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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

RICHARDS BROTHERS BAND
April 18, 1985


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PIX #1 - Jimmy Richards and Jimmy Durante

PIX #2 - Nat King Cole and Jimmy Richards

PIX #3 - Marlowe Thomas was on the Dave Garaway and Arthur Godfrey shows with Jimmy Richards

PIX #4 - Sam Levenson and Jimmy Richards

PIX #5 - Danny Thomas and Jimmy Richards

PIX #6 - Rony Martin and Jimmy Richards

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Today's article is the last in the series about the Richards brothers and their orchestra which was well received and attained fame nationally. This last article continues the story about other local musicians...it was part of last week's article, and provides the final scenario about Jimmy, his later activities, and a final "sign off". I hope you enjoyed the series.

"HAP" ANDREWS BIG-TIME TOO

Another musician who grew up in Fostoria prior to Wainwright's era, was Earl "Hap" or "Happy" Andrews. Ernie Duffield knew him, but I did not, except by sight, and that he was a very good musician. Andrews' ability was on the piano and vocalizing.

He had a band during the big band era, playing Atlantic City, Pittsburg, and large cities throughout the South. His band often practiced at the Andrews' home at 248 E. Crocker St., and event that entertained the neighbors.

Andews was also a standby pianist ofr Zez Confrey's band. Esther Shaffer, who lived close to the Andrews home, once told me about Andrews. She said Confrey, composer of "Dizzy Fingers" and "Kitte on the Keys" played the specialties, leaving the routine keywork for "Happy".

Andrews was of great help to young, local musicians who wanted to be professionals. Those known, who benefitted through his generosity were Guy Workman, Richard Conley and Lola Lutzy, Miss Shaffer told me.

Still another Fostorian who made the big time in music was Harold "Red" Saliers, according to Duffield. Sailers moved to Florida upon retirement and participated some in music there, along with his wife Cleo (Bates Turner Dennis).

She now resides in Alabama. He is dead.

WHEN THE BAND DISCONTINUED

Stan Moyer, a member of the Richard's orchestra and one who was of great help to me in putting together these articles, "Jogged" his memory and came up with the following list. It shows who was with the band in the final days, and what happened to them.

Paul Lew worked with Spike Jones, also Ice Capades; Ray Heath joined Mitch Ayres, and did studio work in Los Angeles; Jim Stutz played with Paul Whiteman and with others in Las Vegas casinos; Frank Gress went with Lou Breese, and played at various Chicago clubs; Jim Daly played with Wayne King at various Chicago Clubs.

Hank Shanks played with Tommy Tucker and also with Las Vegas clubs; Chuck Carrel became president of Texas Musicians Union; Stan Moyer formed his own band and played engagements, but also joined the Schmidler-Haughton Co., Toledo.

Dave Mullett, Gene Moyer and Cherie Carroll formed The Carroll-Aires, a vocal group. They joined up with Eddy Oliver at Edgewater Beach Hotel, Chicago. Later, the group went with Griff Williams, and performed at Palmer House, Chicago; Aragon and Trianon, Chicago; Waldorf Astoria, N.Y.; CoCoanut Groves, Los Angeles; Mark Hopkins, Sand Fransisco; Rossevelt Hotel, New Orleans; and The Peabody, Memphis.

Moyer said Mickey Carroll also sang with Harry Jones Orchestra for a while. The manager of the James Orchestra happened to be the "band boy" when Jimmy Richards was working with "Red Norvo", mentioned in one of the eariler articles. The "band boy" in any orchestra was the person who went to the site of the engagement ahead of the musicians and set up the equipment.

Lucky me...and readers; if Stan Moyer hadn't kept in touch wiht his old band buddies, some of this history would have been lost and not available now.

CARREL EARLY BAND MEMBER REPORTS

Orrin Carrel, a member of the Richards orchestra in its early days, and now a resident of Milton Center, also provided information for this series of articles.

Orrin left the band in 1930, to be employed by F.W. Woolworth as a store manager up intul 1942, when he went into the U.S. Air Force in World War II.

Carrel told me that Paul Decker, Tiffin, was the band's drummer before Chuch Carrel (his brother) joined the band.

Orrin named Jimmy as "a very solid musician". He would take stock music numbers and arrange them for the size of his band. Other bands admired his ability and asked for copies.

Carrel rated his four years with the band as "a very pleasant experience with a wonderful group of musicians". He recalls playing at Greenmill Gardens, Findlay, and watching Park Burtscher and Flo Botto dance to perfection.

In 1942, when Uncle Sam put out the call for fighting men to "win the war that would end all wars" that was the start of the end of Jimmy Richards orchestra. A date for the demise of the orchestra doesn't exist. It was a chain of events which led him to another place in the music world.

Jimmy continued to play at several engagements with a band made up of his "regulars" and "fill-ins" from the Chicago Union. However, the band never took to the road again, as it had for so many years.

JIMMY WENT TO WORK FOR M.C.A.

It was about that time that Jimmy went to work for Music Corporation of America (MCA), as an agent, MCA had actually booked his band for some years.

MCA Artists Ltd., part of Music Corporation of America, controlled much of the entertainment business in America. The U.S. government, through enactment of the Sherman Antitrust Act, broke the powerful grip of MCA, causing it to dissolve.

Jimmy was at the right place at the right time. He then picked up some of the MCA accounts and set up "Jimmy Richard Productions, with offices in the Palmolive Building in Chicago, continuing in that business for a number of years.

He had talked of retirement, wishing to settle in California, but he waited too long. He died in 1978, and as the saying goes "with his boots on"... still active with his booking business. He died of a heart attack.

After Jimmy's death, his wife, Betty moved to California to live with her daughter, Betty Anne.

After the death of Will Richards, his wife and son Bill, moved to San Diego, where they both died.

So, how does this series come to an end?

When Betty, Jimmy's wife and their daughter Betty Anne, returned to Fostoria with the "scrapbook" material and the cremated ashed of her sister-in-law for burial on the family plot at Fountain Cemetery, I was present that day.

I returned to the cemetery more recently to view the burial plot again and to gather data from the grave markers. It was noted that William A. (Will) Richards, father of the two musicians, whom he had luanched and assisted in their early career, died in 1937.

His wife, Eugenia M., died in 1971. William C. (Bill) also died in 1971. He was a World War II veteran, and the grave marker has an official government plaque in dicating he was part of TEC, U.S. Army. James A. (Jimmy) died in 1978.

Two other members of the family buried on the plot are Eugenia A. (Richards) Babcock, and her husband Oral Peter Babcock, who many will recall as a Fostoria businessman for many years on Main Street, in the retail meat business with Clarence Huss.

That day, about a year ago, when the ashes of Mrs. Babcock were buried, Betty Richards remarked to me, I'll make one more trip back here.

That day, I observed that there was one other market on the family burial plot...for James Ball and wife. I asked Betty if James Ball was part of the family, and if he was the local photographer of years ago. Her reply was "yes". The Ball's were the parents of Mrs. Will Richards...grandparents of the two musicians...Jimmy and Bill.

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