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Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!

Rick Fielding 05 Oct 02 - 12:18 PM
The Shambles 05 Oct 02 - 12:28 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Oct 02 - 12:37 PM
The Shambles 05 Oct 02 - 01:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Oct 02 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Ramblin' Sid Rumpo of the Bailey 05 Oct 02 - 09:00 PM
Rick Fielding 06 Oct 02 - 10:58 AM
Jeri 06 Oct 02 - 12:17 PM
Little Hawk 06 Oct 02 - 12:48 PM
Herga Kitty 06 Oct 02 - 02:44 PM
The Shambles 06 Oct 02 - 03:37 PM
Art Thieme 06 Oct 02 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Old timer 07 Oct 02 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,MCP 07 Oct 02 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,MCP 07 Oct 02 - 05:30 PM
Art Thieme 07 Oct 02 - 06:00 PM
Willie-O 07 Oct 02 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,nomad 23 Apr 19 - 10:08 AM
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Subject: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 12:18 PM

Joe Venuti, the great jazz/blues fiddler's name came up in another thread (well OK, it was ME who brought it up) and it reminded me of this famous musician's story. It still makes me laugh to this day, although it really WAS mean, and Joe payed for it big-time. I'll just cut and paste from this website:


"Everyone knows that Bass players
always work, even bad ones; and particularly on New Years Eve. Joe
Venuti, knowing this, decided to play yet another grandiose practical
joke. He called every bass player in the Los Angeles Musician's Union
book, to book them for a gig on one New years Eve!!

He told each and every one of them to meet him on the corner of
Hollywood and Vine a few hours before!

They all did!! Can you imagine the horror?? That New Years Eve, every
bass player in LA was out of work! I heard that Joe had to pay a huge fine
for that practical joke!!"*********************************

He did indeed pay a huge fine, and apparently it took him years. Somewhere there is a picture (taken by Joe himself) of the gathering of bass players but I've never seen it.

Actually there is another famous Venuti story about him giving Roy Rogers' horse trigger an erection(!!) but I'll let someone else find that one.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 12:28 PM

Rick where and what exactly was Roy Roger's horse trigger? *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 12:37 PM

Well OK Sham.....here goes....
Apprently Roy Rogers, America's greatest movie cowboy star, was doing a variety show (as was Venuti) and was waiting in the wings, mounted on 'Trigger the Wonder Horse'. Venuti was standing behind Trigger and started "tickling Trigger's testicles" with his violin bow (!!)

When Roy was announced, he triumphantly rode onstage and (just like in the movies) Trigger reared upward towards the sky while Roy waved his white stetson.

Apparently everyone in the audience was transfixed by what TRIGGER was waving, and nobody even NOTICED the white stetson!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 01:43 PM

Thanks Rick but why was it referred to as Roy's Roger's horse trigger? .........Did Dale call it that?


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 07:35 PM

I just typed Joe Venuti + Roy Rogers into Google and up came that site with the stories.. Amazing.

Well, even if they don't sing too often, horses are great performers.


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: GUEST,Ramblin' Sid Rumpo of the Bailey
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 09:00 PM

That's droll Shambles. Surprised that Brother Fielding didn't get it the first time.

One of the regular Mudcatters has a reputation in the business as an inveterate practical joker.

RSROTB


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 10:58 AM

Venuti must have had a lot of 'cojones' himself to do that with a mere violin bow. That's gettin' pretty close to a horse's ass if you ask me.

And no, Ramblin' Sid, I DIDN'T get it at first....Shambles caught me on a slow day!!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 12:17 PM

Dear Ramblin' Sid, do tell!

I've heard stories about some people, but I'm sure you're much more knowledgable about what they might have pulled off.

Most stallions would, I believe, kick your 'lights' out if you tickled their nuts with a violin bow. I'd love to see a photo of Joe Venuti cornering the market on bass players. You know there's a song in there somewhere...


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 12:48 PM

Well, one thing for sure...if you have ever seen a stallion with an erection, you don't forget it. I was surprised the other day to see a bull nimbly hopping up on a cow as I drove by the field. I had no idea they were that agile, but where there's a will, there's a way.

Rick, here's an idea...why don't you phone up all the accordion players...and bagpipe players...in the Toronto Musicians' Union, offering a lucrative gig (of course), and have them show up at the front lawn of the Ontario Parliament buildings at Queen's Park, 5 O'clock sharp on a Monday. It would be an awesome sight, and would probably attract the Toronto riot squad in no time flat, giving the Toronto Sun an undreamed-of opportunity for a great front page photo and headline! This idea is too good to pass up, I think. Don't use your own name, though, use a psuedonym. "Gurney Titmarsh", for instance, would be a good one...or maybe Bernie Finkelstein or Art Snider.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 02:44 PM

Apparently, Joe Venuti also said you could find a piano's true pitch by throwing it out of the window from an upstairs storey ..... (thanks to MCP for passing that one on).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 03:37 PM

They say that a joker called Joe
Could do great things with his bow
When he touched Roy's trigger
It got bigger and bigger
And made his reputation grow


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 04:29 PM

When trigger was born the horse only had one eye lid. A rabbi was called in and Trigger was circumcised. The piece of skin was grafted onto the horse's face. It worked pretty well but now he's a bit cockeyed.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: GUEST,Old timer
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 03:03 PM

Art, that joke was funny when I first heard it fifty years ago. But Trigger wasn't involved then.

No Joe Venuti jokes, but I just want to say he was one of the greatest improvising musicians who ever lived. His records with Bix are memorable.


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 05:22 PM

The full piano story (more or less) is that he made bets with other musicians that a piano had a definite key of its own and he could prove it. After making the bets, he took some of them round to a friend's upper storey appartment where he had them grab the friend's piano, manhandle it to the window and throw it down to the street below. Not unsurprisingly, it smashed apart with a great cacocophony, whereupon he said "No you're right - it doesn't, handed them their money back and left the dumbfounded friend".

Mick


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 05:30 PM

Also if you have a modern restored version of Venuti with Bix doing the novelty version of Barnacle Bill The Sailor, at the end of the song (the type that record companies liked them to do for the popular market, but not what the musicians wanted to play) you can hear perfectly clearly now what was only a muddy sound on the original as Venuti sings the song out with "It's Barnacle Bill the shithead".

Mick


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 06:00 PM

Jokes, like folksongs, favorite old garments and booze, only get better with some age on 'em. This is Cockeyed Joke #77 in the monumental work of collecting done by Child (Julia's stepdaughter--once removed. No relation to Francis James Child.)

And they are still funny. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: Willie-O
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 08:56 PM

I think I know what happened right after the bass players prank...
interesting it doesn't say anything about jazz violinists.

Title: The Day The Bass Players Took Over The World
Lyric: (E. Kaitz)
The day was very subtle, everything was low-key,
The sky it was so overcast that you could barely see,
And everything slowed down to a slower frequency,
The day the bass players took over the world.
Well, they came pouring out of symphonies, orchestras and bands,
And every other kind of combo that was ever known to man,
And although it was spontaneous, you'd think it was quite planned,
The day the bass players took over the world.
Now one day the bass players, they decided to uprise,
They were tired of being sidemen to all those other guys.
So they kidnapped the horn section,
They put drugs in the drummer's drink,
And they tied up all the guitar players
With their big ol' flat-wound strings.
And on that day the world it was finally set free,
All the creatures they hung out together and interacted fretlessly,
And the air began to vibrate with such a deep tonality,
The day the bass players took over the world.


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Subject: RE: Joe Venuti's (in)Famous Practical Joke!
From: GUEST,nomad
Date: 23 Apr 19 - 10:08 AM

17 years later....

I found an image of a followup prank that some of the bassists played on Venuti. According to the article, the prank was in Hollywood in 1928 and it was 38 bass players at Hollywood and Vine.


https://www.webstagram.one/media/BXl5J6VAyPh

The image shows Venuti surrounded by several bassists with their instruments and the subtitle reads:

"Joe Venuti, premier jazz violinist and infamous practical joker, had the tables turned on him Septebmer 21 when he came into Rick's Cafe American in Chicago to begin a three-week engagement. The versatile octogenarian found twenty-two Chicago area bass players waiting for him in Rick's with a sign saying "Hey Joe! Is this where the GIG is?" The gag was a twist on a practical joke Venuti played on thirty-eight bass players back in 1928 when he told them all to assemble at Hollywood and Vine for a gig. Of course, no one was there except thirty-eight bass players and their instruments. The internationally renowned violinist, whose credits include appearances with Eddie Lang, Paul Whiteman, the Boston Pops, and most major symphonies, performed at Rick's through October 9. Rick's, one of the city's hottest jazz rooms, is located in the Holiday Inn Lake Shore on Shore Drive."


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