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  1. #1

    Flo's Last Day as a Supreme

    Does anyone know where the July 1st date came from? I've seen several different dates as to when her last performance was with the group:
    June 28: I believe Mary wrote this one in Dreamgirl
    Late July: Flo says she hasn't been with the group since the start of August in Jet magazine Sept. 1967.
    Late June: a year later, I believe also in Jet, Flo says she left the group before they even went to Vegas and was never in the group when it was named Diana Ross and the Supremes (although this contradicts those photos that surfaced of her celebrating her birthday).

    Although July 1st is probably the most accurate, how was that exact date determined?

  2. #2
    We know they did their final photo session in the Las Vegas desert on June 28, 1967. None of these photos were seen until the 80s and there are still more that haven't been published yet. They opened at the Flamingo Hotel on June 28th. I have photos from one of their June 29th performances. We know Florence's birthday was on the 30th and they have a birthday party for her in one of the suites. Photos from this party have been published in J Randy Taraborrelli's Diana Ross biography from 2007. After the party, they went out dancing. As for her last show, it's believed it was July 1st because Flo remembers they showed up a little tired/hungover from the night before. Florence admits to seeing four tuxedos in the dressing room and purposely putting on Cindy's tux instead of her own. She also admits to having a few drinks before the show. They usually did two shows a night / three on the weekends and July 1st was a Saturday indicating there was definitely two shows that night and possibly a third. It is assumed she went on drunk during the first show of the night, but it could have been the second or third. After her incident with sticking her stomach out of her tux, that was enough for Gordy and Flo was done. The way it's been written by Mary, Randy, etc. it seems like Cindy didn't step in until the July 2nd shows, but if Flo got canned after the first show of July 1st then Cindy clearly would have had to go on for the second and third shows of the night. I've never heard or read anything that these later shows was canceled.

    What we can confirm is that Flo was out of the group by July 2nd and I'm pretty sure judging by various photos of the Flamingo marquee, they were still the Supremes. The name hadn't been changed yet, so technically Cindy joined the group when they were still billed as 'The Supremes.' It wasn't until the release of "Reflections" that they billed the group as 'Diana Ross & the Supremes' and even then they were unsure because when they performed at the Steel Pier in New Jersey in August, they were billed as 'The Supremes with Diana Ross.'

  3. #3
    Brad, were they wearing the tuxedos in the photos that you have? I always wondered if they were the same ones they wore on Sullivan a couple of years later. I always assumed there were never any pictures taken during the engagement due to Flo's abrupt departure/Cindy's abrupt onboarding but that doesn't make sense because there were photos taken at the Hollywood Bowl. I've even questioned if Flo was there for the whole Flamingo run before but most evidence seems to indicate she was gone by the end of it.

  4. #4
    now believe this with GREAT suspicion. But in Tony's book he makes it sound like Cindy replaced Flo on July 1. That Flo did the first show at least and then M and D changed gowns and they and C went out on stage for a later show(s). Again, believe at your own risk

    But you are correct. Cindy was in as of July 2. Would they have done shows on Sunday during these engagements? i guess not many people would care about going to church in Vegas on sunday mornings lololol

    Were there pics of the tuxes? there are the pics of them in some sort of metallic outfit. were these from the fall 66 shows?

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    did they ever wear these again? are they in mary's collection?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    now believe this with GREAT suspicion. But in Tony's book he makes it sound like Cindy replaced Flo on July 1. That Flo did the first show at least and then M and D changed gowns and they and C went out on stage for a later show(s). Again, believe at your own risk
    He also wrote that the trouble started when Flo was relaxing in her dressing room, turned on the radio, and heard the DJ announce the new record REFLECTIONS by "Diana Ross and the Supremes." She supposedly went screaming in the hallway for Berry, didn't find him, and went back into her dressing room to relax for the second show. Since they weren't changing outfits, she was already set. When she went out for the second show, DMC paraded past her in a different dress. While she's taking this in, Berry comes up and tells her she is fired.

    Rather dramatic but as you say, believe at your own risk. And considering that this supposedly took place almost a month before REFLECTIONS was even released, the DJ was either psychic or had a special advance copy.

  6. #6
    I doubt Flo was drunk...maybe a little buzzed. I read that the reviews of Vegas shows with Flo were all very positive.

  7. #7
    not being there myself, i'm not sure of her level of inebriation. in her interviews, she admitted to having had herself some drinks.

    now according to both Mary's and Tony's books, Flo had 0 tolerance for alcohol.

    and then with the Farewell performances, several sources talk about M and C drinking champagne prior to the show.

    Were they all buzzed? were C and M buzzed but F trashed? not sure.

    What has been clearly identified was that on the July 1 show, Flo was off her mark. Singing flat, missing cues and then sticking out her stomach for that "Fat is where it's at" line. perhaps it was fortunate that this particular show was NOT reviewed

    Does anyone have copies of any of the Vegas 67 reviews? i've read some of the reviews for Copa and even (i think) The Grove. but i don't recall ever seeing anyone post anything from the Vegas shows. and the reviews might have been opening night, which was June 28 i think.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I doubt Flo was drunk...maybe a little buzzed. I read that the reviews of Vegas shows with Flo were all very positive.
    And what is your source? Marv?

  9. #9
    The photos I have from June 29th they are wearing the pink chiffon gowns. I have seen photos of the tuxedos with Diana, Mary, and Cindy wearing them in August 1967. They aren’t the same as the ones worn on the Ed Sullivan Show. They were a bit different.

    In Randy’s book, it says according to people backstage Flo showed up either hungover or she had just been drinking. I imagine what alcohol she had and the anger of discovering Cindy’s tux set her off.

  10. #10
    That was so sad. Kicked out of the group you started!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I doubt Flo was drunk...maybe a little buzzed. I read that the reviews of Vegas shows with Flo were all very positive.
    Please share the positive reviews of Flos performance in Vegas Luke. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Florence was still with the Supremes until July 2, 1967. She had been feted with a birthday party on July 30th, her 24th.

    This was a day prior to that fateful Vegas gig that got her kicked off the group. Also remember the group did TWO shows that night. She knew the name was gonna be changed so she was trying to go through the motions (of course she hated it, who wouldn't?) but it was nothing that Cindy was also there that Florence probably suspected she was fixing to be replaced so she drank a few before hitting the stage.

    I think she was described as inebriated, her wig was all over the place and she "added" to the show by sticking the stomach out when she did her "but fat is where it's at, honey" routine.

    Now what is speculated is HOW she was told she was fired. It's likely Flo did dress up for the second show before Gordy told her she was fired...permanently. Few can confirm that she saw Cindy heading to the stage with Diana and Mary so we can leave that as a rumor.

    Either way, by the time the clock struck midnight on July 2, 1967, one of the founding members of the Supremes lost her glass slipper and no one ever put it back on her feet ever again. A sad, tragic story.


  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    And what is your source? Marv?
    Probably. He is one of Marv's backing singers on this forum. Perhaps he is looking to do a few lead vocals of his own!

  14. #14
    Okay Bluebrock, Marv, jobeterob and Roberta can you all just go create your own thread and hash out whatever it is yous need to hash out? Jeeze I feel like I can never post here anymore without the thread getting hijacked by one of yous.

  15. #15
    Midnightman yeah I've heard several different versions of how the actually firing went. I've heard that all three were in the dressing room fighting and Berry came in and simply told Flo she was out of the group. Another one had just Flo and Diana in the dressing room together with Diana going off on Flo and then Berry told her not to on stage for the next show and then called her the following morning firing her. I believe Flo said one of Gordy's sisters was trying to convince her not to leave Vegas because she was under contract and could technically go on stage if she wanted to but Flo had enough by that point and left. By the way I love that photo of Flo.

  16. #16
    Floy- many years ago I heard the “Berry’s Sister” version. That came from my friends dad who was an executive at Motown in Detroit. I have read about this scenario a couple of times. Where? Hell I can’t remember!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Midnightman yeah I've heard several different versions of how the actually firing went. I've heard that all three were in the dressing room fighting and Berry came in and simply told Flo she was out of the group. Another one had just Flo and Diana in the dressing room together with Diana going off on Flo and then Berry told her not to on stage for the next show and then called her the following morning firing her. I believe Flo said one of Gordy's sisters was trying to convince her not to leave Vegas because she was under contract and could technically go on stage if she wanted to but Flo had enough by that point and left. By the way I love that photo of Flo.
    Right. I need to go on Archive.org and see if Peter's book on Flo is up and see what SHE claimed happened...

  18. #18
    I have many sources. And you want drama. Well let me tell you I heard Diana had scissors and cut the top of Flo’s dress so it would expose her stomach and Mary found out and took out Diana’s bosom padding and So Diana took out Mary’s butt padding and all hell broke lose but ah the magic of the Supremes...they still put on a great show!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I have many sources. And you want drama. Well let me tell you I heard Diana had scissors and cut the top of Flo’s dress so it would expose her stomach and Mary found out and took out Diana’s bosom padding and So Diana took out Mary’s butt padding and all hell broke lose but ah the magic of the Supremes...they still put on a great show!
    All I know is someone needed their a** whippped and it wasn't Flo!

  20. #20
    Ross’ ego was outta control and treated M and Flo like crap and that cannot be denied. FACT. You would think all these years later she would at least admit to her narcissistic behavior.

  21. #21
    Diana is such a bad girl !

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I have many sources. And you want drama. Well let me tell you I heard Diana had scissors and cut the top of Flo’s dress so it would expose her stomach and Mary found out and took out Diana’s bosom padding and So Diana took out Mary’s butt padding and all hell broke lose but ah the magic of the Supremes...they still put on a great show!
    Show us your many sources

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Ross’ ego was outta control and treated M and Flo like crap and that cannot be denied. FACT. You would think all these years later she would at least admit to her narcissistic behavior.
    She can't because she doesn't accept that about herself. She is doomed to live out the rest of her life this way.........

  24. #24
    I feel you floy same characters same fight and I can’t believe I’m saying this but Marv didn’t start this one , Luke made the comment that made the others react.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    I feel you floy same characters same fight and I can’t believe I’m saying this but Marv didn’t start this one , Luke made the comment that made the others react.
    aren’t they the same person

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Floy- many years ago I heard the “Berry’s Sister” version. That came from my friends dad who was an executive at Motown in Detroit. I have read about this scenario a couple of times. Where? Hell I can’t remember!
    In Randy's latest book on Diana, he also tells a similar story about Berry's sister. Was is Ester? or Gwen?

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    aren’t they the same person
    Are you the same person?

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    aren’t they the same person
    Who are you really?

  29. #29
    also i would absolutely NOT put all of the blame solely on Diana. did she "hog the spotlight?" probably. she had since the group was conceived so why wouldn't she? F and M most certainly knew and understood this element of Diana's personality. Perhaps Flo just got sick of that behavior and when combined with the political aspects of the situation was just fed up

    still that does NOT remove Flo's guilt in HOW she handled this situation. this is some of the most unprofessional behavior possible and quite frankly she DESERVED to be thrown out. She skipped rehearsals, she skipped recording sessions, she skipped publicity events and, most damning, she skipped a performance!! unacceptable!!!

    If any one of us just simply didn't show up for a major work requirement, or showed up drunk to work, you would be terminated. that's whether you work at McDonald's or in a finance department or a barber or a cook etc.

    No one is saying that Flo should have simply sat around, being used by motown. The professional thing to do would have been to have left. if she was no longer finder personal or professional satisfaction in her job, then it's her responsibility to change the situation.

  30. #30
    sup_fan I think that's why Flo didnt put up a fight the two times she was let go, she wanted out. And it seemed like years later she realized what she did was wrong.

  31. #31
    Flo's behavior was unprofessional and, as Sup fan points out, would not be tolerated had she had any other job. I still put most of the blame for all of this in the lap of Gordy. If he were the boss at any other job, speaking and treating those women the way that he did, in today's world he'd be sued for everything he has, but as we know back then women didn't have much recourse when abused by employers. You can't go around telling women they're fat and uneducated because they didn't finish high school and not expect animosity and resentment as a result. Sure Flo could've left the group if it wasn't working for her, but she would've been promptly sued for breach of contract. Gordy could've also manned up and done all he could to make all three of his prized Supremes happy if he truly wanted to ensure that the ship continued to sail on course. But misogyny will cloud good judgment every time.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    also i would absolutely NOT put all of the blame solely on Diana. did she "hog the spotlight?" probably. she had since the group was conceived so why wouldn't she? F and M most certainly knew and understood this element of Diana's personality. Perhaps Flo just got sick of that behavior and when combined with the political aspects of the situation was just fed up

    still that does NOT remove Flo's guilt in HOW she handled this situation. this is some of the most unprofessional behavior possible and quite frankly she DESERVED to be thrown out. She skipped rehearsals, she skipped recording sessions, she skipped publicity events and, most damning, she skipped a performance!! unacceptable!!!

    If any one of us just simply didn't show up for a major work requirement, or showed up drunk to work, you would be terminated. that's whether you work at McDonald's or in a finance department or a barber or a cook etc.

    No one is saying that Flo should have simply sat around, being used by motown. The professional thing to do would have been to have left. if she was no longer finder personal or professional satisfaction in her job, then it's her responsibility to change the situation.

    I put all the blame on Diane. She was laying up with Berry Gordy and snitching on her "friend" Florence Ballard, complaining about her daily to Mr. Gordy. She should not have done that.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I put all the blame on Diane. She was laying up with Berry Gordy and snitching on her "friend" Florence Ballard, complaining about her daily to Mr. Gordy. She should not have done that.
    Maybe she shouldn't have. But he didn't have to act the way that he did either. Gordy was the boss. Diana didn't have the power to kick Flo out. That was Gordy's doing. Also remember this all took place more than 50 years ago. These people are elderly. Nobody but a handful of Soulful Detroiters even seem to care. All the Supremes are over it.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Who are you really?
    Luke doesn't answer? You do for two

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    Luke doesn't answer? You do for two
    What are you going to do about it?

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    What are you going to do about it?
    This is your way, I don't have to do something about it.

  37. #37
    I am going to guess it was was Gwen

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    This is your way, I don't have to do something about it.
    Well you're talking about it, so it makes sense to me that you are planning to do something about it, even though you are lying that I am Luke.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    I am going to guess it was was Gwen
    Gwen being the one to tell Florence to stay? I believe that was the case too.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Flo's behavior was unprofessional and, as Sup fan points out, would not be tolerated had she had any other job. I still put most of the blame for all of this in the lap of Gordy. If he were the boss at any other job, speaking and treating those women the way that he did, in today's world he'd be sued for everything he has, but as we know back then women didn't have much recourse when abused by employers. You can't go around telling women they're fat and uneducated because they didn't finish high school and not expect animosity and resentment as a result. Sure Flo could've left the group if it wasn't working for her, but she would've been promptly sued for breach of contract. Gordy could've also manned up and done all he could to make all three of his prized Supremes happy if he truly wanted to ensure that the ship continued to sail on course. But misogyny will cloud good judgment every time.
    Women, misogyny??? Brian Jones was left out of the Stones because the others couldn't stand his erratic behavior and there are countless of others exemple in the rock world.

  41. #41
    And Ross’ behavior was professional? Hell no. Flo had no power. She was effed. Ross did have her power by through sleeping w boss man. This convo would not be taking place today if amends were publicly acknowledged.
    However, in the end, both Ross and Mary did get screwed when they discovered how Little money they had when they severed ties w Motown.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    And Ross’ behavior was professional? Hell no. Flo had no power. She was effed. Ross did have her power by through sleeping w boss man. This convo would not be taking place today if amends were publicly acknowledged.
    However, in the end, both Ross and Mary did get screwed when they discovered how Little money they had when they severed ties w Motown.
    Amen and exactly! Like all of us, Diana Ross is going to pay for what she did now............or later!

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    Women, misogyny??? Brian Jones was left out of the Stones because the others couldn't stand his erratic behavior and there are countless of others exemple in the rock world.
    In the case of Florence Ballard, her "behavior", was in response to what was being done to her.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    In the case of Florence Ballard, her "behavior", was in response to what was being done to her.
    If it's the case, Mary didn't help, didn't give advice? protect her friend...

  45. #45
    What did Bette Midler a la Sophie Tucker say “f_____em if they can’t take a joke.” My god lighten up some of you people.

  46. #46
    I’m honored. Marv has very good taste!

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    If it's the case, Mary didn't help, didn't give advice? protect her friend...
    Florence was older than Mary. It was not Mary smearing Florence and ratting on her to Gordy! That was ALL Diana Ross!

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    What did Bette Midler a la Sophie Tucker say “f_____em if they can’t take a joke.” My god lighten up some of you people.
    They can't take a joke because they devoid of personality.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I’m honored. Marv has very good taste!
    Why thank you Luke! or should I say "Me" if you believe this Albator person LOL!!!!

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    All I know is someone needed their a** whippped and it wasn't Flo!
    It shows how uninformed you really are Marv. Florence had been allowed back into the group to complete some dates while Cindy's contract release was done with the Bluebelles. Flo was in bad shape. She was quite heavy and quite erratic. Her mood swings were severe as anyone traumatized would be.

    The billboard was changed to The Supremes with Diana Ross during this gig and Flo went off on BG. No employee is allowed to show up to work intoxicated. ANYBODY would be fired for that. The truth of the matter is that Motown had given Flo a second and third chance but both Diana AND MARY agreed with Gordy that she had to go. They were not happy about doing this because the group was so hot that a change of this magnitude could have a disastrous impact. Mary has said many times that Flo wanted out. She was miserable. She had however deluded herself into thinking she was irreplaceable. And that helped do her in. Flo was the victim, but she was just as responsible for her fate as anyone else. Had she adopted Mary's attitude of going with the program, not only would she have stayed in the group but in 1970 she would have emerged as the lead singer.

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