Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
My father took me to the movie theatre to see the Godfather. He was all hyped up about the movie. He was a movie buff often going by himself. He was in a zone nobody should disturb his movie experience. If he missed anything he would stay watch it from beginning to end again.
I was amiss to grasp why he leaned toward me talking so much during the movie. In the seventies.there was no u-tube no leaks-no bootleg movies, this was his first time viewing the movie and seeing the content.
'That is Frank Sinatra, that is Tommy Dorsey that is this, this is what really happened , pay attention to this". This is this this is this.
He supported himself as a runaway at fifteen running numbers and collecting bet money for the mob in Lincoln Park Chicago. We had occasional sunglassed fedored guests at our house. My dad had parking privaleges to park any where in Chicago a golden pass from Mayor Daley Sr , Nick Torzeski ( Jimmy Hoffas right hand teamster man) was sent to watch over my dad's businesses and sticking his paws in my dad's lucrative gate money . And there was that body Torzeski put on a train.
Tommy Dorsey gave my dad the bands touring limo when I was in grade school , He owed my dad money for booking engagements, he had been booking him since he was a teenager.
On March 18, 1939, Sinatra made a demo recording of a song called "Our Love", with the Frank Mane band. The record has "Frank Sinatra" signed on the front. The bandleader kept the original record in a safe for nearly 60 years. In June, Harry James hired Sinatra on a one year contract of $75 a week.It was with the James band that Sinatra released his first commercial record "From the Bottom of My Heart" in July, 1939 - US Brunswick and UK Columbia
Fewer than 8,000 copies of "From the Bottom of My Heart" (Brunswick #8443) were sold, making the record a very rare find that is sought after by record collectors worldwide. Sinatra released ten commercial tracks with James through 1939, including "All or Nothing At All" which had weak sales on its initial release but then sold millions of copies when re-released by Columbia at the height of Sinatra's popularity a few years later.
In November 1939, in a meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago, Sinatra was asked by bandleader Tommy Dorsey to join his band as a replacement for Jack Leonard, who had recently left to launch a solo career. This meeting was a turning point in Sinatra's career, since by signing with Dorsey's band, one of the hottest bands at the time, he got greatly increased visibility with the American public. Though Sinatra was still under contract with James, James recognized the opportunity Dorsey offered and graciously released Sinatra from his contract. Sinatra recognized his debt to James throughout his life and upon hearing of James' death in 1983, stated: "he [James] is the one that made it all possible."
On January 26, 1940, (booked by my dad ) Sinatra made his first public appearance with the Dorsey band at the Coronado Theater in Rockford, IL. In his first year with Dorsey, Sinatra released more than forty songs, with "I'll Never Smile Again" topping the charts for twelve weeks beginning in mid-July.
Sinatra's relationship with Tommy Dorsey was troubled, due to their contract, which awarded Dorsey ⅓ of Sinatra's lifetime earnings in the entertainment industry. In January 1942, Sinatra recorded his first solo sessions without the Dorsey band (but with Dorsey's arranger Axel Stordahl and with Dorsey's approval). These sessions were released commercially on the Bluebird label. Sinatra left the Dorsey band late in 1942 in an incident that started rumors of Sinatra's involvement with the Mafia. A story appeared in the Hearst newspapers that mobster Sam Giancana coerced Dorsey to let Sinatra out of his contract for a few thousand dollars. This story was famously fictionalized in the movie The Godfather. According to Nancy Sinatra's biography, the Hearst rumors were started because of Frank's Democratic politics. In fact, the contract was bought out by MCA founder Jules Stein for $75,000.
Friday, February 11, 2011
The Pop House was a hangout for youth in Beloit Wi for decades , beginning with poodle skirts into the seventies. Live music burgers sports team and entertained the local teenagers. The photo above is from a book aptly named THE POP HOUSE.The owner was George Stankowitz. His brother Vince is on the left. The highlighted basketball player is Bill Watson . I believe Don Tamalis is also in the photo. These guys were members of Dempsey Hovlands House of David basketball team traveling with the Globetrotters to South America. They also played for Hovland's American Indians. Last but not least in 1949 Dempsey Hovland met Jack Doc Kearns , heavyweight boxing champion manager for Jack Dempsey, Archie Moore, Joey Maxim and others. Dempsey Hovland convinced Kearns to rent out the Chicago Stadium in the fall of 1949, and find some backers to start his dream-The Texas Cowgirls basketball team 1949-1977. Hovland called his pals from his hometown to come to the North Park Hotel in Chicago, that he was managing. Vince says no other information was needed. If Dempsey Hovland said he needed you you went. Hovland had located a few good women ball players in Chicago but not enough. His childhood friends were taken to a beauty parlor the men all dolled up complete with wigs, makeup enough to fool men whistling at them as they drove back to the hotel until Vince waved his hairy arm out the window to acknowledge them. Sweat pants covered their gams the real women in shorts Hovland pulled it off developed a world famous team of women who played men's rules against men with a record of 80 % wins for 28 seasons from tiny Wolf Montana the gymnasium filled with every person in town having to play 2 games in a row to accommodate the Fire Marshall's capacity rules to a sold out Madison Square Garden .
Thursday, February 10, 2011
eywood Hale BrounBiography http://www.askactor.com/actress/Heywood_Hale_Broun/
Nicknamed "Woodie", he joined CBS News and Sports in 1966 where he worked for 20 years as a color commentator on a wide variety of sporting venues, including Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. He is remembered for his English-language expressions, handlebar mustache and colorful sport coats . A selection of his Saturday night sports feature stories were compiled in the ESPN Classic seriesWoodie's World; 36 episodes were released between 2002 and 2005. Woodie's World was re-released in 2009 on (ESPN Classic), obscure footage of Woodie on the road with Dempsey Hovland's Barnstrom female Basketball Team that played and won against men often on NBA courts(1949–1977) is included in the feature stories. The team was of personal interest to Broun who also reported on the team on CBS nightly news segmants.
Broun acted in a number of films such as:
- The Odd Couple
- For Pete's Sake
As well as television programs in guest or supporting roles.
Heywood Hale Broun died in Kingston, New York in 2001.
- A Studied Madness(1965)
- Tumultuous Merriment(1979)
- Whose little boy are you? : A memoir of the Broun family(1983)
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Barnstorm (sports): Women S Basketball
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One of the most renowned national baseball and basketball barnstorm team owners Dempsey Hovland started his barnstorm career as a member and organizer of the barnstorming House of David in the 1930s . He was respected as an barnstorm icon: the only team owner to operate both male and female basketball teams and baseball teams. Hovland's world-famous Texas Cowgirls touring worldwide like the Trotters were the first female team to open on the men's professional basketball tours BAA, NBL and the NBA. The barnstorming female Texas Cowgirls also broke ground and opened for the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1950s and 1960s. The Texas Cowgirls originated in Chicago. The Texas Cowgirls were the first racially integrated female barnstorm basketball team 1949–1977. The Redheads and Arkansas Travellers were two other well-known female basketball barnstorm teams, but did not accept integration. The New York Harlem Queens an African-American female basketball team, another Hovland team barnstormed against off-season NFL teams and the barnstorming Texas Cowgirls. The world famous Texas Cowgirls were invited to play U.S. service bases overseas by President John F. Kennedy. The team received an honorary ambassador award from Robert McNamara, United States Secretary of Defense 1961-1968. CBS's Roger reported a feature on the team in 1974. The colorful sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun travelled with the team. Barnstorming basketball was the opportunity for women to play men's rules against men. At halftime the females would show off their ball handling expertise. As an international barnstorm promoter Hovland carried barnstorm on the road tours to entertain at halftime.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
PEE WEE WAS FROM MILWAUKEE WI HE TRAVELLED FOR DEMPSEY HOVLAND FOR MANY YEARS PLAYING AT THE TEXAS COWGIRL HALF TIMES, STATE FAIRS AND MISS AMERICAN TEENAGER PAGEANTS THAT HOVLAND ALSO OWNED AND PRODUCED
PEE WEE WAS FROM MILWAUKEE WI HE TRAVELLED FOR DEMPSEY HOVLAND FOR MANY YEARS PLAYING AT THE TEXAS COWGIRL HALF TIMES, STATE FAIRS AND MISS AMERICAN TEENAGER PAGEANTS THAT HOVLAND ALSO OWNED AND PRODUCED
Dempsey Hovland's World Famous Texas Cowgirls Basketball Team 1949-1977 http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=16753762&l=78d4f9d5bb&id=525840025
Monday, February 7, 2011
"Cinghiale disposizione rappoto a te com prima pron capo A te ara devastato miei asse di pavi mentazione! No mandrianna porta! Ate fottuto donne. Casinista, no sorvegliante di bambina. Evizione!"
It was not our boots. We were dribbling our basketballs working on a pass through the legs and over the head and bounce off the knee to another girl. We figured rubber doesn't hurt wood, we made a living dribbling balls on wood. Upstairs in a boarding house we lived in during training camp maybe not the best idea, but it was raining cat's and dogs.
Mrs.Genna made that threat true and dialed up our boss . We were all in the front yard sitting on our wet luggage when Dempsey arrived with the station wagon. His face got really red when angry it Torzeski would say it"" lit up like whore house porch light. But he was a teddy bear who was kind and protective. So we knew he was mad when he said "If your brains were dynamite you wouldn't have enough to part your hair . I'm not just talking to the one with those tight perms squeezing her brain". That was toward my sister Francis who was laughing . He said "You girls think she was a landlord that was tough ,wait till you meet Ma Kearns. ( Jack Kearn's the boxing managers mom).
We threw our personal luggage and the team equipment onto giant painted car rack without tying our luggage down , the trip was only a few blocks to Jack Doc Kearns mama's.
The trip was faster than my mama flipped flap jacks at breakfat .We all apologized excessively for getting evicted, to Dempsey all the way to Ma Kearns. Him smiling with his trademark Cheshire grin. His bark was always was worse than his bite. He took good care of us girls. He expected professionalism all the way. He had his hands full on the road with a bunch of females, most of us just out of high school. I think our shenanigans prepared him to be a good dad to his daughters. When your thirty four year old man in a car loaded with females for hundreds of miles a day you your ears have got to get sore. He had a little baby he was raising himself. We all mama 'd that little guy, he was a trooper and a good traveler.
If Frances got her hair permed at the local beauty salon in any town we pulled into for a game ,it meant some local boys scouted our station wagon with the car size rack on top promoting the team and were ready to chase us. She would say "Dates for everyone , we're gonna crank up the radio and do some dancin' in the motel ... quietly .... when Dempsey falls asleep." Most of the time we were good washing out our uniforms hanging them on registers to dry and sleeping like rocks.
We had some guys with crushes on us girl basketball players we invited over. A few of the gals would have followers from city to city, and a few of those left the road to marry those boys. We had to have try outs on the spot at games and pick up a new girl when that happened.
Curfews were set by Dempsey and dating was only allowed in pairs. He pounded on our doors every night and did a head count- bed check . Even if we were sleeping we better get up and answer that door. He kept a close on on us. We were 17-22 year old young women traveling coast to coast in a station wagon for 160 games with a lot of road in between.
"Jane" had snuck out on a dinner date alone. Her date insisted she let him come back to the motel .She ate the meal he purchased and crawled out the bathroom window , injuring her ankle. She played on it any way..... she did not want her insurance Dempsey provided to not cover her ditch and date while breaking the team rules. Climbing in the hotel bathroom window was even harder to avoid being in trouble. No one could be benched there simply was not room in the vehicle for extra players we all played tired ,sick or injured. That is why we had rules. We were top knotch athletes and expected to follow that creed and standards Dempsey set for us,
We were in Montana with no town anywhere near, and the station wagon conked out. We were finally rescued by a state trooper in the sub zero weather, but not before one team member who shall remain nameless thought of the bright idea of lighting game programs on fire IN THE CAR to keep us warm. I tell you not all ball players on the road could figure out survival , or equipped to live life on the road. It was different then ,if a phone was needed you walked miles to a pay phone.
I made it out of Gillham Arkansas population 100. Dempsey showed me the world I met Bob Cousy ,George Mikan, I played at Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden and all of the big NBA Stadiums. I married him, we built a World Famous tam together. He always took time off the road when we had a baby.He would stay in the hospital with me until I came home. He would only leave long enough to go home kiss the kids make a chocolate malt and club sandwich for me and come right back.
I would suit up and go back on the road for many years, I coached and trained , and scouted and recruited. Dempsey me seven children and dozens of athletes and entertainers..... that was life with Dempsey.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Today I heard the voice my father's in his little sister..... for the very first time.
I cannot describe the degree of deep, deep connection I am feeling. My father passed away when I was 22, I am now 53. The chain of events that brought us together happened by a conversation that was not based on her.
I introduced myself when I heard a hello " My name is Erin Hovland-Moffitt I am Dempsey Hovland's daughter, did you know him?" She said there was Dempster Hovland that was spoke of that I heard stories of but we never met" I said "he was my Dad he changed his name to Dempsey in 1949." He is your brother,
I am your niece.
My father was born 21 years before her. She knew little of her father, my father knew little of their father but the emotions she shared with me were exactly the stories I had heard of him in whispers from my grandma
(his first wife who divorced him as soon as my dad was born.) My dad never spoke of him.
It was an unwritten rule, that i am certain had dark shadows of memories and pain attached to that unwritten rule.
I have had this small black and white candid photo of a cute Shirley Temple look alike toe headed, curly mopped little girl for 33 years. I would take it out with my research and wonder ,wonder, wonder if the whisper I heard as a young child was true. "I think your dad had a little sister"
Inscribed in cursive handwriting is a first and middle name only on the back of the Brownie Camera photo. I never knew who she was, or why my mom preserved it with our family photos, I saw it first when I was seven . Our house had burned we were staying with neighbors. My mom hung photos and birth certificates on a bureau mirror to dry the fire hose soaked documents. This photo had been preserved protected and was unstained .
'Who is that little girl." She smiled leaned her head to the side and said nothing, staring at the photo with compassion. I now know the reality , but I cannot fully grasp the magnitude of feelings. The energy is vibrating, yet a floating peaceful energy. The emotion is kind.
I have been gifted the part of my dad that was missing, I have no doubt he wondered and worried about her his entire life.
I have recently found relatives from my moms massive family from the south, those extensions of family that share the same blood are special. The Holder family covers Arkansas to Texas to Arizona to Colorado to Oklahoma to Illinois to Wisconsin and beyond. Facebook has brought us together. My dad only had himself growing up as a Hovland he was raised by his grandma and was not blessed with a big family like my mom.
Parent's of his peers called him the "curly haired angel faced orphan boy with grandiose dreams . He proved them all wrong his dreams were as real as his jade and diamond inserts in the back of his teeth. This little boy became a very well known successful .multiple sports team owner and sports and entertainment. promoter .
This serene 71 year old woman who expressed what a wonderful life she has lived is my closet direct bloodline :next to my 4 brothers,two sisters, my four sons, and new baby granddaughter Sophia . She is my Dad's only direct and closest living relative, He is the big brother she never, met even though they lived less than 10 miles apart in distance. Or did she?
Two weeks ago at the Chicago Bear - Green Bay Packer playoff game my 50 year old brother Todd was heavy with hand in head as he witnessed his sacred Bears lackluster performance at Soldier Filed and loss of the Super Bowl challenge.
At the same moment in Wisconsin Packers fans were gathered in front of their television a few miles from me. A 40 year old man named Dave, whom I have known since he was a teenager was telling the thrilling true story of my dad and the magic of His World famous Texas Cowgirls basketball team at the football party. He messaged me on facebook that night. His facebook message was " I was telling the Texas Cowgirl story my mom looked at me and said "Dave Dempsey was my relative I knew his little sister.." 40 years and Dave and I never knew we were related. His mom facebooked me and told me details of my dad's sister and within days mailed photos of her , group photos of dozens of people I am related to and a photo of my dad's and his little sister's father.
Then another message came to my inbox
' I called a few of my mom's nieces. and this is your dad's sisters phone number ." I spent the next two days
thinking it through concerned of the shock to her, and I had a feeling making the connection to their dad may not be a positive.
I nervously dialed from my magic jack Wisconsin to New Mexico,
That little girl we all wondered about was shocked . Our voices would blend in wow's I need to sit and feel this, and this is good .
I cannot fully describe the degree of deep ,deep meaningful connection to my dad that I am feeling, from finding her. He has been gone 31 years. I have been working on his bigger than life life story and his historical accomplishments.
His little sister and I talked for two floating hours today.
Neither of us wanted to hang up.
My dad was born in 1918 in passed away in 1979 from an aneurysm at 61. His father was never in his life. My dad was in France fighting as a soldier in the Army Air Corps on the fronts in WWII when he got the wire that his father died. His father's daughter was four, when was backing out of a bar parking lot in early afternoon and was struck. and It was expressed by her that "they were both better off that he
neglected and abandoned my dad and he was not her her life long enough to cause a lot of harm" For the first time I no longer felt sad that my dad never had a dad. I felt compassion for my grandma and my dad's sisters mom. They my dad and his sister he never met had that in common.
I cannot help but wonder if the photo of that sad little girl sitting on her stoop alone was possibly taken by my dad . She would not have known who the man was in his Army uniform standing on the sidewalk taking her photo. This is how I wish to believe the photo of that little girl that was my dads sister, (my dads little sister I just cannot say that aloud enough) became a treasured and gently cared for treasure in our families keepsakes I concluded today that the reason there was no last name on her photo was because
he had taken the photo of his little sister and that was his way of having her with him,