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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Get Happy: 1925

Get Happy: 1925

Washington, D.C., 1925. Horace "Happy" Walker, leader of the band seen in the previous post. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

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Happy Walker

I wonder if he ate at the Happy News Cafe?

Washington Post, May 31, 1925.

Glen Echo Park Thrives.

At Glen Echo the new ballroom has proved a wonderful addition to the park, and "Happy" Walker has been exclusively engaged to direct and play with his band, the Golden Pheasants, every week night from 8:30 to 11:30. He features "requests," and for the asking will play any number.

Washington Post, Aug 24, 1964.

Horace (Happy) Walker, Boatman, Band Leader.

Horace (Happy) Walker, boating enthusiast, public relations consultant and ex-band-leader, died Friday at Mount Alto Hospital of pneumonia. Mr. Walker, 65, lived at Ponder Cove, in Edgewater, Md.

Orphaned when he was 10, he worked the vaudeville circuit in New York and in 1923, between performances with a vaudeville act called "50 Miles from Broadway," he visited the Capital and decided to settle here. That year he brought his orchestra from New York to play at local clubs and private parties.

Light up your face with gladness

Obviously we know how this man got his name. I wonder if his "musicians wanted" ads indicated "sourpusses need not apply." Even though today it isn't considered cool to smile, people are still drawn to their more cheerful brethren. It's also a fact that a smile makes one look younger, hence another reason to keep those lips turned up.

I Want That Suit!

Herringbone pattern double-breasted in what appears to be gray. Tweed, perhaps? Could be as it looks like a coarse weave. Unlike on modern suit jackets, there are only two cuff buttons, and they're not ornamental--they actually button the cuff.

FDR troubadour

Horace "Happy" Walker's Orchestra was popular in the Washington-Baltimore area in the '20s and '30s. In 1937 they played at one of Franklin Roosevelt's inaugural balls. His main instrument was trumpet. When he developed pneumonia he had to stop playing. He also had a radio program on WOL.

More Technical Notes!

More saxophone technical geekery!!

Happy's handling a "New Wonder" model Alto Saxophone by the C.G. Conn company. Easy tell, from that angle: it's that knurled round metal drum right behind the rubber mouthpiece. Conn called it a "Microtuner"; instead of fine tuning the horn by pulling the mouthpiece out on the neck, or pushing it in, you rotated that drum and the end of the saxophone's neck where the mouthpiece is attached would move in or out, depending. Conn used that kind of mechanism on their altos until about the mid 1950's.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This guy makes me want to party -- and I don't party!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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