The Kings of Cape Cod: Remembering the Legendary Cape Cod Happy Hour

Cliff Myers, John Morgan and Gordie Milne, singing at Jake Rooney’s in Harwich Port Wednesday night. Photo courtesy: Jake Rooney’s

DENNIS – The Cape Cod Happy Hour era was celebrated Wednesday with the local premier of the Kings of Cape Cod, a documentary that chronicles the party-hearty times when the booze flowed freely and a group of performers ruled the local bar scene.

From the 1960’s to the end of the 1980’s, summers on Cape Cod were dominated by late afternoon happy hours at the Crystal Palace, the Sandy Pond Club, Pufferbellies, the Mill Hill Club, the Improper Bostonian and the Compass Lounge, among others.

John Morgan, Gordie Milne, DJ Sullivan, Cliff Myers, Dick Doherty and Jim Plunkett were some of the stars — Cape Cod’s own version of the Rat Pack.

They attracted thousands of young people every weekend who were looking to cut loose for a few hours, throw down 2-for-1 beers and sing about a roof that was on fire and a woman named Alice. (Those of you who were there, know the songs I’m talking about and why we won’t discuss the lyrics in a family-friendly post!)

From Falmouth to Dennis Port, they were the undisputed kings of the afternoon party, with young fun-seekers coming off the beach early just to get in line at their favorite club and be part of another legendary weekend sing-a-long.

The movie, which was shown to a packed house at the Entertainment Cinemas in Dennis, was the brainchild of Dan McCarthy, a professional DJ and a long-time fan of the Cape Cod Happy Hour.

In 2011, while visiting a Jim Plunkett Happy Hour at the Improper Bostonian, McCarthy started thinking about all the great times he experienced over the years.

And he realized it was important to chronicle a time on Cape Cod that seemed a lot happier and a lot more relaxed.

That led to a nearly 7-year project that culminated this year with the completion of Kings of Cape Cod.

The documentary is a well-told story that seamlessly takes the viewer from the early days of the Cape Cod Happy Hour, to the end of an era when the Mill Hill Club was finally torn down to make way for a memory care facility.

It contains never-before seen photos and video from inside the clubs that helped create a lifetime of memories for so many people. New interviews with the performers and their fans done for the film provide a unique insight into an era the likes of which we will never see again.

And for a few hours on Wednesday night, the Kings reigned again after the showing.

John Morgan, Gordie Milne and Cliff Myers attended a reception at Jake Rooney’s in Harwich Port. Morgan, who still plays weekly on Saturday night at Jake’s, got the crowd going and invited Milne and Myers to join him on stage.

And for a brief moment, it felt a lot like those sun-splashed and boozed soaked days of 1975, or maybe 1985, depending on your age.

And yes, they did drink out of a shoe Wednesday night. And again, those of us (including myself) who were there back in the day, know what we mean.

More information about how to view the Kings of Cape Cod can be found on the producers’ Facebook Page.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

(Take a moment and tell us about your Cape Cod Happy Hour memories)

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