It is not always true that a family that plays together stays together. The Lundington Sunday Morning News of 2 June 1931 reported that Mr. and Mrs.Fahy parted ways after a game of Bridge. They were partnering one another, and Mrs. Fahy, in a moment of enthusiasm, over-bid her husband (and I suppose they lost the hand). Mr. Fahy was so mad that he hit his wife. He also deducted their losses of the evening from the house-keeping money. Judge Theodore J. Richter gave Mrs. Fahy a divorce, some money and promises, as well as the family ukulele.
Looking for old ukulele stuff can lead to interesting discoveries. A few examples follow:
UKULELE PLAYER GETS SUSPENDED SENTENCE; Neighbor Tells Court She Called Police at 2 A.M., but the Noise Increase When They Came. The New York Times, 25 October 1927. (Was he hanged?)
Jazz Tunes on Ukulele Lure Canadian Deer to Parked Car. The New York Times, 25 June 1928 (Then what?)
PRACTICE UKULELE IN JAIL, SAYS JUDGE. Hartford Courant, 9 October 1925 (Oh dear, was it that bad?)
Suspect Held to Answer in Ukulele Death. Los Angeles Times, 12 June 1926 (not of the ukulele — case of murder)
JAIL UKULELE THIEF? COURT PREFERS NOT. Los Angeles Times. 13 May 1923 (It’s ok to steal ukuleles!)
WRATH SHOWN BY UKULELE IKE. Los Angeles Times. 2 May 1931 (Divorce court)
MAN BEATEN UP WITH UKULELE. Los Angeles Times, 29 April 1930
Someone was beaten into unconsciousness with a ukulele following an argument with three strangers in a Los Angeles. (Now, that’s some ukulele — made in USSR?)
Ukulele Ike Is Bankrupt. New York Times, 18 March 1933 (Remember that divorce?)
May Breen Sues to Make Union Recognize Uke. Chicago Tribune. 8 November 1931 (Serves them right)
So be careful you ukers, or we’ll see you in court.
The Milwaukee Sentinel of 24 August 1930 reported that…
Cliff Edwards Not in Society
Los Angeles, Cal Aug 23 — (I.N.S.)– Social position, as far as Cliff Edwards, song writer and actor, is concerned, is non-existent.
“I have no social position,” he told the court. “I am just Ukulele Ike.” This assertion was forthcoming from Edwards after his estranged wife told the court she needed $250 a week “to keep up appearances befitting the social standing of Mr. Edwards.” She sought this amount as alimony pending trial of a divorce suit and a legal battle over $150,000 worth of property.
The Lewiston Daily Sun (23 April 1931) tells us that Clifton A. Edwards “Ukelele Ike” was trying to overturn a previous agreement that gave his wife, Mrs Irene L. Edwards, $100 000 in property and a third of his income. He accused her of “misconduct” with musician Austin J. Young.
A picture in the Library of Congress might show the couple on a happier day: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ggb2006013637/
The New York Times reported on 20 August 1931 that Cliff Edwards’ son, George Edwards lost both legs due to being run over by a train — never heard this before, and don’t know how things worked out for the boy.
Further, mid August 1932, Mr. Edwards was persued by Mrs. Irene L. Edwards for $17399 worth of missed alimony payments. Seemingly undeterred, Cliff announced his engagement to Miss Nancy Dover on 30 August 1932.
Again, Ukulele Ike was in court over his hair. The Ottawa Citizen (4 July 1939) tells us that Ms Georgia George, beautian, claimed that she caused “beautiful” and “healthy” hair to grow on Cliff Edwards bald head; once “as barren of hair” he said, “as a ukelele.” Mr Edwards admitted that hair grew, but it was not nice. He thought $324 was too much to pay for it.
The New Zealand Truth reported 18 September 1930 (page 8) that a woman wanted to divorce her husband for his alleged misbehaviour with a nurse who had been brought in for a week to help him recover from pneumonia. He says he never did, she says she always suspected him.
Here’s a snippet from the court proceedings:
Mr Shorland: You’ll admit to a trivial flirtation with Nurse Gibbard?
— No. I’ll not admit that.
Did you ever kiss her? — No.
You just had musical evenings with her? — That’s all.
Did you have many of these evenings? — My wife invited her twice. I should say that she was there two or three times. She came one afternoon just when I was getting about. She came at my wife’s suggestion and brought her ukulele and music with her at her request.
You play some instrument? — I play the piano.
Your wife does not play or sing, so why should she have invited the Nurse Gibbard to the house? — She likes music.
His wife said that the nurse “seemed to be a bright, lively sort of girl … She had no friends, and my husband suggested that we invite her around to our house.” It was when the wife followed husband and nurse to the park that the trouble started, apparently.