Portrait of Pack 3 Derby Cub Scouts who performed in the 1932 show on the same Derby Methodist Church stage that the 2010 show is being performed on. Rodman Kneen, far left, 2nd row from the back, has been involved with the show for a remarkable 78 years. Cub Scouting became an official program in 1930 and Pack 3 Derby is the oldest Cub Scout group in the USA.
DERBY - The more than 100 members of Cub Pack 3, Boy Scout Troop 3 and Venture Crew 33 will present their 86th Annual Scout Gang Show on May 7 & 8 at the Derby United Methodist Church. Part old time minstrel, vaudeville, and variety show, the longest running show of it's kind has been performed by the scouts since 1922. Scout Gang Shows are performed throughout the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, however the Derby Scout Gang Show, a Lower Naugatuck Valley tradition, is the only one performed in the United States.
The show includes old time songs, skits and jokes. The stooges, who perform run-on skits in between the songs, are under the direction of Venture Crew 33 Committee Chairman Mr. Rodman Kneen, who has been involved with the show since 1932. Venture Crew 33 Scouts serving as stooges are Mac Thompson, Adarsh Salian, Nick Laskos, Michael Neuendorf and Mike Tracz.
Many of the songs being performed this year fall into the theme of "Happy Days are Here Again", songs such as "I Want to be Happy", "Happiness" and "Put on a Happy Face" will be performed by the scout soloists and chorus. There will also be a tribute to the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America with songs such as "Be A Good Scout", "The Happy Wanderer" and "God Bless America", written by Irving Berlin, who dedicated the royalties to the Boy and Girl Scouts.
Endmen, or joke tellers for the show include longtime participants Donald King, Matthew Decho, Al Palumbo, and Barry Howard. Joining them as endmen are current Troop 3 Scouts Charles Stankye IV, Alex Oppel, Tyler Stankye and Matthew Frovarp. The Stankye brothers are third generation Eagle Scouts to perform as endmen in the show, joining their father Chuck Stankye III and grandfather Charles Stankye Jr. Marc Weissman is serving as the pianist and Troop 3 Assistant Scoutmaster John Spinetti is in charge of lights and sound.
Many local community leaders have performed in the show in their youth including former mayors Marc Garofalo, Bill Menna and Gene Micci, Shelton Aldermanic President John Anglace and Center Stage co-owner Gary Scarpa. Stage and screen star Brian Dennehy and 1960s Green Bay Packer captain Bob Skoronski also performed in the show as scouts under pioneer scout leader and Derby Hall of Fame member Edmund D. Strang, who directed the show for a remarkable 70 years. Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter is in his 16th year of directing the show. Ritter said "The show continues to be performed each year because it helps build self confidence for our scouts, it introduces old time songs to a new generation and provides financial support for our three scout groups".
Tickets to the May 7 & 8, 7:30PM show are available for $7 from Pack 3, Troop 3 and Crew 33 scouts, or by calling 732-0343. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Proceeds from the show benefit the scouts attending summer camp at Housatonic Council's Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation, Cub Scout Day Camp and the scout's trip to the 2010 National Scout Jamboree.