Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire: 40 Years Later
Sunday, May 28 at 7:00 pm
Monday, May 29 at 1:00 pm
Sunday, May 28 marks the 40th anniversary of the devastating fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club. Produced by Lee Hay and host John Kiesewetter, the special takes a look at the tragic event and its aftermath through conversations with people who were there, including former waiter Wayne Dammert whose story was told in the book, Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire written by Ron Elliott.
Here's a link to John Kiesewetter's blog about this special, too.
Posted below are the detailed interviews of those you'll hear on the completed special:
Kay Barksdale, secretary for Mort Watters, founder of WCPO-TV, and she was the first black woman hired at Channel 9, WCPO-TV, as an employee. The night of the fire she was a vocalist and guest with the Greater Cincinnati Choral Union who were dining in the Crystal Room on the second floor.
John Beatsch, volunteer firefighter with the Southgate Fire Department the night of the fire who's now Southgate's Volunteer Fire Chief.
Norm Clarke, Associated Press reporter on-site the night of the fire and now a columnist in Las Vegas.
Nick Clooney, anchor at WKRC-TV Channel 12 News and on-site reporter the night of the fire.
Wayne Dammert, former waiter at the Beverly Hills Supper Club, who helped rescue many people during the fire, and also co-wrote the book, "Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire," with Ron Elliott.
Jim Delaney, investigative reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer, who was in the newsroom the night of the fire and later reported on the class-action aluminum wiring trials. He's now the owner of Delaney Communications.
Jeff Johnson, broadcast engineer and commercial photographer, who worked for the interior designer Harry Backus with Backus Associates and took photographs inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club for them before the fire.
Jeff Ruby, restaurant owner and regional director of the Holiday Inns at the time of the fire, who along with friends had front row center seats in the Cabaret Room the night of the fire.
You'll find Jeff Ruby's story of the night of the fire in a chapter of his book, Not Counting Tomorrow: The Unlikely Life of Jeff Ruby. There's a chapter in this book by Jeff Ruby about his experiences at the Beverly Hills Supper Club the night of the fire. The chapter is entitled "Tragedy" after the song title by the Bee Gees.
Rona Shannon, cocktail waitress in the Cabaret Room before the fire (1976-1977).
Jim Teter, part of the Teter & McDonald comedy team which opened for John Davidson in the Cabaret Room the night of the fire.
Gerry Wolter, Cincinnati Enquirer staff photographer, first photographer on the scene of the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire that night. He had photographed many social events there in the past.
Other related reference books written about the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire:
Reconstruction of a Tragedy: The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, Southgate, Kentucky, May 28, 1977, written by Richard L Best. Published by the National Fire Protection Association, and it’s very rare!