Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Hoosier Hot Shots Now Available


When Ken Trietsch first turned to his brother and said, "Are you ready, Hezzie?" he didn't realize the words would become part of the American lexicon for decades.
While Ken's question introduced many of the records by the Hoosier Hot Shots, the story actually began on an October morning in 1923 when the members of a band walked into the high school in Elwood, Indiana. Ezra Buzzington's Rube Band was slated to do a series of weekend shows at the theater in Elwood but on Friday morning the clarinet player broke his arm. After talking to administrators, the group left again with a student named Otto Ward in tow.
He never returned to a classroom. His weekend performances on clarinet were such a success that when the band left town Otto, soon to be known as Gabe, went along. It began six years of touring the nation on the vaudeville circuits. During that exciting time he became a close friend of the Trietsch brothers from tiny Cowan, Indiana. So close a friend that when the Wall Street crash of 1929 sounded the death knell for vaudeville the trio went to work for Montgomery Ward. At the same time they worked up a routine of their own and soon were doing personal appearances for $15 a night. Then came an opportunity for a radio show on WOWO in Fort Wayne. They weren't paid for their radio work but it proved so popular that it gained them many bookings for those $15 nighttime shows and then led to their big break, a chance to perform on the National Barn Dance in Chicago, a program broadcast coast to coast.
They added a string bass player to the act and were on their way. Before it came to an end they had made several hundred records and transcriptions, appeared in 22 movies and had their own nationwide radio show. So popular were the Hoosier Hot Shots that President Roosevelt began scheduling
his fireside chats immediately after their program because it ensured a huge audience.
During the 1980s I became a good friend of Gabe Ward. He sent dozens of letters and audio tapes to me and they became the backbone of the book "The Hoosier Hot Shots - And My Friend Gabe." Many of the letters are included in the book along with newspaper columns I wrote about the Hot Shots, a listing of their charted hits and movies, a discography, a chapter on the causes of the Great Depression, a rundown of the Dillinger Gang's activities and dozen of photos. It also corrects some common mistakes in the Hot Shot legend and reveals the identity of this handsome cowboy movie actor,
a close friend of Gabe. Here's a hint: he appeared in 239 episodes of television's long running "Gunsmoke" series.
To learn more about the book, or to order it for $14.95, call up my website: www.dickstodghill.com

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