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Dick Contino

Dick Contino is remembered today for his performances in notoriously (and, a single might add more, enjoyably) bad films such as for example Daddy-O (1959) as well as the Beat Era (1960). But also for around three years, from 1948 until 1951, Contino was a superstar attraction being a musician, getting 4,000 dollars a evening. He previously a recording agreement with RCA Victor and a musical instrument called after him, could compose his own solution, and all that as an accordionist. Accurate, the accordion provides oftentimes didn’t gain acceptance being a “significant” instrument using quarters — Robert Klein most likely put it greatest on Child from the 50’s when he referred to the accordion as “groovy if you are within a prisoner-of-war camp, someplace where you do not have usage of ‘genuine’ musical instruments” — however in the middle-20th hundred years it was well-known, and Contino was its most well-known exponent in an interval before electrical guitars were performed by anyone beyond the jazz field. Delivered in Fresno, California, in 1930, Contino used the accordion being a youngster and began getting into talent competitions through the middle-’40s, ultimately earning first reward during 1947 inside a competition operate by bandleader Horace Heidt. He place Contino under agreement and presented him on his every week radio display, The Horace Heidt Youngsters Opportunity Hour, where in fact the teen became a celebrity. Contino’s two most well-known numbers had been “Woman of Spain” and “Bumble Boogie.” The accordionist later on sued Heidt to escape his contract, and organized his personal music group. During 1949 and 1950, he performed to capacity homes at a number of the choicest locations in the united states, like the Waldorf Astoria Resort in NY, his earnings achieving 4,000 dollars a night time. By 1950, there is a “Dick Contino” model accordion in creation from instrument manufacturer Settimio Soprani, which same 12 months he authorized a agreement with RCA Victor. This is accompanied by the 1951 launch of his just recording, Dick Contino, documented in the Starlight Space in the Waldorf. He appeared destined for an extended and profitable profession when everything emerged crashing down in the first springtime of 1951. Contino got received his draft see and reported towards the induction middle at Fort Ord in California on Apr 11, and walked apart. His whereabouts had been unknown for greater than a week and a search got started when he changed himself in, declaring emotional problems and disorientation as the explanation for his unexplained departure. He was convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to half a year in jail and a 10,000 money fine, to become followed by 2 yrs of military program. Contino spent a lot of that point in Korea before getting discharged honorably, using the rank of sergeant, so when he came back to civilian lifestyle in early 1954, the scandal got largely been neglected, but so got he. His profession momentum was eliminated, but he soldiered on, wanting to reinvent himself being a Vic Damone-type vocalist, which was just partly effective. He produced the papers for his relationship to celebrity Leigh Snowden, also for his voluntary personal bankruptcy in 1957. By the end from the 1950s, he produced performances in four movies, including a starring function — within an abortive try to present Contino as some sort of Elvis Presley-type rock and roll & roll vocalist — in the low-budget criminal offense dilemma Daddy-O. Contino continued executing as an accordionist to the end from the 20th hundred years. In 1991, he also came back towards the pop tradition awareness when Daddy-O was demonstrated on Mystery Technology Theatre 3000. Dick Contino passed away in Fresno in Apr 2017 at age 87.

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