Trouble In Mission City!

Rock and roll dance promoter Red Robinson is unlikely to revisit Mission City — with or without police dogs. Town council last night, after discussing the near-riot which followed a Robinson-sponsored dance Saturday night in the Legion auditorium, vowed to prohibit rock and roll dances here — by means of a by-law if necessary.

The rock and roll ban was first proposed at Tuesday evening’s council meeting by Alderman Stan Douglas, who deplored “the adverse publicity from press and radio”. He pointed out too, that the results would have been even more serious if the RCMP constables would have been attacked.”

The constables would have had to protect themselves — they and some youngsters would have been hurt,” he said. And although Mayor Ethel Ogle and aldermen Douglas, Stewart McIvor and Harold Ball agreed the after-dance brawl was started by youths who visited the dance from other towns, they blamed Vancouver disk jockey Robinson for “bringing the kids to a glassy-eyed high pitch, then leaving them”.

The milling crowd jeered and threw beer bottles when RCMP constables Ted Roggeveen and Al Sabean broke up a fight among a dozen youths, then refused the constables’ order to disperse. The riot threat was ended by the arrival of a German shepherd dog and the animal’s trainer, George Barr of Richmond, who had been hired by promoter Robinson to control the dancers in the auditorium.

According to RCMP there was a similar disturbance last month in Chilliwack after a Robinson-sponsored rock and roll dance. Friday night in Duncan (in another Robinson effort) a dancer was pushed through a window and bottles were hurled at an RCMP car at a dance attended by 1000 young people. Press reports say Robinson has since been served with a court summons on charges of failing to apply for a trade licence for the Duncan dance.

— Mission City News, 1961