Houston music clubs – The Act III / The What a Way to Go Go

Johnny Winter at Act III Houston Post, Nov. 30, 1966
Johnny Winter at Act III, Houston Post, Nov. 30, 1966

A story on a Texas group The Valens / The Outcasts (not the Askel group) mentions the band trying out for a Houston club The Act III a Go Go. However a member of the Interns remembers there being two different clubs, “What a Way to Go Go” and the “The Act III”.

Andrew Brown provided the scan above and says there was also a club called “What a Way to Go Go”. The clubs might have shared the same location, but that’s still speculative. Act III’s address was 6663 S. Main, it seems its been torn down for a strip mall.

Does anyone have posters, photos or material from either club that would clarify this minor point about the Houston music scene?

14 thoughts on “Houston music clubs – The Act III / The What a Way to Go Go”

  1. I have a web site devoted to old Houston radio. I just added a photo which I took outside the Act III A Go Go on October 1, 1966. http://houstonretro.com. I don’t know if there was a real place called What a Way To Go Go. The only nightclub I know of with that name is the fictional one in the Batman TV series. I don’t really know. I was still too young for night clubs at the time.

  2. My name is Matthew Miller of DigiPixel Studios. I produce golf videos and media content for a man named Anthony “Babe” Navarro. Anthony is the founder of Act III in 1960’s. He has some very amazing stories and pics. I realize that you posted this article 11 months ago, but if you’re still interested in contacting him, I’d be more than happy to make the introduction for the sake of Houston’s Music Scene. He is a spunky 78 year old now, though time has definitely take its toll. Therefore, if this is a story you’d like to pursure, I sincerely suggest that you move quickly. Hint hint. Take care, and either way… its a pleasure to see another interested in Houston’s History.

    Matthew Kuehn Miller/DigiPixel Studios
    14518 Hempstead Rd. Suite 4J
    Houston, Texas 77040
    281-772-8885 Cell (Best Bet)
    713-462-2211 Office (Leave Message)

    1. Today is July 20, 2014 and I have just returned from the grocery store where I met Anthony Babe Navarro. I have also found out where he lived. He is a hoot and 1/2!!!! I can swing by his house and ask if it’s ok to share info. I’m sure he won’t mind!

  3. I remember the place well. Johnny and Edgar Winters with Willie Ornelas on drums and Buddy ? singing the ‘Harlem Shuffle ‘ while Kathy danced in the glass cage overlooking Main street.

  4. Have known Babe for 40 and more yrs. I havent’t seen him in a long while. e told me the club belonged to someone else . He would take it over after hours. Ask him to call please. 713-202-3393

  5. It was definitely “ACT III a Go Go” and Johnny Winters played there a lot. I was a kid living in the Heights and we would go to Vallian’s Pizza every Friday night on South Main and pass by ACT III (Vallians was maybe a few blocks down South Main). The club had a big bay window facing South Main. The window was the back of the stage and you could see Johnny Winters long white hair as he was waling his guitar to the blues.

  6. Sal (Bubba) Maida Sr. was one of the original owners of Act III.
    Bubba brought Johnny and Edgar over from Beaumont. He always claimed he discovered them. City of Houston would threaten to shut club down because the hottie go go’s were causing accidents coming under the overpass where the glass window was. I was 21 then. Bubba Maida would have been 102 years old on March 31,2014. He died at age 86 still a swinger, we loved dancing.
    He was a great story teller. He also owned the chain of Houston Shoe Hospitals in Houston.
    He told me he bought Act III from Kenny Rogers.
    What a thrill to read of the ’60’s.
    Come Saturday nights it was either ballroom dancing at the Shamrock Hilton across the street or finding a Rock n Roll club. BYOB back then.

  7. Yea, I spent alot of time at that place until I got drafted. It was very small. Alot of fights. I did meet alot of life long friends there and yes, Johnny Winters really did play there.

  8. I am Babe’s daughter. Kathy is a woman he married she was not around during the time of the club. The court took her son away from her due to her drug addiction and she moved to Palm Springs, California with Babe in the early 80ies.
    The club was solely his. Edgar and Johnnie played there on a regular basis. I saw John Forsythe there one night.

  9. I moved to Houston in the summer of 1966. My college roommate, Ken Smith and I came to Houston a month early to find an apartment before signing up for fall classes at U of H. We arrived in Houston the same day, August 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman had shot all those people from the clock tower at UT. We could see the smoke from the rifle as we drove down the highway past UT.

    The next day in Houston we signed up for our apartment on the Gulf Freeway where Ken knew some Odessa girls, flight attendants, who were living there at the Gulfway apartments. The girls took us out that night. We started out the evening at the ACT III where Johnny and Edgar Winter were playing. There were only 7 or 8 people there that night. The girls knew Johnny and during his break he came over to our table. He was the first musician I ever met in Houston. When he learned Ken and I were musicians, too, he asked us to start up the next set. I remember playing two songs. I don’t remember the first but the second was “Johnny B. Goode”, not realizing it was one of Johnny’s favorite songs to play.

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