The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at wevl.org. In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at tim@wevl.org. If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I Wish I Had Wings

Here are some farmyard frolics from 1932 in a Hugh Harman-Rudolph Ising cartoon.  After a lot of hen house gags, a chick escapes the pen with some artificial wings to get some food, allowing the opportunity for jazzy little song.  From the Internet Archive, here is I Wish I Had Wings

Sunrise Serenade: It's Been So Long

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "It's Been So Long" by Harry James and His Orchestra with Helen Forrest on vocals.  Enjoy the video from YouTube

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Is Television?

wordfromoursponsor:

"New products make new jobs." (General Electric, 1939)

Oh, if they only knew!This General Electric ad from 1939, posted on 20th Century Radio, poses the question, "What is television?"  According to the ad, "[i]t represents another step forward in man's mastery of time and space," that will create new jobs for today and tomorrow.  I'll bet they never dreamed of the levels reality television could reach. 

Sunrise Serenade: I Got Rings On My Fingers

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "I Got Rings On My Fingers" by the Merry Macs.  Click on the song title for a sample from emusic, or click here for the album page.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Playlist For January 28, 2015

The playlist for the January 28, 2015 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

The Memphis Belle's Wedding?

Ask Vance posted this little item about a marriage that never happened.  Margaret Polk was the girlfriend of Robert Morgan, pilot of the B-17 Memphis Belle, and the inspiration for that name.  After the aircraft completed its 25 missions and returned home for a war bond tour, Morgan and Polk also went on tour to promote the war effort, and government promoters encouraged the fairy tale romance.  Perhaps caught up in the feel-good story, Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal even announced their wedding, but it never happened.  Morgan returned to North Carolina, and Ms. Polk remained in Memphis for the rest of her life. 

Sunrise Serenade: Louisville, K-Y

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Louisville, K-Y" by Ella Fitzgerald.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hop Off The Chill

The Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues at the Rumba Room this Friday night.  Free beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Free admission before 7:00 and $5 thereafter.  Lesson by Olivia and Jim, with music by DJ Jim.
303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

The Tiger Rag lessons and guided practice sessions are back at the Madison Dance Studio in Minglewood Plaza, 1555 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104.  Learn more and register here

Sunrise Serenade: Oh Susannah

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Oh Susannah" by Fats Waller.  Enjoy the video from YouTube.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Eyes In The Night

The Movie Morlocks blog reminds us that TCM will be celebrating Donna Reed's 94th birthday tomorrow by airing a nine of her early films, including one of my favorites, Eyes in the Night (1942).  Edward Arnold, who usually played heartless businessmen or politicians, is a blind, retired police detective, who with the assistance of his guide dog, Friday, helps an old friend and her step daughter, Ann Harding and Reed respectively, out of a mystery that involves murder.  His lack of sight is no impediment to him, and in one scene, he beats a bad guy in a fistfight by smashing the only light bulb in the room, so the two are equally blind.  Friday the dog steals the show with his feats of acrobatics and canine cleverness.
 

Sunrise Serenade: Be My Life's Companion

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Be My Life's Companion" by the Mills Brothers.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Friday, January 23, 2015

You're Too Careless With Your Kisses

Here is another early Harman -Ising Warner Bros.' animated short from the early 1930s.  A wayward bee stays out all night drinking spiked honey, and tries to sneak into his bedroom without disturbing his wife.  He fails, she gets mad at him, and leaves in a huff to do his work - collecting honey.  He laughs, she gets caught in a rain storm, seeks shelter in the nest of some larger, villainous insect who attempts to take advantage of her; and our wayward bee comes to the rescue with (literally) the insect cavalry.  Not sure I see a moral here, but some fun animation.  From the Internet Archive, here is the 1932 cartoon, You're Too Careless With Your Kisses.

Sunrise Serenade: (This Is My) Last Affair

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "(This Is My) Last Affair" by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

This Week In History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The anniversaries of some notable historic events during the Swing Era occur this week, and the Planet Retro blog listed a few in its This Week In History post. 

World News & the American Experience:
1937 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. President to be inaugurated on the date of January 20th, per the 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

1943 – A ban stops U.S. bakers from selling sliced bread. Until the end of World War II, only whole loaves were sold. This was to reduce demand for metal parts.

Movies & TV:
1948 – The Original Amateur Hour debuts on the DuMont network, hosted by Ted Mack.

Music & Radio:
1930 – The Lone Ranger is broadcast for the first time on WXYZ-Detroit.

1944 – The first jazz concert is held at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, starring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.

1946 – The Fat Man debuts on ABC radio, starring J. Scott Smart.

Sunrise Serenade: My Heart Belongs To Daddy

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" by Valaida Snow, who both sings and plays trumpet on this recording.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Playlist For January 21, 2015

The playlist for the January 21, 2015 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

Welcome Wagon Started In Memphis


Although I had heard the term "Welcome Wagon," used in a generic way, I did not realize that 1) it was an actual business, and 2) it started right here in Memphis.  As recounted on Ask Vance, Mr. Thomas Briggs, a native Memphian, turned a flash of inspiration into a business success that is still in operation. 
Briggs overheard a colleague bemoaning the fate of a friend who had been transferred to a strange new city, and it was a “Eureka” moment for him. Briggs decided then and there to start a company that would make newcomers feel welcome in their new hometown. In 1928, Welcome Wagon was born in Memphis, and the franchise soon spread to every major city in North America.
“In the inception of Welcome Wagon,” the newsletter said, “Briggs envisioned the natural role of women as hostesses.” And though the notion seems quaint today, as a result the company became one of the biggest employers of women in America.
A fellow businessmen told him, “You have the most remarkable business. Every year you give away $10 million in gifts, and you get paid for doing it.” 
 Welcome Wagon is still in operation, although now based in Florida. 

Sunrise Serenade: Free Wheeling

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Free Wheeling" by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Live Music At The Lindy Hop

The Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues at the Rumba Room this Friday night with live music from the New Memphis Hepcats.  Free beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Five dollar ($5) admission before 7:00 and $7 thereafter.  Lesson by Amanda and Keenan, with music by DJ Amanda.
303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

The Tiger Rag lessons and guided practice sessions are back at the Madison Dance Studio in Minglewood Plaza, 1555 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104.  Learn more and register here

Sunrise Serenade: Limehouse Blues

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Limehouse Blues" by Ambrose and His Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Friday, January 16, 2015

Flying Fists

We go way back to 1930 for today's cartoon from Ub Iwerks.  Flip the Frog gets into a boxing match with a turtle while a whole menagerie of animals cheer them on.  There are definitely some suspect punches thrown in this fight.  From the Internet Archive, here is Flying Fists

Sunrise Serenade: Now I Lay Me Down To Dream

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Now I Lay Me Down To Dream" by Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tatraplan

KOVO Brochure TATRAPLAN (1949)
Here is great, minimalist but stylish brochure from 1949 for Tatra, the Czechoslovakian car company, posted on Vintage Ads.  Tatras were really neat cars, and they predated the Volkswagen with their rear engines and aerodynamic bodies.  There is a slight "gangster" feel about the gents shown driving this particular car, which is interesting if you knew that there was an empty space under the rear seat of most Tatra sedans from that era, just the perfect size for a body.  Hmmmm. 

Sunrise Serenade: The Object Of My Affection

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "The Object Of My Affection" by the Boswell Sisters.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Playlist For January 14, 2015

The playlist for the January 14, 2015 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

The Mark Of Zorro

MARK OF ZORRO 1940 2
Over on MovieFanFare, Laura Grieve wrote a great review of one of her (and my) favorite movies:  The Mark of ZorroAside from enjoying Tyrone Power's films, I'm a big fan of Basil Rathbone, who was playing great villains long before he ever said "Elementary, my dear Watson" as Sherlock Holmes.  I think it is interesting that Linda Darnell was only 16 when she became the leading lady in this film. 

Sunrise Serenade: Well All Right

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Well All Right" by the Andrews Sisters.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Red Hot Winter Hop And Live Music Next Week

The Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues at the Rumba Room this Friday night.  Free beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Free admission before 7:00 and $5 thereafter.  Lesson by Meghan and Justin, with music by DJ Justin.
303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

Live music next week with the New Memphis Hepcats.

The Tiger Rag lessons and guided practice sessions are back at the Madison Dance Studio in Minglewood Plaza, 1555 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104.  Learn more and register here

Sunrise Serenade: King Porter Stomp

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "King Porter Stomp" by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hooverville, Seattle

historicaltimes:


Hooverville, Seattle 1937 - One of many shanty towns that sprang up across the USA during the Hoover years of the Great Depression Read More
Posted on The Great Depression, here is a color shot from 1937 of a "Hooverville" shantytown in Seattle, Washington.   

Sunrise Serenade: Hold Tight

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Hold Tight" by the Andrews Sisters.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Love A Parade

This early Merrie Melodies cartoon features a visit to the circus.  From the Internet Archive, here is the 1932 animated short by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising, I Love A Parade

Sunrise Serenade: My Baby Said Yes

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "My Baby Said Yes" by Bing Crosby and Louis Jordan.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Airlines Of The United States

1944 ... look- ee- there!From Vintage Ads, another example of advertising during World War II where the primary purpose was to make people look forward to buying a product or using a service after the war.  This particular ad was apparently the work of a consortium of U.S. airlines, not just one particular company, and it touted the expertise of the entire American airline industry. 

Sunrise Serenade: Darktown Strutters Ball

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Darktown Strutters Ball" by Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra with June Richmond on vocals.  Enjoy the video from YouTube

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Playlist For January 7, 2015

The playlist for the January 7, 2015 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

Dirty 30s


I came across the Dirty 30s site some months ago, and although I still have not had time to fully explore it, there is certainly enough to merit a post.  It is essentially a time capsule of the decade, featuring information about various topics from the period.  There are sections on fashion, slang, economics, transportation, music, world events and more.  It is a necessarily brief, but nevertheless interesting snapshot of the time.  

Sunrise Serenade: Rockin' Chair

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Rockin' Chair" by the Casa Loma Orchestra with Louis Armstrong.  Click on the song title for a sample from emusic, or click here for the album page.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Stay Warm With Some Red Hot Lindy Hopping

The Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues at the Rumba Room this Friday night.  Free beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Free admission before 7:00 and $5 thereafter.  Lesson by Erin and Phil, with music by DJ EJ.
303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

The Tiger Rag lessons and guided practice sessions are back at the Madison Dance Studio in Minglewood Plaza, 1555 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104.  Learn more and register here

Sunrise Serenade: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" by Woody Herman and His Orchestra.  Enjoy the video below from YouTube.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Jimmy Stewart In Uniform

Here is a photo of James Stewart either during his time in the U.S. Army Air Corps, or in costume from one of his films, posted on Rivet Head.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was from his time in the service.




Happy New Year!

My dream New Years Eve would be just like this photo.  A big band concert in some swanky club…
Happy New Year Everyone!  Sorry for the delayed tidings and absence of posts lately.  One quarter of the SSS crew took ill over the holidays, and I had to do double duty caring for the sick and leading the rest of the crew.  Hopefully, I'm back to full production now. 

Sunrise Serenade: And The Angels Sing

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "And The Angels Sing" by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra featuring Martha Tilton on vocals.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line