Tag Archives: Phil Harris

“MISTER CRISTOFO COLOMBO”: BING, LOUIS, PHIL, FRANK, DOROTHY and MORE (1950)

Thanks to the tireless Franz Hoffmann, here is a Bing / Louis sighting I had never seen before — a staged “impromptu” romp on a train from HERE COMES THE GROOM, a 1950 film.  The “song” is in praise of Christopher Columbus, who in those Cold War times, is heralded as the man who made the unique freedoms of the USA possible.  Rather unsubtly.  The Commies were watching these musicals and trembling, perhaps, at the “opening of freedom’s door”?

I prefer Fats Waller’s version of the “discovery” of “America,” myself.

It seems that Bing enlisted all his friends for this Paramount film and this number: Dorothy Lamour, Louis, Phil Harris, Cass Daley, Frank Fontaine.  Austin J. Casey, connoisseur of such things, points out that the man to Bing’s left (twenty seconds) sang tenor with the Modernaires.  In some ways, it is a development of the bus-mania of the Thirties, where Clark Gable could get everyone to sing THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE in the 1934 IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.

I find it a fascinating example of how cruel old-fashioned humor was and how (I hope) it seems painful now: Cass Daley’s crossed eyes are nothing to “Crazy Guggenheim,” Fontaine’s intellectually-challenged character — a staple of Jackie Gleason’s television shows — his “Crazy Guggenheim” a mask for his lovely singing voice.  But this was the era of the “moron” joke, so “Crazy” gets the last . . . word?

But any opportunity, no matter how vapid the material, to see Bing and Louis in each other’s company, uplifts.

May your happiness increase.

FRIENDS: FROM THE McCONVILLE ARCHIVES (Part Six)

This first photo touches my heart — two handsome young men who sat next to each other in pit bands, radio orchestras, recording studios, and much more:

I love the suits, and I love Mannie Klein.  Who doesn’t?

Isn’t that Benjamin David Goodman on the far left, seated?

Looks like Phil Harris to me (even though the inscription is, as we say, obscure).

JIM GOODWIN, REMEMBERED

My friend Barb Hauser, the wise woman of San Francisco jazz, sent this along — an obituary notice for the brilliant, plunging cornetist (later pianist) Jim Goodwin, written by his friend — the justly renowned Dave Frishberg.

James R. (Jim) Goodwin, the son of Katherine and Robert Goodwin, was born March 16, 1944 in Portland, OR, and died April 19, 2009 in Portland.  Jim was a natural musician with no formal training.  Practitioners and admirers of traditional jazz on both sides of the Atlantic have long regarded him as somewhat of a legend, and his heroic cornet playing, influenced by Louis Armstrong and Wild Bill Davison, was warmly appreciated by his musical colleagues as well as by audiences who listened and loved it.

Jim was a star first baseman at Hillsboro High – a left-handed line-drive hitter.  After high school he served in the Oregon National Guard, then trained on Wall Street for a career in finance, returned to Portland, joined Walston & Co., and became for a time the nation’s youngest stockbroker.  Jim then put aside the financial career and began to devote his life to playing jazz on the cornet.

During his forty-year career as a cornetist and pianist, Jim had long residencies in Breda, Holland and Berkeley, California, as well as in his home town of Portland.  He played with many prominent musicians of the “old school,” including Joe Venuti, Manny Klein, Phil Harris, and Portland’s Monte Ballou (Jim’s godfather).  He toured extensively in Western Europe and became probably better known there than in the US.  During his long residence in the Bay Area he played regularly at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel and at Pier 23, as well as in three World Series with the Oakland A’s pep band.  Before his recent return to Portland, he spent several years living in rural Brownsmead, OR, near Astoria.

Jim became a pioneer in the Portland micro-brewing industry when, together with Fred Bowman and Art Larrance, he established the Portland Brewing Company.  During the 1990s he and Portland pianist Dave Frishberg played regular duet performances at the company’s Flanders Street Pub, and the two made an internationally acclaimed CD on the Arbors Jazz label.

In recent years Mr. Goodwin was on the Board of Directors of Congo Enterprises, and he served briefly as CFO of that company, leaving office months before the scandal became headline news.

**********************

Forest Park was very dear to Jim. He spent a lot of time there hiking and running.

Donations may be made to: Forest Park Conservancy

1507 NW 23rd Avenue

Portland, OR 97210

Tel: 503-223-5449

– Include a note stating that the donation is “in honor of James Goodwin.”

– Donations may be made online at http://www.forestparkconservancy.org

– A space is provided to enter the honoree’s name.

There will be a party honoring Jim on Saturday, September 19th, in Portland.

For more information contact, Retta Christie at ARChristie@aol.com.