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Offered here is a great vintage handbill advertising an ongoing engagement of the Mills Brothers at Amato’s Supper Club in Astoria, Orgeon.
Amato’s Supper Club was a music venue popular with service men during World War II, and remained popular into the 1950s. This handbill was probably produced in the early 50s (perhaps 1953, since December 7 fell on a Monday that year).
The information that appears on the handbill is as follows:
Amato’s Supper Club Proudly Presents the World Famous Stars of radio, Decca Records, Screen, TV.. The MILLS BROTHERS
Starting Mon. Dec. 7th
Show Times: 8PM & Midnite
Sat NitesL 7:30 – 10PM – 1AM
706 S.W. Main – BE.6261
It sounds like they really kept the Mills Brothers busy at the supper club!
Herbert Mills of the Mills Brothers has signed his name in the upper left corner of the picture, "Herbert Mills", and has signed again in the lower right corner of the picture, “Regards Sincerely, Mills Bros.”
The handbill is in very good condition, there is some yellowing and there are the remnants of an old scrapbook page affixed to the back (not visible from the front).
The following is a brief biography of the Mills Brothers from the All Music Guide:
An astonishing vocal group that grew into one of the longest-lasting oldies acts in American popular music, the Mills Brothers quickly moved from novelty wonders to pop successes and continued amazing audiences for decades. Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," the group's early records came complete with a note assuring listeners that the only musical instrument they were hearing was a guitar. The caution was understandable, since the Mills Brothers were so proficient at recreating trumpets, trombones, and saxophones with only their voices that early singles like "Tiger Rag" and "St. Louis Blues" sounded closer to a hot Dixieland combo than a vocal group. And even after the novelty wore off, the group's intricate harmonies continued charming audiences for decades.
The four brothers were all born in Piqua, Ohio — John, Jr. in 1910, Herbert in 1912, Harry in 1913, and Donald in 1915. Their father owned a barber shop and founded a barbershop quartet as well, called the Four Kings of Harmony. His sons obviously learned their close harmonies first-hand, and began performing around the area. At one show, Harry Mills forgot his kazoo — the group's usual accompaniment — and ended up trying to emulate the instrument by cupping his hand over his mouth. The brothers were surprised to hear the sound of a trumpet proceeding from Harry's mouth, so they began to work the novelty into their act, with John taking tuba, Donald trombone, and Herbert a second trumpet. The act was perfect for vaudeville, and the Mills Brothers also began broadcasting over a Cincinnati radio station during the late '20s.
After moving to New York, the group became a sensation and hit it big during 1931 and early 1932 with the singles "Tiger Rag" and "Dinah" (the latter a duet with Bing Crosby). Dumb-founded listeners hardly believed the notice accompanying the records: "No musical instruments or mechanical devices used on this recording other than one guitar."
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