The International Writers Magazine: Memoirs
of a Disco King
CID (Criminal Investigation Division) was involved
in the investigation of what they called the "Khaki Mafia",
a organized criminal element that originated from Vietnam. The Khaki
Mafia was involved with drug running, prostitution, black marketing and
drug dealing, you name it, they did it. I was one of the guys sent to
work undercover in Germany, I interviewed for the position and and
found out you had to be streetwise, since I was raised in the bay area
of California, I knew I was qualified. Before I knew it I was working
undercover with CID's elite D.S.T. Part of the glory of the job
was that I got to wear civilian clothes, grow my hair long, travel throughout
Germany and stay in nice hotels. Of course, I did the whole Serpico
look, with sunglasses and trenchcoat.
The Disco King
Paul D Roberts
how did it all begin? In 1973 I went into the Army, as a Military
Policeman. There was a major drug problem going on in Germany.
While working undercover, I found it my frequent duty to go to the many
discothèques of Germany. Disco was 'the' craze in Germany.
I watched the dancers, followed their moves and before I knew it,
I became very proficient with my disco dancing. On the side, I did
a couple of dance shows at a few beer festivals, one time a German
actress had someone from her entourage escort me back to her table, she
wanted dance lessons. That whole evening, I provided her with those
dance lessons, I even became very good with my undercover narcotics
work, because I was a popular dancer. I was drawing people to me
like a magnet, because of my dance skills.
In 1976, I got out of the Army and the first job I landed
was with Arthur Murray's Dance Studio as an instructor. I started
hanging out in the disco scene and entered many dance contests. Some
contests I would win, some I came in 2nd or 3rd place. Nevertheless,
I became popular with my unique style of disco dancing. One day
a disc jockey at a nightclub called the Ritz and asked if I could do
a publicity stunt. That stunt consisted of being the first person
to break a disco dance record. I agreed and danced 79 hours, with
15 minute breaks, when we contacted Guinness Book of World Records,
they said that the breaks were too long, that they only allow 5 minute
breaks to every hour. With the 79 hours of disco dancing, I generated
a lot of publicity, so much that someone went on to beat my record at
195 hours. The news media asked if I would beat the 195 hour record
and before I knew it I was preparing myself for a world breaking record.
When I danced 79 hours, I danced the full 79 hours at the Ritz
club, when dancing 205 hours, I started dancing at Country Club Plaza
shopping mall, from there they transported me in a van to the Sacramento
Civic Center. While travelling, I had to keep dancing, when I ate, I
kept my feet moving. I had witnesses go with me to the restroom
and see if my feet were still moving.
I accomplished dancing 205 hours, 8 1/2 days, and held the Guinness
Book of World Records for one month, before I was beaten. Whoever
has the world's record when the Guinness Book of World Records is published,
actually gets into the book. My name was not in the book, but Ripley's
Believe it or Not got a hold of me and said they were doing a cartoon
of me in their newspaper feature.
also gave me a lifetime membership card, in which allowed me to
enter any Ripley's museum for free for the rest of my life. After
the 79 hours, I became the 3rd Disco King and after the 205 hours
I became the 5th Disco King. There were other dancers who
attempted the world record. Kathy Kleiber who once was the
Disco Queen of Sacramento collapsed and her legs swelled up. A
male dancer passed out and was rushed to the hospital.
Lia Waters, the present Disco Queen of Sacramento went
into convulsions and was hospitalized. Dancing for a world's record
was no easy feat.
During the time I was the Disco King of Sacramento, I had some interesting
run-ins with celebrities. When dancing with Jeff Kutache's Dancing Machine
in Reno, Nevada and Lake Tahoe (casinos), we were the first number to
Cher. Cher just went solo in 1979 and making her debut in the casinos.
I was honored to meet her. When I went to Hollywood to audition for
Skatetown USA and Rollerboogie, I also auditioned for
American Bandstand and The Gong Show. Instead I did a
bit part for a movie called Grad Night and did a couple of disco
commercials. In one of the disco dance contests I entered in Sacramento,
Monterock III (disc jockey for Saturday Night Fever movie) was
the judge. We became personal friends after the contest and on the night
he was judging the contest, I came in 2nd place. At Galactica 2000
in Sacramento, I was a dance instructor and during the evening when
the nightclub was open, I always got to sit in the VIP section.
My last performance as the Disco King of Sacramento was at a nightclub
called Eppiminondas. Disco was on a decline, people were wearing
t-shirts that read "Disco Sucks!" and on my last performance,
I was boo'd. Some guy took off his shirt and made fun of my disco
moves. My disco days were ended. I then moved to Lake Tahoe
and joined a professional dance troupe called "Jeff Kutache's
Dancing Machine", we performed in casinos at Lake Tahoe and
Reno, Nevada. I lived in a cabin with all of the dancers from Dancing
Machine and what was surprising is that we all got along pretty well.
though disco had died, I had fond memories as the Disco King. As
the Disco King of Sacramento, I never had to wait in line at any
nightclub. I was allowed to perform at various nightclubs
in Sacramento. I always got to sit in the VIP section of various
nightclubs in Sacramento and even other cities like Fresno. In
fact this one Fresno nightclub announced my arrival. As the
Disco King, I was a guest in the Sacramento Parade and they chauffeured
me around in a Rolls Royce.
In 1979, I went back into the Army and was stationed
in Seoul, Korea. Disco was becoming popular in Korea and before I knew
it, I was instructing classes in one of the nightclubs, entering dance
contests and working as a movie extra in various Korean disco dance
movies and TV shows.
Some of the happiest years of my life. were as the Disco
King of Sacramento. I had access to 3 Rolls Royce automobiles. One from
a private owner, one from a owner of a popular disco nightclub and one
from a exclusive club called Club Lido. They chauffeured me in one of
the Rolls Royces and as the Disco King waved at the crowd of onlookers
at the Sacramento Parade. Of course, I was with the Disco Queen at the
time - her name was Lia Waters.
What amazes me is, a 12 year old girl by the name of Patricia Mary Mitchell was in the crowd at the Sacramento Parade and she asked her father who I was. Her father said, that's the Disco King. When Patricia was 29 and I was 39, we met and married. We are now divorced, but what a coincidence.
So, that's my story. Lights and music, dancing and winning. What's yours?
Paul D Roberts February 2006
Paul in Catalina