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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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Now, you've got to see this. See, when we got the band together again, we had to get uniforms, meaning that everybody had the same dark blue jacket. Sammy Levenson, one of his brothers was in the clothing business, so we went to him for suits. Everybody got suits, dark blue suits. We decided that we would all buy the same colored tie, a red tie. That was our uniform. We weren't going to get tuxedos or anything like that. That was good enough. We would play all kinds of affairs. But let me come to this one. The Prima band dressed in scarlet jackets, you know, they really were uniformed. I would tell people we were in uniform, we all had the same colored tie. I remember the first set he finishes, he's playing the last number, and he says, “Take it away. You pick it up.” Oh, was he surprised! But anyway, that was one example. But we played a lot of dances. That's the band thing.


A little bit more on that. You told me once that you played a lot at the 65 Nightclub.


At the Penthouse Ballroom. The 65 Nightclub is when I got a job running the nightclub at 65. That's different. At the Penthouse Ballroom. Because 65 would rent out their ballroom to other organizations, who would run dances, and I at various times would run upstairs and find when Al Berknopf who was secretary-treasurer, was not there, and I would look at that red appointment book. You know those big red books. I would just keep going through to see who he had booked far in advance, get their name and address, and I'd call them and say, “Are you looking for a band?” Of course, he had a house band, and I was cutting in on them. They didn't know. They didn't know. People never know. So anyway, we got jobs that way. That was, I think, later on, but we got jobs on the basis of our name, not on the basis of our ability. Our ability was fair. We could play, but we weren't great. We would get orchestration, music try to get music for it. You could either buy orchestration, which we never believed in doing, or you could go to various friends, or else you could duplicate letters, for example. One good friend who was in the music business, worked for Harry Goodman, Benny's brother, who had a publishing firm, was Harold Leventhal. Of course, I'd known Harold since in '39, '40. Harold's parents died when he was very young, and he was brought up by relatives, and is relatives lived in Ellenville, right near Arrowhead Lodge, and that's how we met Harold. We became good friends. When Harold got the job with the music publishing company, I used to go up to Harold and say, “Harold, I've got to get this.” Okay, good.

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