Thread: Vic Tooker
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:03 PM
Denny Hamilton Denny Hamilton is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Posts: 50
Default Vic And Victor

In the early 70's, I worked during my summertime breaks from college on the Delta Queen. During my first year on the boat I was a deckhand, and I was teamed-up with "Deckhand Vic", who was to teach me all I needed to know about being a deckhand. He was a kid around my age, and he definitely was not a guy to teach anybody about the art of steamboatin'. His name was Victor Stadtmiller, and was known as "Deckhand Vic", "Victor", or Captain Wagner called him "Victor Mature".

Anyway on a Pittsburgh trip, Chief Steward, Franklin Myles, asked the deckhands to help the waiters out with a floor waxing job in the Orleans Room. Deckhand Vic and I helped them out on a two-day job. After we were done on the first day, we placed those "Caution! Wet Floor" tent cards up at the stairs to the Orleans Room, and in front of the doors. I then went down to my room to catch some afternoon rest. Soon, a deckhand was pounding on my door, "Denny! Denny! Vic Tooker took took a header on your waxed floor and fell! I think he's knocked out!!" I ran up to the Orleans Room to find Vic Tooker rubbing his head and cussing as he picked-up his trombone. We were soon landing in Gallipolis, and Vic wanted to play some music for the crowds there. In his haste to grab his trombone from the Orleans Room, he ran across the wet floor and his feet came out from under him. Boom!! He still made it upstairs to give the crowd a good show. A living example of "The show must go on!"

On the second day of waxing, we blockaded the Orleans Room in the grand old "Steamboatin' Way". We piled tables, chairs, food carts, etc. to remove all doubt about not going into the place! It worked!

Victor Stadtmiller later went on to steamboat infamy as the driver of the Delta Queen's Volkswagen Bug as it landed in the river at Memphis. I should let Jim Blum tell that story! Captain Jim was there to see it all unfold!

-Denny Hamilton-
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