Thursday, January 28, 2016

"September in the Rain"






Recently I heard through a mutual friend that Michael Feinstein (yes, the Michael Feinstein) was looking for James Melton's arrangement of "September in the Rain." (The song is by Warren and Dubin, from the 1937 movie "Melody for Two," in which my father starred.)  I was able to direct him to the University of Wyoming archives, where the bulk of my father's orchestrations reside.  How they got to Wyoming is another story which I will post at a later date.  At any rate, I am so delighted (and flattered) that Michael thinks enough of that music to want to include it in his Great American Songbook Project.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy Birthday



Today is my father's 112th birthday.  Here's a nice photo of him and his mother, taken probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

Although I haven't posted anything here for a while, I continue to hear from folks who have some connection to my father, and I continue to keep in touch with my "network" of friends, fans and family as new material emerges.

Most recently, I heard from Gary Melton, who is my father's great (or is it grand?) nephew!  I was able to send him a few family photos, including one of all the Melton siblings (including his grandfather, Guyton).

I also had a lovely email from a gentleman in Baltimore who called my father his "boyhood hero," and described in detail a concert in Philadelphia in 1945, during which my father forgot the lyrics to "Soliloquy" from Carousel.  A rare occurrence!

It really warms my heart when people rake the time to track me down with these recollections!

Happy New Year to all!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

1911 Speedwell



 postcard of the Speedwell from the Autorama

I often hear from folks who own one of my father's cars. But recently I heard from someone whose family sold him a car. They wondered if I had any information about the car (sadly I did not) or any photos of the car (which I did).

The car in question was a 1911 Speedwell, which my father bought in 1941 for $350.  Richard Cook, nephew of the seller (and a teenager at the time), wrote a story about the transaction in the September/October 1995 issue of Horseless Carriage Gazette.

The Speedwell was displayed in both the Melton Museum in Norwalk, and later at the James Melton Autorama in Florida. Subsequently, it went to Dr. Samuel Scher's collection (in Mamaroneck, NY) and then to Bill Harrah's collection.  I wonder where it is now.

 The Speedwell on parade in Framingham, Massachusetts, Autumn  1941

 


Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Revelers

Lately I have been in touch with a fellow who is a doctoral candidate in music performance at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The focus of his doctoral dissertation is on male quartets of the 1920s and the transition from the acoustic recording process to the electrical process.

We have been having a wonderful time exchanging information, photos and recordings of The Revelers.

Here is the latest photograph he sent (from the University of Texas-Austin historic photo archives). It is one I have not seen. 

The Revelers were born in 1925 from an older group called the Shannon Quartet, so named because Irish songs were very popular 1918 when they first came together to make recordings for the Victor Company. Until 1925, they were only heard in recordings and on the radio, but in the summer of that year they started making concert tours, including one to Great Britain where they sang for the Prince of Wales and Princess Mary. The original group consisted of Lewis James and Charles Hart (tenors), Elliott Shaw (baritone) and Wilfred Glenn (bass). In 1925, Charles Hart left the group, and was replaced by Franklyn Bauer. In due time he too left to pursue a solo career, and the quartet went in search of another tenor. In 1927, Dr. Frank Black became their accompanist and arranger. And they hired James Melton as first tenor.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Motorsport Mystery


Last week I had an email from a fellow in the UK. He recently bought, at an auction in Wales, a group of motorsports memorabilia, amongst which is a trophy awarded to the winner of the "James Melton Museum Sprint Race 1949." He is trying to track down information on the trophy and contacted me.

Where was the sprint race? And why was the trophy named after the museum and not simply James Melton?  Was it to publicize the museum? Could the race possibly have been at the museum property (unlikely)? Evidently sprint races were held at the Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut, which is not too far from the museum's location in Norwalk, Connecticut. I am not aware that my father had any particular association with that racetrack, but who knows?

At any rate, I’m hoping that someone out there can shed some light on this mystery.  




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

54 Years ago today....



Fifty-four years ago today my father died. This is the appreciation his friend and fellow automobile collector Sam Scher wrote in Antique Automobile magazine.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

VMCCA Award



I had a lovely surprise the other day in the form of an unexpected parcel.  It contained this award plaque given to my father in 1959, and came from Dick King of Redding, Connecticut.  What a gift! I am thrilled to have it.  The 1907 Rolls Royce was one of my father's (and my) favorite cars. It was painted dark green and had red leather seats, hence the license plate XMAS.