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(BiggestShowof1951.html)


The Duke – Where and When

A Chronicle of Duke Ellington's
Working Life and Travels


The Biggest Show of 1951

Last updated 2013-03-29

Please note this page has not been updated recently - additional details may be found on the main itinerary webpage.

From September 21, 1951 until the end of November, Ellington and his orchestra, together with Sarah Vaughan and the Nat King Cole trio, headlined a touring vaudeville (variety) show called The Biggest Show of 1951.

The show included a dance troupe led by Marie Bryant, a tap dancer, Peg Leg Bates, and comedians Timmie Rogers, Stump & Stumpy, and Patterson & Jackson This tour was the last thing Cress Courtney of the Moe Gale Agency organized for Ellington before Duke signed with Joe Glaser's American Booking Corp.

The show, a big hit, was reported to have grossed nearly $1,000,000, against expenses of $24,000/week.



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1951


Date of event Ending date
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reference
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reference
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references
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Date added
/ updated

September 1951

1951 09 21
Friday
1951 09 23Boston, Mass.Boston GardenVariety show "Biggest Show of 1951"
First of three nights here
Beginning of the "Biggest Show of 1951" tour. Headliners were Ellington and his orchestra, Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole's trio.

Others were
  • Marie Bryant and her dance troupe
  • Stump and Stumpy
  • Patterson & Jackson
  • Peg Leg Bates
  • Timmie Rogers


Billboard carried a story dated Oct. 6 1951 saying the show, costing $24,000/week, was initially set for three weeks with additional dates pencilled in that were subject to cancellation. The Oct. 6 story said, however, it was now a go-ahead to run until the end of November, and that it would probably run through the South and part of the Midwest, but not west of the Rockies.

In contrast, Variety Oct. 3 said the unit was "booked solid until Dec. 5 when it will close in the Mid-West."

Homzy's liner notes quote Bellson:

After I was in the band for a couple of months, Duke said, "We're going to make a tour down South to do a show with Sarah Vaughan and the Nat 'King' Cole Trio."

I said, "OK," and he said, "Do you know what that means?"

I was puzzled, so Duke said, "I can't find another drummer who can do what you do, so I'm going to make you a Hiatian."

And I said, "I'm ready to play music, no matter what." So I became a fair-skinned Haitian, and I stayed with the band wherever we went.

Billboard says the show was being sold for $4,000 to $5,000 a day, depending on house capacity and day of the week. This suggests the risk of profit or loss is to the venue owner, who would be entitled to the entire ticket revenue.

Billboard reports the Boston Garden revenue after tax was $18,000 over the three days.

Nat King Cole commented on playing in arenas in Billboard, 1951-12-22, p.44
Stratemann, p.329, citing .08,3-9.djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-22
1951 09 22
Saturday
.Boston, Mass.Boston GardenBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
.....added 2011
1951 09 23
Sunday
.Boston, Mass.Boston GardenBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
....djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 09 24
Monday
.Worcester, Mass.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - played to audience of 4,200, ticket sales $8,460
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 09 25
Tuesday
.Providence, R.I.Rhode Island AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - 6,100 in audience, ticket sales $10,450
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 09 26
Wednesday
.Troy, N.Y.Troy ArmoryBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - 4,400 in audience, ticket sales $5,400

Local promoter Ted Bayly had the drill shed set to hold 5,800 but Variety understood he made a profit anyway.

Ticket prices per Variety were $1.75 to $2.75.

Sarah Vaughan's car broke down so she didn't perform this night

...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 09 27
Thursday
8:30 pm
.Newark, N.J.Mosque Theatre
1020 Broad St.
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Gate $8,620, Tickets: $1.50, $1.80, $2.40, $3.00, $3.60, $4.20

  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13 p.51
  • Billboard 1951-10-13 p.1
  • Announcement and ad, Westfield, N.J., Leader, 1951-09-20p.23
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-01
1951 09 28
Friday
.New York, N.Y.Carnegie HallTwo sold-out performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
The fire department authorized 100 standees; the ticket price was $4.80, ticket revenue was $17,000 for the two shows

Stratemann provides a short summary of the 8 paragraph favourable review by Variety.

The Oct. 1 New York Times review reprinted in The Charleston Gazette says the band opened the festivities at about 7:45 and then became backdrop and accompaniment for The Marie Bryant Dancers, Patterson and Jackson, Peg Leg Bates, Nat King Cole and his trio, Stump and Stumpy and Timmie Rogers and Sarah Vaughan. The first show was over about 3 hours after it started; the lobby was already crowded with those waiting for the second show; while usherettes were clearing the house, the band was practicing a new finale and runners were out getting food for the performers. "At 11 P.M. the day's work was only half done."
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-11-19
1951 09 29
Saturday
.Norfolk, Va. Municipal AuditoriumTwo performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $14,348
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13 p.1...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 09 30
Sunday
.Richmond, Va. Mosque AuditoriumTwo sold-out performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $13,009 for the two shows
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30 and 2013-09-07

October 1951

1951 10 01
Monday
.Baltimore, Md.ColosseumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $8,500

The Oct.6 Baltimore Afro-American carried a picture of Ellington, Cole, local disc jockey Chuck Richards and NAACP membership campaign officials Gertrude Gorman and John Flamer, saying Ellington and Cole endorse the current membership campaign.
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 02
Tuesday
1951 10 03Philadelphia, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - first of two nights
Stratemann p.329 citing ...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 03
Wednesday
.Philadelphia, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - second night

Ticket sales for the two nights, $18,341
Billboard 1951-10-13 p.1...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 04
Thursday
8:30 pm
.New Haven, Conn.New Haven ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $7,000
Prices: $1.00 general admission
$2.00 & $3.00, reserved
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13 p.1
  • Ads:
    • Naugatuck (Conn.) News:
      • 1951-09-25, p.9
      • 1951-10-03 p.4
    • The Bridgeport (Conn.) Sunday Post:
      • 1951-09-23, p.B-8
      • 1951-09-30, p.B-9
  • The Bridgeport Telegram
    • 1951-09-23
    • 1951-09-30
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 05
Friday
.White Plains, N.Y.Westchester County CenterBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $9,000

Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 06
Saturday
.Springfield, Mass.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $8,600
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 07
Sunday
2:45 and 8:45 pm
.Montréal, P.Q.Montreal ForumTwo performances in the 15,000 seat Forum
The Biggest Show of '51
Ellington's orchestra with the Nat King Cole Trio, Sarah Vaughan and a "collection of assorted comics and dancers" — Marie Bryant leading the dancers, vaudevillian Peg Leg Bates, comedian Timmie Rogers, comedians Stump and Stumpy and comedians Patterson and Jackson.

Ticket sales $25,000
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 08
Monday
.Ottawa, Ont. AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $4,200 here.
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 09
Tuesday
.Kingston, Ont. Community AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $7,500
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 10
Wednesday
.Toronto, Ont.Maple Leaf GardensBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $13,000
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 11
Thursday
.Kitchener, Ont.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $9,800
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 12
Friday
.London, Ont. London ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $7,800
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 13
Saturday
.Buffalo, N.Y.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $13,500
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 14
Sunday
8:30 pm
.Syracuse, N.Y.Onondaga County War MemorialBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Presented by "Syracuse Nats"

Ticket sales $12,500

Prices $1.00, $1.50, $2.00, $2.50

The War Memorial building was newly built, opening the previous month.
  • Announcements:
    • Syracuse Post-Standard, 1951-09-30, p.17
    • Syracuse Herald-American, 1951-11-14, p.29
  • Ads:
    • Syracuse Herald-American, 1951-09-30, p.33
    • Syracuse Post-Standard:
      • 1951-09-23, p.18
      • 1951-10-07, 9p.20, 28
      • 1951-10-09 p.16
      • 1951-09-30, p.16
  • "Dis and Dat" review, Marcellus N.Y. Observer 1951-10-19 p4
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-20
1951 10 15
Monday
.Rochester, N.Y.Edgerton ParkBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $9,000
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 16
Tuesday
.Cleveland, Oh.Main ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $15,000

(Variety announced the package show was booked at the Public Auditorium.)
..Joe Mosbrookdjp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-22
1951 10 17
Wednesday
.Cincinnati, Oh.The GardensBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $14,811 for an audience of 8,849
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard ...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 18
Thursday
8:30 pm
.Charleston, W.Va.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $7,500

Prices: Balcony: $2.50
Mezzanine: $4.00
Main floor: $3.00 $3.50 $4.00

(The Gorby Music Shop ad shows Ellington and Vaughan's names and lists their records it carries, but does not mention Cole.)
  • Charleston Gazette ads:
    • 1951-09-23 p.22
    • 1951-09-26 p.7
    • 1951-09-30, p.37
    • 1951-10-12 p.5
    • 1951-10-16, p.7
    • 1951-10-17, p.7 (Galperin Music)
    • 1951-10-17 p.16 (Gorby's Music Shop)
  • Announcement, Charleston Gazette, 1951-10-18, p.19
  • Review, Emotional Jazz,Vaudeville Touch Delight Ellington, Cole Devotees, Charleston Gazette, 1951-10-19 p.15
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-01
1951 10 19
Friday
.Pittsburgh, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $16,000
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 20
Saturday
8:30 PM
.Scranton, Penn.Sports ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
CYC (Scranton) Sat. nite
The Greatest Show Ever

Duke Ellington
Nat King Cole
Sarah Vaughan
with 52 famous stars
Prices: $1.80, $2.50, $3.50

Ticket sales $6,000
  • Ad, Binghamton Press, 1951-10-18, p.26
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 21
Sunday
.Washington, D.C.National Guard ArmoryTwo performances
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
"Net take" about $25,000
Stratemann p.329 citing ...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 22
Monday
.Roanoke, Va.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $7,000
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 23
Tuesday
8:30 pm
.Richmond, Va.Mosque AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Return engagement

Ticket sales $6,000

"RICHMOND, Va.—(ANP)—Nat King Cole and his trio, Duke Ellington and his orchestra, songstress Sarah Vaughan and other top performers in the musical world comprising the cast of the Biggest Show of '51" will appear in a return engagement at the Mosqu[illegible] Tuesday night, October 23. So popular was the group, on [illegible] original appearance here, September 30 for two shows-that the demand for tickets was greater than available seats in the large theatre. Thousands were tuned away. Only one show will be given Oct.23 a full three hours of entertainment, to begin at 8:30 P. M. All seats will be reserved."
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-31
1951 10 24
Wednesday
.Raleigh, N.C..Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $12,000
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
  • Short Notes, The Rocky Mount Sunday Telegram, Rocky Mount, N.C., 1951-10-28, p.3A
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-01
1951 10 25
Thursday
.Columbia, S.C.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ticket sales $8,000
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-30
1951 10 26
Friday
.Atlanta, Ga.City AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Jim Crow reared his ugly head here.

The Auditorium management enforced a long-unobserved state law requiring racially separated entrances for public meeting places, and police told "colored" people the had to use the back door. The Afro-American reported that about 1,000 patrons tore up their tickets in protest. The A-A reports "more than 4,000 crowded in to see and hear Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Nat (King) Cole" and "there were 1,500 white record fans with a great big section all to themselves."

The local promoter is quoted as saying he had no advance knowledge of the door arrangements, which was new to Atlanta. The arena manager "readily admitted that he made the arrangement, but he was acting on the orders of the City Council Auditorium Committee."

The article goes on to say the white members with Ellington and Cole were allowed to perform, contrasting with Birmingham, where the Police Commissioner told white musicians they could not play on a stage with colored musicians.
...N.Fernandez, djp
added 2013-04-10
1951 10 27
Saturday
...activities not documented......
1951 10 28
Sunday
...activities not documented......
1951 10 29
Monday
8:30 pm
.New Orleans, La.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Segregated - tickets advertised as Choice Orchestra Seats for White Patrons ... $3.50, $2.75 including tax.

The review describes the show fairly well, and mentions that Ellington changed clothes between almost every number.
    Times-Picayune, New Orleans:
  • Ad, 1951-10-23, p.12
  • Ad and publicity, 1951-10-25, p.30
  • Ad, 1951-10-28, p.10
  • Publicity, 1951-10-29 p.12
  • Ad, 1951-10-29 p.34
  • Review, 1951-10-30, p.10
...djp
added 2013-09-06
1951 10 30
Tuesday
.Houston, Tex..Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

In Houston on Oct. 3, both will play the same night, so the box office figures should be something to watch on this date.
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Down Beat 1951-11-02
  • Fairfax Nisbet, 'Chatterbox,' Dallas Morning News, 1951-10-13, p.6, pt.II
  • /ul>
....
added 2011

updated 2013-09-07
1951 10 31
Wednesday
...activities not documented......
1951 fall a.U.S.A..Telecast with Ray Block Orchestra.DE5125...2011
1951 fall b.U.S.A..Telecast “Benay Venuta Show”.DE512600,2-18..2011

November 1951

1951 11 01
Thursday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 02
Friday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 03
Saturday
8 pm and 11 pm
.Dallas, Tex.State Fair AuditoriumBiggest Show of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Two performances
Initally planned to be two segregated concerts, whites first and then blacks, plans changed to allow separate seating in the white concert for blacks, and vice versa in the black concert.

Prices - Lower Floor $3.60, $3.00; Balcony, $3.00, $2.40, $1.20, including tax. Box office to open at 9 a.m.
Dallas Morning News
  • Chatterbox column by Fairfax Nisbet, 1951-10-13, p.6, pt.II
  • Ad and mention, 1951-10-26, Pt. I, p.17
  • Publicity - article and photos, 1951-10-28, Pt.IV, front page
  • Events of the Week, 1951-10-28, Pt.IV,p.2
  • Publicity, 1951-11-03, Pt.II, p.4
  • Review, 1951-11-04, Pt.I p.10
...djp
added 2013-09-06
1951 11 04
Sunday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 05
Monday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 06
Tuesday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 07
Wednesday
8:30 pm
.Little Rock, Ark.Robinson Memorial Auditorium
Biggest Show of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Arkansas State Press, Little Rock, Ark.
  • 1951-11-02 p 8
  • Observatory Comments by Earl Lee Davy, 1951-11-16, p.4
...djp
added 2013-09-06
1951 11 08
Thursday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 09
Friday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 10
Saturday
.St. Louis, Mo.Convention HallBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Ellington was interviewed by a reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American. The published account of the interview created a public relations nightmare for Ellington.
Stratemann, p.330 citing DESB...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 11 00...PERSONNEL CHANGE
Nelson "Cadillac" Williams leaves the band
New Desor vol.2djpAdded 2012-10-25
1951 11 11...PERSONNEL CHANGE
Clark Terry, trumpet and fluegelhorn, born 1920, joins the band
New Desor vol.2djpAdded 2012-10-25
1951 11 11
Sunday
.Kansas City, Mo.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Clark Terry's autobiography describes his first night as a permanent band member, which he places in Kiel Auditorium, the new name for the St. Louis Municipal Auditorium on Remembrance Day. While his book tells us Ellington recruited him from Basie, and paid him to wait in St. Louis until the band arrived on Nov.11, the Maryville Daily Forum has the band playing in Kansas City on November 11, and the St. Louis date seems pretty certain to have been Nov.10. Terry describes playing this night, describing the routines performed by the other acts. Terry's date seems to be wrong.
...djp
added 2013-03-31
1951 11 12
Monday
8:30 pm
.Des Moines, Io.KRNT Theatre
Biggest Show Of 1951 - see 1951 09 21
Anouncements:
  • The Jefferson Herald, Jefferson, Io., 1951-10-25 p.6
  • The Jefferson Bee, 1951-10-30, p.2
...djp
added 2013-04-01
1951 11 13
Tuesday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 14
Wednesday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 15
Thursday
...PERSONNEL CHANGE
Willie Cook, trumpet, joins the band
New Desor vol.2djpAdded 2012-10-11
1951 11 15
Thursday
.Ann Arbor, Mich.University of MichiganBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Part of this concert appears to have been recorded - three titles are listed in Timner - Love You Madly is on YouTube
  • Timner4, p.124
.90,4-6corr Timner-4/22.
added 2011

updated 2013-03-28
1951 11 16
Friday
.Troy, Oh.Hobart Arena
255 Adams St.

Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Tickets: $1.50, $2.00, $3.00
The Lima News, Lima, Oh.
  • Announcement, 1951-11-06, p.12
  • Ad, 1951-11-13, p.16
  • Ad, 1951-11-14, p.20
....
added 2013-03-28
1951 11 17
Saturday
7 pm and 9 pm
.West Lafayette, Ind.Purdue Hall of Music
Purdue University campus

Two performances in this 6,005 seat theatre
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Announcement, Kokomo Tribune, 1951-11-12, p.9....
added 2013-03-28
1951 11 18
Sunday
.Chicago, Ill.Civic Opera HouseBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Two performances

Opera House manager Herb Carlin announced a package of four concerts, Stan Kenton on Nov. 10 and 11, Billy Eckstine and George Shearing on Nov. 13, and this show on the 18th. Tickets were to be sold as a package or as singles. Ticket price $3.00 "tops" except this show, $3.50. The sales pitch would be aimed at "the juves" who find it too expensive to go to the niteries.

Variety reported the show racked up $21,000 for these performances, sold out several days in advance. House manager Herb Carlin had to sell pit seats for the overflow.
  • Poster or ad reproduced in Vail II.
  • Variety
    • 1951-09-12 p.46
    • 1951-11-21 p.40
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-23
1951 11 19
Monday
.Davenport, Ia.Masonic Auditorium
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Vail II...djp
added 2013-03-29
1951 11 19
Monday
...Peripheral event
Variety announced Mercer Records had signed Billy Strayhorn to a recording contract as a bandleader. The first release would be an LP, with a group of Ellington sidemen.
Variety 1951-09-19 p.53..Added 2013-04-22
1951 11 20
Tuesday
8:30 pm
.Rochester, Minn.Mayo Civic Auditorium
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Tickets: $1.80, $2.40, $3.00, $3.60
Ads,
  • The LaCrosse Tribune, LaCrosse, Wisc.:
    • 1951-11-16, p.7
    • 1951-11-18, p.21
  • The Winona Republican-Herald, Winona, Minn.:
    • 1951-11-16, p.13
    • 1951-11-19, p.9
...djp
added 2013-04-01
1951 11 21
Wednesday
.Minneapolis, Minn.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
  • Vail II
  • Variety 1951-10-31 p.41
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 11 22
Thursday
.Milwaukee, Wisc.Milwaukee Arena
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

This was American Thanksgiving Day, and the streets were icy. Attendance was only about 4,500. Ellington delayed the start for half an hour to allow the seats to fill; when that didn't happen, he invited the audience to move closer.
  • Short announcement, Milwaukee Sentinel, 1951-10-23
  • Ad, Milwaukee Journal, 1951-11-22, p.5
  • Review, Milwaukee Journal, 1951-11-23 p.25
...djp
added 2013-04-01
1951 11 23
Friday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 24
Saturday
...activities not documented......
1951 11 25
Sunday
.Detroit, Mich.Olympia StadiumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

11,000 admissions, gross $26,490
...djp, n.f.
added 2013-03-31
1951 11 26
Monday
8:30 pm
.Canton, Oh.Canton Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
4,000 in attendance
Tickets, $1.80, $2.40, $3.00 and $3.60 including tax
  • Announcement, The Evening Independent, Massillon, Oh., 1951-11-23 p.17
  • The Canton Repository, Canton, Oh.
    • Subdued ad, 1951-11-26, p.14
    • Several brief mentions in the week before the show
    • Review, 1951-11-27,p.26
....
added 2013-03-28
Updated 2013-09-06
1951 11 27
Tuesday
8:30 pm
.Toledo, Oh.Toledo Sports Arena
One Main St.
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

Billboard reports "turned 'em away," indicating a sold out house

Variety reported an audience of 4,900 and revenue of $9,800
  • Billboard 1952-01-12, p.50
  • Ads,
    • Toledo Blade, 1951-11-24
    • The Lima News, 1951-11-26 p.22
  • Variety 1951-12-05 p.53
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-23
1951 11 28
Wednesday
7:30 & 10 PM
.Columbus, Oh.Memorial HallTwo performances
Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

In a report from Columbus dated Dec. 4, Variety said this was the second last show of the tour, and reported $8,500 for the double show with top tickets priced at $3.80. An ad in the Zanesville paper shows ticket prices, including tax, were $2.00, $2.50, $3.10 and $3.60
  • Billboard 1951-11-17, p.50
  • Ad, The Marion Star, Marion, oh., 1951-11-20, p.17
  • Ad, Times-Recorder, Zanesville, Oh. 1951-11-21 p.11
  • Variety 1951-12-05 p.53
  • Plug, The Newark (O.) Advocate and American Tribune, 1951-11-21 p.7
...djp
added 2011

updated 2013-04-23
1951 11 29
Thursday
.Johnstown, Penn. Cambria County War Memorial Arena
326 Napoleon St.

Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21

The Indiana Evening Gazette reported the War Memorial had been trying to book the show, but the troupe had such an heavy performance schedule that it was "only last week" they learned November 29 was available.
  • Announcements
    • Bedford Gazette 1951-11-26 p.6
    • Indiana Evening Gazette 1951-11-26 p.9
  • Ad, Bedford (Mass.) Gazette, 1951-11-28
...djp
added 2013-03-28
1951 11 30
Friday
...activities not documented......
1951 09 21
Friday
1951 09 23Boston, Mass.Boston GardenVariety show Concert Biggest Show of 1951
First of three nights here
Beginning of the "Biggest Show of 1951" tour. Headliners were Ellington and his orchestra, Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole's trio.

Others were
  • Marie Bryant and her dance troupe
  • Stump and Stumpy
  • Patterson & Jackson
  • Peg Leg Bates
  • Timmie Rogers
Stratemann, p.329, citing
  • Billboard 1951-10-13 p.1
  • Variety 1951-08-08 p.52
  • Variety 1951-10-03 p.51
.08,3-9..added 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 22
Saturday
.Boston, Mass.Boston GardenBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
.....added 2011
1951 09 23
Sunday
.Boston, Mass.Boston GardenBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
.....added 2011
1951 09 24
Monday
.Worcester, Mass.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - played to audience of 4,200
Stratemann p.329 citing Variety 1951-10-03 p.51....added 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 25
Tuesday
.Providence, R.I.Rhode Island AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - 6,100 in audience
Stratemann p.329 citing Variety 1951-10-03 p.51...djp2011
1951 09 26
Wednesday
.Troy, N.Y.ArmoryBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - 4,400 in audience

Sarah Vaughan's car broke down so she didn't perform this night
Stratemann p.329 citing Variety 1951-10-03 p.51...djpadded 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 27
Thursday
.Newark, N.J.Mosque TheatreBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21 - see 1951 09 21 - gate $8,620
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13 p.51...djpadded 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 28
Friday
.New York, N.Y.Carnegie HallTwo sold-out performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
The fire department authorized an additional 100 seats; the ticket price was $4.80

Stratemann describes the shows based on Variety.
Stratemann p.329 citing Variety 1951-10-03, p.52...djpadded 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 29
Saturday
.Norfolk, Va. Municipal AuditoriumTwo performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13, p.1...djpadded 2011

updated 2013-03-27
1951 09 30
Sunday
.Richmond, Va. Mosque AuditoriumTwo performances of the Biggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21
Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13, p.1...djpadded 2011

updated 2013-03-27

October 1951

1951 10 01
Monday
.Baltimore, Md.ColosseumBiggest Show Of 1951
- see 1951 09 21.

The Oct.6 Baltimore Afro-American carried a picture of Ellington, Cole, local disc jockey Chuck Richards and NAACP membership campaign officials Gertrude Gorman and John Flamer, saying Ellington and Cole endorse the current membership campaign.
  • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13, p.1
  • Baltimore Afro-American, 1951-10-06, p.2
  • ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-29
    1951 10 02
    Tuesday
    1951 10 03Philadelphia, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21 - first of two nights
    Stratemann p.329 citing
    • Variety1951-09-12 p.62
    • Billboard 1951-10-13, p.1
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 03
    Wednesday
    .Philadelphia, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21 - second night
    ....djpadded 2011
    1951 10 04
    Thursday
    .New Haven, Conn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-10-13, p.1...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 05
    Friday
    .White Plains, N.Y.Westchester County CenterBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 06
    Saturday
    .Springfield, Mass.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 07
    Sunday
    2:45 and 8:45 pm
    .Montréal, P.Q.Montreal ForumTwo performances
    The Biggest Show of '51
    Ellington's orchestra with the Nat King Cole Trio, Sarah Vaughan and a "collection of assorted comics and dancers" — Marie Bryant leading the dancers, vaudevillian Peg Leg Bates, comedian Timmie Rogers, comedians Stump and Stumpy and comedians Patterson and Jackson.
    ....added 2011

    updated 2013-02-09
    1951 10 08
    Monday
    .Ottawa, Ont. AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Variety 1951-10-10 p.62...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 09
    Tuesday
    .Kingston, Ont. Community AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 10
    Wednesday
    .Toronto, Ont.Maple Leaf GardensBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 11
    Thursday
    .Kitchener, Ont.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 12
    Friday
    .London, Ont. ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 13
    Saturday
    .Buffalo, N.Y.Memorial AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 14
    Sunday
    .Syracuse, N.Y.Onondaga County War MemorialBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
    • Announcement, Syracuse Herald-American, 1951-11-14, p.29
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-29
    1951 10 15
    Monday
    .Rochester, N.Y.Edgerton ParkBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 16
    Tuesday
    .Cleveland, Oh.Main ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24..Joe Mosbrook.added 2011

    updated 2013-03-28
    1951 10 17
    Wednesday
    .Cincinnati, Oh.The GardensBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing
      Billboard
    • 1951-10-27 p.55
    • 1951-11-03 p.24
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 18
    Thursday
    8:30
    .Charleston, W.Va.AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    • Galperin Music ad, Charleston Gazette, 1951-10-17, p.7
    • Announcement, Charleston Gazette, 1951-10-18, p.19
    • Emotional Jazz,Vaudeville Touch Delight Ellington, Cole Devotees, Charleston Gazette, 1951-10-19 p.15
    • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-28
    1951 10 19
    Friday
    .Pittsburgh, Penn.ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 20
    Saturday
    8:30 PM
    .Scranton, Penn.Sports ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    CYC (Scranton) Sat. nite
    The Greatest Show Ever

    Duke Ellington
    Nat King Cole
    Sarah Vaughan
    with 52 famous stars
    Prices: $1.80, $2.50, $3.50
    • Ad, Binghamton Press, 1951-10-18, p.26
    • Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-28
    1951 10 21
    Sunday
    .Washington, D.C.National Guard ArmoryBiggest Show Of 1951 - two performances
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing
    • Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24
    • Variety 1951-140-17 p.62
    ...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 22
    Monday
    .Roanoke, Va.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 23
    Tuesday
    .Richmond, Va.Mosque AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21

    Return engagement
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 24
    Wednesday
    .Raleigh, N.C..Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 25
    Thursday
    .Columbia, S.C.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Stratemann p.329 citing Billboard 1951-11-03 p.24...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 10 26
    Friday
    .Atlanta, Ga.City AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Jim Crow reared his ugly head here.

    The Auditorium management enforced a long-unobserved state law requiring racially separated entrances for public meeting places, and police told "colored" people they had to use the back door. The Afro-American reported that about 1,000 patrons tore up their tickets in protest. The A-A reports "more than 4,000 crowded in to see and hear Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Nat (King) Cole" and "there were 1,500 white record fans with a great big section all to themselves."

    The local promoter is quoted as saying he had no advance knowledge of the door arrangements, which was new to Atlanta. The arena manager "readily admitted that he made the arrangement, but he was acting on the orders of the City Council Auditorium Committee."

    The article goes on to say the white members with Ellington and Cole were allowed to perform, contrasting with Birmingham, where the Police Commissioner told white musicians they could not play on a stage with colored musicians.
    ...N.Fernandez, djp
    added 2013-04-10
    1951 10 27
    Saturday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 10 28
    Sunday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 10 29
    Monday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 10 30
    Tuesday
    .Houston, Tex..Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Stratemann p.329 citing Down Beat 1951-11-02....added 2011

    updated
    1951 10 31
    Wednesday
    ..activities not documented.

    November 1951

    1951 11 01
    Thursday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 02
    Friday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 03
    Saturday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 04
    Sunday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 05
    Monday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 06
    Tuesday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 07
    Wednesday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 08
    Thursday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 09
    Friday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 10
    Saturday
    .St. Louis, Mo.Convention HallBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    ....djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 11 11
    Sunday
    .Kansas City, Mo.Municipal Auditorium
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    What to See in Kansas City, The Maryville Daily Forum, 1951-11-06 p.2...djp
    added 2013-03-28
    1951 11 12
    Monday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 13
    Tuesday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 14
    Wednesday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 15
    Thursday
    ...PERSONNEL CHANGE
    Willie Cook, trumpet, joins the band
    New Desor vol.2djpAdded 2012-10-11
    1951 11 15
    Thursday
    .Ann Arbor, Mich.University of MichiganBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.

    Part of this concert appears to have been recorded - three titles are listed in Timner - Love You Madly is on YouTube
    • Timner4, p.124
    .90,4-6corr Timner-4/22.added 2011

    updated 2013-03-28
    1951 11 16
    Friday
    .Troy, Ind.Hobart Arena
    255 Adams St.

    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    The Lima News, Lima, Oh.
    • Announcement, 1951-11-06, p.12
    • Ad, 1951-11-13, p.16
    ....
    added 2013-03-28
    1951 11 17
    Saturday
    7 pm and 9 pm
    .West Lafayette, Ind.Purdue Hall of Music
    Purdue University campus

    Two performances in this 6,005 seat theatre
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Announcement, Kokomo Tribune, 1951-11-12, p.9....
    added 2013-03-28
    1951 11 18
    Sunday
    .Chicago, Ill.Civic Opera HouseBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21

    Two performances
    Poster or ad reproduced in Vail II...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-29
    1951 11 19
    Monday
    .Davenport, Ia.Masonic Auditorium
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Vail II...djp
    added 2013-03-29
    1951 11 20
    Tuesday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 21
    Wednesday
    .Minneapolis, Minn.Municipal AuditoriumBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    Vail II...djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 11 22
    Thursday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 23
    Friday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 24
    Saturday
    ..activities not documented.
    1951 11 25
    Sunday
    .Detroit, Mich.Olympia Stadium
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Steve Hoffman Music Forums - "Nat King Cole Year by Year"...djp
    added 2013-03-29
    1951 11 26
    Monday
    8:20 pm
    .Canton, Oh.Canton Memorial Auditorium
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21
    Announcement, The Evening Independent, Massillon, Oh., 1951-11-23 p.17....
    added 2013-03-28
    1951 11 27
    Tuesday
    .Toledo, Oh.Sports ArenaBiggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    ....djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 11 28
    Wednesday
    .Columbus, Oh.Memorial HallTwo performances
    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21

    Variety said this was the second last show of the tour.
    ....djpadded 2011

    updated 2013-03-27
    1951 11 29
    Thursday
    .Johnstown, Penn. Cambria County War Memorial Arena
    326 Napoleon St.

    Biggest Show Of 1951
    - see 1951 09 21.
    M
    The Indiana Evening Gazette reported the War Memorial had been trying to book the show, but the troupe had such an heavy performance schedule that it was "only last week" they learned November 29 was available.
    Announcements
    • Bedford Gazette 1951-11-26 p.6
    • Indiana Evening Gazette 1951-11-26 p.9
    ...djp
    added 2013-03-28
    1951 11 30
    Friday
    ..activities not documented.

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