Milton Ostrow: Cincinnati Sax

I was delighted to learn that the father of a childhood friend from Cincinnati was once a professional musician, whose chosen instrument was the saxophone.  Milton Ostrow, in fact, was captured in a live performance with Tony Pastor and His Orchestra, accompanied by Dolores Martel, in a “Snader Telescription” short film “Your Red Wagon” from 1951.  Ostrow is standing behind Pastor (far right), the lone member of the horn section playing baritone sax:

“Your Red Wagon”   Tony Pastor & His Orchestra (feat. Milton Ostrow)   1951

WeirdWildRealm serves up a little history about Snader films, in general, and this one, in particular:

The Snader Telescriptions were filmed in black & white, but someone, Turner Broadcasting probably, colorized a [boat]load of them, including Your Red Wagon (1950) with Tony Pastore & His Orchestra.

Tony was a top sax man shown wearing black in the opening scene, sharing a sax duet with a bandmember.  It’s his sideman playing the lead though, so that Tony can sing to the jazzy beat:

“If you wanna go crazy & act the clown/ Be the laughingstock all over town/ That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon so just keep draggin’ your red red wagon around…”

Lyrics are by Don Raye, music by Gene de Paul & Richard M. Jones.  Raye wrote lyrically hip tones like “Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat” & “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.”

With Gene de Paul he also wrote hipster lyrics for “Cow Cow Boogie” & “Solid Potato Salad,” among much else that captures the era so perfectly; & de Paul worked also with Sammy Cahn & Johnny Mercer.

Your Red Wagon quite a delightful & amusing number, with some call & response from the band.  After Tony sings the second verse, Dolores Martel squeezes up close to the microphone & takes over the vocal for a few lines, then it’s back to Tony.  Very nice. 

Milton Ostrow with Tony Pastor (Behind, Right) & Dolores Martel (Ditto)

Several years earlier, Pastor had issued this same track on top label, Columbia, in 1947 as the B-side of “Gonna Get a Girl” (a song that featured The Clooney Sisters – Rosemary & Betty – from the Greater Cincinnati area by way of Maysville, Kentucky). Zero to 180’s big question:  Did Milton Ostrow play on this Columbia recording (which has not yet been uploaded on YouTube) or any other?

In the days of 78s, pretty much every song was a “fox trot” – right?

The 1940 Census (thanks to Ancestory.com) notes the following facts about the Ostrow family, who lived on Prospect Place in Cincinnati:

                    Head   Isaac Ostrow    40

                    Wife   Sophie Ostrow   40

                    Son    Alfred          17

                    Son    Milton          12

Milton served a stint in the Army (and The U.S. Army Band, it is believed), prior to his work with the Tony Pastor Orchestra.

Milton & Sandra Ostrow

Music would eventually give way to more traditional methods of generating an income, when marriage and family entered the picture.  Covington, Kentucky served as the base of operations for A & M Furniture, a store jointly owned by brothers, Alfred and Milton, during the years 1961-1979, possibly 1980.

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