Social Media Summons the Ghost of Gilley's at Urban Cowboy Reunion
|Crystal Gayle at Gilley's, late '70s|
Then, of course, there was that little ol' movie starring Mr. Saturday Night Fever himself. Schubert and many others worked as extras in the film that managed to put Pasadena, Texas (not California!) on the map. How true-to-life was it? Schubert says that while a lot of plant workers at the local premiere giggled at the outrageous lack of job-site safety precautions in the film, a lot of it was pretty dang familiar.
"It was pretty accurate in the sense that the guy leaves his family in East Texas and migrates to Houston," Schubert says. "Because back in those days, Houston was a boomtown. There was no problem with unemployment, and the money was good. That part of it was pretty much real.
"Everybody was jumping into the plant work at the time -- they were hiring by the droves," Schubert rememberes. "After we'd get off and have a few dollars in our pockets, we'd go over to Gilley's and have a few beers, listen to some music, do a little dancing... it was just the place to go. A lot of people went and met their wives there, and I was one of them!"
Now that most of those who remember Gilley's heyday are nearing retirement age, Schubert says the reunion is bound to include as much catching up on one another's kids, health and lost friends and family members as it will reminiscences about the magical dancin' days of their youth.
Gary Stewart at Gilley's, late '70s
"It's really just an excuse to get together," Schubert says. "It's not so much focused on the movie, really. Everybody just kind of reminisces about the old days being at the club, you know? 'Hey, have you seen so-and-so?' and 'Oh, guess who died!' It's a lot of seeing old friends and making a few new ones, I guess."
Those bygone days of longnecks and mechanical bulls might not all be ancient history, however. A hot topic of conversation this year is sure to be the recent online announcement by Mickey Gilley himself that the club might soon be resurrected.
"We might be seeing another Gilley's in the next year or two," Schubert says. "I think it would be really neat. There's a demand for it. A lot of people still like to do the boot-scootin' and the country music and everything. It's still there; it hasn't left."
The Urban Cowboy reunion is scheduled for Saturday night at the Texas Saloon, 7337 Spencer Hwy. in Pasadena.
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