Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 23, 1958

57 years ago I married this sweet man, Dick, and, although he only lived to be 59, we enjoyed a myriad of experiences that I still can’t quite believe. Of course, living in New York City in the 50’s was a good part of it and here is a fun example:

My husband had many odd-ball acquaintances and one of them was Popsy, a big Greek man who had been the band boy for Benny Goodman. When the “Big Band Era” came to an end Benny set him up in the photography business. Popsy would be the first to tell you that he was no artist when it came to taking pictures but he had the basics and his studio was conveniently located near the theater district.

Dick was working as a “Life” photographer in 1956 and he and Popsy became fast friends. When Dick started to free lance he would use his studio and darkroom when needed and, as payment, he taught Popsy some of the finer points of photography. When Dick and I married in 1958 he had left “Life” and was free lancing full time. We would often meet Popsy in his studio and enjoyed many a take-out meal with him.

Early in 1959 we received a call from Popsy. He was very agitated and asked us to hurry over. It seemed that Benny Goodman was on his way to New York with his 10-piece ensemble that had been touring Europe. He was booked at “Basin Street East” for a three night gig and was offering Popsy the chance to take all the publicity shots.

Popsy was fit to be tied. He didn’t want to let Benny down but he had no idea how to handle the lighting for candid shots of this sort. I knew why he had called Dick, because this was his expertise. The two of them formulated a plan and on opening night we arrived early and Dick set up his big strobe lights. We were seated at a large table in front of the stage and Popsy met us there.

When Benny came on stage with his ensemble the crowd went wild, the strobe lights came on and Dick and Popsy rushed around the room taking pictures from all angles. When the night was over we couldn’t wait to get back to the studio and process the film.

The pictures were wonderful, Benny was very happy with the results, Popsy was vindicated … and me? … I was just thrilled to be part of it all … especially when Benny and his 10 musicians sat at our table between sets !



Blogger joared said...

Interesting Goodman story. Enjoyed his appearance (without band) at one of our Claremont, CA campuses years ago after that. The years you mention would have been a fun time to be living in NYC. Thanks for sharing your memories. Expect you have some more perhaps you'll write about in the future. Am a jazz fan of that era and my husband's avocation was professional jazz musician in a metro area other than NYC. Sorry you lost your husband when he was so young.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Lighting is something else entirely and far beyond my ken.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

We are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary (Aug 21) this weekend, Ginnie, so enjiyed seeing the wedding photo of you and Dick and reading that yiur wedding day was near ours. What a great story too as all of the Big Bands are among my favorites.

10:15 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

How exciting. Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benny Goodman ! .. Now that's real class .. Wish I'd been there.

6:25 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

My Lord, have lived such an interesting life! Wows and double Wows. I do love that photo of the two of you. Such a handsome couple, and I hope you know that you have a wonderful smile. You are beautiful.

2:33 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Wow... Bennie Goodman! How cool for you, but how lucky he was to have met YOU! Fame isn't everything.. but sometimes we luck out and meet some really nice people. I bet you were at least as interesting as he was!

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fabulous memory. You certainly have a beautiful smile. Thanks for sharing this.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose I wasn't very fashionable. I never had a hairdo like yours. I wore it short. The bettter to cope with children. Besides, I did my own hair. Yes, Barbra made a big splash. I remember Jack Paar, although I was a Steve Allen fan.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

What a wonderful opportunity to study under such as expert photographer as Dick. I would be thrilled for such an opportunity. I did work as a darkroom photographic technician in high school and college. It was where I learned a lot. Now with the digital age, it is different. But the concepts of burning and dodging remain with me.

8:44 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

A very handsome couple!! Having just returned from 4 days in NYC, I can say that I envy your time living there. when Jim and I married in 1964, I tried my best to get him to move back to NYC (or DC) but he was having none of it. I see now that he made the best decision for our family - but I still would love to have lived there, if even for a short time.

How exciting to be involved in the lives and times of musicians. His photography did well by him.

6:36 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

what a handsome couple you were!! Having just returned from NYC, I can say that I envy your living there. when Jim and I married in 1964, I tried my best to get him to move back to NYC, but he wouldn't hear of it. He made the best decision for our family, but I still would have loved living there - if even for a short time.

6:38 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I may have left 2 comments; choose the one you think is best.

6:39 AM  

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