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In Irv Kupcinet's Chicago Times column of 9/15/45
Kup's column (Irv Kupcinet) Chicago Times, 9/15/45
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The Hot Shots number four. Hezzie and Ken Trietsch and Gabe Ward are honest-to-goodness Hoosiers. Gil Taylor, the black sheep, hails from Alabama. These hep cats have been making musical nonsense together for 12 years on such bizarre instruments as their Wabash Washboard, horns, bells, whistles and everything but the kitchen sink - and that , they sadly proclaim, is too big!
The Hoosiers' method of music is a favorite with both the grownups and the jitterbugs. Their style has enveloped other musical aggregations, also, such as the Spike Jones City Slickers...Ken aspired to become a construction engineer. "The only kind of construction I do now," he explains, "is making washboards." Ken builds the washboards in his private workshop at home. The "instrument" is subject to much wear and tear, and consequently new washboards are constantly needed. Before they departed for the USOverseas tour, Ken managed to get enough stainless steel to build a board which would last him throughout the six weeks trip. He called it his "B-29 Washboard."
The musicians befriended many GIs in Vatican City and related this tale about Pope Pius XII: The Pope granted an audience to a group of American soldiers each day. As was befitting the pontiff, each boy would enter his office, kneel and kiss his pontifical ring. The Pope and the GIs then would engage in friendly conversation...One day, a bold, uninhibited American major joined the group of visiting GIs. The other boys before him had performed the expected rites. The major, however, thrust himself forward, and proceeded vigorously to pump the hand of the Pope. "How are ya, Pope?" he asked, a wide grin crossing his face... "Very well," answered the Pope. "And you must be from Texas," he smiled, good-naturedly, as he remembered the Texas flyer who breezed into his chambers only the day before screaming, "Yipeee-Pope!"
The Hoosiers became popular for their witticisms, which are as snappy as their music. In Florence, the boys attended a GI dance, to which the village belles turned out in masse. A pretty young thing had taken a fancy for Gil Taylor, and throughout the evening cast flirtaious glances his way. She boldly approached Taylor and in a sultry voice, asked him to dance with her. In a dry monotone, Taylor reprimanded: "I know what's wrong with you sis. You've been overseas too long!"
At Casertla Lt. Gen. White, commanding American forces in the Mediterranean theater of opperations and an Old Hoosier Hot Shot fan from way back, tossed a farewell party for the USO'ers. At his request, they sang the general's favorite song, "Red River Valley."...Before they left Italy, the concert kings distributed mimeographed forms, gathering personal data from each of the boys. They're presently engaged in mailing hundreds of cards to relatives of the GIs they befriended, bringing personal greetings.
The Hoosier Hot Shots' popularity has been propved by the constant demand for their records and the tremendous radio listener interest....Their 150 recordings have netted them a cool million....Gabe calls his home on North Navajo street the "House of Royalty" because it was financed by royalties of his recordings and songs he has written....Their rendition of script-writer Jack Frost's "The West Side Of Chicago," the featured number of their recent movie, "Rockin' In The Rockies," stimulated GI crowds to roaring....Their corned up operatic themes, such as the William Tell Overture, were properly introduced under the heading of "It Couldn't Happen at the Met."... The Hot Shots will soon depart for Hollywood to make an additional four musical westerns to complete their Columbia contract. Take it away, Hezzie!
Article copyright by the Chicago Sun Times and used by permission
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