During the late 1970s, when the Bee Gees made Saturday Night Fever a box-office hit, Louisville’s Omega National Products factory on Baxter Avenue nearly cornered the market, churning out 90% of the spinning dance floor ornaments in the U.S.
“That was the heyday, I’m telling you,” said Yolanda Baker, now 69, and the last of dozens of women still making the mirrored globes by hand at Omega, according to The Wall Street Journal. These days, production is down to about 15 or 20 a month, nearly all Baker’s work. The culprit: overseas competition has cut prices; a 12-inch Omega ball retails for about $135 vs. one made in China that’s $25 on Amazon. (Of course, Boulevard notes, it doesn’t help that mirror balls are nowhere on Omega’s product list.)
As for the Bee Gees, the city’s still breakin’ and everybody’s shakin‘ — on video.