RANDOM SNAPSHOTS - PT7. ⋆ Historian Alan Royle
HARRY JAMES (1916-83) Harry James was a very good trumpet-player and a successful bandleader. He was also a bona fide skirt-chaser all his life and wound up marrying America’s number one pin-up girl of the entire Second World War – Betty Grable. Harry carried around an ego the size of the Grand Canyon and it caused him to resent the impact his choice of wife had on his success. He hated the fact that even the possibility of Betty being at one of his gigs was enough to send ticket sales soaring. Dance-night promoters would deliberately pass around the word that she ‘might just be turning up this time’, and that was usually enough to fill the room. Harry never discouraged these rumours, (he liked the extra money too much), but he knew Betty had far too busy a schedule to be stuck on the road with his band for any serious length of time. Nevertheless, he bitterly resented hearing the inevitable, ‘Where’s Betty?’ wherever he went. On one memorable occasion, infuriated at fans milling around his band’s bus asking that very question, he opened the window and spat on them! BETTY GRABLE ‘Harry never got close to people’, said [...]