A REMINDER OF WHAT THEY FOUGHT FOR: American G.I.s spanning multiple generations, from WWII to the Persian Gulf War, are still thankful for their memories of Bob Hope’s annual USO Christmas shows. And among the most memorable acts that Hope brought to Vietnam era soldiers was The Golddiggers, first in 1968 (above), then again in 1969, and once more in 1970 with the added bonus of The Dingaling Sisters.
The Red, White and Blue is about to be enlivened by a touch of Gold. And not only Dean Martin, but Bob Hope, too, would no doubt take great pride in the occasion.
A concert boasting the largest on-stage assemblage of The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters since the heyday of The Dean Martin Show has been lined up to help commemorate a milestone just a few weeks from now in our nation’s capital.
The setting for the gala Golds and Dings reunion is the 25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The concert itself will take place November 10 at the Sylvan Theater, located in the shadow of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The event begins at 12 Noon and runs until 5 PM, and is open to the general public with no charge for admission.
Scheduled to take the stage that day will be eight of the women who belong to one of the most exclusive clubs in show business history: All were members of the first generation of Golddiggers, with their years of service in that coterie ranging from 1968 to 1973.
Appearing together as The Golddiggers will be: Michelle DellaFave, Susan McIver, Jackie Chidsey, Suzy Cadham, Sheila Mann, Rosetta Cox, Wanda Bailey, and Nancy Reichert. And drawn from that larger group to perform an additional number, just as they used to do on Dean’s show as the very first group of Dingaling Sisters, will be: Michelle DellaFave, Susie McIver and Wanda Bailey.
GOLDS AND DINGS EXTRAVAGANZA: Honoring America’s Vietnam Veterans in concert this November 10th will be eight original members of The Golddiggers, shown above, all left to right: (top row) Michelle DellaFave, Wanda Bailey, Jackie Chidsey; (middle row) Rosetta Cox, Suzy Cadham, Sheila Mann; (bottom row) Nancy Reichert, and Susan McIver. Michelle, Wanda and Susie will also perform a separate number as three of the original Dingaling Sisters.
The Golds’ and Dings’ portion of the entertainment program will run approximately 30 minutes, and include a reprise of The Dingaling’s “Funky Chicken”, which brought the crowd to its feet both during the Bob Hope tour in 1970, and again when the ladies belted it out at the Vietnam Veterans of America convention just this past July.
That event, like this new one slated for November, was put together by the gentleman who is fast becoming known as the GoldAndDings Reunion Impresario — Director of Meetings for the VVA and Founder of the GoldsAndDings Yahoo Group, Wes Guidry.
Rounding out the entertainment package at the upcoming Wall Anniversary concert will be performances by legendary folk group The Kingston Trio, and Mark Farner, former lead singer and guitarist of Grand Funk Railroad. And there may even be further additions to the bill, so watch this space for details!
The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters were among the most popular acts to entertain the troops when they joined Bob Hope on his annual USO tours of Southeast Asia during the late 1960s and early ’70s. And not only were these ladies favorites of those in uniform, but millions more across America had the chance to see highlights of their performances when they aired as part of Bob Hope’s yearly Christmas specials, which always placed among the highest-rated shows on television each year that they were broadcast.
Given this background, it’s hard to think of a more appropriate group of entertainers — or one that would be more welcomed by those in attendance — to lend a special cachet to the proceedings at hand than original members of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters.
VINTAGE VIEWS FROM VIETNAM, 1970: (above) Michelle DellaFave leads The Dingaling Sisters in a rousing rendition of “Funky Chicken”; (below) Rosie Cox and Jackie Chidsey shake and shimmy as The Golddiggers sing of being “Something Special”. Boy, were they ever — and they still are!
For all of the those who ever watched these talented ladies in awe on the small screen, but never had a chance to see them perform in person, the upcoming Vietnam Wall Anniversary concert would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime. And for vets who saw them during their tours of duty, or others who might have caught one of their live shows way back when, this is that chance to relive the magic.
The gals themselves look and sound terrific, and with free admission and an open invitation, longtime fans might just want to start making their travel arrangements now.
For some helpful info in that regard, as well as additional details about the Wall Anniversary and other artists booked for the November 10 concert, follow the link below to the website of the Vietnam Veterans of America: