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Mr. Hi-Fi of 1955

Mr. Hi-Fi of 1955

April 1955. "Duke Ellington and band members playing baseball in front of their segregated motel while touring in Florida." Who'll be first to locate the Astor? From photos by Charlotte Brooks (who died this month at age 95) for the Look magazine assignment "A Living Legend Swings On." View full size.

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The Bus

I believe this is a model PD3751 General Motors "Silversides" highway bus, or a close relative to it. These were built in the post World War II era, and more information can be found here.

Church visible in top right corner.

Hep Cat

On the left in the blazer is William "Cat" Anderson, the Ellington band's trumpet player renowned for being able to hit the high notes.

Colorful sign

I'm now suddenly struck with the thought that many old motel signs I've seen that seem to advertise COLOR TV excessively prominently ( though no doubt that was a nice amenity when it first appeared) may have been advertising color of a different sort a few years previously and were simply saving money on the cost of sign alterations.

The Duke and The President

It seems Mr. Ellington had a childhood love of the game. From Wikipedia:, "Though Ellington took piano lessons, he was more interested in baseball. "President Roosevelt (Teddy) would come by on his horse sometimes, and stop and watch us play", he recalled. Ellington went to Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D.C. He got his first job selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games.

It don't mean a thing

if it ain't got that swing.

1954 Pontiac

To me,that looks to be a 54 Pontiac rear fender/bumper. If it is not a '54, it will be a '53.

[The answer is neither. It's a 1951 or 1952 Pontiac. - Dave]

1111 Cleveland

The hotel's ad in the 1956 Green Book puts it at "US 1 and US 23 North" in Jacksonville. The street address appears to have been 1111 Cleveland.


This is an ad for the Astor from the 1956 The Negro Travelers' Green Book.

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