GROW­ING UP

When it came to com­edy, they all knew the drill.

Reminisce - - Contents - BY FRAN SOLO • ENDI­COTT, NY

Dad’s com­edy troupe; high school se­niors travel for fun.

My fa­ther, Joe, be­longed to a troupe called the Aqua-Nuts Com­edy Drill Team, which per­formed in pa­rades and sport­ing events through­out western New York and Penn­syl­va­nia in the 1960s. Formed by lo­cal fun­ny­man Eddy Rawady, the Aqua-Nuts en­joyed some fame dur­ing the seven or eight years they were to­gether.

Their uni­forms were old-timey bathing suits made by their wives, high-top sneak­ers col­ored in a checker­board pat­tern, white work gloves, and tri­corn hats worn back­ward. They car­ried cer­e­mo­nial guns cut and fash­ioned from two-by-fours, painted white, with pieces of black rub­ber hose glued on to form the bar­rels.

In ev­ery pa­rade, Rawady would lead the Nuts push­ing a huge sword on wheels with a corn­stalk pok­ing out of his hat like a feather.

Each of the guys has a fa­vorite story from their many per­for­mances. One of their fond­est mem­o­ries is ap­pear­ing at the an­nual grape and wine fes­ti­val in Naples, New York, in 1966 or ’67. Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., was there prior to his cam­paign for pres­i­dent and sent word to the troupe how much he en­joyed their show.

The mem­ory that brings the big­gest laugh, how­ever, has to do with a woman who ap­proached them af­ter a pa­rade in Hor­nell, New York, where they were based.

As they were head­ing over to the Amer­i­can Le­gion, she asked them where they lived. When they told her, she replied that they were a dis­grace to the Hor­nell com­mu­nity.

They’ve been laugh­ing about it ever since. Ex­cept for that woman, ev­ery­one they met loved the Aqua-Nuts, who in turn loved to make peo­ple laugh.

Their uni­forms were old-timey bathing suits made by their wives.

THE AQUA-NUTS you can see are Steve Ar­gen­tieri, far left, Bill Rem­ing­ton, Wil­son “Whitey” Ha­gadorn and Joe Solo. Also in the troupe were Eddy Rawady, Dave Gen­er­alli and Bud Baker.

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