WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN NOVEMBER 1949


Novelty song I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts leaps onto the charts as the latest faddish musical craze. Surprisingly for something so silly and lightweight this one was cut by respected saxophonist Freddy Martin who had pioneered the “tenor band” that was a ubiquitous presence in elegant ballrooms beginning in the 1930’s. That so called “sweet” style used swaying horns to carry the melody and a violin as an accent while eschewing the more elaborate arrangements of the big bands with their many featured instrumental soloists.

Martin had favored classical pieces and expanded the string section in the mid-1940’s while adding a string of vocalists including future talk show host and game show creator Merv Griffin (Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune being his two most lasting creations… and he wrote the theme music for both as well), who got his start as a singer in the 1940’s and had his greatest success with this which hit the Top Ten on every chart even though it was very atypical for Martin’s repertoire.

The song had its origins in Great Britain a few years earlier and Griffin sings it with a somewhat demeaning British accent, taking the role of carnival barker who is trying to drum up action for the game which involves rolling coconuts at prizes. In spite of the cloying delivery with its insipid sing-along chorus “Coconuts” sold three million copies and was revived countless times in the years since, though often used in decidedly a mocking way.
 


 
 

IBM touts its pioneering machines powered by electron tubes to solve complicated math, as well as scientific and business problems.

What revolutionary advances are we talking about? Take your pick from “card-programmed calculators” to “statistical machines” to “punched-card sorter”.

(Hmm, it sounds like they built one simple calculator that somehow uses index cards to give you the answers and then just came up with a dozen or more fancy names to describe it)

But it caught on because they knew one thing even more than early computer technology and that was human beings were essentially lazy creatures when it came to using their brains and so they sought a way to ease that burden considerably… “Through IBM Electronic Machines the human mind is finding new release from mathematical drudgery”.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, perhaps the most famous tap-dancer in history, dies at the age of 71 after a career that spanned minstrel shows in the 1800’s to the dawn of television and encompassed vaudeville, Broadway, films and radio on his way to becoming the highest paid African-American entertainer in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Early in his career Robinson had revolutionized tap-dancing by performing primarily on his toes rather than relying on his heels in equal measure as had been the dominant form prior to his arrival. In the mid-1910’s he was earning an astounding $3,500 a week in vaudeville at a time when the average American was earning just under $700 a YEAR!

His fame spread when he starred in Blackbirds Of 1928 which became the longest running all-black show on Broadway and a decade later Robinson made a triumphant return to the stage in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Hot Mikado which then became the hit of the 1939 World’s Fair.

But Robinson’s most enduring roles came alongside child star Shirley Temple in a series of popular films in the 1930’s, including The Little Colonel in which he performed a modified version of his legendary stair dance with the precocious six year old Temple. Theirs was the first interracial dance on screen and while it was cut from prints shown in the South they went on to make three more films together and became lifelong friends with Temple later saying without irony, “He treated me as an equal… he didn’t talk down to me like a little girl”.

Robinson remained one of the most well-known stars in America during the 1940’s, black or white, starring in the 1943 film Stormy Weather which was added to the National Film Registry by The Library Of Congress in 2001, and made countless appearances on radio that decade, transitioning to television with his final public appearance on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour in the fall of 1949.

When he died November 25th a reported 32,000 people filed by his casket to pay their last respects while more than a million and a half people viewed the funeral procession through Harlem.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tired of cooking your meals over an open fire each night or worse yet, getting sick from eating raw meat? Then maybe it’s time you bought a Hotpoint kitchen range featuring the latest in Pushbutton Cooking.

These fabulous 1950 models usher in a new era of convenience for the modern housewife thanks to “talking color” technology… simply push a button and a glowing light tells you which cooking speed you’re using! How about that! The world’s fastest broiler can cook twelve steaks in just ten minutes which is a great luxury for the really hungry who are pressed for time.

These thrilling new ranges are packed with style and their great “miracle” features are no longer confined to only deluxe models but are now within reach of every purse with prices starting at just $179.95. Visit your Hotpoint dealer and ask for a demonstration.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The scheduled three week Los Angeles crusade held by evangelist Billy Graham attracts so many people that it is extended for a remarkable eight weeks as the ensuing publicity vaults the 31 year old preacher into national stardom.

The event had its share of headlines, particularly when various Hollywood celebrities attended and a handful, among them singing cowboy Stuart Hamblen and Olympian Louis Zamperini, publicly claimed to have found God. But it was the promotional efforts of the powerful Hearst newspaper syndicate, attracted to Graham’s canny mixing of religion fervor and anti-Communist proclamations, which resulted in sensationalistic nationwide coverage, including stories of Graham’s private meeting with notorious gangster Mickey Cohen, who, it should be pointed out, failed to be converted.

Over 57 days Graham preached 65 sermons which were heard by 350,000 people.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Ronson’s ingenious Penciliter, a combination mechanical pencil and cigarette lighter, sells for a whopping ten bucks… perfect for the guilt-ridden pyromaniac who wants to leave a written confession after he burns down your home.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Looney Tunes cartoon short For Scent-imental Reasons appears in theaters.

Starring the irrepressible ladies man of the skunk world, Pepé LePew, the cartoon would win the first Academy Award acclaimed director Chuck Jones would take home in his long career.

In it the amorous Pepé pursues a black cat named Penelope in a case of mistaken identity thanks to a bottle of white dye which falls on her back while in a perfume shop. After she refuses his advances Pepé feigns suicide and when she investigates the chase is on again.

The tables are turned however when Penelope’s white stripe is washed off in water and when he doesn’t recognize her, and thus doesn’t pursue her, she reconsiders her aversion to him and uses the same tactics of seduction on him that he’d previously used on her, leading the philosophical skunk to declare, ”It iz possible to be TOO attractive!”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A roll of Life Savers are just 5 cents and since there are thirty days in November the company recommends buying six packages to give yourself a Month Of Fun Days.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RECORDS REVIEWED FOR NOVEMBER 1949:

BILLY WRIGHT: Billy’s Boogie Blues
BILLY WRIGHT: I Keep Drinking
CHRIS POWELL & THE FIVE BLUE FLAMES: Rock The Joint
CHRIS POWELL & THE FIVE BLUE FLAMES: On The Sunny Side Of The Street
EDDIE MACK: Kind Loving Daddy
EDDIE MACK: Behind Closed Doors
AMOS MILBURN: Real Pretty Mama Blues
THE CALIFORNIA PLAYBOYS: Midnight Creep
THE CALIFORNIA PLAYBOYS: Double Trouble Hop
MAXIN TRIO: Rocking Chair Blues
FRANK CULLEY: After Hour Session
FRANK CULLEY: Rumboogie Jive
CECIL GANT: Long Distance
WILD BILL MOORE: Rockin’ With Leroy
WILD BILL MOORE: Top And Bottom
LITTLE ESTHER (WITH JOHNNY OTIS): I Gotta Guy
JOHNNY OTIS: Thursday Night Blues
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Pony Express
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Indiana Express
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: Merry Xmas
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: Come On Baby
JOHNNY CRAWFORD: Tall Corn
SONNY THOMPSON: Sonny Claus Blues
SONNY THOMPSON: Not On A Xmas Tree
JIMMY PRESTON: Going Away
JIMMY PRESTON: Credit Blues
THE RHYTHM-RIFFERS: Fandango
THE RHYTHM-RIFFERS: Holiday Hop
JAMES VON STREETER & HIS WIG POPPERS: Chit’lins
JAMES VON STREETER & HIS WIG POPPERS: Hog’s Knuckles
THE ORIOLES: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
THE JAMES QUINTET: Paw’s In The Kitchen
THE JAMES QUINTET: I’m Just A Fool
EDDIE WILLIAMS & HIS BROWN BUDDIES: You Need Me Now
EDDIE WILLIAMS & HIS BROWN BUDDIES: Prairie Dog Hole
J. B. SUMMERS: I Want A Present For Christmas
J. B. SUMMERS: My Baby Left Me
JOE MORRIS: Portia’s Boogie
 
 
 
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