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Duncan Charles DeLeon - 1958
Exhibit #2031
TypeEvent
Date1958
OwnerRick Brough
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Photographs, newspaper article, and award patches of Duncan Yo-Yo Champion Charles D. DeLeon, Jr. of Beaumont, Texas.

The newspaper article in this exhibit is from the Thursday, December 18, 1958 edition of the West End Shopping News. It reads as follows:

"Yo Yo Champion Resides in West End
Pictured above is Charles DeLeon, 13 year old son of Mr. & Mrs. Charles DeLeon of 288 Roxton Lane. Charles, a 7th grader at Amelia Junior High School won the rod & reel he is holding, Nov. 20 [1958, Thursday] at the Gaylynn [movie theater]; then won City Championship at the Jefferson [stage theatre] Dec. 6 [1958, Saturday] winning the above record player. The yo-yo's on the record player were won at Drive-In Groceries. Young Charles is very interested in sports, particularly football & baseball. He has played the past three years for Spindletop Post Little League, and will play next year in the Pony League. He has played football for Amelia Junior High."

The photograph above shows seven yo-yos on the lip of the open record player lid. In all likelihood, they are wooden Duncan Super Tournaments--possibly jewelled if they were given as awards. And, of special note, there are three Duncan Butterfly yo-yos stacked on the Tournaments. Duncan had just introduced to the world the first Butterfly yo-yo in 1958. In Photo 2, Charles is using one of these new Butterfly's to perform a string trick for the camera. If you look closely, you can spot the yo-yo in action. The little boy holding a toy car in his right hand is Charles' younger brother, James Kyle DeLeon. The picture of the patches in this exhibit are from Charles' t-shirt. Unfortunately, there is no explanation why Charles had two each of the 5- and 15-Trick Award patches, but no 10-Trick Award patches.

Use the address from the newspaper article and Google Maps to virtually travel to Charles' childhood home in Beaumont!

Besides public parks and school playgrounds, theatres were popular venues for yo-yo contests, especially in the 50s. Theatres typically had large, roomy stages for the demonstrator and contestants. There was ample, comfortable seating for parents and kids to watch, and decent acoustics and lighting. And, being indoors meant the contest could occur any day and time of the year, no matter the weather. The photograph of the Gaylynn Theatre at 745 North 11th Street, Beaumont, TX is the location where Charles won his fishing rod on November 20, 1958. The theatre first opened Friday, November 18, 1949. After nearly 53 years it was razed September 2002 to make way for a hospital.

The Jefferson mentioned in the article is also a theatre in Beaumont. It still stands today and continues to serve as a functioning theatre for the community.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Theatre

In my research, I discovered that Charles' mother, Ruth DeLeon Hudson, passed away Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at the age of 82; she was born Thursday, September 30, 1926. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=40063472. I also discovered that his father, Charles D. DeLeon, Sr. (1922-1989) and his younger brother, James Kyle (1955-1974), both preceded Ruth in death.

Throughout the 1950s--considered the golden age of yo-yos--hundreds of yo-yo contests were held by Duncan and others across the United States. And, just like Charles DeLeon Jr., hundreds of young boys and girls created happy memories for themselves by becoming yo-yo champions. It was a great time to be a kid.

Other Views
Photos 1 and 2, close-up
Newspaper article
Charles DeLeon's 5 patches
Gaylynn theatre

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