Monday, October 3, 2011
Born Ernest Evans in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, on October 3, 1941, singer Chubby Checker celebrates his 70th birthday today. He was raised in the projects of South Philadelphia. After school, Evans would entertain customers at his various jobs, including Fresh Farm Poultry on Ninth Street and at the Produce Market, with songs and jokes, and it was his boss at the Produce Market, Tony A., who gave Evans the nickname "Chubby". The store owner of Fresh Farm Poultry, Henry Colt, was so impressed by Ernest's performances for the customers that he, with his colleague and friend Karl Mann, who worked as a song-writer for Cameo-Parkway Records, arranged for young Chubby to do a private recording for American Bandstand host Dick Clark. It was at this recording session that Evans got his stage name from Clark's wife, who asked Evans what his name was. "Well", he replied, "my friends call me 'Chubby'". As he had just completed a Fats Domino impression, she smiled and said, "As in Checker?" That little play on words ('chubby' meaning 'fat', and 'checkers', like 'dominos', being a game) got an instant laugh and stuck, and from then on, Evans would use the name "Chubby Checker".