I tried ....

by Albert Haim

.... but met with failure.
All we have left is a photo courtesy of the late Joe Giordano.

From my article in the Mississippi rag more than a decade ago:

"The Plaque at 1600 Broadway.

The idea of a plaque in honor of Bix at 1600 Broadway came to Bixophile Paul Hutcoe (then in New York City, now deceased) when he learned that a concert in commemoration of Bix's music was to be held in Carnegie Hall in April of 1975. Several of the surviving musicians who had played with Bix were going to be present at the concert. Paul thought that Bix's fellow musicians could be invited to the unveiling of a plaque. With jazz musicians of the caliber of Paul Mertz, Chauncey Morehouse, Bill Rank, and Spiegle Willcox, and arranger Bill Challis, Paul Hutcoe was confident that the event would have even more historical significance. Paul Hutcoe paid for half the cost of the plaque and received contributions from Bill Donahoe - a member of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Band and the man responsible for the establishment of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society in Davenport- and from several other Bixophiles. The plaque was unveiled on April 2, 1975. In addition to the musicians mentioned above, Virginia Horvath Morehouse, Chauncey’s wife, was present. Joe Venuti had been invited, but did not attend.

The plaque remained on the front of the building for many years. However, a letter from a reader, F. Tauber, to the New York Daily News issue of July 11, 1987 alerted that "A few months ago, because of painting, a plaque commemorating Leon (Bix) Beiderbecke was removed from the entrance to the Screen Building at 1600 Broadway. The paint has long since dried. Where is the plaque?" Joe Giordano, Bixophile and record collector, tried to contact the building manager, but was unsuccessful. He decided then to organize a letter-writing campaign to have the plaque remounted. In an article in Jersey Jazz, Joe asked all readers to write to the manager of the building at 1600 Broadway and "demand that the plaque be put back." The campaign was successful, witness the fact that the plaque was remounted in 1987.

The plaque remained on the building until about 1998 or 1999. Some work was done on the facade of the building at that time and the plaque was removed. A few years ago, I made some inquiries as to the fate of the plaque. I talked to the building manager: he remembered the plaque, but could not tell me what had happened to it.
The plaque is no longer on the building at 1600 Broadway. Trying to recover it at this point has become a moot point. The building is scheduled for demolition. A landmark for New York City and a shrine for jazzophiles will be gone soon. History will receive another btlow."

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Unveiling of the plaque at 1600 Broadway. From left to right: Bill Challis, Spiegle Willcox, Paul Mertz, Chauncey Morehouse, Paul Hutcoe, Bill Rank, Jeff Atherton and Virginia Horvath Morehouse. Photographed by Jack Bradley. July 1975.

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Posted on Jan 21, 2018, 1:32 PM

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