Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Are My First Memories? by George A. Borgman

"What are my first memories? Well, I believe my first recollection is sitting in the middle of the living room floor listening to my father's big Sears & Roebuck Silvertone radio, on which was playing the ballad "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?"

I do not recall who was singing it. I believe it was a male singer, and I like to believe it might have been Russ Columbo. But there must have been memories of events before 1933, the year that the song came out.

There is one memory for certain, and it must be around the same time I heard the aforementioned song. I recall standing in front of the old Silvertone, while an orchestra was playing on it, and I took a Tinkertoy stick and conducted the music. everyone thought I was so cute, and they all said I must have musical talent.

I believe that by this time my parents had taken me to the Forrest Park Highlands, an amusement park located just south of Forrest Park, and there was an outdoor band shell there. An eight-to-ten-piece orchestra played there. I forget the name of the director, who had a wry neck. We used to go there once every two-to-four weeks during the summer to hear the orchestra play sweet tunes and some swing tunes. That is probably where I got the idea of conducting an orchestra, even though the sound of it was only coming from a loudspeaker."
Russ Columbo
It seems rather fitting that one of George's first memories would be listening to music. "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?" was a tune written by Harry Revel with lyrics by Mack Gordon. Art Jarrett introduced it in the 1933 film Sitting Pretty and published the same year. Bing Crosby recorded the song actually the same year with the Lenny Heyton Orchestra.
Russ Columbo was a composer, violinist, singer and actor. He was born in 1908 in Camden, New Jersey. His compositions  "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful For Words" were well known as he was for his signature tune  "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love."

He tragically died on September 2, 1934, when a friend accidentally shot a pistol and the bullet ricocheted off a table and hit Columbo in the forehead lodging in his brain. He died six hours later after doctors made a futile attempt to save him.

Bing Crosby's 1933 recording of  Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?

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