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Ted Lewis was one of the original big band leaders. He sang (or spoke) songs in a way that resembled ... say... Boris Karloff narrating over a 14 piece orchestra. ted lewisHis musical interpretations were dramatic, nearly comically so when listened to today but he was extremely popular in the 20's Ted Lewisand early 30's and great musicians like Benny Goodman, Muggsy Spanier and Jack Teagarden were at some point, employed with his orchestra. Ironically, it was musicians like these that ended up knocking Ted Lewis off the charts for good.

By the mid-thirties, the swing bands were in full gear and the "sweet bands" sound was cornered by the likes of Sammy Kaye and Guy Lombardo. Lewis did however, continue touring and performing until the late 1960's. For over 50 years, the man with the smashed-up top hat would ask that musical question "Is Everybody Happy?"

Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - March 14, 1953

Ted Lewis Takes Over 'Quarter'

Wearing his 40 years in show business as jauntily as his battered top hat and ever-tuneful clarinet, Ted Lewis is answering his own question by making everybody happy as headliner of "Folies Parisienne" at Lou Walters' Latin Quarter.

The extravagant production changed twice yearly, lends itself admirably to the styles and moods of the stars that intermittently space its sequences, but it almost always keeps itself intact.

In this instance though, the integration of Lewis' handpicked company as a nucleus of a performance that runs through most of the show is so outstanding that you leave the club with the impression that Lewis took over.

This is as Lou Walters would have it, otherwise he wouldn't book the amiable, gray-haired chap who makes such lyrics as "Is Everybody Happy?" and "When My Baby Smiles at Me" seem for the moment, the very foundation of life. Few, if any, noticed Lewis when he strolled into the ballroom dancersrapidly filling room about 7:30 p.m., with a scarf about his neck and a preoccupied look. An hour later he was on the floor, in character, in command.

After the usual flashy opening of the Latin Quarter's beauties in "On a Parisian Boulevard," Ted Lewis takes over first with a solid solo bit and then off and on for the rest of the show, until the Dagenham girl pipers fill the huge room with the sounds of drums and bagpipes.

The Latin Quarter beauties are permitted to show themselves in exuberant mood for a few minutes in the Parisian can can, then Lewis subtly and dramatically presents his retinue.

One is Leni Lynn, a redhead ostensibly on the floor for his autograph. She stays on for a mighty nice session of singing.

Joan Lowe, singing and dancing blonde niece of Joan Crawford, is another Lewis assistant who scores.

THE REVIEWS
Andrews Sisters - Latin Quarter 1957
Desi Arnaz - w/Diosa Costello 1948
Count Basie - Lincoln 1943
Tony Bennett - Copacabana 1958
Milton Berle - Latin Quarter 1948
Joey Bishop - w/Andy Williams 1959
Ray Bolger - Wizard of Oz Scarecrow, Empire Room 1956
Cab Calloway - Greenwich Inn 1949
Diahann Carroll - Persian Room 1961
Betty Clooney - Waldorf Astoria 1954
Nat King Cole - Copacabana 1958
Perry Como - Versailles 1944
Copacabana - famous night club restaurant is reviewed 1953
Crosby Brothers - Latin Quarter 1961
Xavier Cugat - Waldorf Astoria 1951
Vic Damone - Riviera 1953
Billy Daniels - Copacabana 1952
Sammy Davis Jr. - Copacabana 1959
Phyllis Diller - w/Bobby Short 1958
Nancy Donovan - Copacabana 1952
Jimmy Durante - Copacabana 1951
Billy Eckstine - Copacabana 1951
Duke Ellington - Basin St. East 1961
Eddie Fisher - Empire Room 1959
Judy Garland -Town & Country 1958
Jackie Gleason - La Vie en Rose 1953
Benny Goodman - Empire Room 1956
Dolores Gray - Waldorf Astoria 1954
Buddy Hackett - Copacabana 1956
Connie Haines - Terrace Room 1951
Dick Haymes - Versailles 1956
Horace Heidt - 30th Anniversary 1954
Florence Henderson w/Bill Hayes 1958
Hildegarde - Pierre 1953
Celeste Holm - Plaza 1958
Eddy Howard - Roosevelt 1955
Burl Ives w/Wally Cox - Persian Room
Lisa Kirk - Persion Room 1958
Frankie Laine - Latin Quarter 1955
Julius La Rosa - Romanian 1958
Peggy Lee - Copacabana 1958
Jerry Lewis - Town & Country 1957
Joe E. Lewis - Copacabana 1945
Ted Lewis - Latin Quarter 1953
Liberace - Persian Room 1947
Guy Lombardo - Roosevelt 1957
Vincent Lopez - Grill Room 1954
Tony Martin - Riviera 1953
Martin and Lewis - Copacabana 1950
Ray McKinley - Glenn Miller Band 1957
Mills Brothers - Latin Quarter 1956
Vaughn Monroe - Astor 1955
Constance Moore - St. Regis 1958
Johnnie Ray - Copacabana 1953
Della Reese - Copacabana 1961
Sugar Ray Robinson - French Casino
Dorothy Shay - St. Regis 1961
Frank Sinatra - Wedgewood 1943
Danny Thomas - Copacabana 1949
Sophie Tucker - Latin Quarter 1950
Mae West - Latin Quarter 1956
Julie Wilson - Persian Room 1954
EDITORIALS
Dean Martin - thoughts on Mr. Sauve
Peter Lawford - retrospective
Rise & Fall of the big bands
INTERVIEWS
K Baggelaar- Copacabana author
Denny Farrell - big band disc jockey
Hal Turner - Performer/Conductor
B Zickafoose - played in WWII Europe
ASSORTED
Bernie Bierman bio
Sammy Kaye - Roosevelt 1957
Dinah Shore - press release and autograph from the 50's
A Letter about a WWII song
Harbers & Dale - Dance Team
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Below is a video of Ted lewis rambling on in his rendition of "Motion Picture Pirates" from 1929.

 


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