Saturday, July 9, 2011

The 1945 Hit Parade Magazine! Faded Fort Worth Musical Memories and Some You Might Still Remember

It was a hot Saturday afternoon.  I was out prowling a nice little antique mall just off the main drag in Handley that was just slightly too warm for my comfort. I picked up a postcard folder that I liked and was just about to check out when I found a little gem. At least for music lovers like me.

I was only about 9 years old and really wasn't much interested in pop music when this issue came out, but I still remember seeing these magazines in drug stores and grocery stores and other places. The big old radio at our house was the only music source and I was totally at the mercy of my parents, whose music tastes had matured in granite in the 1920's. My grandmother thought these magazines were scandalous.

 Pop music started rolling after prohibition was repealed, moved into the 1930's and then the 40's with the advent of the big dance bands, the popularity and acceptance of night clubs & dance halls during the great depression and the huge number of radios that were installed.  In addition, motion picture "musicals" like "Meet Me in St. Louis" with singer Judy Garland became very popular and often featured well known live bands.

The average music fan was a good deal older than the tiny teeny kids that rule pop music today. Little kids did not go to dances or concerts. Music was not portable and few cars had radios in them. More likely, they were new teenagers just learning to dance and listening to live bands locally.  It was important to know the lyrics to the latest songs. Magazines like this were the source.

The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra was one of the most popular dance bands on the touring circuit and featured top notch instrumentalists and singers.  Jimmy, the brother of the better known Tommy Dorsey, was a constant performer at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom and the better nightclubs around Fort Worth.

It seems strange to us now, but it's important to remember that except for the records (78's) that you bought in the store, all music was LIVE until the musicians union boycott was settled in 1948. Some exceptions were made for live performances in movies, but there was no recorded music on radio at all. Therefore, no DJ's. It was always:  "And now, live from the Blackstone Hotel Ballroom" etc., etc. The Lucky Strike Hit Parade was live.

In the 40's the Jitterbug was the dance for those that didn't need to move slowly and it has survived through till today in various forms. The Boogie-Woogie with its strong left hand and beat, was hot and it all got mixed up with jitterbugging.  Linda Darnell, who lived in Dallas was an aspiring singer who eventually made it as an fine actress in Forever Amber, before her life fell apart.

1945 was still in the time when every home needed a piano and lessons were a requirement of an early age. So, sheet music was always a part of every edition of magazines like this. The publishing rights to this epic probably didn't cost them a whole lot.

They had some space at the end song lyrics on this page and so a little pulchritude was pasted in. Or did the picture come before the lyrics?

Not a whole lot of anything really historic here.  But maybe a nice view of how Fort Worth and American music lovers were in 1945..

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