Frankie Yankovic played at the Upper Peninsula's
Calumet Armory on Saturday, Aug. 13. But was
the year 1949, 1955, 1960 or 1966?
By STEVE SEYMOUR
If you like music and entertainment memorabilia like I do, the giant Internet auction house eBay is a great source for collectibles.
It's no exaggeration to say I've added dozens of rare 45 rpm singles and long-playing records to my collection, as well as a few hard-to-find posters, thanks to ebay.
For example, I recently acquired a vintage Frankie Yankovic poster from a show "America's Polka King" put on at the Calumet Armory in the Upper Peninsula's Copper Country.
Printed on cardboard by the Globe Poster Corp. of Chicago, the promotional item features a black & white photograph of the artist with his accordion and a dancing couple in silhouette. The poster lists the performer as "Frank" Yankovic, not the more familiar "Frankie."
The popular Cleveland, Ohio- based musician appeared in the U. P. many times during his lengthy career. The gig detailed on my poster promised dancing from 9:30 to 1:30 with the admission fee set at $1. The event was sponsored by the Sacred Heart School Fund Committee.
The poster credited Yankovic as a "Columbia Recording Artist" and noted that "other celebrities to appear the same night."
While Yankovic and his orchestra headlined this particular show on Saturday, Aug. 13, the year isn't stated on the poster. A check of the calendar indicates the date and day matched in 1949, 1955, 1960 and 1966.
The poster has a definite 1950's feel to it. Although Yankovic was signed to Columbia shortly after World War II, the 1949 date seems too early and judging from the photograph of a young-looking Yankovic, 1966 seems too late. That leaves 1955 and 1960 as the most likely dates.
Still, if the exact date of this performance is never determined, I won't mind. I bought it from a seller in Royal Oak, Mich. for just $3.53. The 22 x 14 inch poster isn't in mint condition. But, it also might be a one-of-a-kind item, since promotional posters are printed in very small numbers.
"Michigan Mixture, Vol. 1," features
the psychedelic masterpiece "In Wyrd"
as performed by Sault Ste. Marie's Renaissance Fair.
Using eBay also paid off for me when I finally found a rare U. P. recording I had long been seeking. This time, I won a record album which included the psychedelic masterpiece, "In Wyrd," as recorded by Sault Ste. Marie's Renassiance Fair.
The band travelled to Marquette in the late 1960s to record their composition for Princeton Records. Label owner Fred L. Crook produced the song which was conceived by band member John Ordiway. The group paid to have the recording made and sold the 45 rpm at gigs, hoping to draw attention to their talents.
Carrying the catalog number 111, the record's label showed a five-pointed crown on a yellow background. I spent many hours searching eBay and other Internet sites for this precious seven-inch piece of vinyl, without luck.
"In Wyrd" gained renewed attention a few years ago when it was included for the first on a compact disc collection called "Psychedelic Experience, Vol. 3," issued in Sweden in an edition of 1,000 copies. I tried to obtain that CD but was unsuccessful.
I discovered the song was also included on a small-pressing record album called "Michigan Mixture, Vol. 1." Besides "In Wyrd," the collection contained 14 additional gems in the psychedelic vein gathered from 45s, demos and reel to reel tapes. Besides Renaissance Fair, the groups represented on the record included Up, Dick Rabbitt, Glass Sun, Orange Wedge, Pitche Blende, Popcorn Blizzard, Sweet Cherry and She Devils. With names like that, how can you go wrong?
Finally, I found "Michigan Mixture" listed by an eBay member in Consell, Spain. The seller had a sterling reputation. I topped four other bids to win this item for $40.31. That my seem steep to you, but I considered it to be a terrific bargain.
Tokens like these were used as tickets
for the Goose Lake International Music Festival
held near Jackson in 1970.
By the way, music collectibles offered on eBay aren't limited to records and posters. The other day, I paid $13.05 for some tokens used at the Goose Lake International Music Festival, held near Jackson, Mich., in 1970.
An estimated 200,000 people attended the three-day event which has been called Michigan's version of Woodstock. The music line-up included the Stooges, Bob Seger, Chicago, Mountain, Jethro Tull and Joe Cocker, among others.
Instead of tickets for the Aug. 7-9 event, festival organizers sold colored tokens which were similar in look and feel to the poker chips issued by casinos. The tokens, which measure an inch and one-half across, were made by Ewing Manufacturing Co. The Las Vegas firm is now defunct.
Nine color variations are known to exist. I purchased a set of four tokens, two white and two green, from a seller in Howell, Mich.
The tokens are struck from die-cut molds which are very costly to make. The green tokens feature eight hats and canes around the rim. The white tokens, meanwhile, show hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs and dice. The opposing dice in the circle always equal seven.
In the center of each chip is a drawing of a bird in flight, surrounded by the words "Goose Lake Music Festival," printed in gold ink. Because the gold printing didn't look 38-years-old to me, I suspected the tokens may have been fakes. But, because they featured the original die-cut symbols, I've concluded the tokens are probably genuine.
Although I still look for music collectibles at record stores, second-hand shops, flea markets and yard sales, with a computer my search has become global. You might want to extend your reach with eBay, too.