Spotlight on Big Band Music with the Sportsmen’s Lodge fun-loving Johnny Holiday Program

Johnny Holiday's Big Band, photo by Margie Barron

The Johnny Holiday Program at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Events Center in Studio City, California, was off to a great start with two shows over the past two months. Music lovers who were there for the elegant evenings enjoyed dinner, dancing, and entertainment. It was such fun to see couples of all ages loving the Big Band music and hitting the dance floor, bouncing and swaying to the best music ever composed.  It seemed some couldn’t wait to put their ballroom dancing lessons to the test, and pretending they were competing on Dancing With the Stars.

The new monthly series takes on the atmosphere of the Supper Clubs back in the days of the classic Big Bands. It features a lot of humor thanks to the fun-loving band leader Johnny Holiday and the Dean Mora Orchestra. He also has sensational singers, with Christine Nelson and Adam Tunney, and a chorus line of dancers, the sizzling Satin Dollz, who burn up the floor.

The event has star power too, with celebrities in the audience as well as music stars on stage. The first show had Toni Prima (singer-daughter of Louis Prima and Keely Smith), and the second had the wonderful Mills Brothers. Now Johnny Crawford is joining Johnny Holiday as the special guest star on Friday, April 12.

Johnny Crawford, photo by Margie Barron

Johnny Crawford was in the audience to enjoy the show last month, and said he is looking forward to joining sharing his love of vintage music. His career as a young actor started on The Mickey Mouse Club when he was nine, and then he was cast as Chuck Connors’ son on the classic TV Western The Rifleman. As a teenager, Crawford had five hit records, and his passion for music finally had him form his own Big Band orchestra. He specializes in songs from the 1930s, and performs at special events including the Playboy Jazz Festival.

Crawford said, “There are a lot of fans who remember me from The Rifleman, but I’m proud that so many are aware of the great music I am presenting now. I’m looking forward to playing at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Events Center.”

Holiday said, “In many ways I grew up with Johnny Crawford. We have known each other for many years and our mutual love of the great songs, primarily those from the 1930s, is part of our connection. Johnny has always worked in the public eye starting when he was on The Mickey Mouse Club, and then on The Rifleman.

Holiday added, “It’s the music that I admire so much about Johnny. I think I first caught him performing with his dance band on Sunset years ago. And to this day, his pipes still have that youthful sound that he is known for around the world. His authentic delivery of a lyric is so refreshing and the arrangements he uses are on par with his ability to sing a song and take you back in time.”

Holiday’s shows also take you back in time, to the era of his great uncle Bing Crosby’s vintage radio programs. A veteran performer who often tells tales about his “Uncle Bing,” Holiday has performed with legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Jerry Vale, Dick Haymes, Nancy Wilson, Eddie Fisher, Frankie Laine, Mel Torme, Tony Martin, and many more who helped create the Golden Age of singers and songs. That background helps make his marvelous shows an extravaganza of music filled with surprises.

The Sportsmen’s Lodge offers a “Dinner and Dancing package” or general admission (dancing only) reasonably priced. Of course, for such an elegant evening cocktail dress/jacket is required, but many couples embraced the bygone era and come in vintage attire. It adds to the charm of the atmosphere called “old school cool with a new cool vibe” at the Sportsmen’s Lodge.

Next on the schedule after April 12 are the May 10th and June 21st presentations of The Johnny Holiday Program, featuring The Dean Mora Orchestra and more special guest stars. Go to

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.