Brooklyn Pancho and The Beard's 50th Birthday with Sam and Dave Performing
Brooklyn Pancho(a man with many names) and my father fought constantly - in Italian, Yiddish and Jive - about ridiculous topics only important to hustlers like, what is the most dangerous city in America? the worst prison? casino? the best corned beef sandwich?(2nd Avenue Deli the Beard would say.) You wanted to keep the two of them at a distance for fear they might actually kill one another, they could get on each others nerves so badly. Pancho was extremely fun and playful with everyone he met which made him fearless when it came to hanging out or hustling pool against contract killers. The Beard was not so fearless against "made" guys and always thought Pancho was going to get him "whacked" accidentally. Once Pancho came to town, my father couldn't wait for him to get back out. They teased each other mercilessly as they had their own crew and grew up together in Hollywood in the 60s. When Brooklyn Pancho was one legged and dying, and had nowhere to go, my father gave him his bedroom to live in and cooked for him every single day. As much as he was going to be driven crazy, by having Pancho as a house guest, "Panch" had miraculously come up with soul stars Sam and Dave for my father's birthday party and, f***ed for life, he couldn't say no. Legends Sam and Dave performed a private concert for my father's fiftieth birthday at The Whistle Stop in Chicago. I don't know how Brooklyn Pancho pulled this off, but we guessed it had something to do with his time in the music business living at Phil Spector's house in the 60s. Maybe somebody owed somebody a favor? Hardly matters now- my father had an absolute ball that glorious night. The Beard: "Whites stole all the music from the blacks...and made it shit."