Stars of Vaudeville #902: Meyer Davis
Bandleader Meyer Davis (1893-1976) was from the Washington, D.C. area. He started out with a musical quintet in high school (after the school band rejected him — his specialty was the popular music of the day: dance music). He was studying to be a lawyer when his band was hired by the New Willard Hotel in 1914. Thereafter he became not just a bandleader but a musical entrepreneur. From 1916 through 1930 he managed a resort called Chevy Chase Lake, and he owned a couple of night clubs. But he had many versions of the Meyer Davis Orchestra on deck to work at hotels, dance halls, supper clubs, amusements parts and the like.
Vaudeville also hired his orchestras, and he played at Keith’s in Washington D.C. and the Palace in New York City. At his peak, Davis was managing up to 80 bands. He also cut record albums, stretching from the Jazz Age into the rock and roll era — he even made a “Twist” record!
For more on vaudeville history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.