WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Halloween on Monday, Oct. 31, 1932, is a day that went down in history.
Ninety years ago was the first electric guitar public performance ever, and it happened right here in Wichita at the Shadowland Dance Club in the 2700 block of S. Broadway, near the John Mack Bridge.
“There were a lot of forces at work, beginning in the 1920s,” Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Executive Director Eric Cale said. “The emergence of radio, of sound in movies, and people thought, let’s amplify musical instruments.”
Cale said it all stemmed from one person – Gage Brewer.
“He was the first to run to Los Angeles and get these things and go public with them,” said Cale. “About 90 years ago this month, he came back, he hit the newspapers and started a series of Halloween-themed concerts all through Sedgwick County. Everything was decked out for Halloween at the time.”
It was a world debut right here in Wichita, Cale said.
“It kind of ignited an enthusiasm and a culture,” said Cale. “He was a Wichita band leader who was about it and was right on top of it. “It goes right up there with our fast food heritage and our aviation heritage as well.”
Unfortunately, around four years after the first electric guitar performance, the club was destroyed by a fire.