With technology the way it is we can pretty much watch anything we want at the touch of a button. But back in the 40's, 50's and 60's you had to go out for entertainment.
It was the era of the supper club and if you're old enough to remember then get ready for a trip down memory lane if you're not old enough then welcome to a time when a night out was truly an "event"..
Greensboro was a different place in the 1950's. Gas was 20-cents a gallon and a loaf of bread was 14-cents but there was one place that was priceless.
Fred Koury's Plantation Supper Club.
Rob Massengale's knows a thing or two about the supper club concept. His father Burt moved his band and his family from Mississippi to Greensboro to be the regulars at The Plantation. And why not..it was called the hottest spot between New York and Miami. "This was the end all be all place to be on a Friday or Saturday night...this was the place to go."
"You had all these different named groups to come through and if they didn't have their band Dad would have the back up band."
"You're talking top of the list. Miller, Dorsey, Count Basie Duke Ellington..."
Add to that the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, The Drifters and even a young Billy "Crash" Craddock.
And then.... there was the legendary stop by Jayne Mansfield.
"She had gone from the Plantation Supper club to another gig in Mississippi and had the accident that killed her. So the last gig she played was at The Plantation Supper Club."
The Plantation, like all supper clubs, was a fancy affair.
Judy Hampton's mother Eva was the bookeeper for decades and remembers the experience. "Not a casual atmosphere whatsoever...it was a dressy semi formal type of attire"
"You put on your very best clothes or you bought new clothes to be there"
"People traveled to Greensboro to go to The Plantation Supper Club."
The employees worked long hours and grew very close.
Judy says "The staff, they all knew each other...they were like family. Everybody got to know everybody and their children."
A night at The Plantation was a full evening ...it wasn't a "drop-in" for a bite type of place.
"It could start as early as the cocktail hour and would last well into the night. I think it wouldn't close until one or two in the morning."
And Judy's mother worked until close....and saw it all.
"It was like New Years Eve every night"
"She would come home with some funny stories about some customers who overindulged and had gotten a little frisky."
The Plantation survived decades in Greensboro, even made it through several fires. But as times changed the supper club era..... vanished.
But for those who remember the days of "fine dining, top notch entertainment and dancing into the night" The Plantation remains one of jewels in the crown of Old Greensboro.
(We would like to thank The Greensboro History Museum, The High Point Historical Museum, Rob Massengale and Judy Hampton for all their pictures and films.)