Category Archives: 1950s

Live At Lagoon, 1956!

Out of the hundreds of concerts at Lagoon’s Patio Gardens, some might assume there are many recordings of those concerts available. But in reality, they are extremely rare. For a long time, I thought Stan Kenton’s 1962 concert was the only one. But I was pleasantly surprised recently when a visitor to the website left a comment about a live recording of Woody Herman from 1956.

This CD features the concerts from the 27th and 28th of July, 1956. It was the second of three visits Woody Herman made to Lagoon over the years. The recording apparently originated as a live broadcast by the old Utah radio station, KYBL. It begins with an announcer stating his location at “New Lagoon” – which is how the park was marketed for a few years after being rebuilt from the large fire of 1953.

Woody Herman had a few different bands that played with him during his long career. After his first band was nicknamed “Herman’s Herd”, the usage continued with the Second Herd and Third Herd. The latter group recorded music and toured together from 1950 to 1956.

A notable member of the Third Herd is piano player Vince Guaraldi who later became a well-known jazz artist on his own. Now his name is almost synonymous with Charlie Brown television specials.

1956 newspaper ad

Without today’s sophisticated soundboard technology, the piano wasn’t picked up very well on microphones, but Guaraldi’s distinct piano work can still be clearly recognized, like in “Opus de Funk”.

These concerts have been made available by Storyville Records – a Danish record label that started out by reissuing US jazz albums for fans in northern Europe and has since accumulated and released a staggering amount of jazz performances that are often hard to find in America.



Live At Lagoon, 1962!

Own the Stan Kenton concert on CD

Patio Gardens

Alphabetical List Of Performers At Lagoon

Chronological List Of Performers At Lagoon


Bang, Derrick. Vince Guaraldi on LP and CD., accessed 13 Jun 2018.

About Storyville., accessed 13 Jun 2018.

Neilson, Craig. Comment on Chronological List Of Performers At Lagoon. 5 Apr 2018.

5 Jul 1950: Bandits Crack Safe at Lagoon

Article published in Deseret News, 5 Jul 1950:


Dean Swaner, 1950
“Dean Swaner, Lagoon employe, holds safe handle knocked off as robbers broke open safe after binding and gagging nightwatchman at gunpoint.” Photo: Deseret News

FARMINGTON – Two armed men bound and gagged a nightwatchman, pried open a safe and escaped with 11 sacks of money early Wednesday at Lagoon resort, Davis County Sheriff LeGrande Hess reported.

Sheriff Hess “guessed” the loss might run as high as $15,000.

But Robert Freed, park manager, said he couldn’t even make an estimate of the loss until after a check by the auditing department. He said it was at least partially covered by insurance.

Hugh Roberts, 74-year-old nightwatchman, said he had just finished cleaning a room back of the resort office and walked into the office about 4 a.m. to be confronted by two masked men, revolvers [drawn].

“Stick ’em up buddy. This is a holdup and we’re not kidding,” he was told.

Mr. Roberts told Sheriff Hess they plastered a strip of adhesive tape across his eyes, forced him into a back bedroom and bound and gagged him with torn sheets and more tape.

The robbers then returned to the office and ripped off the safe door with sledge hammers, bar, punch, and coal chisel, the sheriff said.

Eleven bags of money, ranging from pennies to $20 bills, were taken. It represented receipts from Independence Day operations, the sheriff said, and had been bagged for banking Wednesday.

Elvin King, 1950
“Elvin King, cleanup crew foreman, holds up strips of sheeting which armed robbers used to bind and gag Nightwatchman Hugh Roberts. Mr. King discovered Roberts when he came to work Wednesday at 5 a.m.” Photo: Deseret News

The nightwatchman, his hands and feet crisscrossed with strips of sheeting and tape, lay helpless until 5 a.m. when he was discovered by a cleanup crew.

He was so upset by the robbery he could not give a detailed description of the assailants but he said one was considerably darker than the other. Mr. Roberts said they were wearing caps.

Sheriff Hess said they entered the office by breaking a lock at the rear of the combination office and home. Mr. and Mrs. Max Hess, who occupy the home, were away at the time, he said.

The sheriff said he has reason to believe there were three men involved, though only two were present at the robbery. No clue was given as to method of getaway. Three concession operators who live in bunkhouses at the resort said they saw two men leave the office about 4 a.m. One of the operators followed the men a short distance, then turned back and joined his companions.

The employes – Wesley Wicker, Leon Duffy, and Pete Vlahos, all teenagers – said they thought nothing of the incident.

The resort closed at 1 a.m. after one of the heaviest crowds of the season.

“Photograph shows how Lagoon safe was ‘cleaned’ by two robber-safecrackers who bound and gagged nightwatchman and broke open the safe early Wednesday.” Photo: Deseret News