Our second home for the Roy Radin Vaudeville Revue
On the Roy Radin Show, we traveled almost exclusively by bus. It was our home and our sanctuary. We had some great drivers, but we also had some bad ones... who didn't last very long.
We would do 42 one nighters, in 42 different cities, in 42 days, with 3 days off. Some of our jumps for our double duty days would be 100 miles or more.
It could be a bit crowded, but we made it work. What town are we in?
For all the miles we put on, we rarely broke down. Here are 3 times.
Buddy Freed points at our flat
The band always traveled by bus, with one exception, when we flew from Minot, North Dakota to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. It was a flight on a private plane, departing a 2:00am and we had to load our own luggage. We actually talked the pilot into stopping in Chicago to restock the plane with beer. We had finished it all and still had a 3 hour flight. We got in about 7:00am and Roy was waiting for us. He was furious that we came in so late, but when I told him we had to stop for beer, it was OK. He didn't even complain about the extra expense of landing in Chicago. That was back in the good old days, when you could get away with things like that.
We were only allowed on piece of luggage on the bus, as room was limited. When Dean Martin's Golddiggers joined the show, all bets were off. They had so much luggage, between the six of them, that it took up the last 3 rows on the left side of the bus, as you can see in the right hand picture above. We loved them, but there were certain sacrifices we were willing to make for them.
The guys waiting for the bus Bruce hated it when Zack would do this
The last night of the last Berle Show, Washington DC, Watergate Hotel Frank Gorshin's last night, his drummer Johnnie Lay
These were the two most memorable characters we had on any tour. Seldon Bennett was George Jessel's road manager and was 81 years old. Carl Welch was our bus driver and could sing better than almost all of the acts that we had. He would get up and sing, when we would play in a bar after the show and the acts would refuse to follow him. He was an amazing person and made our lives bearable on the road. He was our bus driver, our friend and our Dad, when need be. Uncle Carl was the best.
Ducky (Dave Kennedy) was our lead Trumpet player for many years. He was the heart and soul of the band. He kept us laughing off stage and made us play up to his standards on stage. He also set a new standard for beer consumption. When we got near his home, around Hershey Park, PA, his mom would send us homemade "Shoefly Pie" and "Corn Chowder". When Ducky finally left the show, the fun and the spirit was never the same, although we did continue the beer consumption.
We got pulled over a few time, as we were always in a hurry to get to the next town on our itinerary. One afternoon, we got pulled over and Donald, Georgie Jessel and George Gobel got out and talked the cop out of giving our driver a ticket. They had to sign a few autographs for the officer and some of the guys relatives, but it was all for the cause.
New photos sent to me by one of my trumpet players, Jack Salley. Jack was affectionately known as "Jack The Rat". A true road rat and always solid member of the band. Jack was one of the few members to make almost all the tours over those 7 years. Jack is now a very successful contractor in Florida.
The guys used to play cards on the bus to pass the time. In this picture (from left to right) is Jack, Sal Randazzo Trombone,
someone behind a paper and a very young Eddie Mekka.
I believe this is Albert Bailey from "Faith, Hope and Charity" posing for the camera.
Erick Turkell Bari Sax, snoozing on the bus and looking much like Howard Stern on Quaaludes.
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