Dance tomorrow night

Here’s a photo from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming appearance of a popular orchestra.

This was apparently the first time that there was dancing at Maple Leaf Gardens!

Eddy Duchin (1909-1951) was originally a pharmacist before joining the orchestra for the Central Park Casino nightclub in New York as its piano player. He became popular and took over the leadership of the orchestra in 1932. Regular radio broadcasts boosted his popularity and record sales.

In 1938, Duchin released a version of Louis Armstrong’s “Ol’ Man Mose” in which vocalist Patricia Norman sings the word “bucket” in such a way that it sounds like “fuck it”. Naturally, Duchin denied any vulgarity, but the controversy caused sales of the single to zoom: it sold 170,000 copies at a time when 20,000 copies was huge. (YouTube has the song here – when I listened to it, I found that what I heard depended on what I was expecting to hear. It can be interpreted either way.) The record was banned in Britain.

When the Second World War broke out, Duchin became a combat officer in a destroyer squadron. After the war, he was unable to regain his former popularity. He died of leukemia in 1951. In 1956, a movie of his life, The Eddy Duchin Story, was released; his son, Peter Duchin, also a bandleader and piano player, criticized the movie for heavily fictionalizing his parents’ lives.

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