Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shane, Brother Shane Recalls Being Your Pilot-In-Command At Buffalo's Club 747

My Facebook friend, Steve Cichon, posted this great video of Make It Or Break It - a disco-era dance show taped at Buffalo's (Cheektowaga) Club 747

Shane, (left) explaining how he partied Club 747 to an eager BuffaloBloviator.

This awesome video reminded me that my friend Shane, Brother Shane has fascinating  recollections of Club 747. I asked Shane to share his memories with our BuffaloBloviator readership:


I worked with Jimmy Cosentino from nearly the beginning of my career in Western New York. Had a great
friendship with his brother, Pat and a wonderful relationship with their father Pat, Sr. This continued throughout:
the double showroom, the Playboy Club, et al.

Jimmy was extremely excited one day. He told me he had gone to an auction wherein he had purchased
the entire interiors of three 747 Jumbo Jets and of his plan to create the most spectacular Disco in the
world. Crated up in a warehouse, some of us were not sure it could be done. Jimmy envisioned it could.

The family created the space and building began. As the building progressed, Pat Cosentino shared with
me stories of the family history. It was a greatly exciting time, being there for the entire construction and
see it rise from a bare concrete floor. Jimmy was adamant the club be authentic in every detail up to and 
including the overhead luggage compartments and drop tray tables. Literally, when the work was complete
we all had a glass and just stood inside and looked at it, astounded ourselves.It truthfully was "Drop Dead

The club was slightly darker than most. The color was deep blue, grey and chrome. The bar itself had to
be seventy feet, gleaming, great sitting stools surrounding it all and all of it in the middle of the
"fuselage." The seating booths were almost private, as a real 747 would have felt like in late evening

I cannot remember exactly how long the project took to completion, but the last thing we did was to design
and build the cockpit and the audio - visual system.  It had to be extremely powerful to make the nightly
takeoff  seem incredibly real to passengers.This was my primary contribution.

As you came into the club, the cockpit was to the left where the true cockpit would have been.  It was about
220 degrees of clear plexiglass so that everyone who purchased a boarding pass could see everything
that went on inside, visible throughout the entire club.

Jimmy fussed a little about how much the background picture cost. His dad liked the idea and the expense
was taken to reproduce the entire control board of a 747 in a picture which filled up the entire back wall.
Truly expensive, but, again, authentic to the end.

We had speakers throughout the club and every night at 9pm, I would in soft voice call all to their seats
to prepare for takeoff. We had 10 to 12 television monitors throughout the club, tied into the cockpit
control panel and  when I informed passengers to hold on, they learned immediately that I meant it!

Then,I'd start up the engines. On every screen was a 747 Jumbo Jet sitting on the tarmac. The jets grew
in sound until everything from bar glasses  to passenger seats began vibrating and as the sound system
filled with the sound of "Higher and Higher" by the Moody Blues, the on screen jet began rolling down the 

I'll never forget Opening Night as everyone saw and felt that jet gathering speed. Some ladies were 
actually screaming by the time the 747 left the ground and began rising into the wild blue yonder.
Lots of guys got tightly held on to that night and for years to come when the Club 747 took off! This
continued as long as I was there.

As the on screen jet lifted up and into the distance, the sound vibrations of the jet lessened and
coming up through that sound was the first dance tune of the night and the place erupted again
as people headed for the gleaming dance floor. If I remember correctly, the dance floor was made
of polished, gleaming steel. 

Later on, a first class bar and cabin were built behind the cockpit and up about a ten step stairway
into a members only even more luxurious space with, I believe, about a 25-30 foot bar. This space
carried an annual membership fee.

When the Club 747 was opened, boarding passes were two dollars. The line of passengers went
all the way down the main connecting passageway and all the way into the Executive Hotel
itself. After a year or two boarding passes were dropped to a dollar. Very few passengers ever
went inside without some wait for others to leave. There was a waiting line for years.

I could be wrong, but I believe the Club 747 was the only nightclub in my life where a cover charge
remained in place for more than five years. And...everybody came to fly: Bills, Sabres, Politicos,
Media figures and countless thousands of great people who wanted to go out, have a great time
and experience something unique, unlike anything they'd ever experienced before.

I was so proud of what Jimmy, Pat Jr. and father Pat Cosentino allowed me to assist in creating.
I remember, too, that Jimmy and Pat's mother, Mrs. Cosentino created the 747 Gift Shop at the
far end of the building. All I could do there was to buy beautiful things for nice people.

Thanks for asking me to remember. Without over coloring, I can honestly state that the stories
which fill the life of Club 747 would make one hell of a television series.

Should I be asked, I'd relate some. However names would have to be changed.


Big Brother Shane

Buffalo Bloviator Classic