On This Day, May 23

On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “Public Enemy Era”, between 1931 and 1935. Even during their lifetimes, their depiction in the press was at considerable odds with the hardscrabble reality of their life on the road, especially for Bonnie Parker. She was present at a hundred or more felonies during the two years she was Barrow’s companion, but she was not a machine gun-wielding killer as depicted in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of that time. Gang member W. D. Jones later testified he could not recall ever having seen her shoot at a law officer. Bonnie’s reputation as a cigar-smoking gun moll grew out of a playful snapshot police found at an abandoned hideout. It was released to the press and published nationwide. Parker did chain smoke Camel cigarettes, but she never smoked cigars. Find Bonnie &^ Clyde in the library, on Hoopla and in OverDrive

artie shaw

Bandleader, Clarinetist Artie Shaw (Arthur Jacob Arshawsky) was born in NYC, May 23, 1910. From the mid 20’s to 1936, Shaw played as a session musician with Johnny Caverello, Austin Aylie, and Irving Aaronson. He gained notoriety when he performed at an all-star big band concert at the Imperial Theatre in May 1936, surprising the audience by performing with a string quartet. He used a similar concept in putting together his first orchestra, adding a Dixieland-type front line and a vocalist while retaining the strings. Despite some fine recordings, that particular band disbanded in early 1937 and then Shaw put together a more conventional big band. The long series of musical groups Shaw formed included such talents as vocalists Billie Holiday, Helen Forrest and, Mel Tormé; drummers Buddy Rich and Dave Tough, guitarists Barney Kessel, Jimmy Raney, and Tal Farlow and trombonist-arranger Ray Conniff, among countless others.Shaw’s string of hits which sold more than 100 million records include Begin the Beguine (1938), Stardust (with a legendary trumpet solo by Billy Butterfield), Back Bay Shuffle,  Moonglow,  Rosalie and Frenesi.  Find Artie Shaw at the library, on hoopla, and in Freegal.

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