“TUNED UP FOR FREEDOM” with BENNY, TEDDY, LIONEL, and GENE

The caricatures aren’t subtle, and what was inclusive perhaps fifty-five years ago might seem narrow in our more diverse society . . . but the message remains true.  Before the Freedom Riders and the lunch-counter heroes, there was Hot Lips Page in Artie Shaw’s brass section — and (a story only readers of Richard M. Sudhalter’s LOST CHORDS know) Bobby Hackett gave Lips a place in his band, too.  And then there’s that Eddie Condon fellow, breaking color lines in 1929 . . . but here we can celebrate Benny, Teddy, Lionel, and Gene, runnin’ wild for freedom and tolerance:

Thanks, once again, to 1964Mbrooks, who’s got rhythm as well as taste — his other postings on YouTube are worth your attention.

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2 responses to ““TUNED UP FOR FREEDOM” with BENNY, TEDDY, LIONEL, and GENE

  1. David Jessup

    Marvelous to see this clip after reading about it years ago. At NPR there seems to be some uncertainty about its provenance and dating. Connor and Hicks’ 1969 “BG On The Record” seems to have the most accurate notation: “Throughout the first half of 1963 the several television networks… carried a one-minute announcement plugging racial integration. Still cartoon portraits of Benny, Lionel, Teddy and Gene were flashed….”

  2. Dear David, thanks for some certainty here! The NPR discussion was so out of touch with historical realities that I alternated between heavy sighing and wanting to write corrective comments . . . but settled for the sighing. No one seems aware of how quickly various expressions in the media seem dated . . . to some, 1963 feels as distant as 1937. Thanks for being THE Goodman expert and sharing your wisdoms with us!

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