He’s a Brick….House

Some men spend all their lives trying to get a foot-hold in their industry, struggling up the ladder, trying in vain to be recognized for their creativity and ingenuity, then one day — one fine day — they will create something awe-inspiring, something stunning, something that makes the other members of the industry look upon it in awe and wonder.

And then you’ll go to a society ball and they’ll make you dress up like your creation:

This  is from the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects annual ball, 1931.  That guy in the middle, wearing a Hamburglar bathrobe?   He’s the actual, real architect who designed the Empire State Building.  He’s so awesome he doesn’t have to stoop to wearing a ten-story sundress like his compartiots — screw you, Mr. Waldorf-Astoria, let’s see you architect something remarkable next time!  If only Sid and Marty Krofft had ever seen this picture, we might have been raised watching a TV show about a town populated by an anthropomorphic town, which would have been so recursive people’s brains would have exploded.

 

**Update:  A sharp eyed reader has pointed out that the guy I called the Empire State Building actually looks like the Chrysler Building.   JDavis is correct – that’s architect William Van Alen wearing the tippy-top of the Chrysler Building on his head.  Apparently it’s a common mistake for rubes who have never been to New York before, which describes me accurately.

Hal Leonard’s Triple Tongueing Trumpet Trio

A vintage promotional calling card, stamped Dec. 15, 1939, for Hal Leonard’s Triple Tongueing Trumpet Trio Featuring “The Carnival of Venice”.

The story of Hal Leonard’s Triple Tongueing Trumpet Trio can be found here and here, but the skinny is this: The Edstrom boys, Harold and Everett Leonard, of Winona, Minnesota, were afraid to name the band after themselves using the family name for fear of Dad’s reaction.

[T]hey feared he would feel shame that his family name was spelled out in glittering letters night by night in dance halls all across the land. The boys contrived a name — Harold’s nickname and Ev’s middle name — the Hal Leonard Band.

A day came when the big white bus turned onto McMillan Street at Worthington and came to a stop in front of the Edstrom house. Dad came out to see the wonder, and he was awed. He had one question: “Why don’t you call it the Edstrom Band?”

No one, however, feared use of “tonguing”.

Everett went on to organize Hal Leonard Music, which would become the largest sheet music publisher in the world.

This vintage postcard-sized promotional piece is for sale at Exit 55 Antiques, for just $4. (You can call them — We’re not the one’s who own it; or it wouldn’t be for sale.)

The Appliance Ball

Kitchen appliance costume balls were serious business in the 1930s.   You didn’t show up dressed half-heartedly or ironically.  Well, unless you wanted to be funny and dress as an iron and call yourself ironic, but that might still get you kicked out.   See more of the modern machinery of the 1930s here.