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Home Features The Story of my Old Man, San Cas, Ken Lazarus and Tomorrow’s...

The Story of my Old Man, San Cas, Ken Lazarus and Tomorrow’s Children

Besides founding Santiago Castillo Limited in 1926 at the tender age of 20, my old man, Santiago Castillo, Sr., was the owner of movie cinemas across the country of Belize and a fanatic of the entertainment business. These included Palace and Majestic in Belize City, Joyland in Dangriga, El Encanto in Corozal and Dreamland in Orange Walk, which was renamed Tropical Theatre after the Dreamland burned down. The only name I can’t remember is the name of the movie theater in San Ignacio, which was run by his beloved friend, Mr. Zaiden; but that is where you readers come in. Let me know if any of you remember that one.

The Old Man tagged me along on most of his weekend trips across the country visiting these theaters, which was a thrill for a young Santi. Hell, he took me to watch his favorite movies like Ben Hur, King Kong, Sound of Music etc. like 6 times at all the theaters. Having already developed a taste for music with my childhood neighbor and best friend Carlitos Valdez, this entertainment business was right down my alley. In fact, Carlitos and I were in a kids band called the Bumblebees which even participated in the Battle of the Bands at Memorial Park, a big event in those days. I was cranking out songs like “Wooly Bully” and “From a Jack to a King”. You can therefore imagine my excitement when the Old Man started bringing down Caribbean bands like Sonny Bradshaw and my favorite ever, Ken Lazarus and Tomorrow’s Children. I was 14 years old and sucking in every bit of it.

They did a couple shows at Palace Theatre, and it was from that age that I knew I wanted to do that someday. Some 15 years later, I realized my dream with Santino’s Messengers and also did a few performances at the Palace Theatre, including the closing and last show at the Palace Theatre around 1989 or 1990, a very nostalgic night for me. The MC for all our shows, including the final night, was Edison Seferino Coleman, an entertainment extraordinaire, who was also the MC for the Ken Lazarus shows.

That first Ken Lazarus/Tomorrow’s Children show took place at the Palace Theatre on November 10, 1970, as captioned by Amandala in this newspaper clipping of that time. The bonus was John Jones, who was the Tom Jones of the Caribbean and who sounded identical to Tom Jones. To make matters sweeter, Belize’s own Anthony Richards performed that night with Tomorrow’s Children. I was downstairs on main-floor, as it was called, front and center. In fact, that night is forever embedded and engrained in my mind, and although there are things that just happened last year that I can’t remember, that night 51 years ago is one that will forever remain with me.

I hear Ken Lazarus now lives in Consejo, Corozal, Belize, and if anyone knows how I can get in touch with him, please let me know. I would love to visit with Ken, who should be about 80 by now. I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have enjoyed writing about it. Stay Safe, Belize.

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