That Toddlin' Town: Chicago's White Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1900-1950

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University of Illinois Press, 2004 - History - 244 pages
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As a centre for jazz and blues, vaudeville, and a budding recording industry, Chicago and its environs probably spawned more nationally recognized dance bands than any other city in the United States in the 1920s and 30s. While ample attention has been paid to their black counterparts, Charles A. Sengstock Jr.'s That Toddlin' Town looks at the history of the white dance bands, theater orchestras, radio studio ensembles and night club bands. Sengstock examines these bands not only in terms of the music they played but also in the context of the venues in which they played and Chicago's volatile economic and social climate. Viewing the bands as an economic system, he analyzes them as businesses with all the usual pressures brought on by ambition, personality clashes, and the overriding need to serve clients. More than a mere popular phenomenon, these dance bands--along with their charismatic leaders, powerful booking agencies, and the Chicago Federation of Musicians--had a major impact on the music industry at large and influence over other entertainment media.
 

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There is a very big error in the article. Hank Cramer wrote the original song. "It Was Moomlight On Melody Mill. This song was written for the Melody Mill Ballroom. I am Dorothy Cramer Howard. He was my Father. I still have the original manuscript. He felt that Tiny Hill would want some more of his beautiful songs. However, that did not happen. Others have taken credit for this song. I can still remember the song word for word. I would sit by him as he played it on his piano.He wrote many beautiful songs. Also, he had a 6 piece band for years "Hank Cramer and his Orchestra. 

Contents

Introduction
1
Edgar Benson and the Early Chicago Booking Agents
9
Jules Stein and James Petrillo
21
How Radio Made Stars of the Dance Bands
38
Ice Rinks Beer Gardens and Other Early Chicago Dance Halls
53
The Trianon the Aragon and the Modern Ballroom Era
68
Early Downtown Chicago Hotels Join the Dance Party
84
The Beat Goes On
97
1o Dance Bands in the Roadhouses
138
n Rah Rah Rajah
148
The Economic Challenge of the Thirties
158
The Last Hurrah
169
Maps of Important Chicago Dance Venues 19oo195o
183
Benson Bands and Orchestras
195
Bibliography
215
Index
229

Dance Bands Thrive in Chicago s Cabarets and Restaurants
111
The Bands Earn Respect
125

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