Bob Effros in 1929

Bob Effros in 1929
Bob Effros (left) with Vincent Lopez Orchestra

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Vincent Lopez DRUMMER MAN Johnny Morris from "The Big Broadcast" (1932)

We present a swinging jazz clip from "The Big Broadcast"  starring: Bing Crosby, Cab Calloway, The Mills Brothers,The Boswell Sisters, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith, Donald Novis and "Street Singer" Arthur Tracy.


The outstanding drummer sequence is "Johnny Morris", (Uncle of Joe Morris: stellar jazz guitarist, composer, and  friend).

Durng 1924, Grandpa Bob Effros and Johnny Morris performed together in The Vincent Lopez Orchestra. In 1972, I met Joe Morris in high school.  One weekend, Joe met my Grandpa while "jamming" on guitar with a few friends at our home. Grandpa Bob Effros instantly recognized Joe Morris's talent. He asked the sixteen-year- old, Joe Morris, "Any chance you are related to the hot jazz drummer, Johnny Morris". Joe replied " Yes, Mr. Effros, he was my uncle and played drums with Vincent Lopez Orchestra and many other big bands."

Grandpa Bob Effros was thrilled and proceeded to share memories of  performing with hot drummer (and vocalist) Johnny Morris,  in the Vincent Lopez Orchestra.

Joe Morris and I - discovered as teenagers, the family connection we share in the jazz world!  No doubt, it's a small world, six degrees of separation and all that jazz!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Joe Franklin and Bob Effros, Rest in Peace

Joe Franklin was one of the few television shows  our entire family enjoyed together.   Joe will always be known as the “King of Nostalgia”.  

And being a nostalgic soul – I am compelled to write about him sooner  than expected.   Last month, Joe Franklin died.  Joe was one of those people you thought would live until at least 102!   After years of considering contacting Mr. Franklin. Last spring,  I  finally  sent an email.  Joe graciously responded immediately.  I asked if I could interview him, when next in New York.  His answer was "of course, of course - stop by my office, anytime."  

Grandpa was a guest on "The Joe Franklin Show" for two broadcasts.  The first time, I was little kid and so excited!  Perhaps five years old,  was viewing the show, with my parents and  sister. I started to cry, seeing Grandpa sitting next to Joe on our console television.

 “Why are you crying?” my parents asked.   I replied “Joe Franklin lives on TV and now Grandpa has moved in with him!”   Everyone laughed and promised Grandpa would call after the show.   Yes, he did.   He wanted to make sure I heard Joe say:
How great he looked (Grandpa was about 20 years older than Joe).   He responded “my oldest granddaughter, said I needed to use Bryl  Creem – and I did!”

The 2nd appearance for Bob Effros on Joe Franklin, was in Fall 1980.  By then, I was in my 20’s and planning my wedding.  Being the firsttgrandchild and firstt to marry, my Grandparent’s were proud to have at least a short amount of guests they could invite.  The list was impressive, after our British cousins was included Ben Selvin, Jimmy Durante and Mae Questal among other well knowns.

Grandpa was never one for formalities.

While watching on live television from my apartment in Santa Monica, CA with a gang of friends:  I hear Grandpa say “ Joe, remember my oldest granddaughter Barbara?  I mentioned her on my earlier appearance  on your show. Well she’s grown up and  am proud to say is getting married in California this December.  My wife and most of our family will be going out to Los Angeles for her wedding.  Joe, we’d love to have you there!  I’ll be sure you get an invitation from her, but put it on your calendar now!”

Truth!  Grandpa invited Joe Franklin on national television to my wedding. Quote is  from VHS tape of live show, September 1980.

Presenting one of Grandpa's favorite stars he worked with: Bing Crosby.  From the Joe Franklin archives:

An excerpt from one of countless Joe Franklin interviews:

Joe was known for asking his guests for a piece of memorabilia.  He had the longest running talk show and interviewed over 10,000 people and claims about 5,000 gifts he has saved. “I’ve  got Bing Crosby’s hat, George Raft’s sweater, Joe DiMaggio’s  yarmulke, Rudolph Valentino’s coffee cup — with coffee from 1926 still in it — Al Jolson’s razor, Eddie Cantor’s black face. It’s all hidden back there in this room.”

How do you find anything in this disarray?
I can’t have a neat office. I really tried, but I throw things down. Albert Einstein, a good friend of mine, told me that neat freaks were sicker than people like me who are slobs. My office is a place where I can lean back and lounge.

Thanks for the Memories!
I know you are in Heaven interviewing God and all your old friends!

1  1), Kilgannon    
2). Photo Credit: Damon Winter, NY Times 1/28/2015