[Dixielandjazz] Re: Wonder Horse

Don Ingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Fri Oct 1 07:02:46 PDT 2004

I have heard the same Trigger story -- heard that it was Joe, and my source
was Spiegle Willcox
when Jean and I visited with him at his home near Cincinnatus, NY a couple
years before his death. He told many Venuti stories as he was one of Joe's
friends and had many of them from Joe himself. A key word here is "friend"
of Joe's.
My dad also a friend of Joe's, knew a lot of Venuti stories, many not suited
to posting here publicly. But there  was one that -- as a student and
mentoree of Red Nichols I always have loved -- was about Joe's fierce (an
appropriate word) loyalty to his good friends. Trumpeter and B Movie musical
regular Johnny Scat Davis was sitting at a table with some other players,
including Venuti. He didn't like Nichols for some reason and began to bad
mouth Red. At one point he made some highly nasty and pejorative comments
about Red.Without fanfare or comment,  Joe suddenly reached across the table
and punched Davis in the mouth, mashing his chops and dislocating his jaw..
Davis, a fairly good trumpet player before that, never got his chops back
into decent shape and soon faded from the scene in both B movies and public
The point of this story is that it was better to be a good friend of Joe's
than an enemy of his good friends. Joe was one tough guy, perhaps saved from
becoming a mob enforcer because of his large and able talent as a musician.
He was also the ultimate, if sometimes bawdy,practical joker and his stories
are legendary. Some, if not all, were true and have had a long life of their
Don Ingle

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert S. Ringwald" <robert at ringwald.com>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2004 11:27 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Wonder Horse

> LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing wrote:
> > Although I didn't see this one myself it's still funny.  Roy Rogers was
> appearing at the Arena.  While he was waiting along side of the band  the
> bass player reached over and massaged the genital area of Trigger with his
> bow.    The audience howled with Laughter a few seconds after the grand
> entry.  (They didn't call them wonder horses for nothin'.)
> This story was told to me by the alto sax player Skeets Herfurt.  However,
> he attributed the stunt to violinist Joe Venuti.
> Anyone know for sure if it was Joe?
> --Bob
> robert at ringwald.com
> Placerville, CA USA
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> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
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