A record-breaking Twist

BRAND BOULEVARD — Glendale secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records on Saturday as nearly 1,700 people joined with singer Chubby Checker to dance "the Twist" — 50 years after the song dominated the airwaves.

"We're going to break that sucker, and we're going to go down in history," Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said, encouraging the large crowd waiting for Checker to take the stage and sing his hit No. 1 song "The Twist" to join in the record attempt.

Checker's performance headlined the city's 17th annual Cruise Night, which filled a blocked-off stretch of Brand Boulevard with more than 450 classic cars and trucks and retro music acts.

As the clock neared 9 p.m. Saturday, event officials seemed concerned that the city's record attempt would miss the mark.

While thousands watched Checker perform, in order to be officially counted by the Guinness official who had come from New York for the occasion, people doing the classic dance had to go into two "Twist pens" on either side of the stage. Turnstiles counted each person who entered the fenced-off dance area.

The areas remained fairly empty with 15 minutes to show time as hundreds of people chose to remain firmly planted in front of their stage, afraid that they would lose their spots.

"It's too hard to get back here to see," said Valencia resident Linda Inman. "It's too cramped."

Still, after continued encouragement from event officials and a slight delay to allow more people into the "twist pens," Checker hit the stage and sang the song everyone was waiting for in honor of its 50th anniversary.

With 1,692 people officially counted doing the famous dance, the city broke the standing world record by one person.

"We just thought it would be kind of neat to be part of history," said Lancaster resident Mark Warwick, who danced from one of the official areas.

Tens of thousands of people came from across Southern California for the event, which city officials said has become one of the premiere car shows in the region.

Hundreds of cars swept several blocks in a spectrum of bright colors.

Indiana resident Donetta Huffman, who was in Southern California visiting her son, stumbled upon the car show when coming to Brand Boulevard for dinner.

"We are so excited," she said. "We love cars."

Huffman said she regularly attends car shows back home, but had never seen one like this.

"I've never seen so many high-dollar cars in one place," she said.

Los Feliz resident Steve DaCosta fondly recalled the cars his family had owned decades ago, including a 1957 Ford Thunderbird and 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, while admiring the classic cars on display.

"Every year I come," he said. "It brings back all the old memories of growing up in Los Angeles."


Cruise Night Trophy Winners

Mayor's Trophy: 1949 Cadillac Fastback, Ricardo Mena

Police Chief Trophy: 1932 Ford Roadster, Bill Bennett

Fire Chief Trophy: 1957 Ford T-Bird, Jory Gorcey

Celebrity Choice Trophy: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, Denis Gallonco

Director of Community Services & Parks Trophy: 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe, Hector Avila

Director of Community Redevelopment & Housing Trophy: 1968 Chevrolet Camero SS, Charles Radford

Public Works Trophy: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, Robert Fredericks

Cruise Night Committee Trophy: 1966 Lincoln Continental, Yurik Khodjasarian

KRTH 101 Sponsor Trophy: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, Robert Fredericks

Glendale News-Press Sponsor Trophy: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, Steven Babbitt

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