By Dan Bethune
In order to appreciate where our hobby is today, it is important to understand the exploits of those who came before us, and those who made an impression on the National stage in the early days of our hobby.
Meeting those personalities; and hearing their stories, is one of the best parts of the ELTA Bash. This event draws these pioneers out of the woodwork. The stories are there for the telling.
All you have to do is ask.
One such personality who was there again this year was Bob Beazer.
Here is Bob's story. If you have already heard this one, tell someone who hasn't. That is how history lives on.
Beazer was a member of the Ontario's own “Peaceful Pacers”. During the late 1950’s, Bob and the Pacers would often attend drag races at Detroit Dragway. Some of the Detroit area racers would refer to the Canadian drag racers as a "bunch of Indians".
Beazer; wanting to live up to the nickname, decided to dress up in an elaborate Indian headress, and play the part. Once his alter-ego was established, Beazer was a regular fixture at the starting line; in full costume, at NHRA events from coast to coast doing his NO RAIN dance.
Beazer was subsequently hired by Wally Park's wife to perform his rain dance before each NHRA event. When the rain finally did come, Mrs. Parks fired Beazer. :)
Bob soon made the acquaintance of the top NHRA stars, and struck up a friendship with TV Tommy Ivo that continues to this day.
It is through his friendship with TV Tommy that Bob was able to land a tiny part in the campy 1964 movie "Beach Blanker Bingo", starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.
Bob says that he made $50 for his appearance in his first; and last, movie appearance. He had to get a Screen Actor's Guild membership card in order to appear in the film.
I asked Bob for 2 stories at Saturday's ELTA Bash. This is what he told me:
1) Nearly every time he tries to cross the US Border with his famous Headress, he gets pulled in for questioning. The Customs Agents always want to know what kind of feathers are on his costume. He always exclaims TURKEY!!!
2) He learned just last year that he made the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in the 1960s. He was just a speck in the background of a Tommy Ivo burnout photo, but I still say it counts.
Thanks for reading,