Dating to 1943, this film "Smoke Rings" presents Glen Gray Knoblauch ("Glen Gray") and his famous Casa Loma Orchestra, along with the Pied Pipers, trombonist Pee Wee Hunt and female vocalist Eugenie Baird. The short, which takes its name from the band's signature song, was directed by Arthur Dreifuss, associate produced by Will Cowan, shot by William Sickner with Charles Previn as musical director, and Bernard Brown as "sound director" (a title sometimes seen in the early soundie era).
"Smoke Rings" was released by Universal Studios on July 28, 1943. It features the songs "Can't Get Stuff in Your Cuff," "That's My Affair" and "Little Man with the Hammer." Glen Gray appears playing his sax at (7:00), and Eugenie Baird can be seen at (3:15) singing "That's My Affair". Orchestra co-founder and trombonist Pee Wee Hunt is seen at (5:20) performing "Little Man with the Hammer." The performance by the Pied Pipers is seen at the 10 minute mark.
The Casa Loma Orchestra was an American dance band active in two era, first from 1929 -47, and then from 1957-63. The band took its name from the Casa Loma in Toronto, where it played its earliest gigs (under the name "Orange Blossoms"). It was initially led by violinist Hank Biagini, but eventually saxophonist Glen Gray took control. The Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the early swing band to achieve success and, in the 1930s, it was one of the most prominent. Its hot style was often emulated by other bands. Once WWII ended however, big bands began losing audience, and the Orchestra dissolved in 1947. It had a second coming under its most famous leader Glen Gray, and recorded fifteen LP albums for Capitol Records before Gray's death in 1963.
Interestingly, the CLO was actually incorporated, with each band member owning a share of the business, and being asked to follow strict rules of behavior.
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