“Dad, Tommy Dorsey and the Great Falls Bastard”

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Russ Buchanan, who I’d never heard of until today but describes himself as “the music world’s premier political malcontent,” posted an entry on his blog titled “Dad, Tommy Dorsey and the Great Falls Bastard.” Check it out:

To illustrate his point he would often tell us about the time during World War II when he and mom went to see the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in mom’s hometown, Great Falls, Montana. While the band was playing, someone in the audience yelled “nigger” at one of Dorsey’s black musicians. Dorsey stopped the orchestra mid-song, and the crowd went silent. He called out into the microphone, “You! Hey you. Yeah, you in the yellow tie.”
The guy was trying to scamper away into the crowd, but the throng in front of the stage had trapped him. He finally turned around to see a spotlighted Dorsey, red-faced and shaking with anger, pointing down at him like a vengeful God with a trombone. Unfortunately for the bigot, the black trumpeter happened to be a good friend of Dorsey’s and had just returned from duty in the Pacific, where he’d been wounded.
According to dad, Dorsey went nuts, yelling into the microphone about his friend’s heroism, then verbally filleting the guy, whom he called a stupid, un-American bastard. At the end of his rant, Dorsey ordered him out of the dance hall. “We don’t play until that bastard is out of here.” Whether for noble cause or the fact that they were ready to jitterbug and had shelled out good money to see and hear Dorsey’s whole show, many in the audience sided with Dorsey, booing and hissing the guy out of the dance hall. The show went on.

Any of you ever heard this story, or variations?


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