Shot while playing ukulele…

You might remember the former baseball star who shot his ex and her ukulele playing friend in 1929?  Here are a few more ukulele players who found themselves on the wrong side of a gun.

In 1923, The New York Times reported that a girl playing ukulele in a boat on a river was hit by a bullet fired from the Pennsylvania shore by an unknown assailant.

In 1925, The New York Times reported the trial of Ms Marci who was accused of murdering a Mr Bagnana. It seems that they were playing ukulele and singing together, but they also had brought their guns along. Mr Bagnana appeared threatening, so Ms Marci shot first.

In 1928, The Chicago Tribune reported  that a policeman shot a college student for playing ukulele. Daniel Wharton, 22, was shot — he says — while trying to replace a broken string on his ukulele. A policeman ordered him to stop and… The policeman said that it was in self-defence.  The uke player was going to attack the officer. Daniel said the policeman hit him first.

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 7:47 am  Comments (1)  
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So, why do you want to join the army?

The New York Times of 29 August 1920 told how Wilbert J. Root of Ludington, USA, answered that question intelligently and honestly — so he might go to Hawaii and see the hula hula and ukuleles in action. Apparently it was part of his professional development plan, as he was a teacher of dance, and it was cheaper if the army paid his way over. The strange thing is, the army agreed to accept him and then really did send him to Hawaii. Go figure…

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)  
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You made me love you (1913) on ukulele

Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Freudian Flapper “Salome” dances to ukulele Waikiki wail

The New York Times published on 23 May 1922 a review of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome”, which was showing at the Klaw Theatre.

Although the critic thought Miss Thelma Harvey forgetful of her lines, and her voice weak, her ‘supple lines’ did impress — especially in her dance of the seven veils.

The veils, it was said, ‘fell like a drop of a hat’, and the dance — with a slight nod toward Egyptian style — was more like a Hula hoochy-cooch to the strumming of ukulele (which the lashing of fringes tipped with beads drowned out).

The reviewer concluded that, as a Freudian Flapper, the new Salome was all there.

But… According to the Norwalk Hour of 17 March 1922, Miss Harvey was lucky to be there at all, having been arrested in New York for performing what police termed “an improper dance”. Thelma said at the time that she had danced the same dance in San Francisco and had the enthusiastic sponsorship of the police chief.

Thelma's probably to the left

I have heard that ukulele music has always been more popular on the west coast of the United States.

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s the country coming to?

The Daily Times of 27 January 1930 asked this question because a man had been arrested for  stealing a saxophone. Next thing you know it will be considered a misdemeanor to assault a ukelele player! (Ha Ha, says I)

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stay up there until you learn to play ukulele

The Prescott Evening Courier reported on the 23 July 1929 that pilots Dale ‘Red’ Jackson and Forest O’Brine broke the then world record for continuous flying — 271 hours worth!

Among the motives for the endurance flight, apart from breaking the record, was the fact that each pilot received $1324 each for exceeding the old record by 24 hrs. (Remember, $1 in 1929 is about the same as $60 today)

The other motive — or reason, at least — was the fact that Mrs Jackson had told her husband not to come down until he had learned to play the ukulele. “That” said she, “would keep you up there for quite a while.” He must have been a virtuoso by touch down time.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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“It” girl signs ukulele for competition

The San Jose Evening News reported on 1 September 1927 that the “It” Girl, Clara Bow, would autograph the genuine Hawaiian ukulele that was the prize for the ukulele playing competition.

The winner was not only to receive the uke with “Its” monaca, but was to be featured on the stage of the California Theatre with their regular production team. Other prizes included cash, a Ferguson Uke, and a Sherman and Clay Uke. The audience of the California judged contestants over four nights.  I wonder who won?

Ms Bow was doing a promo for her latest picture, “Hula”, and page 2 of the News carried a photo of the star suitably attired in grass skirt and lei which looked something like this.


Prizes offered were:

1st. Hawaiian ukulele, given by Clara Bow and a month’s pass to the California Theatre

2nd. $10 in cash and a month’s pass to the California Theatre.

3rd. a $10 Gibson ukulele presented by Sherman Clay & Co. a month’s pass to the California Theatre.

4th Hawaiian Koa ukulele, with patent pegs, $7.50, presented by Ferguson Music House, and a month’s pass to the California Theatre.

5th $5 in cash and a month’s pass to the California Theatre.

6th a month’s pass to the California Theatre.

.. In 1927, $10 was about the same as $600 in today’s value.

Franchon and Marco were also said to be talent scouting for ukulele players, and planned to have representatives in the audience over the four nights of the contest.

I still haven’t found out who won.

Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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