Monday, December 3, 2012

The Neil House Seven

In 1980 the Neil House Seven was the last band to play at the downtown Columbus hotel before it was leveled to make way for the Huntington Center. Included in the band were Al Silman, clarinet, John Tagenhorst, drums, Jim Gary, trombone, John "Red" Stamets, trumpet, Lester Bass, bass, Hank Harding, banjo and Sonia Modes, piano.

The Columbus Harmonaires

The Columbus Harmonaires started as janitors overheard singing at the Curtiss-Wright Airplane plant during the beginnings of World War Two and grew to be the singing ambassadors of the factory. They performed over five hundred songs and made regular weekly appearances at WLW Radio on the Circle Arrow Show. The group included Edward Richie, J. Leroy Bowen, Ragland Reid, George Boswell, Fugate Page, Dave Newlin, Walter Willis, Lawrence McGhee, Harold Clark and Darryl Redman.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chickadee and Chicadoo

Johnny Albert and Bobby Shaw formed a jazz duo called Chickadee and Chickadoo in the 1950s. They were the last players that performed with Madame Rose Brown who passed away in 1960. Arnett Howard

Stapleton Wright Orchestra

The Stapleton Wright Orchestra played in Columbus during and after the World War I. According to Earl Hood, Stape Wright brought the first saxophone in the U.S. after the Spanish American War. Pictured in the group are Harley Baker, piano, Joe Hickman, drums, Dorrance Stewart, banjo, George "Smut" Smith, violin and Stape Wright, saxophone. Arnett Howard

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sammy Stewart's Singing Syncopators

Sammy Stewart, a pianist, was born in Circleville, Ohio, in 1891 and spent most of his early life living on Columbus' Mount Vernon Avenue. Local booking agent and violinist Charlie Parker apprenticed young Stewart and allowed him to become a member of Parker's Popular Players. Sammy was to carry away many of his sidekicks from the Parker band to start another unit, the Singing Syncopators, in 1918. In this photograph the band is playing a date at Columbus' Southern Hotel. The band played their last show in 1933 in Quogue, Long Island, New York and Sammy lived there until 1961. Arnett Howard

Haft's Acre

Al Haft's Acre opened at the southwest corner of Park Street and Goodale Boulevard in 1927. Al Haft cut a wide swath through many years and venues in Columbus. After his own start as a wrestler, he became a wrestling trainer and promoter of wrestling and boxing. He owned a gym called the Quality Athletic Club on Broad Street, he had a restaurant and arena on Main Street in Reynoldsburg, and he had an arena at the site of Olentangy Park (now Olentangy Village). He would start training young men as young as thirteen or fourteen. Names in professional wrestling associated with Haft were Frankie Talabar, Mildred Burke, Stacy Hall, Don Eagle, Farmer Brown, Whitey Walberg, Juan Sebastian, Don Fargo, Great Scott, the Swedish Angel, Lord Landsdowne, Gorgeous George, Handsome Johnny Berend and “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers. These are just a few, as Haft was a trainer/promoter from 1919 into the late 1960s. The Short North/Flytown arena operated from 1927 to 1957. Christine Hayes

Friday, September 14, 2012

Miss Citizen Fair

During the 1950s Columbus had three daily newspapers; the morning Ohio State Journal, the Evening Dispatch, both Wolfe newspapers, and a fading Citizen. The Citizen, a morning and Sunday sheet owned by Scripps-Howard, was feisty in print but second fiddle when it came to circulation and self-promotion. The 1950s Ohio State Fair reporter for the Citizen was Doral Chenoweth, an Weste Virginia import from another Scripps sheet that had been shot down by Scripps brass headquartered in Cincinnati. Chenoweth was new to the Citizen newsroom and the old hands on the city desk avoided the fair beat like the plague. And then something happened...Chenoweth actually liked the fried food beat as he called it.  He liked to say that “The sun and air was fresher at the Fair than the city's cop house press room.”   In those days of the 1950s the fair had a press day prior to the day of the grand opening. One of the primary reasons for such a preview was to introduce any star attractions, such as two newcomers, Johnny Cash and Molly Bee, the grandstand stars.   Beyond any star highlight was the Butter Howard luncheon. Howard, from Zanesville, was on the fair board and generally credited with bringing the butter cow to the list of fair attractions. It was at one of Butter Howard's preview luncheons that the Miss Citizen Fair was spawned.   Chenoweth was the reporter assigned to the fair and had zero connection with the Citizen promotion department, but the editor, Jack Keller, liked anything that sold newspapers.   During a luncheon with Howard and the Byer and Bowman press rep, Nick Popa, the idea was to have someone walk the grounds holding a folded copy of the Citizen. Keller authorized offering a fifty dollar cash prize for the fairgoer spotting Mr. Citizen. That person was directed to approach the paper toter and say specifically, "You are Mr. Citizen." Asking "Are You Mr. Citizen?" was not the winning phrase and to be the winner the person approaching had to be carrying that day's edition.   Nick Popa had a short run as Mr. Citizen. That first day of the event he stepped out of his office and a small gaggle of young girls screamed, "There he is. There he is! You are Mr. Citizen."  On the second day of that year's fair Chenoweth drafted his wife, Sue Carter Chenoweth, then editor of the house organ for Farm Bureau Insurance (now Nationwide Insurance), The Dividend. The paper's front page promotion that second day showed only her brown and white saddle back shoes. Over night the name became Miss Citizen Fair. She actually lasted two hours before being spotted. Down the line the Chenoweth's first born, Carter Chenoweth, played the role and lasted at least two days.   When Chenoweth departed the Scripps organization, Citizen-Journal columnist Ben Hayes took over. In keeping with Chenoweth's less than scientific approach to selecting a Miss Citizen Fair, Ben appointed his daughter Christine Hayes, today known by her movie name, Ramona Moon.   At one time during the run of the fair some 1,000 extra copies were delivered to the circulation guys at the fair. The paper’s cost in those early days was a quarter.