Cab Calloway

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III was born in Rochester on Christmas day in 1907. His family moved to Baltimore, MD about 1918. Cab’s mother was a teacher and his father was a lawyer and in real estate> The family wanted Cab to follow in his father’s footsteps. He enrolled in Crane College but left school to sing with a band. In 1931 he recorded his most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher.” The video version below is from the 1940s. Cab led one of the most popular big bands in the 1930s and 1940s. Cab also performed “Minnie the Moocher” in The Blues Brothers movie (1980). He kept working up until just a few months before his death in 1994.  He is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, NY.

Old News – Christmas Program

The City of Rochester presented a Christmas evening program in 1914 with lots of music.


Wednesday, December 23, 1914


All Arrangements Are Completed for the Music at Exposition Park on Friday Evening.

ad-1914-12-23Everything is in readiness for Rochester “People’s Christmas Tree” at Exposition park. Bernard H. Haggarty, secretary to the mayor, this morning announced the programme of arrangements which were finished at a meeting of the principals held in the mayor’s office.

A lofty Christmas tree, towering to a height of 40 feet, and surmounted by an illuminated star, has been erected at the park 35 feet from the roadway in the grass plot opposite building 5, and it is to-day being decorated by the Railway and Light company. The tree was furnished by Calvin C. Laney, superintendent of parks, and is a “home product.”

The programme will begin at 7:45 o’clock Christmas night with carols, solos and music by the Park band. After about a half hour, the music will be resumed in Building 5, which will be comfortably heated, and have seating accommodations for about 6,00 people.

The programme around the tree is announced as follows:

  • Onward Christian Soldiers — Park Band
  • Christmas Carols —
  • O Holy Night — Community Chorus
  • Draw Night — Community Chorus
  • Baritone Solo — Harry Barnhart
  • Christmas Carols —
  • The First Noel – Community Chorus
  • We Three Kings — Community Chorus
  • Pilgrim’s Chorus — Community Chorus

The programme in Building 5 will be as follows:

  • Overture Tone Poem— Finlander Sibelus — Park Band
  • Soprano solo— Night of Nights —Mis Margaret Daignan
  • Hallelujah Chorus (from “The Messiah”) —Park Band
  • Baritone solo— They Were Shepherds — J. Guernsey Curtiss
  • Soprano solo— O Star of Bethlehem — Rae Potter Roberts
  • Parsifal— The Holy Grail (Wagner) — Park Band
  • Tenor solo— Glory to God in the Highest — Charles D. Vickers
  • Cornet solo—Inflamatus (from “Stabat Mater” by Rossini —Ernest F. Pech
  • Soprano solo— For All Eternity — Miss Margaret Daignan
  • Star Spangles Banner — Park Band

Top Songs of 1964: #26

Mr. Lonely” by Bobby Vinton was the next song on the top of the record charts in 1964. The song was written by Bobby Vinton and Gene Allan. The song was recorded in 1962 and released on Vinton’s album Roses Are Red. Then in 1964 it was released as a single. This was the second number one song of the year for Bobby Vinton having “There! I’ve Said It Again” on top in January.

The song describes a soldier who is sent overseas and has no communication with his home. He laments his condition and wishes for someone to talk with.

Bobby still tours. See his official website for tour dates, photos and song lyrics.

Download Bobby Vinton songs (for a small fee) from

Top Songs of 1964: #25

A unlikely song was the next one to hit the top of the record charts. “Ringo” by Lorne Greene was a spoken story of two men that took different paths in life. In the end Ringo is killed by his friend in a gun fight.

The only word sung is “Ringo.” The song was written by Don Robertson and Hal Blair. On the B side of the single Mr. Greene sings the theme song from “Bonanza”

Ringo” was the number one song on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of Nov, 29 – Dec. 5. It was the number one song on the Cash Box chart for the week of Dec, 6 – 12.

Top Songs of 1964: #24

The next song to go all the way to top of the records charts was “She’s Not There” by The Zombies. The song was written by Rod Argent from an experience he had of a girl friend calling off a wedding weeks before and broke his heart.

The group broke up in 1968 but within the last few years they have been reformed and do some concerts in the US, UK and Netherlands. See the official Zombies website for tour dates and merchandise..

It was the number one song on the Cash Box record chart for the week of Nov. 29 – Dec. 5. The song only made it to the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Download songs of The Zombies (for a small fee) from

Early Kodak Color Movie Test

Here is a test movie from 1922 of an early Kodak color film. It was filmed at Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In the movie are movie actresses Mae Murray and Hope Hampton, who is in her costume from the movie “The Light in the Dark” (1922). Also in the movie is Broadway actress Mary Eaton and an unknown woman with a child. This movie used a 2 color process which wasn’t as good as later color films. Still, this is 13 years before the first Hollywood color movie was released (Becky Sharp).

Eastman Kodak donated this test movie and almost everything in their archive to the George Eastman House; International Museum of Photography and Film where it is now preserved.