A really lovely 1940s Tommy Dorsey concert poster from when Frank Sinatra was a singer is his orchestra, and touring with him.
Sinatra’s name does not appear on the poster, however, leaving open the debate, “Is this an early Sinatra concert poster, or not?” I discuss that a bit in this video.
But regardless, this Tommy Dorsey window card is great in its own right, as Tommy was a major figure in 1940s big-band music, both with and without his brother Jimmy.
So eventually, I will blog for you a Dorsey Brothers window card, and in addition to this one, also a Jimmy Dorsey concert poster. I’ll do ’em all!
But back to this Tommy Dorsey placard… being almost 75 years old at the time of this blog, it’s becoming quite brittle and fragile.
That’s why I keep it, and all my old posters, in acid-free art holders until I decide whether to frame them or not.
Can you believe the admission price on this Tommy Dorsey tour poster was only $1.00? That’s a real highlight for me… even non-collectors gasp at that.
And the “Dancing 9-1” is so simple and direct, with no fluff… the promoter obviously liked to keep his ‘venue information’ as succinct and clean as possible.
The George F. Johnson Pavilion – plugged at the top of this Tommy Dorsey concert sign – was in Johnson City, New York (which is also explained up in the venue info).
All locals knew it, but for you and me, Johnson City was a suburb (more or less) of Binghamton, NY, in the south-central part of the state.
This Tommy Dorsey broadside was constructed of thick cardboard – printer unknown – and has dimensions of 14” by 22”, a typical size.
It used to have a bright white background, but either the sun or florescent indoor lights faded, or “toned,” its look over the years. No matter, I don’t believe the toning harms its appearance.
As you’ll hear in my video, this Tommy Dorsey street poster was a ‘tour blank’ that was used by his management for many years to sell tickets.
Tommy’s picture adorns it, which was actually a new development at the time; up until the late 1930s, artistic renditions of musicians’ faces were used.
Notice how this Tommy Dorsey window display calls him “The Sentimental Gentleman”… his moniker at the time, but curiously incomplete.
Other versions of this poster, which I show you in my video, have his more complete nickname… “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing.”
And the management company takes a high-profile credit on my Tommy Dorsey show placard. It basically comes above everything else on the poster’s permanent (red) information… right up at the top.
They’re credited as “MCA,” and then in tiny letters – too small to see in my video – “Music Corporation of America.” Decades later, MCA Records would become an important record label with artists like Neil Diamond and Elton John.
It’s interesting how this Tommy Dorsey window poster doesn’t list any other musicians, but instead describes the legendary bandleader’s instrumentation… “His Trombone and his Orchestra.”
That’s because his management wanted to use this tour-blank poster template for years, and individual band members came and went in revolving-door fashion. Buddy Rich was a member of his band at this time, too.
The neophyte will point out how this Tommy Dorsey telephone-pole poster lacks a year on it… it just says, “Easter Monday, April 14.” Some might say, “Well, what the heck?”
But remember, this thing was made to last only a few weeks, and then be thrown away. It was probably printed in Feb or early March, and then was useless from tax day (April 15)-onwards.
This exact Tommy Dorsey street sign was printed in other colors besides red… green, and also orange, and probably others I haven’t seen yet.
And it wasn’t just one year at a time… sometimes a different color was used on successive nights. It’s crazy. (I show you pictures.)
And since this style was used for at least five years running and maybe closer to 10, it’s not that hard to find an original Tommy Dorsey boxer style concert poster, if you’re patient.
I’ve seen this exact poster as early as the mid-1930s and as late as the mid-1940s, with only slight variations. I find it great fun to keep track of them with pictures in my photo albums.
So this Tommy Dorsey concert advertisement is definitely a collector’s item, but it’s not nearly the challenge to find as something like a Billie Holiday concert poster, of which there are virtually no tour blanks known.
But there seem to be a lot of vintage concert window cards for the white big-band leaders like Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the Dorseys, Glenn Miller and so forth. They’re not common, but they’re not screamingly rare, either.
My name is Pete Howard, and if you’d like to contact me I can be reached quickest through either firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (805) 540-0020, West Coast time. Keep in mind that I pay the best prices in the hobby, period, for vintage big-band concert boards like this, from almost any musician.
And to see another version of this Tommy Dorsey fence poster, plus some others like Goodman and MIller, just pop right over to this page here on my site: http://www.postercentral.com/bigbandvocalists.htm