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STUFF SMITH ON FILM AND VIDEO


For full details of most sessions consult the two-vol. Stuff Smith bio-discography Desert Sands / Up Jumped the Devil
and the online updates in the FB:VS Stuff Smith Sub Page link above

This draft checklist includes known telecasts not believed to be visually extant
where audio alone is known to be extant or where substantial detail is known

All screen appearances known to be extant as at 2016 are included
Notification of additions and corrections would be appreciated

Copies of most extant appearances are held in the AB Fable Archive but most are not currently available
to be copied for technical reasons and in some cases severe copyright or other restrictions placed upon us

Copyright © AB Fable Archive 2007–2016
Fair use of small parts of this research is acceptable accompanied by a link to or acknowledgement of this site
Use of larger portions or the whole of this research is not permitted without written permission


1936
The FleischmannÕs Yeast Hour, rehearsal, 23 April 1936
Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys
IÕse a MugginÕ – silent out-of-focus and poorly framed home movie of part of the rehearsal of this title for SmithÕs performance on the Rudy Vallee Show – the band is seen playing, singing and trucking – an audio aircheck of the actual broadcast performance is extant

late 1936 or early 1937 [released 17 February 1937]
The March of Time, Vol. 3, Issue 7, The Birth of Swing
Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys – uncredited on screen but credited in original film content sheet and in ads
Onyx Improvisation [this is the title in the original film content sheet] – fragment filmed in Onyx Club, New York – narrator voice-over soundtrack perhaps recorded in a studio [one might surmise use of one of the two takes of unreleased ÒSwing TimeÓ recorded 1 July 1936 but perhaps not] – outtakes from this period of March of Time destroyed in a fire around 1981 – beware some reuse of this fragment in one or more documentaries with inappropriate non-contemporary Smith soundtrack from 1965 Paris LP replacing the original

1937

A March 1937 ad for one-reel shorts includes the Stuff Smith orchestra in a list of thirteen musicals by Condor Pictures, Inc. It was never made and the list appears to be intention, not actuality.

1937
SmithÕs scheduled appearance in the 1937 Hollywood movie 52nd Street did not take place, either musically or non-musically, contrary to confused intimations in many books. It is probable that the bandÕs performance was not even filmed, let alone used, though that is not absolutely clear. Documented contractual problems relating to the bandÕs appearance at HollywoodÕs Famous Door club was the cause of Smith being dropped. SmithÕs trumpeter Jonah Jones did, however, act and play at length in the 1937 movie Thanks for Listening, starring actor–singer Pinky Tomlin

?1937
Smith reported to AB a soundtrack orchestra contribution to an animated film about three monkeys on a mantlepiece of the kind see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. We believed we had identified the film as the 1937 MGM Happy Harmonies Pipe Dream (it absolutely fits the description) and reported it at length in Desert Sands, p.81 but we are not certain that this is the film

1938
News of the Day, 29 May 1938, Carnival of Swing
Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys – uncredited
Silent fragment filmed at RandallÕs Island Stadium open air benefit concert, New York – reused in one or more documentaries incl. The Story of Jazz (1993) with narrator voice over unassociated soundtrack not by Smith – previously unreleased out-takes, including uncredited head-and-shoulders of Smith while the Count Basie Orchestra plays, first used in Ken Burns, Jazz, Episode 6, Swing, The Velocity of Celebration (2000)WNEW broadcast about a quarter of this five hour concert of which some fifteen minutes were airchecked by the late William Savory, incl. ÒCrescendo in DrumsÓ by Smith – photos of SmithÕs band incl. Ben Webster are extant

1942
SmithÕs scheduled appearance in the 1942 [released 1943] Hollywood movie Reveille with Beverly did not take place. The film included Basie, Ellington, Sinatra. SmithÕs band was to have been the one he led with changing Fats Waller alumni, including Herman Autr(e)y, while Waller was touring as a solo. After SmithÕs bandÕs autumn–winter residency in Los Angeles, following a tour from Chicago to the West Coast, it is documented that the rest of the band fired Smith for behaviour beyond reason. Cincinnati airchecks of one incarnation of the band are extant

1944
SmithÕs trio with Jimmy Jones and John Levy was scheduled to make Soundies but Levy in a telephone conversation with AB confirms that this did not happen

?1940s
InÒWhy Musicians Choose White WivesÓ, Jet Magazine, Chicago, 8 January 1953, Smith says: ÒMy second wife, for example (movie actress Lee Rogers), got me into several movies.Ó No such films have been identified nor, if they exist, is it known whether he played, acted or was an extra. Lee [aka Helen] Rogers [?Rodgers] has not been identified as an actress. In fact, she is believed to have been SmithÕs third wife. They would have married very late in the 1930s or early 1940s. They appear soon to have separated but they did not formally divorce until the mid 1950s, when Smith married Arlene Danzig. At the time of the Jet article SmithÕs companion was Dorothy B. Farrell, to whom he was never formally married, contrary to the caption to the Jet photo showing them together. SmithÕs obituary in Jet, 19 October 1967, reprinted this photo together with another photo of Smith, with violin and sheet music, and Farrell.

?1950s [or ?–1937 or 1960s]
Smith reported to AB his appearance in, or soundtrack contribution to, a film entitled Country Boy which has not been identified. There are two or three films, including a documentary, with this or similar titles which we have not auditioned. None, on the face of it, appear to fit the bill on account of of dating

1950
Smith made telecasts on WBKB Channel 7 TV, Chicago, April–July 1950

Extract of 1980s interview by Charles Walton with tenor saxophonist Dave Young, ÒBronzeville Conversation with Dave YoungÓ, posted on website of Jazz Institute of Chicago:
Walton: Were you acquainted with Al Benson, the DJ? / Dave Young: I worked with him for a long time. One night he and Stuff Smith, violinist, got into a common fistfight on TV, Channel 7. We were on a TV program, appearing every night. Al drank a lot during those years. We were rehearsing before the TV show while Al set up the entire program for the evening, giving us the order as to when we were to perform. When the TV show began, Al announced that Stuff SmithÕs group was to perform, but in the wrong order. StuffÕs group was not ready to go on earlier. Stuff and Al got into a fistfight right there. The cameramen took the cameras off of them. But they were fighting in the studio. I quit that night. . . .Ó

Extract of 2004 interview by Charles Walton valve-trombonist Cy Touff, ÒBronzeville Conversation with Cy TouffÓ, posted on website of Jazz Institute of Chicago:
ÒIn 1950 or Õ51, I was a member of Deejay Al BensonÕs TV show band. Stuff Smith was one of the performers, and Lurlean Hunter was a vocalist. That work at WBKB in the State Lake Building only lasted a few months.Ó / Musicians: Claude Jones, piano, ?–Johnny Pate, bassist, Kenny Mann, tenor sax, Hotsy Katz, trumpet, Goon Gardner, alto sax, Cy Touff, valve trombone, Sleepy Nelson, drums, and Sax Mallard, sax and leader.

Extract of posting by Robert Campbell about Sax Mallard on website of the Red Saunders Research Foundation:
In late April 1950, disc jockey Al Benson, who had already done some freelance recording, sponsored dances and jam sessions, and even fronted for a short-lived record label . . ., got an opportunity to host a weekly TV show on WBKB in Chicago. For the show, which aired on Saturday nights, he put together a band with some of the best young jazz musicians in town, both black and white. Hotsy Katz, Cy Touff, and Kenny Mann were members of the Jay Burkhardt band, a bop big band, much admired by the scribes in Down Beat, that unfortunately never recorded. Cornell Wiley was a member of the Dozier Boys. Sleepy Nelson was Sax MallardÕs regular drummer, and Goon Gardner was working regularly during this period, sometimes as a leader. / Sax Mallard was the leader (however, the initial contract for the show was in Cornell WileyÕs name; with a term of 4 weeks, it was accepted and filed by Local 208 on May 4, 1950). Cy Touff, who played valve trombone in the band, recalled that ÒStuff Smith was one of the performers, and Lurlean Hunter was a vocalist. That work at WBKB in the State Lake Building only lasted a few months.Ó The show was still running in early July; on July 6 and 20, 1950, the Board of Musicians Union Local 208 briefly discussed a complaint by bassist Johnny Pate that stemmed from a guest appearance on the show by the Henry ÒRedÓ Allen Orchestra on April 29. Also at the July 6 Board meeting, Claude Jones brought a complaint against Stuff Smith, who had fired Jones from a gig at the Blue Note after Jones informed Smith that he was scheduled to appear on BensonÕs TV show on Saturday night. (This was presumably after Stuff got into a fistfight with Al Benson on the air, abruptly ending his string of guest appearances on the show.)

1953
Smith and Jonah Jones were guests on The Gary Moore Show, EDST CBS-TV, New York, ?28 July 1953. No aircheck is known

1954
Smith and Jonah Jones were return guests on The Gary Moore Show, EDST CBS-TV, New York, 13.30, 26 January 1954. No aircheck is known

mid–late 1950s
It is believed likely that Smith appeared on Larry Finley LA tv shows, including Strictly Informal. Arlene Smith remembered him appearing several times on a local LA show. SmithÕs protegŽe violinist Ginger Smock is known to have appeared on Strictly Informal as a member of Hal [?Hack] JacksonÕs Tornados, c.January 1956. Larry FinleyÕs son Greg Finley reports that only a couple of the originally kinescoped shows survive and that no index of performances is known

1956
RoweÕs Get-together, KNXT, Los Angeles:
Stuff Smith, 14:00, Monday, 30 April 1956
Smith and violinist Billy Wright, 13:30, Monday, 7 May 1956
Stuff Smith, 14:00, Monday, 14 May 1956

c.
1956 or 1957
Arlene Smith reported that pianist Dudley Brooks, who recorded with Smith for Verve in 1956 and appeared with Smith on telecast Stars of Jazz in 1957—see fol., tried to obtain (soundtrack or onscreen) work for Smith in a film with Dean Martin on which Brooks was working. It came to nothing because of SmithÕs refusal or inability to play anything exactly the same way twice at rehearsal. It has not been established which film this might have been

1957 – 2011 update – this show was previously listed here audio only extant – video, now known to be extant, was briefly available via iTunes courtesy the Cole family but has been withdrawn – a copy is in the AB Fable Archive – research assistance courtesy Jordan Taylor and Will Friedwald
Smith was a guest on the Nat King Cole Show, Los Angeles, 14 January 1957. Smith and Cole with trio talk and play ÒI Know that You KnowÓafter Smith plays a fragment of ÒIÕse a MugginÕ. The end of ÒI Know that You KnowÓ is clipped in the video but is complete on the separate audio aircheck

1957
Jazz at the Philharmonic, 5 May 1957
Stuff Smith with Ella Fitzgerald incl. Roy Eldridge
It DonÕt Mean a Thing (If It AinÕt Got that Swing) – Kurhaus Schevingen, Netherlands – AVRO telecast of FitzgeraldÕs complete set with Smith in this title only as the finale with the peculiar introduction and on screen caption Òmet [with] Count Basie OrchestraÓ in error – SmithÕs own set may not have been recorded or if it was it is is unlikely to be extant – Smith was taken ill following this appearance and flown home to USA which is why a telecast of FitzgeraldÕs JATP Brussels set does not include Smith despite his name appearing on the billboard shown outside the concert hall at the beginning of the program

1957
Dress Blues, 5 October 1957
Stuff Smith and Ruth Olay were guests on this Los Angeles KNXT Channel 2 daytime show aired at 12.30, surely not extant.

1957
SmithÕs four-title appearance with his quartet incl. Dudley Brooks, on Stars Of Jazz, Los Angeles, KABC-TV, 2 December 1957, is believed to be extant only as audio. Three titles were released on LP. The extant airchecked fourth sign-off title has not been released

1958
Stars of Jazz, 26 March 1958
Stuff Smith [guest] with Quartet
Without a Song – incl. mc intro about historic jazz violinists and an unintentionally crazy changing back-drop of South, Venuti, Grappelli during which the wrong photo is shown as each violinist is spoken about – Los Angeles KABC-TV telecast – exceptionally, Smith plays a dedicated, though conventionally shaped, electric violin with two built-in controls. It is believed to be a white National. The assumption is that this may have been the period when he was without his favorite violin, Big Red, which had been stolen and which was later recovered. His accompanying musicians, from the Red Nicholls band appearing on the same telecast, are off-screen

1958
Art Ford Jazz Party, 24 July 1958; 14 August 1958; 9 October 1958; 30 October 1958
Note that the Art Ford Jazz Party dates given here are telecast and broadcast dates. It has been established that the programs were rehearsed and recorded generally two days in advance and that some programs were shortened when telecast and/or broadcast to make way for sporting events and the like. It is conceivable that this explains the absence of some segments on airchecks. Complete kinescopes of all programs must have existed at one time
Stuff Smith in various jam sessions incl. among others: Max Kaminisky, Bud Freeman, Johnny Guarnieri, Big Joe Turner; Ruby Braff, Tyree Glenn, Mary Osborne, Maxine Sullivan; Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge, Buster Bailey, Bill Henderson; Emmett Berry, Roy Eldridge, Urbie Green, Georgie Auld, Dick Hyman
Numerous titles – Newark, NJ, Channel 13 telecasts – Smith took part in four of the 90-minute programs in the series; all programs were kinescoped – simultaneous WNTA broadcasts – video of just under an hour of and audio of the whole of 24 July 1958; audio of all of 14 August 1958; video of something over 50 minutes of and audio of all or almost all of 9 October 1958; audio of what appears to be the second half of 30 October 1958, circulate among collectors – a commercially released video cassette of 9 October 1958, from Video Resources, New York, omits two extant titles which feature Smith prominently and one which features Clayton and should be avoided – these telecasts represent some of SmithÕs most outstanding screen performances

1958
A Great Day in Harlem, August 1958
Stuff Smith with numerous other musicians in Milt and Mona HintonÕs home movie documenting the taking of Art KaneÕs famous Esquire Magazine photo – the fragment of Smith playing with Big Joe Turner is taken from 24 July 1958 Art Ford Jazz Party – see prev.

?1959 [and/or c.1956–1957]
Smith played Washington, D.C. local tv program(s) hosted by Felix Grant. No airchecks are known

1960s
Home movie, early 1960s
Stuff in Our Back Yard – brief 8mm color silent home movie filmed with friends in the garden of the home of Mary Lee and Don Hester, Washington, D.C.

1963
The New Steve Allen Show, 31 October 1963 [telecast 12 November 1963]
Stuff Smith [guest] with Donn Trenner Orchestra of eight pieces incl. Herb Ellis
Skip It – Los Angeles syndicated telecast

1964
Smith appeared as a guest in a quartet with Joe Bushkin on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, New York, March 1964, during their residency with Milt Hinton and Jo Jones at the Embers. Arlene Smith, who watched the telecast, reported the camera mainly showing Bushkin and rarely showing Smith. According to Carson Productions, shows from this period were lost or destroyed during rewarehousing transit from New York to Burbank. Currently, then, SmithÕs performance is not believed to be extant. No audio aircheck is known

1965
Troldmanden fra Onyx [The Wizard from Onyx], 16 March 1965
Stuff Smith Quartet incl. Kenny Drew
Four titles – DR location telecast from Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark – single titles have appeared in various DR magazine programs

1965
Smith appeared as a guest in a quartet in On the Braden Beat, ATV London, early evening, late April or early May 1965. AB was invited to attend but could not, nor did we see the telecast, now much regretted. Many Bernard Braden programs were recorded, and are archived with the successor to ATV, but not all and apparently not this one. Whether or not it was recorded and the tape retained, for example, by Braden is not known

1965
Ruhr Festival Jazz Workshop
, ?–1 or 2 July 1965
Stuff Smith featured with large orchestra
Take the ÔAÕ Train – telecast from Recklinghausen, Germany, used in NDR Jazz Night, Highlights from the NDR Jazz Archive, 20–21 April 2002 – setting and casual dress does not indicate the final Vestlandehall concert itself, despite cameras visible in extant photos of the concert, but one of the rehearsal sessions, in another room, or a studio, without audience – it has not been established whether SmithÕs other three titles, from rehearsals or the concert, are extant – complete audio of the concert, incl. the one of four titles by Smith that was not audio broadcast, and part or all of SmithÕs rehearsals, are extant

1965
Jazz under stjŠrnorna, 23 August 1965
Svend Asmussen and Stuff Smith Quintet
Oh, Lady, Be Good!; One OÕClock Jump – incl. talk – SVT telecast – Solliden, Skansen, Sweden – part of an open air variety show

1965
The Svend Asmussen, S¿ren Christensen, Stuff Smith Sextet made an SVT telecast, Trumpeten, from Gšteborg, Sweden, 28 October 1965. Of the several titles, three featured all three violinists together while a fourth featured Smith alone. Smith was also interviewed. The SVT files reveal that the video was erased 24 January 1968. It is believed to have been telecast more than once. Audio only is known to be extant along with audio of the rehearsal on the same day

1965
Paris Jazz Festival, 3 November 1965
Stuff Smith with Earl Hines All Stars incl. Eldridge, Byas, Webster
Boogie Woogie on the St Louis Blues – two brief fragments: end of SmithÕs solo joined on to Hines and Ensemble ending with solos missing between – Palais de la MutualitŽ, Paris – ORTF – this clip used in Musiques au coeur du violon with the spurious date 1957 on screen, telecast on France 2, 2 May 1993 – 1 1/2 hour program devoted to jazz violin – late note: video of all or most of the concert is extant

1966
Smith with Ray Nance and S¿ren Christensen telecast a half hour program from a tv studio at Gladsaxe, nr Copenhagen, 19 April 1966. Only an audio aircheck, with some drop outs, is known to be extant

1966
Molde Festival, afternoon, 6 August 1966
Stuff Smith and Anders Gjendem (separately)
Fragments incl. Norwegian folk music played by Gjendem and Turkey in the Straw by Smith on the hardangerfele (ornate violin with sympathetic resonating strings) – NRK reportage from Romsdals-Museum, Molde, Norway – open air – Smith is also seen walking with others and dancing with a young girl in traditional costume

Molde Festival
, evening, 6 August 1966
Stuff Smith Quartet incl. Kenny Drew
How High the Moon – part only, because of technical difficulties with camera, and amusing opening Beethoven and Chopin quotes – NRK telecast from Biografteateret, Molde, Norway – a clip from SmithÕs Molde appearance is included in Randis Jazz, prg. 3, Pianistene kommer! an NRK documentary about Norwegian critic Randi HultinÕs friendship with jazz musicians in which she also discusses, and plays part of, her home audio recording of Smith, and in which Sonny Rollins praises Smith – audio only of another title from SmithÕs performance is extant

1966
Home movie, c.two days, c.14 August 1966
Stuff SmithÕs Birthday – brief 8mm silent black and white home movie of Smith and Eva L¿gager incl. Smith polishing his violin and playing a few notes – NŸrum, nr Copenhagen and Copenhagen

1967
Show Real
Director Reinhard HauffÕs recollection is that the scheduled participation of Stuff Smith in this three-part German tv program did not take place because of SmithÕs death

1967
Bes¿g familien, men tag straks hjem igen
[Visit the Family, but Come Straight Back Home], 3 September 1967
Stuff Smith and S¿ren Christensen with the Axens
On screen and soundtrack acting, playing, singing, dancing by the two violinsts in a DR telecast TV-teatret modern drama based on an AesopÕs fable – studio at Gladsaxe, nr Copenhagen – SmithÕs last documented recording of any kind – telecast posthumously

1967
Stuff Smith Memorial Concert
Part at least of the 6 December 1967 Copenhagen Smith memorial concert is extant on video with violinists Asmussen, Christensen, Grappelli, Olsen, Ponty, Ziegler – audio of all or most of the concert, including non-violinist soloists, is extant

2001
Old JoeÕs HittinÕ the Jug
Stuff SmithÕs 1936 recording of ÒOld JoeÕs HittinÕ the JugÓ is the soundtrack to this 4-minute trick film by Luke Jaeger, with live action, stop-motion, a puppet, and a violin played with a saw. Regrettably, SmithÕs recording is taken from a mediocre CD dub. Jaeger has now been supplied with a transfer from an original 78 in the AB Fable Archive and it is hoped that a digital version with new sound track will be made

Miscellaneous
Tracks by Stuff Smith are used on the soundtrack of several feature films incl.
1981: Street Music dir. Bown
1990–1995: Northern Exposure tv series – Nat King Cole incl. Smith
1997: The Spitball Story dir. Bach
1998: Harvest dir. Burkin

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