The SOS (Society of Stranders/Shaggers) Spring Safari is going on right now, April 21-30, 2017. Ten fun-filled days of Shagging to the old beach music and the new, on Main Street in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You are guaranteed to find many of the old timers that came to Gene “Swink” Laughter’s first SOS on September 11, 1980. Among those SOS members is our own North Myrtle Beach real estate agent, Booker Clark, renewing old acquaintances and shagging the night away, which he has been doing since his teens.
Although Swink Laughter died on February 14, 2017, at age 84, his legacy lives on as shaggers from all along the east coast gather in North Myrtle Beach—the “Home of the Shag”—to participate in the SOS festivities. The North Myrtle Beach real estate, such as oceanfront condos and beach houses closest to Main Street are much sought after during SOS. The shaggers can just walk to their favorite venues to enjoy the scheduled events without the hassle of parking.
We will not divulge Booker’s age, but he says he most likely attended the very first SOS when Swink Laughter and his friends organized a get-together for the beach boys and girls of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Booker has been visiting North Myrtle Beach since he was a small child and remembers watching the shagging exhibitions at Studebaker’s in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when he really wanted to be riding the roller coaster. His mother and his aunt were avid “beach goers” who came to North Myrtle Beach and participated in the “shag” before SOS was created, renting North Myrtle Beach real estate and bringing Booker along to enjoy the fun.
Booker was inducted into the Shaggers Hall of Fame in Charlotte in November 2016. Some of the reasons for being inducted into the Hall of Fame is to honor proficient shaggers, because they deserve special recognition for their contributions to shag dancing, its music and the atmosphere in which it has been cultivated. Booker not only contributed to shag dancing in Charlotte, he also contributed in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina every opportunity that presented itself, even if he had to hitchhike in his very early years.
Booker was also voted into The Living Legends Association in North Myrtle Beach. Some of the considerations for induction is that you have to be 50 plus years old, a long-time survivor of the beach lifestyle, and well-known for your unique “self”. Some members are lifeguards, dancers, and other past beach workers, as well as long-time frequent beach visitors, but all love the music and are part of the beach history. This description fits Booker perfectly.
We also understand that the Legends can show you a few moves on the dance floor as well as tell you how it really used to be around the beach for the shaggers and other beach lovers that rented Myrtle Beach real estate or as Booker sometimes did, stay in the maid’s quarters of houses—complimentary if the owners consented. Of course, there were no maids present. He also used to dance at “The Pad” and “Harold’s on the Ocean” which are now long gone.
True to the “Living Legends” reputation, Booker loves to tell stories of the “old days”. He can entertain you for hours, talking about his first dance experience all the way up to recent events. The first time he ever danced was when a girl asked him to go to the Sock Hop in Jr. High School. He agreed because she told him that you could get free coca colas, which used to be a real treat in the “good ole days”. When the girl invited Booker to dance, he declined, stating that he did not know how. Not willing to let him off the hook, she said that she would show him. First, she showed him where to put his hands, and Booker asked, “Now what?” She answered, “Just walk.” So, Booker walked her across the court to the stage, and when he could go no further, he again asked, “Now what?”. She said, “Just back up.” So, they backed all the way back up to where they started, which of course was where the cokes were, and Booker rewarded himself with a coca cola. Needless to say, Booker is a lot smoother when dancing with women these days.
One of our favorite stories that Booker tells is, “The Red Dance Shoe Saga”. Booker had a lot of friends that went to SOS and always wanted Booker to go, because he was a good dancer and a lot of fun. During one SOS event, his friends called and asked if he was going to attend SOS. Booker told them that his money was tighter than usual, and he had not planned to go to SOS; therefore, he had not rented any North Myrtle Beach real estate for the event. They told him not to worry about it, because he could sleep on their couch. So, Booker went to SOS and wore his favorite red dance shoes to shag in, but he had owned them for a while and they were beginning to wear out. A small hole formed in the sole and by the third night of SOS, the hole was so large that it was rubbing blisters on Booker’s foot. So, Booker went to his car, got some duct tape and wrapped it around the whole front portion of his shoe. Problem solved as far as Booker was concerned, and he continued to shag the night away.
The next morning, when Booker woke up on the couch in the North Myrtle Beach oceanfront condo, he was confronted by a group of upset females who had been kind enough to allow him to stay on their couch. Booker didn’t understand what he had done until they produced the “worn out” shoes and conveyed the message that he had returned their kindness by embarrassing them to death. He had publicly humiliated them by dancing all night in the conspicuous, red dance shoes that had duct tape wrapped around them as if he was too destitute to buy a pair of shoes. The funniest part of the story is that when he got back home, he started receiving “care packages” from the females he had embarrassed.
If you, like Booker, are participating in the SOS Spring Safari, don’t forget to attend the 23rd Annual SOS parade on Saturday, April 29th at 1:00pm on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Better yet, your Shag Club can enter the parade in four different categories: 1) Most Original Theme–From sane to insane, this entry does not have to be related to shag dance, music, etc. 2) Best Shag Theme–This entry must be related to the shag dance, the music, or the laid back lifestyle.3) Shagging Troop– Anything goes. 4) Best Club Vehicle — Drive, drag, push, or pull! You can win up to $300 and the Awards Ceremony will take place at Fat Harold’s Beach Club at 3:30. Enjoy yourself and be safe!
If you would like for Booker to help you buy or sell property in the Myrtle Beach area, please call Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Elliott Coastal Living today at 843-280-5704.