The Party Chasers

Picture if you will the outro of a ’70s sitcom (not this one), with stills of the cast caught in various awkward moments from the episode you’d just watched: laughing, spilling beer, pounding the steering wheel of a 1968 Ford Mustang…

You just watched The Party Chasers, starring Scott “Harvey” Hanson as “Mustang Driver,” me as “Buddy Riding Shotgun,” and Greg—“Hans,” as his dad called him, aka “Rudy” to us—Hartmann as “Backseat Instigator.” Rudy was from a well-off Navarre family who lived down the road from Harvey. His dad bought him a Datsun 240Z, which he drove to school, but if he was out for a night with the boys, he was just as happy to tag along in Harvey’s ’stang. Rudy had curly hair and a goofy-mischievous grin. If other friend Chad Moore wasn’t out driving his TR6, he constituted The Party Chasers guest star for the night.

It all began that winter of 1977–78, when Harvey received the car as a combo birthday-Christmas present. On Jan. 22, we all jumped in the ’stang and headed to Southtown theater to see the new Steven Spielberg flick, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I wrote in the diary: “It was a pretty strange movie. We caught the 9:30 show, ate popcorn, talked a lot about certain people…after the movie we went and stopped at Perkins on 7 and munched out—told stories of ‘wasted nights’—have to admit Rudy beat us in that category…”

And that’s what The Party Chasers was all about—wasted nights, on the road, looking for the next party to hit. If my parents smelled trouble in this combo of boys, beer and boss cars, the diary doesn’t bear that out. But we were a disaster waiting to happen, that’s for certain.

The first mention is in a Jan. 28 entry: “…Hanson and Hartmann stopped by around 8:30 and we three, ‘The Party Chasers’ as we called ourselves,” hit a basement jam session at Matt Lorence’s house, then ran into a guy named Mario who led us to a hidden bottle of gin, which we all helped ourselves to, naturally.

Back in school, excitement was mounting in German class. We continued language lessons and watched a film on Munich. ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” featured alpine ski racing from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where I’d be heading in just over a month on the student exchange program trip. I was transfixed—“It looked, as much as I could see, fantastic, snowy, mountainous.”

But after school The Party Chasers couldn’t locate enough parties to stay true to our name. So we went to movies. Rudy, Harvey and I packed into the Mustang to see Kentucky Fried Movie at the Excelsior theater Feb. 2, 1978. The diary reveals I lied to Dad—telling him we were just going up to a wrestling meet at the high school, which we did do before getting something to eat at the Mound Burger Chef. After the movie we couldn’t stop riffing on a joke from it:

“Oh well…That’s Armageddon!

~ by completelyinthedark on November 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Party Chasers”

  1. Oh well … That’s Armageddon!

    Liked by 1 person

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