Ever since Sally Bennett came up with the idea of forming a Big Band Hall of Fame and Museum, I have championed it, as the Big Bands were an important part of my life too. One day in 1983, Sally asked me to become one of the Honorary Board Members. It meant joining in with a long list of people who felt the same way about preserving the memory of the Big Bands of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Sammy Kaye, Artie Shaw, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and so on.
Sally is a very persuasive lady, and a very hard worker besides.So she enlisted me.
Lots of musical people are on the Honorary Board. People like Perry Como, Merv Griffin, who sang pretty good in the old days before television claimed him, and Bob Hope, who featured the great band of Les Brown on his shows and USO tours during World War II.
Among those not musical on the Board are actors George Hamilton, Burt Reynolds, real estate mogul Donald Trump, and sports own Curt Gowdy.
Before they passed on , Buddy Rogers, Dinah Shore, George Murphy, and Arthur Godfrey helped filled the Board.
The Big Band Hall of Fame and Museum is a fine organization, and although I have not contributed any real time or talent, or what have you, I am nevertheless happy to be a small part of it.
Sally's work will be carried on into the new Millennium, and this book of hers will tell you a lot about it. American will never forget the era of the Big Bands, those musicians and leaders, vocalists and arrangers, who contributed so much to our lives. As author Richard Grudens wrote in his book The Best Damn Trumpet Player in 1996, " The Big Bands were the delicious musical relics of the past who attached their indelible mark upon several generations of music - on both those who like to dance and those who preferred to listen."
Sally Bennett is one person who is insuring they will always be remembered, and her efforts will always be appreciated. We salute Sally Bennett.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
New York, N.Y. 2000