And a bandleader turned politician

by Nick Dellow

We mustn't forget the amazing Victor Aloysius Meyers, otherwise known as Vic Meyers, who led a fine dance band in Seattle in the 1920s. Many of the band's Brunswick recordings are hot, and most feature the excellent cornet playing of Bill Zimmerman.

In 1932, egged on by the local press, Meyers stood as a candidate for the Mayor of Seattle. According to Wikipedia, Meyers chose the meaningless campaign slogan "Watch 'er Click with Vic". He drove a beer wagon around town - this in the midst of Prohibition - with his band playing "Happy Days Are Here Again". He appeared at a candidates' forum at the Olympic Hotel dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, leading a goat, sipping goat's milk and munching raw carrots. Campaign promises included appointing a City Gigolo and putting flower boxes around fire hydrants so as not to waste any water that dripped out. His answer to the problems of Seattle's ailing streetcar system was to add hostesses.

He also stated "I won't tell any lies about my opponent, if he won't tell the truth about me."

After the election, which he lost convincingly, Meyers decided he liked politics and tried to talk the local paper (The Times) into sponsoring him for a run as Governor of Washington State (this was later in 1932). When the newspaper declined, he drove to Olympia to file as a candidate. According to popular lore, when he learned that the filing fee was $60, he said, "That's too much - what do you have for $20?" The clerk said, "You could file for Lieutenant Governor for $12." Meyers reportedly replied, "I can't spell it, but I'll take it."

He eventually became a career politician and took the office seriously. He won five terms as Lt. Governor of Washington, which at the time made him the longest served occupant of that office. He lost a bid for a sixth term to Emmett T. Anderson in 1952, during the Eisenhower landslide.

Here's a typically hot side by Meyers' band:-

Super transfer by Norman Field, no less!

This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 15, 2017 4:22 PM

Posted on Nov 15, 2017, 3:27 PM

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