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