NORTH WILDWOOD — Crowds gathered Sunday at Cool Scoops, the home of the Wildwoods Music Awards for the past 15 years, for a musical-history time capsule dedication.
The event producer, and founder of the WMA, Paul Russo, said this event was an important contribution to the Wildwoods' already famous musical heritage. Russo, owner of Cool Scoops, placed authentic memorabilia of musical artists from the Wildwoods' past inside a stainless time capsule to commemorate the Wildwoods Music Awards ceremonies of the past.
“Items such as autographs, drumsticks, first day issue envelopes, guitar pics, sheet music and post cards from Wildwoods’ musical heroes who honed their art before moving on to Las Vegas and Atlantic City” were in the capsule, Russo said.
“From the first time 'Rock Around The Clock' was played at the Hofbrau Hotel, by Haley and his Comets in 1954, to Chubby Checker’s invention of a new dance craze in the summer of 1960 at the Rainbow Club, to Bobby Rydfell’s ”Wildwood Days,” the Wildwood anthem of summer, Wildwood will always be a landmark location for rock 'n' roll history,” Russo said.
Rock & Role Hall of Fame inductee Dick Richards, the 94-year-old original drummer for Bill Haley and the Comets, was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon along with North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Bruce Land, who included proclamations for the capsule. Rosenello also gave a key to the city to future residents of North Wildwood who will open the time capsule in October 2118 — one hundred years from now.
The capsule will be installed inside the Cool Scoops' “autograph room” ceiling for future generations of visitors and fans all to see and enjoy.
Russo thanked artists and their families for donations of items from Cozy Morley, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Charlie Gracie, Bill Haley’s original Comets, Mickey Shaughnessy, Al Alberts and the Four Aces, Dick Clark, Sally Star and composer Pete DeAngelis. Charlie Thomas, the last remaining original Drifter, signed a wooden piece of the Wildwood Boardwalk to commemorate their famous song, “Under the Boardwalk”.
“The monetary value of this musical time capsule is not the important factor in preserving this history, but the history that this memorabilia represents is its true value and treasure,” Russo told the attendees.
Russo has been influential in getting the former president and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to state that Wildwood is a landmark location for rock 'n' roll and is considered as historical as locations such as The Apollo Theater, Austin City Limits, Whiskey A-Go-Go and the Surf Ballroom.