DEAR JERRY: Among my late father's belongings, which I now have, is a box of old records.
Several are 10-inch 78 rpms, which I have no way to play. That's okay, since most are names I recognize, such as Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Perry Como, and others of that era.
One disc that has me curious is “The Flemington Kidnapping” (Perfect 13124) by Floyd Carter, a name unknown to me. Is he one of the legendary Carter Family?
With such an unusual title I'm wondering if there is an interesting story behind it. Who is Flemington? Was he or she really kidnapped?
Max Adelma, Chicago
DEAR MAX: The Carter Family tree has many branches, though Floyd is not among their offspring.
I'd say the real life inspiration behind “The Flemington Kidnapping Trial” (full title) would be every bit as interesting in 1935 as, say, the O.J. Simpson trial 60 years later.
Though historians often refer to both as the Trial of the Century, it would be more accurate to declare each as the trial of its half of the century.
The verdict notwithstanding, one considerable difference is Court TV did not exist in '35. This perhaps made the Flemington trial even more compelling, as the nation relied on Walter Winchell, and other journalists, for trial updates. The suspense kept milions glued to their radios and devouring each day's newspapers.
Rather than anyone's name, Flemington is the city in New Jersey where the trial took place.
The kidnapping victim was Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of famed aviator Charles “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh.
Abducted from his home March 1, 1932, the boy's body was found a little over two months later (May 12). According to the medical examiner, a blow to the head shortly after the kidnapping caused the death.
After a 32-month manhunt, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was indicted for the murder. His trial ran from January 3, to February 13, 1935, when the jury rendered a guilty of first-degree murder verdict.
Sentenced to death by electrocution, the state of New Jersey carried out that decree on April 3, 1936.
Though at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, both Lindbergh's historic nonstop transatlantic solo flight (May 1927) and the kidnapping of his son inspired many recordings.
You know about “The Flemington Kidnapping Trial” (Perfect 13124), but it's interesting that Perfect 13123, just one number earlier, is “The Trial of Bruno Hauptmann, Parts 1 & 2,” by Billy Cox.
Here are but a few others: “God's Mercy to Col. Lindbergh” (Rev. Leora Ross); “Like an Angel You Flew Into Everyone's Heart” (Vaughn DeLauth); “Lindbergh” (Woody Guthrie); “Lindy Comes to Town” (Al Stewart); “Lucky Lindy” (Nat Shilkert with Victor Orchestra & Chorus); “America Did It Again” (Nat Shilkert with Victor Orchestra & Chorus); “Solo Flight” (Benny Goodman Orchestra Featuring Charlie Christian); “Sorry Mr. Lindbergh” (Michael Jibson & Company); “The Spirit of St. Louis (Charles Lindbergh)” (Morris Schreiber); “Plucky Lindy's Lucky Day” (Vernon Dalhart); and the most popular of them all: “Lindbergh (The Eagle of the USA),” also by Vernon Dalhart.
Speaking of Eagles ...
DEAR JERRY: I have just learned the Eagles are scheduled here at the Sommet Centre later this month.
I haven't decided if I'm going or not, but I really would like to know how many, if any, of the 2008 Eagles are original members.
Once I got stung on a Drifters concert, when not a single guy in the show ever sang on any of their hits.
I don't want to buy a ticket to see someone else singing Eagles' originals.
Cynthia Dodson, Nashville, Tenn.
DEAR CYNTHIA: Like most groups, the Eagles have undergone some personnel changes over the years.
Not many, though, as the current foursome is Don Henley; Glenn Frey; Joe Walsh; and Timothy B. Schmit.
Henley and Frey are charter members. Together with Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon they founded the band in 1972.
Walsh joined the flock when Leadon resigned in 1975, and Schmit replaced Meisner in '77.
So you see, there are no imposters in this gathering of Eagles.
IZ ZAT SO? A once common recording industry practice is the simultaneous release of the exact same tracks on more than label.
Quite often the cloned discs even used a completely different name to credit the same artist.
For example, “The Flemington Kidnapping Trial” is on Perfect (13124), as well as Oriole (8847) by Floyd Carter. As if two releases were not enough, it is also on Conqueror (8464), but credited to Bob Miller.
“The Trial of Bruno Hauptmann” came out on Perfect (13123) as well as Melotone (13344), with both credited to Billy Cox.
Regardless of label or artist credit, any of these is would now be in the $100 range.