These pictures didn’t bring up any nostalgic memories for me, but as I interviewed Roy Lee Davis and his wife Donna, they reminisced and had a great time. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 by combining the telephone and telegraph machines. His machine was a novelty, but even so he foresaw many uses for it, all of which we use today. Edison established The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company in January, 1878 . He founded the Edison Record label in 1888 in West Orange, NJ, United States. This phonograph below adorns the Davis’ dining room, and comes with original Edison records.
My parents talked about the RCA Victor (Radio Corporation of America), and we may have even had a Victrola when I was very young, I don’t remember. RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company ie. Victrola in 1929 just after my parents were born.
I remember the famous dog and phonograph picture, do you? I always thought the dog was so cute.
Roy and Donna talked about dancing, and the fun they had on Saturday nights. I asked what dance they did, and Roy replied, “Oh the usual, jitterbugging.”
These records were heavy, 1/4 inch thick and very hard. Donna held it up for me so you could see how thick records were prior to 1931.
When I was a child albums came in a colorful cardboard sleeve. These were packaged in simple brown paper. The Victrola cabinet protected the records, not the packaging.
In 1931 the records changed from the standard large grooves to the 31 RPM records my parents listened to. Records got slimmer and slimmer, smaller and smaller until they turned into CDs. My brother and I listened to 78s and 45s as well as the “new,” LPs (long-playing) albums when we were young.
The Broadway Dance Orchestra performed Roy and Donna’s catchy Foxtrot, Doodle Do Do, published in 1925 on Edison Record, 5142-R, written by Art Kassel and Mel Stitzel. This title did nothing to make me nostalgic, but once we started singing it, I knew some of the words, and most of the tune. Either my mother or grandmother must have taught it to me. I emailed the Aardvark Crew who have MP3 versions of many of the Edison Records, but 51421-R isn’t one of them. If they have it, I’ll add it to this post later. 🙂 You may remember it too, it’s catchy.
This is not the same recording as pictured, but is one done in 1912 by D. Onivas and Orchestra.
Here it is on a 78 RPM. This record player looks identical to the one my brother and I had when we were pre-schoolers.
The organ music in that last video made me nostalgic for the pipe-organists, Don Simmons and Jonas Nordwall, who played for three to six hours while we danced on wheels in the 1960s. I did all my fox trotting on roller skates. 🙂 Jonas Nordwall, who played at Oaks Park on Don Simmons’ days off, was about my age. So that meant he was playing this huge Wurlitzer organ for us when he was about 15 or 16 years of age. I went to one of his concerts in San Diego’s Balboa Park about 12 years ago. For the sake of nostalgia I went back stage to greet him after the performance. I can’t say that he remembered me, but he was polite, and he certainly remembered playing there for all us rowdy kids.
OK, I got nostalgic writing this piece. I knew it would happen, and after hours on the internet, I found this site, dedicated to the man who owned the skating rink I loved so much, Oaks Park Roller Rink in Portland OR. Roy Bollinger dedicated his entire life to that sport or art, whichever it is, and this website is dedicated to him. Here are some of the types of music to which I danced.
For more nostalgia pieces click here.