Retired Overtown Police Captain Otis Davis Remembers Little Willie John

"A Few Good Clubs" - Page from the Shantel Lounge book of Miami History - photo Jake Katel

“A Few Good Clubs” – Page from the Shantel Lounge book of Miami History – photo Jake Katel

“The Palms was an open arena. People would sing for a week. I saw Little Willie John there and I said, “Oh he is gonna be a star.”

He had a song called “Ringatingaling,” and I had never heard of him before and then of course he came out with “Fever.”

Little Willie John was very friendly with the police, especially Richard Davis, and when he got some money he would come to the station and give everybody a twenty dollar bill. Everybody was always happy to see him walk in the door.

I remember later on it was sad, he was out there on 7th street and 2nd Avenue and he was so high he didn’t know what to do with himself so I put him in the back of a cab and sent him home.”

  • From a 2011 interview with Captain Otis Davis

©Jacob Katel from the upcoming People’s History of Overtown vol.1. All Rights Reserved

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