Happy Anniversary Murray Comic Club


The Murray Comic Club celebrates its 80th anniversary tonight and its 18th 1st Prize in a row with a gala at SugarHouse Casino.  500 attendees are here, including past presidents and officers of other clubs. And, of course, big cheers to President Rich Porco and his daughter, Jessica, long time leaders of Murray and standard bearers of Mummery.  As Rich said tonight, “We’re not a club, we’re a family.”


Murray has been a steady supporter of Easter Seals, our Armed Forces overseas and Philabundance. On New Year’s Day and throughout the year, Murray is number one. Congratulations and thank you, Murray Comic Club.

Mummer Power

Great turnout last night at SugarHouse Casino for the annual Mummers Against Cancer event in Philadelphia.  Mike and Deb, and daughter Debbie, worked hard to put on the event and carry it off. That’s Deb and Deb to the left.

The proceeds are going to the American Cancer Society.

SugarHouse also contributed to the success of the event with the venue and with a card deal for supporters of Mummers Against Cancer.

The band, Big House, also rocked part of the SugarHouse Casino.

As we say goodbye to the first weeks of spring, we look back and see it’s been an active period in the world of Mummery.  The String Band Association held its annual banquet at the Union League.  President Marty Good led the recognition of the participants and award winners from New Year’s Day, plus the special honorees, including the new Hall of Fame members.  Congratulations to all.

Great banquets as well by the Wench Brigade Association and by the Fancy Division and Fancy Brigade Association.






Murray Comic Club held its annual  banquet, which is always a fun time.  Murray also excels with its annual Easter Seals drive.

Woodland String Band held its victory lap weekend with the 1st Prize Gala and the Serenade.

The Mummers Association celebrated the 2012 season and the Mummers Museum held events marking  the resurgence of the museum and the tradition.

Clubs continue with appearances and get ready for the parades that begin to fill the calendar and then, before you know it, it’s time to hit second and third gear in the run for 2013.

Shining Brightly

The stars shined like the Mummers Museum spire last night at events in South Philadelphia.  It is so great to see the tower radiating light again.  2nd & Washington is evermore the beacon.


The champion Murray Comic Club, led by President Rich Porco, celebrated another successful year and recognized its stellar members at its banquet held at Epiphany of Our Lord School at 13th and Jackson.  Rich is a great leader who truly values each of his members.

The family of the late Jerry Murray was on hand to witness Jerry’s induction into the Hall of Fame.





Recognition continued at the Mummers Museum banquet at EOM in South Philadelphia. Among those honored was Dave Anderson, of Woodland String Band, awarded the Al Heller award for his contributions to Mummery.


As the museum tower suggests, the future is bright.

The More the Murray-er

If you’ve got a mind to do a little shopping at Target this weekend, or even if you don’t, head on down to the Target parking lot at Front and Snyder and drop a donation please into the buckets held by members of the mighty Murray Comic Club.  Murray will be holding its annual fundraiser for Easter Seals this Saturday, April 23rd, between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Club members will be in the area of the Target lot collecting whatever you can contribute.  Murray has been doing this for years, along with sending care packages to the U.S. servicemen and women overseas in a separate outreach effort.  Murray President Rich Porco organizes his Mummers to give to the community throughout the year. 

Murray Comic Club members are truly there when needed.  That is especially why I am humbled and grateful to have recently been made an honorary member of the Murray Comic Club.  Of course, Murray being a 1st Prize Winning Club on New Year’s Day matters, too!   Murray has made winning both a habit and an art form.  My congratulations to Captain Dennis Pellegrino and to all in Murray, especially to the 1st prize winners and those singled out by the club for their contributions. That means you, Rusty.  And that is particularly so when it comes to Jessica Porco.  She not only makes Murray go, I think she also makes the entire parade go. A Hall of Famer is Jessica.  When it comes to Mummery, it is The More the Murray-er!

Hannah is Now in the House

Another Mummer has entered the world.  Hannah Adalyn Becica was born today.  She arrived weighing 7 pounds and looking quite cute.  Mother Katie and Father Ivo are doing just fine.   Katie’s Mom, Joan Murray, is ecstatic.  Congratulations to the Becica family, the Murray family,  the Wild Rovers, and the Murray Comic Club Family.  All know, too, that Joan’s late husband, Jerry Murray, is smiling from above and they wish he were here so they could see him enjoy his grandchild and glow about his daughter, Katie, and son-in-law, Ivo.  Jerry left us a little over two years ago, shortly after the parade in 2009.  His “Wild Rovers” have carried on on Broad Street, remembering him all the way and his family have done him proud.  Congratulations to Jerry’s sisters, Maryanne and Marjorie, and brother, Joe.  And, of course, there is cousin, Lynn, who is already planning how to spoil baby Hannah.  This is a good day.

Nostalgia, New Kids, Apocalypse & Dynasties

Lori Wilson and Me in the Broadcast Booth

Nostalgia ruled the 2010 Comcast Mummers Parade and a changing of the guard proved reassuring for the future of Mummery. The new kids on the block, the first year captains and drill and music directors, showed they are up to taking the baton from the legends who preceeded them.  A view of the battle after Armageddon won the day and two powerful Clubs redefined the word “dynasty.”  All that and the pageantry and the music of Mummery were the 2010 Comcast Mummers Parade!

The Mummers shock-trooped the senses.  Grand Marshalls Michael and Kevin Bacon and Bunny Sigler added spice up Broad Street.  From Landi’s opening with “Time of Our Lives” through the rise of the mighty Wench Brigades to Jim Driadon and Greater Overbrook’s homage to the “Memories of the Way We Were,” the roots of Mummery were honored and the times in which we live were recognized with humor, sometimes a little edginess as Mummers can do, and with openess and honesty, sprinkled with a good measure of inspiration.

"Dancing with the Czars"

All hail the dynasty that is Murray Comic Club which grabbed a record 12th 1st Prize in a row and Captain Dennis Pellegrino has now captured his 8th 1st Prize. Dennis’ “Mummers on Mars” was not only fun but the rocket ship was well thought out and its landing and take-off very effective. The club’s “Dancing with the Czars” took 1st Prize Brigade.  Goodtimers did nicely in the float category, a 2nd, with “O’s Dozer” and a great 3rd in the Brigade’s with “Field of Dreams.” Harry Kalas is smiling.  Congratulations to the Laing family in Landi for taking 1st Prize float.

Jetson's Theme

They did so with the excellent “The Jetson’s Zooming In The New Year.”  The oversized likenesses were really cool.

1st Prize in the Wench Brigade Division goes to Bryson Brigade and Eddie “Gootch” Bryson gets top Captain. Bryson Brigade has been marching since the 1970’s and sprouted a good win with the theme, “Pops Secret Garden Goin’ Green.” The garden headgear was righteous.

Mr. Detail reigned surpeme again in the Fancy Division. Kenny Medeiros won 1st Prize Captain with his “Barnyard Boogie.” The man who started with Lobster NYB is swimming in butter. Fine performance, Mr. Detail. Congratulations to Mandy and friends making their debut and finishing 2nd in the Fancy Trio category with “Polynesian Tiki Gods.” In Handsome Trim, “Guardian of the Crown” took 1st. Smooth performance, Jesse.

"The Old West Saloon"

While Golden Sunrise finished second to Hog Island, there were some outstanding moments for GS. The first and most emotional to fans was witnessing John Lucas reprise his former role as Captain for the 30th time and on the 50th anniversary of the club. In a magnanimous gesture at the clubhouse a couple of nights earlier, current Captain Matt Glovacs asked John to take the helm one more time. The club can also be proud of its many presentations, especially capturing the top three prizes in the Handsome Costume Category. 


That includes Jacky Bam Bam’s igniting 1st Prize performance of “Firestarter.” Third place Oregon Fancy Club’s Handsome Costume entries, “Wicked” and “Dancing with the Stars” were excellent and finished high, as did “Bye Bye Blackbird” in Handsome Trim. In the String Band Division, nostalgia did very well.

"Feudin', Fussin' & Fightin'"

They have owned the 21st Century.  Fralinger showed what successful organizations do: they remain strong even in transition. 8 1st Prizes in a row now for Fralinger for its Hatfield and McCoy-like theme. With Bill Bowen, Jr., and Mike Rayer stepping aside from Captain and Presentation Director positions, who knew what could happen?  Well, co-directors Jack Mills and Joe Ferry showed what can happen, as did Captain Thomas D’Amore.  And Thomas put an exclamation point on it when he also took 1st Prize Captain. Respect should also go to music arranger John Wernega, who for 9 years in a row now has taken first in the judging category of music effect.

Congratulations to Charlie Roetz for a 2nd place finish the year after he took 1st prize. Denny Palandro and Jack Hee and all the rest performed excellently. Jim Tatar, Jr., of Greater Kensington may have tried the toughest routine of the night and showed us some moves we’ve never seen before. Ryan Radcliffe and all the new Captains enhanced their band’s performances.  Even the “Old Heads” were on their game, among them Pete Broomall who was as energetic and multi-faceted as ever.  Aqua and Ron Iannacone were awesome as were John Baron and Hegeman.  Durning was hilarious.  84-year-old Jimmy Buck was a sight to see in “Good Clean Fun.”

Still, the competition was tight. Less than 2 points separated Fralinger from 3rd Place Quaker City. Ferko, led by Anthony Celenza, on an upward trend, finished a strong second with its nostalgic hobo theme. Quaker City also performed at a QC level, handling a serious, respectful Spanish theme with precision. Charlie Roetz sold that fountain scene. It’s a positive memory that will last. Just another note, among many I could do with each band, and this note concerns Polish American String Band. Polish American finished 7th in the official judging and while that is a good spot, I think more recognition should be given to P-A’s outstanding execution of “Joker’s Ball” which they did in the spirit of a generation ago.

And this word: The winner of the annual Custard’s Last Stand Award is…Quaker City String Band with “Mums of La Mancha.”

In the Fancy Brigade Division, two powerhouses ruled: South Philly Vikings takes 1st Prize Brigade and Shooting Stars Captain Mickey Adams, takes 1st Prize Captain. Mickey has been doing this for some 20 years as Captain with a lot of wins in those years. For the Brigades, it was a tigh race, especially between 2nd and 3rd in the Captain’s category.  Jack Hatty of Saturnalians got the nod by one point over Pete D’Amato of the Vikings.  In the overall Brigades category, the Vikes won by a point and a half over Shooting Stars.  South Philly Vikings’ vision of a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., was powerful.  The human race will be safe if the Vikings are in charge.

Thanks to all who hit the street on New Year’s Day!