band and dancers dressed in stripes, all singing with Turley to Jailhouse Rock.The next year they drove down the bikepath in a rented stretch limo dressed as beachbums from Hawaii. Their finale was just as spectacular as they dressed as bums, strolled down the beach towards the Gillis, searching in every trash can for something to eat. No one knew who they were until they grabbed the microphone and gave a speech. This run of 5-6 years made every team want to wear costumes, a key ingredient to the spectacle of todays Gillis.