Billy Panama worked for Lumar in the 1950’s, under the leadership of Art Pickles and along side Don Robertson.
Work included running contets and demonstrations, including a few reported perfomrances at:
The Royal Cinema in Bray
Sheffield Lane Top
The Ritz on Wordsworth
Oxford picture palace in Upperthorpe
County Cinema, Newport Road, Rumney
The Cabra Grand
“On some Sunday afternoons a man called ‘Billy Panama’ would appear on stage demonstrating his skills with a Yo Yo, ‘Walk the Dog’ or ‘Rock the Cradle’ were some of his favourites. As the curtain began rising a great big sea shell would appear to open up on the screen behind it. A great roar of excitement would rise up from all of the young children seated in the auditorium below. Sometimes the guitar music of ‘The Shadows’ or Duane Eddie would play out over the speaker system allowing people time to find and settle into their seats.” http://www.cabrahistory.com/?s=billy+panama
According to Don Roberton: Billy went to America and came back with an accent. Billy was “a bit of a raskal”, left the country, worked in the Netherlands and finished up in Berlin.
Billy ran a contest between a US and German team, reportedly the US team won by two points.
Billy had plans of starting a Yo-Yo craze in the UK, with his own line of Yo-Yos and wanted to enlist Don, who agreed but it never came about as Billy disappeared. Later Don learned Billy had passed away.
“In 1932, the yo-yo was a big craze worldwide. But in 1957 in the Netherlands, as in the then popular yearbooks Who What Where we read. Were held at that time itself jojo’n world championships and the world, the American Billy Panama, came to the Netherlands to show his skills. Well, actually it was to promote his yo-yo. That you had in two versions, a small (75 cents) and a large (1 guilder 50). His most famous trick was “Walk the Dog”, where he is the yo-yo as a dog ran beside him walk!” http://wikikids.nl/Jojo
Billy Panama is mentioned in Aberdeen Evening Express Aberdeenshire, Scotland – 20th Jan,18th Feb & 24th Feb 1954.
Billy Panama 1969-1978
Elfverson also produced Butterfly yo-yos, even whistling ones, for the German company Billy Panama for almost ten years