[Dixielandjazz] Story went out before it was finished - Re: Red Ingle

Don Ingle dingle@baldwin-net.com
Fri, 28 Jun 2002 14:05:16 -0400

Working off-line
(so I thought) this rough start went out before I intended it to. Damn
'puters!  So here is the story as intended.
I recently spent my annual fishing weekend fly fishing with friends on
No.Michigan;s "Holy Water", the Au Sable. If you wonder why a cornet picker
prefers spending more time fishing than playing given the opportunity, here
is a tale about my dad, Red Ingle, from the Ted Weems era of the 1930's.
Blame my fishing genes on him.
   By Don Ingle
   About a year ago I happened to meet a fellow in Traverse City that
asked me a question about my name.
   "Ingle? Is that Ingle with an I," he asked.
   I said yes, and he asked, "Any relation to "Red" Ingle, the
fellow that was with Spike Jones and the City Slickers and made
those comedy records with Jo Stafford?"
   Again I said yes, "my father, in fact", and his face lit up
with a big smile.
   "Well, I even saw him before that time, right here in
Traverse City at a dance. He was playing sax with the  Ted
Weems Band."
   "Right again", I told him, and then I remembered a long
forgotten tale of dad's about one Traverse City date with the
Weems band in the big band days of the late 1930's. (Dad was
with the Ted Weems band from 1931 to 1941, and with the Spike
Jones City Slickers in the War years and right after until he
started his own recording career at Capitol Records with several
number one records in the country, "Timtayshun" with Jo
Stafford, and "Cigareets and Whusky and Wild, Wild Wimmen.")
   It was on a tour of several cities in Michigan one summer
that the Weems band played at a dance hall somewhere near
Traverse. Dad recalled a fellow name of Nixon was the owner or
manager and that it was in the summer when the trout season was
   Dad was a dedicated fly fisherman, as was the guitarist with
the band, Cliff Covert. And they always carried their flyrods
and waders along on the band bus for whenever they could get
time to fish someplace, even if for a few hours. So, when they
came to TC, the first thing they did was line up a local to
drive them out to the Boardman River, leave them off for a few
hours of fishing and then to pick them up to get them back in
time to get on the band bus for the trip to Grand Rapids where
they would play next.
   Early the next morning they met their driver, got to the
stream and began fishing. At the time they were to meet the
driver, he was a no show. Finally, more than an hour late, the
driver arrived with a story about car trouble.
    Both Dad and Cliff had killed several big brown trout, so
they got back to town and had them iced down and boxed, then
went to the bus location only to find that the bus hadn't waited
for them and had just left.
   Dad, himself a pilot, remembered seeing some bi-wing planes
flying that day, and asked the driver to take them to the
airport. There, they pooled their money and hired a pilot to fly
them down to Grand Rapids to catch up with the band. Into the
front cockpit of an old bi-wing they sat, Cliff on Dad's lap,
and their fish, iced down but beginning to leak melt from the
box holding them, lashed down to the lower wing next to the
fuselage. Off they flew with the barnstormer to meet up with
their band members several hours south.
    As they flew, the prop wash and airfoil carried the dripping
ice melt, full of fish odor, back into the two of them crammed
into the cockpit. (Keeping those fish was not their best idea as
it turned out.)
   By the time they landed at Grand Rapids they were thoroughly
soaked and beginning to smell more than a tad ripe. In fact,
when they went to enter the Pantlind Hotel where they were to
stay that night, the desk clerk wouldn't allow them to stay in
the lobby and made them go around back to the freight elevator
before he'd allow them access to the hotel's upper floors.
   Once they'd cleaned up and were presentable, they had
barely time to eat dinner before getting ready to play that
   Dad said that when they asked the waiter what the special
was, the reply made the pair break into peals of non-stop,
tear-evoking laughter.  The other diners  must have thought that
the two recent arrivals from Traverse City must have been
escapees from the State mental hospital for all the
uncontrollable fits of giggles and guffaws between the two
   The special? ."Fresh caught Michigan trout!"
   Years later when doing pratt falls, pig oinks, sneezes and
getting gunshots, whistles, and broken glass sounds in his ear
along with other musical mayhem fallout with the zany Spike
Jones' City Slickers, someone asked him if he ever had problems
with all that noise and chaos around him.
   "Nope," he said," this is easy stuff. Being a trout
fisherman... now THAT'S tough!"