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Gus Arnheim & His
Cocoanut Grove Orchestra

Favorite Orchestra of the
Motion Picture Colony


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"1928 Vitaphone Short"


"Gus Arnheim & His Cocoanut Grove Orchestra" appear in this March 1928 Vitaphone short with featured players including: Nelson Hall vocals, Roy Fox and Ray Lopez trumpets, Gus Arnheim piano & director, and ? Russ Columbo violin.

Set List:

1 "I Can't Do (Without You)"
2 "La Rosita"
3 "Tiger Rag"

In 1919 three men, all of whom would become famous bandleaders, played together at the Sunset Inn in Santa Monica, California. Henry Halstead played violin, Gus Arnheim played piano, and Abe Lyman played the drums.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 4th 1897, Gus Arnheim became a very successful bandleader in Los Angeles, California noted for several hit songs his first being 1923's "I Cried for You". Arnheim was most popular in the 1920's and early 1930's and also enjoyed a few small acting roles.

In 1930 and '31, Gus Arnheim had an extended engagement at the Ambassador Hotel's "Coconut Grove" in Los Angeles. When he had finished filming "The King of Jazz" for Universal Paul Whiteman's "Rhythm Boys" (a vocal trio consisting of Bing Crosby, Harry Barris and Al Rinker) decided to stay in California and joined Arnheim's band. While they would only record one song with Arnheim, "Them There Eyes", which also happened to be "The Rhythm Boys" final recording, the Orchestra went on to back Crosby in 1931 on a number of Victor releases. These pop records, coupled with Arnheim's radio broadcasts featuring Crosby as a soloist, were key to the beginning of his success as a crooner.

Around the same period Fred MacMurray (of "My Three Sons" fame) played clarinet and tenor saxophone in the "Arnheim Band" and even sang on one recording March 30th 1930's "All I Want Is Just One". Another well known artist Russ Columbo played violin with the group and sang on June 18th 1930's "A Peach Of A Pair".

Even the big stars couldn't resist getting into the act, Eddie Cantor and Joan Crawford each recorded a song for Arnheim on July 23rd 1931. Surprisingly the Crawford side "How Long Will It Last?" was never issued, while Cantor's "There's Nothing Too Good for My Baby" on the other hand was indeed issued but without vocalist credit.

Gus Arnheim died from a heart attack in Los Angeles on January 19th 1955.

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