Tag Archives: Ron Hutchinson

FINE STYLISH HOT PLAYING IS HEARD

We celebrate the recent discovery and planned restoration of a 1929 short film, presumed lost, ME AND THE BOYS (reviewed here in MELODY MAKER):

Pollack film found

According to jazz film scholar Mark Cantor, “the film was made in New York City in 1929, for British release, and has not been seen on these shore since, this assuming that it was screened here at any time. The one reel film features singer Estelle Brody, accompanied onscreen by the Ben Pollack orchestra: McPartland, Teagarden, Goodman, Breidis, Morgan and Bauduc.”

This film was located in Australia, and Ron Hutchinson and Mark have been fortunate enough to line up the funding needed to restore the short. (Dudley Heer, Frank Buxton, jazz-lover Hugh Hefner and I will contribute the funds need to restore the short.) “We are hopeful that the film might be screened in a year’s time; since the work is being done at U.C.L.A., we know the results will be top-notch!”

I want to hear the vocal trio and enjoy the hot playing.

Here is a biographical sketch of Estelle Brody.  I couldn’t find any film of her singing voice, so readers will have to content themselves with this excerpt from the silent film KITTY, where Brody falls in a canal and emerges wet but still stylish, certainly hot for 1929:

May your happiness increase!

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THE BOY’S GAWKY AND ECCENTRIC, BUT LOVE WORKS ITS MAGIC: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

The Beloved — whom I celebrate today and all the other days and nights — told me about Hal Le Roy.  He was another gap in my swing education, but this could be remedied by multiple viewings of this Vitaphone short film, HIGH SCHOOL HOOFER.

Once seen, Le Roy is completely unforgettable, an electifying dancer.  His style is so eccentric, so vigorous yet graceful, that I find myself thinking, “How did he do that? — and that? — and that?”  Everything is in blissful motion — his long legs, his pompadour, that goofy grin.  He was 18.  Le Roy is the visual equivalent of a previously unheard Bix solo, or the 1932 Bennie Moten band in an outchorus: life-changing.  (Ron Hutchinson, the great Vitaphone scholar, tells me that Le Roy made other shorts before becoming “Harold Teen” in a film series beginning in 1934.  Unfortunately, Hal didn’t seem to be one of those “ingenues” who made an easy transition to adulthood on screen; he retired from films when he was 37 and spent the rest of his life in musical productions in dinner theatres.)

And although the acting in this film is unsubtle and the comedy is heavy-handed, I also delight in the details: the suits that the upper classmen wear, Le Roy’s business with some piece of uneaten food; the lively dance music that plays throughout.

I confess I have a crush on Eleanor(e) King, who was 27 in this “high school” film.  She isn’t a great actress at the start, as a foil to “Bill,” given that wooden comeback about “sunburn” by the script, but she  grows as the film goes on: her toughlove “Honey,” just before she urges a stuttering, uncoordinated Le Roy to go out there and wow ’em — two years before FORTY-SECOND STREET — is very convincing.  The script also makes her an effective early life coach: turn CAN’T into CAN, and separate your ego from yourself.  She has something there, and any life coach who could enable Le Roy to so utterly shed his terrors and be himself is a wow.

Watch this!

The film fulfills all our fantasies: the poor freshman who is doing menial chores in the cafeteria is nervous, obsequious, has a stammer.  But he can dazzle the crowd and win the heart of the girl who has a real loving interest in him.  Music hath charms!  Fidelity triumphs; swing is in the air.

Haughty Bill disappears, as does the ominous fellow who threatens Hal with exile (ostracism, high school style) if he fails.  It all ends with a broad joke: offstage, dizzied by love, Hal is a terrible dancer.  But his enraptured girl, Georgia May Tate, doesn’t mind at all.

My high school experiences were far less glorious, so I cherish this film as a what-might-have-been-in-another-life experience.  My more recent experiences in ballroom dancing have been, shall we say, confined, another reason HIGH SCHOOL HOOFER is a delightful dream.

And its point is clear: the love our Beloveds offer gives us the power to fly — in public — rather than confining ourselves, timid and insecure, amidst the dirty dishes.

May your Valentine’s Day — and all the others — find you triumphant, loved, and loving.  Love can make us light on our feet, not only on February 14.

May your happiness increase.

RECORD COLLECTORS’ HEAVEN (ON EARTH)

Who knows what rarities might be for sale?

Who knows what rarities might be for sale?

I haven’t visited one of these extravaganzas in years (I get dizzy from a surfeit of wonders and my apartment is brimful of music as it is).  But I had a wonderful time at the Bash the two or three times I went and I recall it fondly, as well as the treasures I took home — paper ephemera as well as recordings of all varieties.  And David’s film presentations are priceless.  Worth visiting! 

The 35th Annual Jazz Record Collectors’ Bash

 June 19th – 20th, 2009

http://www.jazzbash.net/

78s, LPs, CDs & memorabilia.

Hilton Woodbridge 

120 Wood Avenue South

Iselin, NJ 08830

http://www.hiltonwoodbridge.com

Reservations: Call either the toll free number 1-800-HILTONS (800 445-8667) or the Hilton Woodbridge (732) 494-6200. Mention JAZZ RECORD COLLECTORS GROUP to get discount.

Email: reservations@hiltonwoodbridge.com

Rate with discount is $119.00 + tax per night. Please note: There are a limited number of rooms available at the discount rate. Reservations received after June 3, 2009 will be provided on a space availability basis.

By car: Hotel is immediately off Garden State Parkway exit 131A. Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Garden State Parkway. If you have commercial license plates, please contact hotel for directions.

By public transportation: From Penn Station in New York City, take NJ Transit (Northeast Corridor Line / NEC) to the Metropark Station. (Do NOT take train to Woodbridge station.) There are at least two trains per hour outside the peak travel time, with travel time being about 45 minutes. Trains stop at Penn Station in Newark and Newark Liberty International Airport. … From Philadelphia 30th Street Station, take SEPTA to Trenton, NJ and transfer to NJ Transit NEC. Trains from Trenton run approximately once hourly, more frequently after 4 pm.  For additional information on schedules and fares, see www.njtransit.com.

From Metropark station or any point within a 5 mile (8 km) radius of the hotel, a free shuttle is available to hotel guests and attendees of the Bash. Call the hotel ahead of time for shuttle pickup.

General admission: $20.00 covers buyer’s admission for two days (Friday & Saturday). Saturday only admission is $10.00. Early buyers will be admitted Thursday evening after 7:30 pm for $40.00.  Doors open 8:00 am on Friday & Saturday.  Vendor space: All tables are 6 ft x 3 ft. Cost in advance is $70.00 per table for 2 days or $40 for one day, 50% deposit required. On or after June 18th, cost will be $80.00 per table (2 days) on a space available basis.  Dealers may set up on Thursday night after 7:30 pm. The room will not be available prior to that hour.

Rare vintage videos each evening after 8:00 pm: Admission free with Bash admission or $5 each night for film show only.  Friday: Jazz collector and film historian David Weiner will present two hours of rare film and TV clips featuring jazz solos by Eddie Lang, Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, John Coltrane, Pee Wee Russell, Sonny Stitt, Johnny Hodges, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Eddie Miller, Joe Venuti, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie; the orchestras & combos of Count Basie, Eddie Condon, Duke Ellington, Jack Hylton, Ray Noble, Johnny Green; and vocalists Ethel Waters, Nick Lucas, Ruth Etting, the Brox Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Kate Smith, Joe Williams, Gertrude Niesen, Helen Ward, Bing Crosby.  Also, after the films, rare record playoffs / challenges hosted by Henry Schmidt.  Saturday: Ron Hutchinson, co-founder of The Vitaphone Project, will present a largely previously unseen collection of early sound jazz and vaudeville short subjects.

To be added to the mailing list for the Jazz Record Collectors’ Bash, contact:

Art Zimmerman, P. O. Box 158, Jericho, NY 11753-0158,  (516) 681-7102, zimrecords@msn.com

Vendor payment in advance by check, money order or Paypal. Cash and checks will be accepted at the door. Non-vendors pay only at door.