MORE ABOUT EDDIE CONDON’S FLOOR SHOW

My posting of Stompy Jones’s memories of watching Eddie Condon’s Floor Show have resulted in some wonderful responses.  One reader of this blog, who didn’t want to be identified, offered the possibly-apocryphal story that has, he said, been circulating for years about the disappearance of the Floor Show kinescopes.  I hope that this lurid tale of criminal behavior  isn’t true and that someone like Mark Cantor stumbles upon a pile of film cans by surprise.  And then someone can find the discs of the Whiteman Old Gold radio programs.

Jim Lowe of the UK reminded me that I had left out Billie Holiday as a charter member of the Show’s cast, as indeed I had.  I also neglected to mention one of the high points — Louis Armstrong reading “The Three Bears,” a unique experience.

Rob Rothberg, whose collection of jazz-related still photographs is a marvel, sent these two along.  I assume (from the quality of their paper) that they come from newspapers of the time or perhaps Variety?condon-floor-show-1Whoever the singer is, and her identity eludes me, she surely isn’t Lee Wiley.  Was that woman even a singer, or was she a pretty secretary, added to the shot?  The people I do recognize are Roy Eldridge and a black-shirted Bobby Hackett, Peanuts Hucko, Condon himself, perhaps Jack Lesberg on bass (in sunglasses to protect himself from the bright studio lights?) and Cutty Cutshall on trombone.  An audio-only “Rose Room” from 1948 pairs Eldridge and Hackett, so perhaps this shot comes from that year.

condon-floor-show-2

Apparently NBC thought that a photograph of Condon and Sidney Bechet, two of the “greatest names in pop music,” might attract Proctor and Gamble or Coca-Cola.  As I recall, the big companies weren’t terribly interested.  Or was it that Condon wanted to play music rather than selling detergent?

Other photographs taken on the set can be found in EDDIE CONDON’S SCRAPBOOK OF JAZZ — Hank O’Neal’s delicious trip through Condon’s photographs, letters, and memorabilia — with Eddie’s hilariously incisive comments.  There’s a tiny shot in that book of perhaps the world’s best jazz trio: Lips Page, James P. Johnson, and Zutty Singleton, the three men all looking foreshortened by the camera angle, even though we know they were giants, like Condon himself.

4 responses to “MORE ABOUT EDDIE CONDON’S FLOOR SHOW

  1. I had to look twice to check that it was Bobby Hackett but it was the absence of a moustache that had me guessing!. Jim Lowe

  2. At least one of Condon’s telecasts that I remember seeing featured the great “jazz-inflected” comedian, Lord Buckley. (I also saw LB perform around that time on stage at the Roxy Theater in NYC…on the same bill with some Twentieth Century Fox movie. I was glad to see a clip of Buckley with Groucho Marx on the recent Make ‘Em Laugh series on Public TV.Somewhere, I have an lp recording of him doing “The Nazz” …short for the Nazarene.)

  3. The woman behind the piano – could this just be Patti Page! A suggestion from your English cousins but are by no means certain. Patti did dabble on the fringes of Jazz/swing but in the absence of any other suggestions it would not be unreasonable.

  4. Well, 8 years after you posted this, I think I can identify the girl singer for you. I am pretty sure that is Betty Brewer, who appeared regularly on the show (at least she appears regularly on the home audio recordings of the show that I bought recently).

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