Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Aug. 17, 1939: USC football player Al Kreuger keeps in shape over the summer by milking cows.
Caruso in "I Pagliacci."
|What appears to be a collection of ephemera given by Enrico Caruso to Rosa Ponselle has been listed on EBay.
There is no strong tie to Los Angeles, although both of them performed here. For example, Caruso appeared in a Met production of "Lucia di Lammermoor" in 1905 at Hazard's Pavilion and Ponselle was at the Hollywood Bowl in 1923.
I'm noting these items because there may be a few Caruso or Ponselle fans among the Daily Mirror readers who would enjoy knowing about them. Bidding starts at $429.99.
Listed on EBay: An usher's ribbon from the 1905 performances of "Parsifal" in Los Angeles. Bidding starts at $9.99.
The 1905 performance of "Parsifal" was such a significant event that The Times published the names of what appears to be everyone who attended. The performance by Conreid's Metropolitan Grand Opera had most of the Met's opening night cast, including conductor Alfred Hertz and Alois Burgstaller (Parsifal).
The Garner Concert Jubilee Company, in a photo from a promotional brochure.
I've been able to gather some more information about George Robert Garner, a Pasadena choral director and singer who was the first African American to solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Frank Villella, archivist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, says:
Tenor George Garner appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on one occasion, on a Popular Concert at Orchestra Hall on March 25, 1926. He sang "On away! Awake Beloved" from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Wedding Feast (Frederick Stock, our music director, was the conductor). Unfortunately, there was no biography or photograph of Garner included in the program book for that concert.
According to an article in The Chicago Defender (from April 3, 1926; see attached), Garner was "the first soloist of our Race to appear with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra." Also according to the article, Garner sang the "Lament" (presumably "Vesti la giubba") from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci as an encore.
Regular Daily Mirror reader Dick Morris drew upon his vast knowledge of online databases and offers these facts about George Robert Garner and his father, George Sr.:
In 1900, (the older) George is listed as living with his brother Fred in Chicago. No spouse or children were living with him. In this one, George is shown as being born in Canada and his parents born in England and a immigration date of 1888 is listed and he had been in the U.S. for 12 years. Occupation was clerk. This may be a different person, but there are a number of similarities.
In 1910 George Sr. was listed as born in N. Carolina as were his parents. He was a butler for a private family. At 18, George, Jr. was identified as a musician, concert. he had been out of work for 10 weeks during the year. The address looks like 209 E. 32nd.
On an LDS site I found a record saying that George R. Garner, Jr. was married to Pauline H. Bell on 1 Sep 1915 in Chicago. This is a transcription of marriage license and they have the image available to view.
The WWI draft registration for George R. Garner Jr. gives his birth date as April 16, 1892, and his address as 5229 Wabash Ave., Chicago. It's hard to read, but I think his occupation is professional concert artist singer. He was married.
For the 1920 Chicago census, George Jr. lived in Chicago and his spouse's name was Pauline. The address was 4405 Champlain Ave., and he owned his house outright. He and his wife were both 27. She was born in Illinois as was her father. Her mother was born in Oregon. He was a vocalist, opera, she was a pianist, opera. It appears that they had two boarders with the last name of Harrison. Both were his cousins and both were tailors.
In the 1920 census his father was identified as mulatto and a butler for a private family.
A George R. Garner, 30 years old, married, born in Chicago, Ill., Apr 16, 1899, of 6408 Laurence Ave., Chicago, Ill. arrived on the Leviathan from Southampton to New York on Apr 26, 1929. This is obviously the same person as in the 1930 census. The birth date matches the WWI draft registration, but the year doesn't.
The one from the California Death Index -- George R Garner 8 Jan 1971 Los Angeles 16 Apr 1892 Illinois -- is obviously the same person as the one in WWI draft registration.
There are a lot of inconsistencies, but it appears these are all the same person.
I did a Google news archive search and it appears that the Chicago Tribune mentioned him a number of times in the 1920s and early 30s. However, I don't have a subscription to the Chicago Tribune archives.
Dick also notes that Garner performed an aria from Verdi's "Aida" at the 1919 Chicago premiere of an African American film described as "Oscar Micheaux's Mammoth Photoplay."
--Let's hope more information turns up--lrh
Above, Al Jolson in blackface as the lead in "Porgy and Bess" while African Americans play all the other roles? Now there's a casting idea that takes my breath away. Philip Scheuer interviews Ira Gershwin and notes that the lyricist will be back on the lot where he and his brother George wrote their last song together: "Our Love Is Here to Stay." And a little explanation of the old gag about the film credit on "Taming of the Shrew" : "Additional dialogue by Sam Taylor."
Below, unemployment is up ... An atomic physicist dies when his helicopter crashes in bad weather off Eniwetok ... Technicians go on strike at CBS ... And a judge denies requests to release Cheryl Crane to her family pending the investigation into Johnny Stompanato's killing.
Quote of the Day: "I am not satisfied with the current version of the story. I think the timetable in the case is too pat.... It doesn't seem possible he would just stand there and let somebody put a knife into him. He was in the Marine Corps and had lots of training. He was very quick." --Carmine Stompanato, on the killing of his brother Johnny