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R. Dale Flick 11-08-2006 04:54 PM

ISLAND QUEEN/Photos of Clyde Trask Orchestra.
Dear steamboating colleagues:
Hate to bother you all with a request. Today I received an E=Mail inquiry asking if somebody had any photos of the last ISLAND QUEEN showing the orchestra platform with Clyde Trask and his group. I've none here but do recall as a young squirt the orchestra and Clyde playing his glistening trumpet. My correspondent's father-in-law played with the band on the boat but, fortunately, was not aboard when she exploded and burned Sept. 1947. I'll send Gail names/addresses of libraries/archives here in Cincinnati that may have some in their collections. Another band from time to time was that of the late Jack Teegarten [Sp?] and I recall his daughter being one of the gang I hung out with drinking Cokes and swimming laps in the big 'Sunlite Pool' at old CONEY ISLAND.

I vaguely...dimly...recall the newspapers here running squibs when Clyde Trask passed away. [*1970s?] I recall the ISLAND QUEEN's orchestra platform being in the middle--possibly on the port side--and not at the end similar to the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE or other excursion vessels. There were lots of big red/white/blue American fan shaped banners hanging from above and along the stand. The dance floor was wood and highly polished. Mother, age 90, also recalls at times either artificial or real potted palms around the band. Photos here show big loud speakers mounted on the top of the IQ to blast out the music from below and on warm summer nights you could hear it from shore. Well, that was a long time ago and what do I know?
Thanks for time and attention.

R. Dale Flick

Tom Schiffer 11-08-2006 05:43 PM

Dale: Dunno just what is wanted, but the J & R White's book ISLAND QUEEN, there is a picture of the dance floor (crowded) on page 35, another on pp 36 (empty) and a picture of the band on the roof on page 38 with his 'canary' in the middle.

Frank Grimm 11-08-2006 11:40 PM

Hi Dale & Gang. I think I can remember when the dance floor was on the starboard side of the Idlewild / Avelon / BL, many many years ago. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I'm sure Alan will remember.

Frank Grimm 11-08-2006 11:56 PM

Correction. I meant to say, the band stand, not dance floor. Just an old mans lapse of thought train I guess.

Alan Bates 11-09-2006 05:21 AM

If the bandstand was anywhere other than all the way aft on the Idlewild/Avalon/Belle of Louisville I do not remember it.
The bandstand on the Island Queen was on the port side more or less in line with the paddlewheel shaft. George Mc Bride and I played in a band on her, but not with Clyde Trask. It may have been with Milborne Stone's band. We went up and visited with the Captains Doss during intermissions. Yes, there were potted plants on both sides of the bandstand. George once "sat in" with Jack Teagarten, but not on the Island Queen.
Locating the bandstand on the side at the paddlewheel was commonplace on sidewheelers. It was impossible to look outboard there. Frequently there was a bar opposite the bandstand, but not on the Island Queen. Unlike most bandstands, the one on the Island Queen was big enough. Trask's orchestra was big, maybe fifteen pieces, and needed the space.
During World War II I served in an army band with a fellow from Trask's band. His name was Carl Mueller, of whom there are probably no fewer than twenty who lived in Cincinnati. He was a very fine trumpeter, a sort of workingman's musician, but not a star.

R. Dale Flick 11-09-2006 07:11 AM

Tom, Frank, Alan & steamboating colleagues:
Thanks for your prompt responses to Gail Goebert living out in Texas. We were E=Mailing back and forth last night. Gail forwarded a series of five professional black/white photos of the Clyde Trask orchestra taken on the last ISLAND QUEEN. Alan is right about the Trask orchestra being big. Pictured is a female vocalist with the big band on the IQ's top deck. Other shots are of the band stand and you clearly see the steel overhead of the boat. Other professional 'promo' shots have the band broken down into various ensembles with the baby grand piano hauled down on the dance floor. All of the musicians are spiffed up to the 'T' with hair cuts, bright faces, shirts/ties, polished shoes and trousers with creases like razor blades.

Unfortunately Gail's collection does not have the individual names on the back. I do identify Clyde Trask. Behind the orchestra stand is some kind of mural with painted notes. The orchestra stand was modernized over the years and the one pictured isn't the same as the high box-like affair in CONEY ISLAND's earlier press releases. The real 'kicker' to one photo is of the full orchestra and vocalist on deck. The margin is inked '1947' and I've an inkling it was snapped either in Cincinnati, on the way to Pittsburgh or while the boat was there just before the explosion and fire. Gail's quest for more photos may not bring forth pictures any better than these. Her father-in-law passed away in 1993 and now she's regretting not talking more and writing the names of the band members. I'll show these photos to mom, age 90, as she was a vocalist in the 1930s with old WLW and WKRC Radio when music and commercials were done live. She may know/remember a few in these photos but I doubt it. Band members would come and go over time.

R. Dale Flick

Alan Bates 11-09-2006 07:25 AM

You bet the band was spiffied up to a T. Every band, in those days, wore a uniform, of sorts, mostly tuxedos or business suits that matched, ties issued by the band leader and so on. Clyde Trask is easy to spot because he was something like six feet, 22 inches tall, but the entire band wore clothing to match his.
That little vest-pocket-sized singer may be Thelma Staton. She later became a comedienne and singer in a movie or two, if I am not mistaken.

Keith Norrington 11-09-2006 07:37 AM

Dale: Did you check Robert White's book about the ISLAND QUEEN? I think there is at least one photo of the orchestra among the many fine photographs contained therein.

R. Dale Flick 11-09-2006 08:30 AM

Hi, Keith:
Yes, Jack & Bob White's great book on the ISLAND QUEEN is most valuable. Gail lives in Texas and I'll mention it to her. I 'think' she is eager for any additional photos that people know about with names of the Trask orchestra written on the back. The professional 'promo' photos she forwarded last night are stellar and, except for missing names, I don't know if she could do much better. The photos were taken when the boat empty and there are no dancers jitter buggin' on the wood in front of the band stand. Anyway, I'll keep plugging here for her when I get a chance. Interesting the people we are put in touch with via Internet/E=Mail. I'll ask Gail if there is any marking of the CONEY ISLAND company, photographer name or copyright on the backs of these great shots.

Gail mentioned that she had pulled some ISLAND QUEEN photos from Internet sites and I sent her a few I have here that Franz kindly posted within the last couple of years.

R. Dale Flick

Judy Patsch 11-09-2006 09:11 AM

Both the PRESIDENT and ADMIRAL had their bandstands on the starboard side, near the paddlewheel too.

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