[Dixielandjazz] Happy 100th, Red
dingle at baldwin-net.com
dingle at baldwin-net.com
Mon Nov 6 12:35:16 PST 2006
While most of us will be doing the political poll watching this
Tuesday, November 7, this fellow will do more than vote. My wife Jean
and I will be having a celebration of a birthday – my father’s, who
would have been 100 years old on November 7 of this year.
Certainly jazz and entertainment mavens will get reminders about Red
Ingle when they dig through the musical archives of the jazz, ig band
and comedy in music subjects, but some plain folks still come up with
recollections at the oddest time and place., he is still remembered
today in the most unexpected places. It is amazing to think that while
he died at 59 in Santa Barbara, CA in 1965.
For me there are so many memories that flash by all the time, but every
so often a new one pops up, and often triggered by a chance remark from
While dad and I shared the musical occupation, we also shared another
activity – trout fishing – fly fishing to be exact. On the road when I
worked with him, we carried fly rods and waders along with our horns and
props and snuck off to creeks and other waters whenever rumors of trout
living there were heard. This was one of the heritages he passed to me,
and he was already well into the sport before I was much more than a
tad. That fly rod and wader package was packed away in the band bus of
the 1930’s Ted Weems band as well, and were put to action even then when
About a year ago I happened to meet a fellow in Traverse City, north of
my home in Michigan, and he 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
"Well, I even saw him before that time, right here in Traverse City at a
dance. He was playing sax with the 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 City. Dad recalled a
fellow name of Nixon was the owner or manager and that it was in the
summer when the trout season was open.
As noted, dad was a dedicated fly fisherman, as was the guitarist with
the band, Cliff Covert. And they always had their fly rods 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 Traverse City, 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 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 local 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.
By the time they'd cleaned up and were presentable, they had barely time
to eat dinner before getting ready to play that night.
Dad said that when they asked the waiter what was the special for the
day, his answer brought on some sudden, uncontrollable laughter from the
The others in the dining room must have thought that the two men must
have been escapees from the local State hospital for the mentally
impaired for all the uncontrollable fits of laughter between the two
The day’s special, as the waiter told them, was . . .
. . .”Fresh caught Michigan Trout!”
That’s one tale to share. There are so many, so little time to tell in
one sitting. Perhaps a few more will emerge in the days ahead. But it is
enough for me to know that if Red was still with us, he would still be
flinging a fly along side me to hook one of those “fresh caught Michigan
Happy birthday, Dad, and say hi to Bix for us.
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