Following a donation to the Northeast News of some photo albums once owned by Northeast resident Frank A. Dorcy, Jr, we searched old copies of The Northeast News from 1964, when Dorcy had just taken over as manager of the Vista Theater, once located at 2617 Independence Avenue.
As the new manager, Dorcy honed his skills as an event planner, emcee, and just a guy with big ideas. In the February 20, 1964 edition, Dorcy was quoted as saying, “Future bookings at the Vista will be aimed at attracting family groups. Films of general interest, both regular and widescreen, will be shown.”
Dorcy’s experience as a theater manager started at the Paramount Theater in downtown Kansas City. Unbeknownst to his fellow graduates of the Northeast High School Class of 1954, Dorcy’s start in the entertainment field was as a choreographer for the dancers at the Folly Theater, while still
In April 1964, Dorcy promoted Ladies Night at the Vista, complete with a “Queen for a Night” crowning ceremony and prizes, all emceed by Dorcy. In June, taking advantage of the summer break from school, he introduced a Saturday teen matinee, complete with the latest teen movies and live band performances. As emcee, Dorcy provided his teen audience with the latest dance moves and a weekly dance contest.
Dorcy used the popularity generated by the teen matinees to promote himself as “The Little Caesar of the Discotheque”, noting his experience as a dancer, choreographer, emcee, and entertainer. By the end of 1964, Dorcy’s exploits disappeared from the News’ pages as he found opportunities in Hollywood and New York to display his many talents.
At the height of the Disco craze in the 1970’s, Dorcy had returned to Kansas City and his childhood home at 110 N. Monroe to set up his own production company, Frank Dorcy Productions.
From there, he created his own dance troupe, The Disc-O Kidds, a co-ed group available to present a ‘well-paced, timely, fresh, personal’ program clad in the latest jumpsuit fashions at a variety of events and venues. The Kidds also provided the backstage set up for the grand scale theme events and charitable fundraisers Dorcy produced, from fashion shows to elegant dinners, often emceed by Dorcy himself.
On October 23, 1998, the show biz curtain fell as Dorcy passed at his home at age 63. Dorcy never married or had children and is buried next to his mother Agnes, a talented musician herself, at the East Slope Cemetery in Riverside, Mo.
Note: The archives of The Northeast News, dating to 1964, are currently being digitized by the State Historical Society of Missouri and will be available online later this year through the State Historical Society’s web site.