Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1901 Frisbee "Red Devil"

Back in January I heard from Diane Davis in California, who was looking for information on the 1901 Frisbie Red Devil car that was in may father’s museum. She is a Frisbie descendant, and was in the midst of putting together a book about the Frisbie family of inventors.

Her project has come to fruition and the book is out! Red Devils & Penny Shooters.  (The Penny Shooters refers to the cast iron mechanical toy banks made by the J&E Stevens Company, owned by the Frisbee family.)

As Diane says on the back of the book, “Russell Abner Frisbie would create and manufacture gasoline motors, Frisbie marine engines, and take part in the birth of the automobile industry with the creation of his Frisbie ‘Red Devil’ car.”

I did find a small photo of the Frisbie that my father owned. The photo is only about 3”x5” and there is a date of 1949 on the back (meaning it was in the Melton Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut).  I looked at the sign in front of the car with a magnifying glass, and here is what it says:

1901 Frisbie
1 cylinder water cooled planetary transmission
Built in Cromwell, Conn. and presented to the Melton Museum by its builder R.A. Frisbee

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More on The Revelers

My email conversation with Craig Phillips continues. He’s the fellow, you may remember, who was a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The focus of his dissertation is The Revelers, the male quartet my father sang with in the 1920’s.  (See my July 19th, 2015 post.) The actual title of his dissertation is: The Vocal Arrangements of Ed Smalle and Frank J. Black: Seven Performance Editions of Songs for Male Quartet Made Popular By The Revelers.

Craig has just received his doctorate this Spring.  Congratulations, Dr. Phillips! He also writes, “I'm happy to report that this Fall I am joining the music faculty of the University of Oregon as assistant professor of voice and vocal pedagogy. It's a big move for my family (swapping coasts!) but a great gig.”

In the two years since he first contacted me, Craig has been able to locate a number of other Revelers’ descendants, and has found marvelous materials that he has generously shared with me.

Here is a rare gem, a live performance photo of The Revelers (circa 1930) performing in NBC Studio H, showing their orientation to the microphone, where the piano was situated, the audience in front and the orchestra all around. And of course they're all wearing tuxedos!

This photo is from the collection of Craig Arnold, who is the grandson of Lewis James, one of the Revelers.