Performer Recalls Tulsa's Piece Of Camelot

Thursday, December 6th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

In its heyday, Tulsa’s Camelot was like nothing else around. It was a high class hotel on a brand new interstate highway. The News On 6’s Rick Wells reports no one remembers it more fondly than the man who was the opening act in the hotel's Red Lion Club.

Luigi Balletto has been performing professionally since he was 10 years old, but it is where he was 42 years ago that has him in the spotlight now. The Camelot Hotel had just opened and he and his partner were to opening act in the Red Lion Club.

“I came to the Camelot with a home in Minneapolis. Three children. Two weeks in Tulsa, I sold the house. I'm living in the magical city," said Luigi Balletto of his move to Tulsa.

Tulsa’s still a magical city to him. But, as we stood in the parking lot watching a big machine chewing away at the old hotel, it was a little sad.

Luigi said the Camelot, in the early days, was a special place. A spectacular place.

"You had to be here,” said Luigi Balletto. “I think the word is glorious."

The Camelot was like nothing else in this part of the country.

“The swimming pool was right there. Beautiful, beautiful people would be there all the time," said singer Luigi Balletto.

As the building was torn apart, Luigi recalled the time Elvis stayed at the Camelot. He says the King took over the entire top floor of the hotel.

Luigi Balletto says Tulsa as the Oil Capital back then was loaded. He watched as people would light cigars with hundred dollar bills.

“Tulsa to me is the Camelot. Cause that's what brought me here for one brief shining moment," said singer Luigi Balletto.

While Luigi Balletto can no longer perform at the Camelot, he still sings every Sunday evening at Ti Amo Italian Restaurant at 61st and Sheridan.

Watch the video: Tulsan Remembers Good Days At The Camelot