Edward Elkins Is Dead at 87;Dance Band Leader in 1920's
Published: October 11, 1984
Edward G. (Eddie) Elkins, one of the first of the dance band leaders, died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 87 years old.
Born in San Francisco, Mr. Elkins was among the first to develop the use of elaborately arranged dance numbers for orchestras. He was also alert to new talent and under his baton musicians such as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols, Oscar Levant, Mannie Kline [sic] and others honed their techniques.
From 1922 to 1925 Mr. Elkins and his orchestra, known variously as Eddie Elkins and his Orchestra and The Knickerbocker Orchestra, recorded for the Columbia Record Company.
He and his band were featured in a number of films including ''Night on the Ziegfeld Roof,'' with Eddie Cantor in 1929, and in Ginger Rogers's first pictures at Pathe. By the time he retired in 1932 to go into the stock market, he had appeared on stage with most of the big names in show business including Sophie Tucker, George Gershwin, Fred Allen and Dorothy Lamour, at one time a vocalist with his band.
Mr. Elkins is survived by his wife and two daughters, Suzanne Elkins Rose of Chicago, Ill., and Christine Elkins of Aspen, Colo.
According to "Tommy Dorsey: Livin' in a Great Big Way: A Biography" by Peter J. Levinson, "Among the other bandleaders Tommy worked for and recorded with were violinists Eddie Elkins and Joe Candullo, as well as pianists Vincent Lopez and Freddie Rich." This is about 1925."
"As a result of his popularity in New York, the Hollywood studios lured him [Eddie Elkins] back home where he eventually was seen in a total of 7 films - all made between 1929 and 1930, and always playing himself as the orchestra leader."
Could the Pathe films have been made in Hollywood? I doubt it. Ginger Rogers opened on Christmas day 1929 in New York the Broadway show "Top Speed." She must have been in New York for weeks rehearsing for the show. I have not seen in Ginger's biographies that she was in Hollywwod in 1929. She went to Hollywood after the show "Girl Crazy" (1930) closed on Broadway.