While America rocked and rolled its way through the 50s, 60s & 70s, the American polka movement was alive and well in cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Chicago. Polka fans, both young and old followed the careers of recording stars like Lil’ Wally Jagiello, Eddie Blazonczyk, Marion Lush, and Little Richard “Chicago’s Polka General” Towalski with the same fervor as teenage fans of the Rolling Stones. Many of these artists had fan clubs with membership that numbered in the tens of thousands. Concert posters, like the ones below, were hung all over Polish neighborhoods in taverns, churches, Polish businesses and on telephone poles, promoted these spirited dances. This collection of polka concert show posters is a rare look back at what many believe to be the “golden age” of polkas.
For decades, these posters hung in the attic of Phil and Estelle Kurdziel at their house on Theodore Street in Buffalo’s Schiller Park/Queen of Peace neighborhood. Devoted polka lovers, the Kurdziels took pride in their sons, Richard and David, who were players for Buffalo's Happy Hi-Notes ('64 thru '77). Richard eventually play concertina for other bands including Mix n' Match and the Honky Hoppers. After each show, they would save a dance poster and staple them to the eaves in the attic as a memento. The room became a time capsule for polka ephemera. When the family moved from the Eastside, the posters were carefully taken down by Grandson Richie Kurdziel Jr. Forgotten Buffalo is proud to share these posters with the world through the generous assistance of the Kurdziel Family.
1968, Eddie Blazonczyk, Depew (Buffalo)
1962, Lil Wally, Crystal Beach, Ontario (Buffalo)
1971, Eddie Blazonczyk, Cheektowaga (Buffalo)
1976, Blazonczyk & Lush, Buffalo
1966, The New Yorkers and the Happy Hi Notes, Buffalo
Lil Wally, Clinton Street, Buffalo
1966, Jumping Jacks, Happy Hi Notes, Valiants, Buffalo