"Afternoon In Amsterdam" - April 22, 2014

Anyone who has been to and experienced the American Treasure Tour knows how important automatic musical instruments are to us.  We love them and can't get enough of them - and would happily throw a quarter into a cup held by any monkey demanding donations.  It stands to reason, then, that we would have a few albums displayed on our walls in the Music Room dedicated to these beautiful machines.  Hidden among the country and western music, the rock and roll, and all of the other vinyl records on display are a handful dedicated solely to the band organ.

Today, we are going to talk about a record for which we could find unusually little information: no production notes, not even a year of release!  But we're okay with that (and hopefully, you will be, too).  The album Afternoon In Amsterdam was released by Capitol Records for their "Capitol of the World" series, the artist as listed is not a human composer but the mechanical machine itself, named Gavioli Draaiorgel Jupiter - a book-operated band organ.  Its music was supposedly recorded on a busy, high-end shopping street in Amsterdam, Netherlands, called Kalverstraat.  The record includes Dutch sea songs, waltzes, marches, and mill songs, tangos and tunes dedicated to famous Dutch towns.  It is a bit of an odd album, and not easy to come by, but we are happy to have it.  Honestly, you're probably better to pick up a cd of the Belgian dance hall organ affectionately called The Emperor.  You can find it at the ATT gift shop, right here in Oaks, Pennsylvania!

QUESTION:

The ATT gift shop offers a handsome variety of cds dedicated to preserving the sounds of mechanical music, including one of  recordings from The Emperor, and a few made by the extraordinary musician Frank Della Penna and his mobile carillon, Cast in Bronze.  What other machine that is in our collection has its own cd available in our gift shop?

a)  The Wurlizter Peacock

b)  The Sadie Mae

c)  The Mammoth

d)  The dueling Wurlitzer 165s

e)  The Arburo

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

Oklahoma's nickname is "The Sooner State."  That's because of an event that was supposed to happen on this day, exactly at noon, in 1889.  Formerly set aside as protected Indian lands, the Indian Appropriation Bill gave the authority to President Benjamin Harrison to open the land for white settlement.  Thousands were intent to exploit that opportunity.  Some people simply could not wait until noon to claim their land, so they ran to stake their claim before the clock tolled noon.  They effectively becoming "Sooners."  Others waited, and then fought for their land.  These were the "Boomers."  Lands became occupied across what would soon be identified as Oklahoma Territory, and cities sprang up overnight.  Oklahoma City and Guthrie both had populations of over 10,000 before midnight that night.  Streets had been laid out, lots staked, and a basic municipal government established.

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy saw how the threat of Communism could undermine the moral fabric of the United States when he began a relentless hunt for communist agents in Hollywood, government, and the military, back during the height of the Cold War.  While he likely exposed a few bad people, there can be little doubt that he did more harm than good during his reign of fear between 1950 and 1955. He ruined the lives of many hardworking, honest people with his allegations, and may have continued doing so had he not made a huge miscalculation.  He messed with the U.S. Army and, moreso, he allowed his allegations against the Army to be televised.  On this day in 1954, the American public saw McCarthy in action, and they were not impressed.  By the time the trial ended in June, McCarthy was all but done.  He would be censured by the Senate in December, and dead in three years.

BIRTHDAYS:

We would like to submit a petition to officially make April 22nd Eddie Albert Day!  Born in 1906 with the name Edward Albert Heimberger, Eddie's first ambition was to be a businessman. But the Stock Market Crash of 1929 put an end to that as a viable option, so he made the next obvious choice and became a trapeze artist with the Escalante Brothers Circus.  During their Mexican tour, he secretly worked with the U.S. government photographing German u-boats in Mexican ports.  He then distinguished himself during World War II, and proceeded to begin his acting career once he was discharged from the military that would last the rest of his life.  He is familiar to many as Oliver Wendell Douglass from the television sitcom Green Acres, although he appeared in many well-regarded films during his distinguished career, including Brother Rat with Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, Roman Holiday, The Sun Also Rises, and Dreamscape.  

We at the ATT blog would like to submit a second petition that would make today Jack Nicholson Day, too.  (Can a day be dedicated to two actors who share a birthday?)  Born a wee baby in Neptune City, New Jersey in 1937, Jack had a somewhat complicated childhood.  He was raised by his grandparents, who convinced him they were his parents, and who led him to believe his mother was actually his sister.  He was 37 years old and an established star when a reporter finally exposed the truth and told him the truth during an interview, after both his mother and grandmother had passed on.  Nicholson started his acting career at 21, starting out in low-budget films with Roger Corman before getting cast in the counter-culture mega-hit Easy Rider in 1967.  Since then, he has become the most-nominated male actor in American history - nominated for twelve Academy Awards and one of only three men (so far) to ever earn three separate awards, along with Walter Brennan and Daniel Day-Lewis.

QUOTE:

With my sunglasses on, I'm Jack Nicholson.  Without them, I'm fat and 60. - Jack Nicholson.

Answer:  b)  The Sadie Mae.  Maybe not the easiest question if you haven't been here, but mention today's blog when you come on a tour and we will be VERY impressed.  Oh, and we will also be happy to play samples from the Sadie Mae cd for you when you come in.