Buffalo in the ’70s: Dancing at Club 747

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

“It’s Saturday night in Buffalo, and that ‘fever’ sends the disco crowd scurrying toward what looks like an airplane. Not just any plane, but a Boeing 747 jetliner placed strategically across the street from the Greater Buffalo International Airport.”

Buffalo News archives

By the time that was written in “Billboard” magazine in 1978, Buffalo’s Club 747 — opened in March 1975 — had already become the inspiration for a string of other discotheques.

As many as 5,000 people a week were hustling their way through the airplane-themed club on Genesee Street. Three years in, and the place had already seen a $100,000 renovation, carried out by the same lighting crew that was responsible for “Saturday Night Fever.”

Buffalo News archives

During the late ’70s heyday, a “boarding pass” to get into the club was $1, $2 on Saturday nights. Dancers were expected to be dressed appropriately — no sneakers, sweatshirts and “non-dress jeans” (remember, this was the ’70s) were allowed.

You can see the back of an airline seat in the foreground here. (Buffalo News archives)

Aside from those who enjoyed the live dancing and music played by disc jockeys like Shane Brother Shane, Super Shannon and Dr. John Bisci, the cache and place in the memories of Western New York jumped a few notches when “Disco Step-by-Step,” recorded at 747, became one of Buffalo’s favorite television shows.

Buffalo News archives

Marty Angelo hosted the dance show on cable, and Kevin O’Connell joined him when the show moved to Channel 4.

Club 747 was a part of the Executive Inn complex, which also included the Playboy Club. The place was Kixx Nightclub through the 1990s and was torn down to make way for Courtyard by Mariott hotel in the mid-2000s.

For more about Buffalo’s other early discos — such as Mulligan’s, He & She’s, Big Bertha’s and more — check out 1975: The beginnings of disco in Buffalo.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.