Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker

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Jimmy Walker, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in New York City on 19th June, 1881. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier College and New York University Law School, Walker worked as a songwriter. He only had one success, Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May (1905).

Walker, a member of the Democratic Party, attracted the notice of several Tammany leaders and with their support was in 1914 elected to the New York Senate. A close associate of Alfred Smith, also the son of Irish Roman Catholics, Walker gradually moved up the party hierarchy. By 1921 he became leader of the party in the city and was their successful candidate for mayor in 1926. Walker was a popular figure in the city and was responsible establishing the Department of Sanitation, unified the public hospital system and approved the construction of the subway.

Re-elected in 1929, Walker soon found himself the subject of a corruption investigation led by Samuel Seabury. Unable to explain the large sums of money that had been paid into his bank account, Walker was forced to resign from office in September, 1932. Facing fifteen charges of corruption, Walker fled to Europe and did not return until he was convinced he would not be prosecuted for his financial offences.

In 1940 Fiorello La Guardia, the mayor of New York City, appointed him as arbiter in garment industry disputes. Jimmy Walker was also president of the Majestic Records Company until his death on 18th November, 1946.

Jimmy Walker

Pianist Jimmy Walker, associated with the blues scene in Chicago, should not be confused with James "Jim Daddy" Walker, linked likewise to the blues scene in Kansas City. The former was actually…
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Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne

Pianist Jimmy Walker, associated with the blues scene in Chicago, should not be confused with James "Jim Daddy" Walker, linked likewise to the blues scene in Kansas City. The former was actually born a few years earlier than the latter, 1905 rather than maybe 1912, and also outstrips in a variety of fame markers such as having an actual agreed-upon date of birth as well as several releases under his own name.

The latter would be where the real interest would lie for blues fans used to the vigor and spark of the Chicago scene. Several complete sessions have been released in which this artist held forth in great freedom, playing as a soloist or with drum accompaniment that approaches perfection. Walker uses the recording medium to express his desires, "Getting Out of Town" in a shuffle of a hurry, inquiring like a lot of other people as to "Where's the Money," rotting away in a "Small Town," and even urging the typical blues couch potato to "Come on, Get Your Morning Exercise." The excellent Testament label was the first to track Walker with the superb 1964 album entitled Rough and Ready.

Jimmy Walker

Journeyman drummer, vocalist, and occasional solo artist Jimmy Walker has been active since the early '60s. Despite a variety of affiliations, his best-known recordings remain his hits with the Knickerbockers,…
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Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne

Journeyman drummer, vocalist, and occasional solo artist Jimmy Walker has been active since the early '60s. Despite a variety of affiliations, his best-known recordings remain his hits with the Knickerbockers, including the eerie "Liars." Walker was part of the original lineup of this New Jersey garage rock group, formed in 1964. Prior to that he had been the drummer with the Castle Kings, a combo with an Atco recording contract. Producer Jerry Fuller was Walker's credited writing partner on a pair of songs recorded by the Knickerbockers that, when combined together, sound a bit like a conversation between a waitress and a buffet patron, "Can You Help Me" and "Come and Get It." Walker walked on the Knickerbockers in 1967, going on to replace Bill Medley in the Righteous Brothers. This higher visibility, from drummer to one of two frontmen, would lead to recording three singles as a solo act for Columbia. Nothing much happened as a result of these sides, however, inspiring Walker to retire from music. He spent a good deal of the '70s in Wyoming, and also worked with soul-funk bands Oasis and Hot Street.

Jimmy Walker, Mayor of the Jazz Age (NYC and the Roaring 󈧘s Part One)

And the king of it all was Jimmy Walker, elected mayor of New York City just as its prospects were at their highest. The Tin Pan Alley songwriter-turned-Tammany Hall politician was always known more for his grace and style than his accomplishments. His wit and character embodied the spirit (and the spirits) of the Roaring 󈧘s. The 1920s were a transformational decade for New York, evolving from a Gilded Age capital to the ideal of the modern international city. Art deco skyscrapers reinvented the skyline, reorienting the center of gravity from downtown to a newly invigorated Midtown Manhattan. Cultural influences, projected to the world via radio and the silent screen, helped create a new American style.

Join us for an after-midnight romp with the Night Mayor of New York as he ascends to the most powerful seat in the city and spends his first term in the lap of luxury. What could possibly go wrong?

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Walker having his morning coffee at his home on 6 St. Lukes Place (pictured below)

Courtesy MCNY

Jimmy Walker with Charles Lindbergh in 1927, in the midst of a ticker tape parade after his non-stop ride from Long Island to Paris.

Courtesy New York Social Diary

Walker so enjoyed throwing public events for famous people that he was frequently parodied for it. In 1932 Vanity Fair pictured him giving a lavish welcome — to himself.

Conde Nast

Harry McDonough with The Elysian Singers from 1905, singing Walker’s big hit “Will You Love Me In December As You Do In May.”

The dashing fashion plate, pictured here most certainly on his way to yet another vacation…..

….perhaps his European vacation! He’s pictured here in 1927, strolling the streets of Venice with a few hundred people behind him.

A picture of Jimmy, actually at work! He’s swearing in the new fire commissioner James J. Dorman in 1926.

Mayor Jimmy Walker with British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald at yet another welcoming ceremony, broadcast on the radio.

Another British visit, this time from Mrs Foster Welch, Mayor of Southampton.

In another Pathe video, Jimmy Walker visits Ireland and the former home of his father.

During Walker’s extraordinary rise, New York was becoming an entirely new city in the 1920s with construction projects on virtually on every block. Even in front of the Hotel Commodore (pictured here in 1927), which was, for a time, the home of Jimmy Walker.

Park Avenue (at 50th Street) in 1922.

Park Avenue at 61st Street in 1922. The rich flocked to this newly developed street of apartment complexes, making it the new center of wealth.

And now, for a little glamour, a few shots of Yvonne Shelton, then Betty Compton, Walker’s two most famous girlfriends (who he wooed while married to wife Janet).

wikiart Courtesy Historial Ziegfeld Photographs above by Alfred Cheney Johnston.

She most famously starred in 1927’s Broadway production of Oh Kay! starring Gertrude Lawrence. Here’s Lawrence singing a famous song from that show:

The legacy of Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose

As the service ends, and as the many who've come to remember two-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Walker exit the Kansas City funeral home, Jalen Rose remains seated, his head partially bowed, his emotions visibly scrambled.

He is closest to the podium, where a steady stream of family and friends -- representing Walker's 63 years of life -- sang his father's praises moments before.

Rhode Island native Gail Silva, representing Walker's glorious Providence years, spoke glowingly of the college career that made "Walk" the top pick in the 1967 NBA draft. "In Providence today, you mention you knew Jimmy Walker," Silva says, "and you'd be loved, because there he is still an icon."

NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing, representing Walker's early professional career, spoke fondly of the rookie he took in as a roommate 40 years ago in Detroit. "I'm 22, Jimmy's 21 and we feel like we have the NBA's best backcourt," Bing recalls. "We played together, lived together and enjoyed each other as friends and as teammates. A great guy to be around Jimmy had a big heart."

Darryl Mays, representing Walker's years in Kansas City where his NBA career concluded and where he eventually settled, spoke vividly of being taken under the wing by an NBA star as an 11-year-old. "He'd sit me on the bench of [Kansas City] Kings games, and take me into the locker room," Mays told the mourners. "How the friendship was forged, I'll never know. But Jimmy was a true mentor to me."

Rose, had he stood to speak, would have represented Walker's athletic gene. Had he addressed the crowd, Rose could have bragged about how for a long time the two were the top father/son scoring duo in NCAA Division I history, or boasted about how they are the only father and son tandem to each score over 10,000 points in their NBA careers.

His bewildered state is for good reason. Unlike the nearly 100 people gathered, Rose never knew Walker. Never even met him.

So this funeral on this July afternoon represents the first time Rose and Walker have shared the same room. Yet even now in Walker's death, Rose is unable to set eyes on the man who gave him life. Walker, his body ravaged by lung cancer, has been cremated. Rose is able to look only at a photograph of Walker perched next to an urn.

Later, at a gathering of Walker's family and friends, Rose is asked about his earlier moment of silent reflection.

"I was hurt, saddened, and selfishly disappointed that we never got a chance to meet," says Rose, who then lowers his head and closes his eyes. "You want to know something? We were supposed to meet this month, we were supposed to meet this month."

A whistle stops play during an early evening game at Detroit's famous St. Cecilia's gym, and an animated Rose leaps to his feet. Rose, a summer-league coach, gently rests his hands on the shoulders of one his players and offers words of encouragement. Dott Wilson, who for decades has been involved with the summer league, looks on and smiles.

"Just like Jimmy Walker," says Wilson. "It's amazing how neither [Jimmy nor Jalen] hesitated to reach out to the youngsters."

After his team loses, Rose leads the squad downstairs for a postgame pep talk. As the team disbands, Rose opens a side door, which opens to a darkened, cluttered office. "This is the place where I really learned who I was," he says.

He learned this particular lesson 22 years ago from the late Sam Washington, who was the director of St. Cecilia. Tired of Rose's constant goofing off in a sixth-grade class, Washington led him to the basement office. Clicking off the lights, he fed a reel into a projector and played highlights of Walker -- a solidly built shooting guard who reminded many of Oscar Robertson -- on the wall.

"That's your father," he told Rose, who sat mesmerized by the footage. "You have the same potential to be very special."

I was hurt, saddened, and selfishly disappointed that we never got a chance to meet," says Rose, who then lowers his head and closes his eyes. "You want to know something? We were supposed to meet this month, we were supposed to meet this month.

Rose had long heard whispers about his biological father being a ballplayer, but was clueless until that moment about the extent of Walker's success. That's because his mother, Jeanne, rarely spoke about the man who abandoned her after she became pregnant in 1972.

"What was there to say?" says Jeanne, who met Walker at a popular West Detroit nightspot and didn't realize he was married at the time. "A year after Jalen was born, I told Jimmy, 'If you don't give me a dime, at least be a father to your son.' He couldn't even do that."

And that caught most who knew Walker by surprise.

In Detroit, kids were drawn to Walker's magnetic personality, and the All-Star guard welcomed them. He was in that first wave of NBA players who became a fixture at St. Cecilia and the nearby YMCA, offering fatherly advice and even tickets to Cobo Hall to many of the kids who played at the gym.

"Jimmy was the one guy who stayed in the community," Bing says. "He had a great connection with the local kids."

A great connection with all except for Rose, who was born in January 1973, months after Walker's trade to Houston. While Walker enjoyed healthy earnings befitting a top-round pick and an All-Star, Jeanne struggled raising four kids as a single mom on a Chrysler keypunch clerk's salary.

"No electricity, no hot water, no heat -- at times we struggled," Rose, the youngest of Jeanne's kids, says. "We'd wake up in the morning and wash with water we heated on a hot plate. And we'd go to bed at night wearing skull caps, sweat shirts and gloves."

Rose's life, in Motown, was a ball of confusion. Some days, his mother's struggles made him bitter. Other days, Rose was determined the man he would never see was the man he'd try to be.

A few weeks after watching the film, Rose tore open a pack of basketball cards, and guess whose image looked up at him? Walker. He slipped the card into his pocket and carried it everywhere he went. In those back-and-forth trash-talking sessions in the schoolyard, Rose's trump card was his Walker card. "That got me a lot of respect," Rose says.

Rose began to create an alter ego to his famous father. Hearing that Walker put on shows with his basketball skills at St. Cecilia, Rose did the same. Knowing that Walker had worn No. 24, Rose flipped the script and selected No. 42.

Looking back, Rose calls those actions "little spiteful things." But the reasons he did them, the drive that carried him to become one of the top high school prospects in the country by his senior season at Southwestern High School, were clear:

"I made a vow that one of the main things I wanted to accomplish in my life is that one day he'd know my name."

It's the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The nation's most intriguing team is Michigan, which features the Fab Five -- all freshman starters, including Jalen Rose. Mission accomplished: Everyone knows his name.

The Fab Five caught the attention of the hoops world with their baggy shorts and black socks. Duane Burleson/Getty Images

As the team prepares for its first tournament game, Rose says, Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom -- who interviewed Walker for a book on the Fab Five -- hands him an envelope with an Atlanta return address. The name on the envelope: Jimmy Walker."

Easy decision, opening the letter, right?

"Not easy at all," Rose says. "It's the middle of the NCAA Tournament and I'm extremely focused. With a game coming up, I wasn't ready to deal with it. So I decided to wait a day."

A day became two days. Two days turned into two months. Two months turned into years.

It's not that Rose forgot about the letter: It was with him during his remaining years at Michigan, accompanied him in his rookie season in Denver, and sat in clear view in his desk drawer, right next to his wallet and car keys, when he was traded to Indiana.

"I wanted to be mature enough when I read it," Rose says. "Whether that letter represented an overhand right by Mike Tyson, or the love of my life, I just wanted to be ready."

In 1997, Rose's second year in Indiana, the Pacers drafted Austin Croshere out of Providence. Croshere had won the school's most valuable player trophy (the Jimmy Walker MVP Award), and his presence became a steady dose of Jimmy Walker tidbits:

"You look just like your father. . You should come visit Providence, everything at the school is named after your father. . I've got a couple of trophies with your father's name."

In 1999, Croshere handed Rose a piece of paper. On it was Walker's phone number.

But a year later, while packing for a road trip, Rose grabbed the envelope. And in Miami, on a bus ride to the team hotel, Rose slipped the letter out of a book and -- after eight years -- read it.

"It was his introduction to me, letting me know how proud he was of my accomplishments," Rose says. "He wanted me to know that it was [Albom] tracking him down that made him public. He said in the letter he was proud of the man that I had become."

Rose called Walker, but got Walker's friend instead. The friend linked Rose with Walker's sister. The sister passed Rose's information to Walker and the two exchanged messages until Rose picked up the phone and, after 27 years, nervously uttered the first words he had ever spoken to his father:

Rose told his father that he had no hard feelings, that he was happy with his life, that he knew exactly where the athleticism he was blessed with came from. Walker told his son that he had followed his career, and that he was proud of how he had developed as a player.

"He was super-shocked," Rose says of the call. "But he handled it with poise. And he made a point of telling me he wanted nothing from me."

The two would speak several more times, and ended each conversation promising a face-to-face. But the e-mails became a bit more infrequent. The phone calls, too.

It took 27 years for Jalen and Jimmy to connect. It took less than a year for the two to drift apart.

Throughout Rose's NBA career, he could never escape being Jimmy Walker's son. He'd see Bob Lanier and hear stories about Walker's incredible scoring ability. He'd talk with Jerry West and the conversation invariably turned to the time the two paired in the backcourt during the 1972 All-Star Game.

A couple of years ago while Rose was playing against the Suns, Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni stood behind him and mumbled under his breath: "Yeah, you remind me of Jimmy when I was his practice dummy." D'Antoni was Walker's teammate in Kansas City.

Walker's NBA career spanned just nine seasons, ending in 1976 with the Kings. He never emerged as the dominant player he had been in college, where as a senior he averaged more than 30 points per game (before the advent of the 3-point shot).

"I really can't say why it never happened for him," Bing says. "He was so talented that when he left [Detroit], we all assumed he would blow up."

"I never quite understood why he quit because, hey man, there was no one better in the fourth quarter than Jimmy Walker," says Sam Lacey, Walker's teammate on the Kings. "He could still play when he left the game. The only thing I can think of is that for such a long time Jimmy was the man that it became hard for him to be second fiddle [alongside Bing and Nate Archibald]."

His career over, Walker settled in Kansas City, and later spent several years in his hometown of Amherst, Va., and in Atlanta. He moved back to Kansas City in 1994 after his daughter, Jamesa Walker-Thompson, was diagnosed with cancer.

"He always told me to be a fighter," says Jamesa, a cancer survivor. "When he got cancer, he used me as an example. He would look at me and say you didn't go anywhere, so I'm not going anywhere."

In Kansas City, much of Walker's time was devoted to programs that aided youth in that city. His passion outside of work was tennis, and Walker spent much of his free time at the 47th Street courts near his home. "Had he chosen tennis over basketball," says longtime friend Sam Dowdy, "he would have been a star there as well."

Then Walker seemingly vanished. Bing lost contact with him. The retired players' association couldn't locate him. "We had guys from the Kings," says Lacey, who last saw Walker in 1989, "who had no idea he stayed in Kansas City."

At Providence, it took 34 years for the school's biggest star to return to campus, when the Friars honored him as a legend in 2001. After a weekend of reliving memories from a great career, he was gone again.

In 2005, as Ryan Gomes was on the verge of breaking Walker's school scoring record, Providence tried to contact Walker with no success. "It was like this mystery," says Providence assistant athletic director Arthur Parks. "Where is Jimmy Walker?"

That question went through Lacey's mind many times. In late June, Lacey, who lives in Mississippi, traveled to Kansas City for the kickoff of a pro-am league. During a game, a man approached with an urgent message: "You need to see Walk."

Entering Room 317 of the Highland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Lacey was ill-prepared for what he saw: Walker was doubled over, motionless, his coat stuck over his head and pants just above his knees. Lacey alerted a nurse, who woke up Walker with a nudge.

"His eyes lit up, and we chatted for a long time," Lacey says, explaining Walker communicated by spelling out words because he was unable to speak. "I was looking for some fragments of the old Walk I knew, and instead I see a guy who maybe weighs 115 pounds. I'll tell you, when I walked outside I broke down, I just couldn't hold it."

As Lacey got up to leave during a visit on June 27, Walker's face turned solemn and he grabbed a pen to scribble four letters on a piece of paper: D-E-A-D.

"I told him, 'No way, man,' and by the end of the visit we were laughing," Lacey says. "And when I saw him [on June 29], he was excited. He told me that his family was coming by. And he told me that he was finally going to meet Jalen."

That Rose was Walker's son was widely known. But Dowdy says Walker never discussed Rose until a ride to the tennis courts in early June. "We were in the car, he mentioned that he had spoken to Jalen several times over the years, and then he started crying," Dowdy says. "From there, he spoke about him every other day. There was a real desire to see him."

And everything was in motion for that to happen. Rose, aware of Walker's deteriorating condition, was making plans to visit.

That Friday night, June 29, shortly after Lacey's conversation about Rose, Walker's condition worsened and he was rushed to Truman Medical Center. On the morning of July 2, with his daughter, Naja Walker-Thompson, and her mother, Sandra Thompson, by his side, Jimmy Walker died.

Bing sighs deeply and reflects on Walker and Rose. "Theirs is a legacy that comes very, very seldom," he says. "Jalen told me he wanted to meet Jimmy. Jimmy once told me he wanted to meet Jalen. It's a shame they had to meet like this -- at the end."

But being there at the end was somewhat therapeutic for Rose. Listening to words about his father that were both warm and sincere validated why he wore that Jimmy Walker Pistons throwback jersey on "Rome is Burning" years ago why he framed those Walker basketball cards fans gave him over the years and why he quietly idolized a man he could have easily despised.

As he sits back and reflects on the accomplishments of his own career -- one that now hinges on the uncertainties of free agency -- Rose remembers those childhood days when he and other kids would sit on the porch and dream of what they wanted to be.

"Some wanted to be doctors, some wanted to be lawyers," Rose says. "I wanted to be a basketball player, and because of Jimmy, I always knew that I had it in me. He wasn't there, but he inspired me.

Jimmy Walker

"By 1973 the group would be pared down to a power trio of Lawton, Sullivan, and Jimmy Walker on drums," writes rock historian Joe Viglione in a sentence that, despite its appearance in All Music Guide,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne

"By 1973 the group would be pared down to a power trio of Lawton, Sullivan, and Jimmy Walker on drums," writes rock historian Joe Viglione in a sentence that, despite its appearance in All Music Guide, does not introduce a crucial moment in the genre's history. Rather the opposite: the resulting recording, entitled In April Came the Dawning of the Red Suns, seems to be considered some kind of unmitigated disaster. Engineer Tom Dowd -- who created such brilliant hard rock and psychedelic textures for Cream -- seems to be thinking more here of no-fat milk, and a carton with mold floating in it at that.

The name Jimmy Walker and variants thereof come up regularly in recording credits. The drummer who wham-bammed his way into Ramatam alongside aforementioned queen of the "chick guitarists" April Lawton and bassist Tommy Sullivan, replacing Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix Experience fame, is not the same drummer as the Jim Walker who joined Public Image Ltd. following studies at the Berklee School of Music. He is also not the James Walker, sometimes credited as Jim Walker, who adds superb conga drum textures to many rhythm and blues hits. In addition, there is also a Scottish drummer with this name whose efforts in '90s ensembles such as Ceolbeg sometimes get lumped in with the Ramatam man.

Jimmy Walker - History

Are they are aren't they? According to Ann Coulter herself, it's a "no" -- but a gentle one.

The controversial conservative has officially responded to rumors that she's in a longtime relationship with Jimmie Walker, who rose to fame in the 1970s playing JJ on "Good Times."

"This rumor spreads every now and then, but it's never been true," she told Page Six, adding, "We're great friends. He's hilarious and a Republican. Now, that's news!"

The denial of a romance comes a few days after Norman Lear, who produced "Good Times," revealed he once went on a dinner date with the supposed couple.

"I love him he's a wonderful guy, but I'll tell you something about him that'll astound you: He dates Ann Coulter," Lear, 94, told Entertainment Weekly. He described Coulter as "a dreamy, delicious, sweet person" -- which undoubtedly surprised both fans and advocates of Coulter. The hard-right pundit is known for being abrasive and sometimes outright offensive.

See photos of (not-dating) Ann Coulter and Jimmie Walker:

The summer of 1940 brings to mind many events from the pages of history. The most obvious was the daily news of a world preparing for war, with some nations already at battle. U.S. involvement at the time was simply that of supplier to its allies. This of course would change in another 16 months with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Another event occurred in the summer of 1940 which was much more pleasant, but which few people today realize. A man by the name of Jim Walker stunned the modeling world with the introduction of U-Control. In his usual dramatic manner, Jim disrupted the National Model Airplane meet in Chicago by flying his new Fireball (with U-Control) powered by a new Ohlsson .23 engine. Officials of the meet were anything but pleased with what they considered a rude disruption of the event. On the other hand, contestants and spectators quickly gathered around to watch this fantastic flight demonstration of a gas powered model airplane flying on long lines in a big circle. The crowd was awestruck, and Jim was delighted.

This was the first time many of them had actually witnessed model flight controlled by lines. Except for early experiments in Radio Control, all flying was categorized as Free Flight. Many were impressed and anxious to try this new "U-Control" system which looked so easy and obviously a lot of fun. A few were skeptical though, convinced that it would be as exciting as flying a brick on a string. Time would tell.

Following the NATS, a full page ad appeared in the Sept. 1940 issue of Model Airplane News introducing the new A-J Fireball with U-Control. The promise was that "You can now fly anywhere, even in your own back yard", performing stunts, loops, hedge-hopping, etc. In addition, the ad
said you could "build it and fly it in 6 hours". The kit featured an entirely new concept in model construction with a fully carved and shaped balsa fuselage, wing sheet covering of balsa cut to shape, and all parts ready for immediate assembly. The American Junior Aircraft factory was soon
swamped with orders, and the world's first prefabricated "U-Control" kit was on its way to making history.

Although it was December of 1940 before Jim applied for his patent for U-Control with the U.S. Patent Office, his experimentation with Control Line flight began many years before. The following is from "U-Control History and Hints", by N.E. "Jim" Walker: "The history of U-Control dates back to the '20s when I demonstrated rubber powered models in department stores. Due to restrictions against
Free Flight indoors, I developed a tether flight that successfully demonstrated the take off and climbing ability of a model by attaching a line to the wing in the correct position to assure lateral and longitudinal
stability. With the advent of gasoline powered flight in the early '30s, I experimented with many types of control and became convinced that the average modeler would like to fly his model from the ground in a limited area. Also, the fun of running the motor continuously would have very strong appeal. Some models used a single line, others as many as five lines."

For historical clarification, it should be pointed out that the term"Control-Line" is generic. The names "G-Line, Mono-Line, Flight-Control and U-Control, etc.," are different trademarked systems in the Control-Line category.

Of the many different models Jim designed and tested in his control line experiments, the one which became the inspiration for the Fireball design was the A-J 744 Racer of 1931. It looked like a mixture of DeHaviland, Curtiss and Howard "Pete" all thrown together. With its beautifully formed all balsa monococque fuselage, one could also detect the influence of Lockheed. The 744 was much too small for gas powered flight, but by enlarging the wing to 36 inches sufficient area for flight was achieved. The wing construction for the time was quite unique, consisting of top and bottom 1/16 inch balsa sheets cut to shape. THe bottom sheet was printed for rib locations and edge bevel line. After ribs were glued in place and bottom edge bevelled, the top sheet was glued on. Wing halves were then
joined together at proper dihedral and the joint reinforced with a 3 inch band of crinoline generously saturated with glue. This formed a very light but extremely strong wing, quickly.

The major developmental problem was the fuselage. Jim as a pioneer in the Ready-To-Fly concept and wanted to apply that technology to his new Control Line model. The standard stick and silk (or tissue) method was too slow and required great skill and patience of the builder. The other consideration being that the fuselage was oval in shape and had many curves which would make it extremely difficult to build in the traditional way. After much experimentation, the idea of a full carved fuselage emerged. Test models were carved by hand, assembled and flown in 1937. It was soon discovered that the most logical answer was a two piece horizontally split fuselage consisting of an upper and lower shell. This allowed a midwing configuration, plus the advantage of engine, accessories and the U-Control mechanism mounted in the lower shell. The top piece merely went along for the ride. The whole airplane was designed in such a way that it would simply pop apart upon impact, and quickly reassembled with rubber bands, with little or no damage whatsoever.

With the design of the airplane finalized, the Company purchased a large 8 spindle carving machine from a furniture manufacturer. Aluminum master plugs were cast for the exterior and interior shape of the fuselage. Carving eight at a time required sixteen minutes, a total of sixty four minutes to complete eight rough carved fuselage sets. The airplane was produced in batches of 96, which required 2 two ton trucks per day to haul the scrap balsa away.

When the new Ohisson .23 came on the market in 1938, Jim installed one in the (now named) FIREBALL. It was love at first flight, and quickly became known as THE engine for the FIREBALL. It appeared in all the early ads and box labels, and was the engine used when the airplane was introduced at the NATS in Chicago, 1940. The assembly instructions gave details on how to vary engine speed, using a third line to retard or advance the ignition timer. The purpose of this was to allow smooth, realistic take-off and landing. The power output was sufficient to allow the new thrill of controlled loops, zooms, and hedge-hopping. Anyone who had guts enough to perform any of those feats, particularly a loop, became an instant hero to observers. Can you imagine what the crowd thought as they watched Jim perform 27 consecutive loops? The thrill of U-Control flight with the FIREBALL challenged the imagination of thousands, and sold alot of FIREBALL Kits and Ohlsson .23 engines.

Many new U-Control clubs started forming around the country, and soon some of the guys were modifying their FIREBALLS to various configurations for racing and speed. An Ohisson 60, a Super Cyclone or Bunch Tiger Aero soon took the FIREBALL to the blazing speeds of 50, 60, even 70 MPH. Thus was born not only stunt, but speed and racing with U-Control. By this time in history, other things in world events were also heating up. It was almost December of 1941.

As America entered World War n the nation was shocked into the reality of sacrifice. Almost all vital necessities and goods became rationed, or war priority goods unavailable to the public. The Model Hobby Industry was also severely affected as balsa wood, metals, paint and petroleum products
were classified as "War Priority" items. Model Kit Manufacturers changed to cardboard, paper and hardwood veneer substitutes for balsa. Model engines became unavailable as their shop facilities were utilized to produce war products.

American Junior Aircraft Company however was one of the few model manufacturing firms that continued to produce balsa airplanes with original metal parts as needed. The reason was simple enough.. .A-J now produced airplanes for the War Department. For example, the Folding Wing Interceptor became a catapult launched Target Drone for machine gun practice. Hundreds of thousands were produced for this purpose. The FIREBALL also became a free flying Target Drone for the NAVY. Painted in bright International Orange, they were launched from ships at sea and shot out of the air by machine guns and 20mm guns. In addition, American Junior manufactured Radio Controlled Target Drones with 14 foot wing span, powered by twin cylinder Righter engine of 6 H.P. with contra-rotating props. During the war, production needs often demanded 3 shifts per day at the factory.

When the war ended, a new FIREBALL had been designed and was ready to go. It was called the FIREBALL "Advancer", the first of the "Bubble Tops". In truth, the only thing that changed was the fuselage top and the rudder. The post-war FIREBALL is the subject of a future article.

Jimmy Walker

The narrow line between the secular and sacred in country & western music, sometimes seeming more like a barbed wire fence, is perhaps no better expressed than in the following song title: "This Kinda Love Ain't Meant for Sunday School." Yet like most successful tunesmiths in this genre, Jimmy Walker was also quite happy to totally contradict himself, having also been responsible for a ditty entitled "God Was So Good ('Cause He Let Me Have You)." The totality of Walker's philosophy is somewhat difficult to examine in detail, having been available only sporadically on vintage LPs such as his Old Homestead release appropriately named Loving Country Heart. The better-known crooner Carl Smith had a hit with "This Kinda Love Ain't Meant for Sunday School," representing the smoother side of Walker's stylistic spread. Walker has actually become better known through compilation reissues as a sort of Swinging Hollywood Hillbilly, the latter being the attention-grabbing moniker of a four-CD box set that includes several Walker recordings. One of these is his route through "Detour," a somewhat depressing ditty that became a hit on the pop scene in the '50s. This artist's career began in the prior decade and he was well-known on hillbilly radio shows such as Hollywood Barn Dance and Midwestern Hayride.

The Knickerbockers

In the wake of the British Invasion, plenty of American bands wished they could make like the Beatles, at least in terms of record sales. But from a musical standpoint, no one sounded quite so much like the Fab Four as the Knickerbockers on their biggest hit, 1965's "Lies," which brilliantly captured the sound of the Beatles' early period with its enthusiastic harmonies and tough but melodic guitar lines. While the band never quite repeated the feat, for years pranksters passed "Lies" off as a rare Beatles track to unsuspecting music buffs, and the group earned a cult following from fans of first-era garage rock. Hailing from Bergenfield, New Jersey, the Knickerbockers were formed in 1962 by Robert Cecchino and John Carlos Cecchino, two brothers who respectively used the stage named Beau Charles and John Charles. With Beau on guitar and vocals and John on bass and vocals, many different musicians passed through the group before it solidified in 1964 with Buddy Randell (born William Crandall) on vocals and saxophone (he previously played with the Royal Teens, who scored a major hit in 1958 with "Short Shorts") and Jimmy Walker (ex-the Castle Kings) on drums. The band landed a record deal with Challenge Records, and its first single, "All I Need Is You" b/w "Bite Bite Barracuda," was released in 1964. The single didn't generate much airplay, and the follow-up, "Jerktown" b/w "Room for One More," fared no better, but the group put out two albums in its first year on Challenge, an album of covers tied into The Lloyd Thaxton Show and Jerk & Twine Time, with the band hopping on the dance craze bandwagon.

In late 1965, "Lies" b/w "The Coming Generation" changed the game for the band between the forceful tune and Randell's Lennon-esque vocals, "Lies" was eagerly embraced by radio and rose to number 20 on the singles charts, with the group's third album, Lies, appearing shortly after. Several months later, the Knickerbockers dropped another great single, "One Track Mind" b/w "I Must Be Doing Something Right," which topped out at number 46, but their next effort, "High on Love" b/w "Stick with Me," barely made it into the Hot 100, stalling out at number 94, and Challenge was unable to push their product to radio or in the marketplace. The Knickerbockers' last single for Challenge, "A Matter of Fact" b/w "They Ran for Their Lives," was released with little notice in 1968, and the label stopped releasing new material a year later. As the group's profile faded, the lineup shifted Jimmy Walker moved on in 1967, replacing Bill Medley in the Righteous Brothers, while Buddy Randell left a few months later. The Charles brothers soon hit the road with a new lineup, featuring new members Richie Walker on vocals, Eric Swanson on drums, and Barry McCoy on keyboards Randell rejoined the band in 1968, but left again in 1970. By 1971, Beau and John Charles set off in a different musical direction, teaming with singer Ritchie Costanza and drummer Eric Swanson to form a country-rock group called Lodi, who recorded one album for Motown's MoWest subsidiary before splitting up in 1972. The same year Lodi flamed out, "Lies" was included on Lenny Kaye's influential compilation album Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968, and in time fans of '60s garage rock would celebrate the Knickerbockers as one of the great bands of the era, with celebrated reissue label Sundazed Records restoring much of their catalog to print in the '90s.

Watch the video: The Great Black Myth (July 2022).


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