THE INK SPOTS - MEMORABILIA

AUTOGRAPH ITEMS    APPEARANCES

SHEET MUSIC  SUNDRY

 
 

AUTOGRAPH ITEMS:

An NBC contract dated 29 July/37 extending their radio broadcasts for another year

- from 13August/37 to 12Aug/38.


A program/menu from the Little Rathskeller on the South East corner of Broad and Spruce Streets in Philedelphia, PA. 

This is autographed by Bill Kenny, Orville "Hoppy" Jones, "Deke"[??] Watson and Charlie Fuqua. In Addition, another preformer on the program, Ann Howard. Autographed this cover. 

Inside - cocktails cost 35 - 50 cents, a Zombee costs $1.25, a bottle of imported champagne costs $8 to $10, Russian caviar is 50 cents and a grilled tenderloin steak is $1.

Before the Ink Spots became famous, Moe Gale, their manager, signed them to a long contract here. The supporting cast changed somewhat from week to week. During June and July, 1940, most of their performances included Ann Howard. Therefore, this item dates to June-July/40.

An autograph obtained at the Mayo Hospital in Galesburg, IL. It supports a visit to this hospital by the Ink Spots during the period that Cliff Givens was a member from 18Oct/44-28Mar/45. A note indicated that the autograph was obtained in 1944 but the Ink Spots spent most of the time after Orville "Hoppy" Jones death at the Zanzibar in NYC. We wonder if the autograph was obtained sometime in Jan-Feb/45 when the Ink Spots are known to have appeared in Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis.

 A wonderful song recorded on 19Feb/46 in New York. These autographs are from the Ink Spots group that made this song so popular - Bill Kenny (Bill often signed "leader" after his name), Billy "Butterball" Bowen, Charlie Fuqua and Herb Kenny. I purchased this record on eBay but the vendor just put it in an envelope and shipped it with no packing!! It arrived in 7 pieces. What a shame but the Label is still intact. The white pen on black gives a great image.
An autographed postcard with the signatures of three Ink Spots. This is likely from July/47 during their tour of California when they performed with June Richmond. The front of the card shows the "luxury Daylight" train near San Luis Obispo. Possibly the Ink Spots were on this train during their tour.
An autographed photo from the program for a performance in Margate, England on Sunday, the 28th of August, 1949. This is interesting because it has the autograph of Harold Francis, pianist, in addition to Bill Kenny, Herb Kenny, Charlie Fuqua and Billy "Butterball" Bowen.

This autographed wine list from the Valley Area Gardens in Holyoke, MA is interesting. It is autographed by Bill Kenny, Charlie Fuqua and Billy Bowen plus Harold Jackson as "Bass" of the Ink Spots (plus some other performers). Our best guess is that Harold Jackson filled in for either Herb Kenny or Adriel McDonald sometime between late 1945 and early 1952 when the other three members were together. If Jackson did fill in, we don't know when or for how long.

Another possibility, given Jackson signed in ink while the others signed in pencil, would be that he signed this item later during a subsequent visit by a later Ink Spots group.

This item is very puzzling as it shows the autographs of both Billy Bowen and Ernie Brown!! The picture is of the Bill Kenny, Herb Kenny, Bowen, Fuqua group but Adrian McDonald (just McDonald here) has signed over Herb's picture. Bill Kenny, Bowen and Fuqua have signed over their respective pictures.

At the top, Ernie Brown as second tenor has signed under "To Edith a wonderful girl" and Hal Francis as pianist has signed "To Edith, Good luck."

(Thanks to Ed Wood for the scan of this item.)

One Bill Kenny Ink Spots group included Bill Kenny, Jimmy Cannady, Ernie Brown and Adriel McDonald. This autographed napkin, said to be from an appearance in Vancouver, shows three of these members plus a different pianist - Fletcher Smith. Date unknown but likely 1952-53.
Another unusual autograph item on the back of a receipt. This one includes only Bill Kenny and Ernie Brown, is addressed to Danny who is a piano player. It was said to have been obtained in Winnipeg although we have never been able to prove an Ink Spots appearance in Winnipeg, Canada. Date unknown but likely 1952-53.
Pages removed from an autograph book that belonged to a UPI photographer, Wayne Ellinger. Members who signed are Bill Kenny "Mr. Ink Spot", Henry Braswell "second tenor", Ad McDonald "bass Ink Spot" and Fletcher Smith "Pianist".
APPEARANCES: Also see some autograph items above

Also Billy Daniels of "Wabash Ave". and the Dansations. Sandy Sandifer's Orchestra with Betsy Jones. We Don't know the date of this appearance.

 

Back cover

This is the cover of the program provided on the travelling tour of the Ink Spots, Ella Fitzgerald and Cootie Williams. The programs cost 25 cents

 

This is a program/postcard from the Café Zanzibar. The reverse has a side that could be addressed and sent to friends from the Café
as a promotion. The Café Zanzibar was almost a 2nd home for the Ink Spots in the mid-1940s. They performed there for about 9 months
between 6Oct/44 and 28Nov/46! This program is for the show that ran from about 5Dec/45 to 5Mar/46.

The only tickets I have found for shows that the Ink Spots headlined. One is for a show in Charleston, SC on May7/43. Lucky Millinder featured Trevor Bacon, Tab Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Other performers included Peg-Leg Bates and Red & Curley. On the reverse side there is an advertisement for E. Prystowsky & Sons, Clothier and Furnishers for Men and Boys.

The Second is for a show at the Million Dollar Pleasure Pier in Port Arthur, TX, also in May of 1943.

The third ticket is for Tuesday, January 30th with no year shown. This must be 1945 since we have accounted for other Tuesdays on January 30th but we do not know the location of this performance.

Kalamazoo is the only tour-stop we know about between their appearances in Youngstown OH, 11-13Apr. and Toledo, OH, 24-27Apr.

This advertisement for a 1947 Ink Spots appearance was printed on the back of an insert that was included in a Spike Jones and His City Slickers program. The program was sold or distributed at the Central High School Auditorium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The other side of the insert features the program for the Spike Jones concert. 

The Ink Spots toured with the Johnny Otis Orchestra for much of January-July/47. This tour was a mixture of one-nighters and longer appearances in some major cities. They appeared in the mid-west, from Boston to Georgia in the east, on the west coast and in Ontario Canada.

Appearances usually included singer June Richmond, dancers Coles and Atkins and the comedy team of Lewis and White.

This flyer offers a total of 47 entertainers which means there were other, unknown performers.

Table card for show in Buffalo starting 1Dec/47

SHEET MUSIC:



This version was printed in the Netherlands


Most of the items above were published in England or the U.S. See the different covers for the English, Netherlands and U.S. versions of Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall. It is interesting to note that some sheet music was issued indicating that the Ink Spots recorded a song that they did not record - eg. I'll Pray For You and Just In Case You Change Your Mind shown above!

 

 J. Albert & Son Pty. Ltd. sold song folios in Australia and New Zealand for many popular artists including Bing Crosby,
Nat "King" Cole, Kate Smith and Frank Sinatra. This Ink Spots song folio includes sheet music for 10 of their most popular
recordings (although If I Didn't Care was excluded). 

Other song folios were published such as the one, "Sing With The Ink Spots by Campbell Connelly in 1946. Songs here are a mix of those by the Ink Spots and other popular, non-Ink Spot songs - Take the A Train, I'll Never Smile Again, Don't Tell A Lie About Me Dear, Sixty Seconds Got Together, Whispering Grass, Goodnight, Wherever You Are, I Hope To Die If I Told A Lie, You're the One I Care For, I'm Beginning To See the Light.
SUNDRY ITEMS:

This neck pin is actual size and belonged to Bill Kenny. It is from the collection of Bill Proctor.

 

 

 

Thanks to Bill Proctor for the scans from his book.

Tiki Book Publishers published Who Is He? - a small book of poems by Bill Kenny in 1970.

Decca records distributed counter-top advertising displays to record stores. They have a fold out part on the back so they can be placed on counters in stores. This one measures 12" by 18"

The Ink Spots appeared as the Ace of Diamonds in a deck of USA produced playing cards.

 

A Czech advertisement for Decca records listing two of at least three Ink Spots' records that were pressed there
about 1947. For another pressing check the record labels page.

Words for Let's Call the Whole Thing Off that were included with a 78 rpm record pressed in Japan in the late 1930s. Although the words are in English, the Japanese characters read from right to left. It is interesting to note that the Japanese translated Let's Call the Whole Thing Off as Let's Stop Arguing! The record label is an early Decca style that also suggests a release in the late 1930s.


1947


1949

Tuney Tunes Dutch music magazine issued annually that often had pictures of the Ink Spots on the cover.

Sometime in the 1940s the Topps Company issued sets of "Flip-O-Vision" cards that could be held as a deck of cards and flipped to show action. The Ink Spots card set comprises 30 cards about 1 7/8" by 1 1/4".

This "Four Ink Spots" Beret Be-Bop cap sold in the late 1930s to musicians and fans. It is wool with silk interior and a leather band.

Decca records used these record cleaner brushes to promote the sales of Ink Spots records. Record stores could purchase them with their store name shown under the picture. 

They have a fuzzy cloth bottom that can be used to wipe dirt and lint from records. 

We have seen them with different color cloth bottoms but only with yellow backed picture tops.

The tops were also issued with a pin on the back so they could be worn as a button.

 

Revised - 6AUG/11