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Heaven gives a resounding "Ploogie!" [Oct. 28th, 2004|08:55 am]


I only wish I'd known about this sooner, but here's the obituary for that famed amateur postage stamp and steaming Dutch conk, Max Geldray.

(Note: Max passed away on October 2nd)

Max Geldray, Europe's and possibly the world's first jazz harmonica
player, has died peacefully at his home in Palm Springs, California.

He was born in 1916 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His father played
the piano by ear and, at a very young age, Max followed his example.

Max loved to listen to jazz on the radio and Louis Armstrong became
his idol. At age sixteen, he heard a chromatic harmonica on the radio.

Buying one at the local music shop, he was soon playing jazz on it
and, a year later, formed a harmonica quartet with three other boys. He
broadcast from Radio Hilversum and, in 1936, was invited to play as a soloist at
Windsor Castle for the British Royal Family. In France he became a
featured player with the very popular Ray Ventura Orchestra which appeared in
two films one of which was "Tourbillon de Paris". When the German Army
invaded France in May 1940, Max escaped to England and served, throughout the
war, in the Princess Irene Brigade of the Dutch Army in Britain. He was
injured during the Normany landings and, forty years later, received four
medals from Holland for his service. As soon as Amsterdam was liberated, Max
went to find his parents only to be told by neigbours that his parents and
his twelve year old sister, Xaviere, had been sent to German death camps.
They were never heard from again. Max decided to settle in England and
obtained British citizenship. He was soon broadcasting for the BBC and, in
1950, teamed up with little known comedians, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe,
Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine for a radio show called "Crazy People".
The show became the popular 1950's "The Goon Show" and Max Geldray became
a household name. After the show's nine year run, Max went on a world
tour returning via California. He was so impressed with California's
sunshine and easy way of life that he returned there permanently. Soon after
his arrival, he met a lady who became Mrs Susan Geldray and he became a
loving stepfather to Susan's three children, Judy, Timmy and Holly and some
years later, father to their son Philip. In his later years, Max became a
counselor at the Betty Ford Detoxification Center at the Eisenhower
Hospital in Rancho Mirage. He was also a favorite performer every year
for ten years at the popular "Jazz Without Booze" concerts that included
some of Hollywood's best talents. Max always carried his harmonica in his
pocket and loved to play wherever he found other jazz musicians. He is
survived by his wife Susan, his son Philip, stepdaughters Judy and Holly and
several grandchildren.

[User Picture]From: bugfish
2004-10-29 02:00 am (UTC)
Bummer, I hadn't heard he passed away.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bluesman
2005-12-06 02:44 pm (UTC)

"they've got me playing a Chinese, boy!"

Thank you for posting this for dear old Mr Geldray. I wonder if they had to custom-build a coffin to accommodate the famed conk? A fellow who runs a Goon Show web site here in America told me, a year or two ago, that he was in touch with Max. I wish I could remember which site, but it's one of the better-known ones. Maybe he'll post a fitting obituary on there.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: docwebster
2005-12-06 02:59 pm (UTC)

Re: "they've got me playing a Chinese, boy!"

"Man, you'll never get away with it!"
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: docwebster
2005-12-06 03:03 pm (UTC)

Re: "they've got me playing a Chinese, boy!"

Gah. I can't remember which episode that was.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bluesman
2005-12-06 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re: "they've got me playing a Chinese, boy!"

That's part of the fun, though, isn't it. I have favourites that I play a lot, and when I play a show that I've not heard in a while, because it's not as laugh-packed as Pliny or Batter Pudding Hurler, I come across a line or situation that tickles me good-n-proper. One such item would be Bloodnok singing I Don't Know Who You Are Sir, Or Where You Come From, But You've Done Me A Power Of Good, especially the line about "doing up me boot." It gradually speeds up. An absolute gem of a moment, and heck if I know which show it's in.
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