Remembering past bandleaders, musicians, arrangers and ballroom operators.
Cincinati, Oct. 1 (AP) – Alph Lamep, 26, who served with the Thirty-Seventh infantry as a bandleader and clarinet soloist during the World War, died here yesterday after a long illness. He had been in Birmingham until three months ago, when he returned to Cincinnati because of failing health.
[Source: The Repository (Canton, Ohio), dated October 1, 1928]
Big Band Singer Dies
Los Angeles – Jack Leonard, a big band singer who recorded hundreds of songs with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, died Friday. He was 73.
[Source: Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Nebraska), dated June 21, 1988]
Bandleader Ted Lewis of Top-Hat Fame Dies
New York (AP) - Ted Lewis, the bandleader whose tilted top hat and "Is Everybody Happy?" theme caught the imagination of several generations of Americans, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 81.
Lewis began his career as a vaudeville song and dance man in 1911 and went on to become one of the country's top bandleaders especially during the 1920s and early 1930s.
Playing such songs as "Me and My Shadow" and "Sunny Side of the Street" - and singing them in a soft and quavering voice - he went on to become a radio star in the years before World War II.
As late as nine years ago, Lewis, a clarinetist and leader of a number of his own orchestras, opened an engagement in New York to critical acclaim.
At that time, he appeared at a night club with Eddie Chester, who first joined Lewis in 1919. He played a Hotel Adolphus date in Dallas in 1960.
Chester was the original "shadow" who followed the mimicked Lewis's gestures as the bandleader strutted to "Me and My Shadow."
Lewis won one of his trademarks - a top hat which he used to slide off his head and roll down his arm - in a dice game with a New York cab driver in 1919 and was seen wearing a facsimile of it when he performed in 1962.
Lewis insisted on asking "Is Everybody Happy?" everywhere he went and usually supplied his own answer: "Yes, sir!"
Born in Circleville, Ohio, he mused at one point a year ago, on the occasion of his 80th birthday: "At least I want to hang around till the stock market comes back."
"The longer you live, the longer you want to live," he reflected.
He is survived by his wife, the former Ida Becker of New York, a toe dancer whom he married in 1915. They had no children.
[Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), dated August 26, 1971]
Bandleader Guy Lombardo Dies
Houston - Famed bandleader Guy Lombardo, 75, known for a half century of New Year's Eve celebrations, died Saturday night at Methodist Hospital.
Lombardo died of a lung ailment complicated by heart and kidney failure at 9:45 p.m. apparently from respiratory insufficiency. Lombardo's wife, Lilliebell Lombardo, was with him at the time of death. Funeral arrangements are going to be handled by Fairchild's Funeral Home, New York.
He was admitted to the Houston hospital Oct. 27 after undergoing heart surgery in late September.
He had been listed in critical condition earlier Saturday although a spokesman said "he seems to be improving a little."
Lombardo started his musical career in 1914, 12 years after he was born in London, Ontario.
His version of "Auld Lang Syne" became a New Year's Eve mainstay for many Americans on Dec. 31, 1929, when Lombardo's Royal Canadians first played the tune for a radio audience. Lombardo was 27, and the band had been formed five years before.
[Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), dated November 6, 1977]
Bandleader Dies at Age 56
Parkersburg, W. Va. (AP) - Bandleader Johnny Long, whose recording of "Shanty Town" sold over 4 million copies and was just released by Decca Records, has died of a heart attack at the age of 56 at his home here.
He and his band had just finished an engagement at the Claridge Hotel in Memphis. His group also had been featured for the past 15 summers at the Cavalier Hotel at Virginia Beach, Va.
Burial will be at his hometown of Newell, N.C., Thursday.
[Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), dated November 2, 1972]
Luddington, LaVern D.
LaVern D. "Vern" Luddington, 65, of Omaha, died June 15, 1998, in Omaha. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 36th and X streets in Omaha. Burial will be in Saint John's Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2704.
LaVern "Vern" Darold Luddington was born March 25, 1933, in Ord to Darold K. and Valeria (Golka) Luddington. He attended Valley and Howard County schools and graduated from South High School in Omaha. After high school he served in the National Guard and the 134th Army Band of Nebraska. In the mid-1950s he served in the U.S. Army and played in the 82nd Army Band. He had retired from the Union Pacific Railroad and had played eight years with the Union Pacific German band. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Veterans of Foreign Wars and past president of the Sokol Auditorium. He was a founder of the 40's Ballroom Dance Club and the Luddington Polka Band and Vern Lawrence Modern Band.
He is survived by one sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Virgil Dembowski of Farwell; nieces and nephews, Larry and Mary Dembowski of Millard and Joe and Connie Dembowski of Grand Island, Joan and Larry Koperski of Farwell, Shiron and Pete Johansen of St. Paul, John and Theresa Dembowski of Kearney and Valerie and Tony Papst of Farwell and a fiancee, Vivian Kelley of Blair. He was preceded in death by his baby son, LaVern; his parents and stepfather, Tony Papiernik; and great-nephew, Jamie Johansen.
Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association or St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Staskiewicz Mortuary in Omaha is in charge of arrangements.
Ex-Bandleader, Abe Lyman Dies
Beverly Hills, Calif., Oct. 23 AP - Former bandleader Abe Lyman died at his home today of cancer. He was 59.
Lyman, a native of Chicago, started his professional career in 1916 as a drummer. He came to Los Angeles in 1918 and three years later, with the late Gus Arnheim at the piano, opened the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove.
His band later toured the United States and Europe, appeared on radio shows and in movies. Lyman composed many songs, including "Mary Lou," "I Cried For You" and "After I Say I'm Sorry." His biggest popularity came in the late 1920s and early ‘30s.
[Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), dated October 24, 1957]
In Memory Main Page
Lonny Lynn Home Page