Myths & Misinformation!
Sally's page is completely for her own words and expressions and it is not my intention to make any comments in that page. However during conversations with Sally, either by letter or phone, we picked up on subjects that have been going around for many years and the truth and facts are lost in the re-telling of these tales, in regard to Ken and his career. In this section we shall try to resolve these issues once and for all.........
(1) Ken's truck, which was supposed to carry his organ(s) to venues, in advance of his performances, and
which was supposed to be highly colored, with his name in large letters on the side!
(Truth) Ken pulled a trailer behind his 'regular' car, which was just large enough for a Hammond organ
(2) Ken planned a South American tour from the success of his Latin Americana LP
(Truth) I would like to backtrack for a moment to say if ever there was a trip planned for South America, it
was early in his career. I would say before 1953 (Anything is possible)..
(3) Army Tales!
(Truth) As far as Sally knows, Ken never had any army stories that he told anyone. He spent the biggest
part of his time in Texas at Camp Barclay now known as Dyess Air Force Base.
(4) I don't think Ken liked the Wurlitzer more than the Hammond. I believe it was a pure and simple
business deal. The Hammond was Ken's baby.
(Truths) Ken's likes and dislikes
He loved wilted lettuce
He liked the colours black & white for his compartment only, and not in his dress.
He liked boats but never owned one.
Ken loved chocolate ice cream and ate it quite often. After his heart attack the doctor
limited him to one bowl a day. He very much looked forward to this at the end of every
Ken liked Beef Manhattens. Probably only in America do people know what this is!
* (Sounds like Mince & Tatties, to me (Bill)). After his heart attack it was changed to
Turkey Manhattens, with mashed potatoes and then covered with gravy.
I don't know if I forgot to mention it or what but Ken was in hospital eleven weeks in
Spokane, gives you some idea of the seriousness.
Ken lived on the 14th floor of his apartment building. It actually was the 13th floor but it is
considered bad luck to have a 13th floor - so it is just skipped over. When he first moved
there he was the only one on that floor. His Hammond was situated in front of a window in
his living room and it looked out toward Lake Michigan. Quite a view. His apartment was
in black, white and gray. He really like his apartment. Before he moved there in 1950 or
1951 he lived at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago for a couple of years. That was when his
career took off. (His apartment was not very large).
Ken had recorded the song "Waters Of Minnitonka". When he visited various cities with
rivers running through them he would play the song and change the name like "Waters Of
The Whitewater River" or "Waters Of The Missisippie River". People loved it!
Ken loved his father and supported him monetarily.
I don't recall any special sayings that Ken used. He wrote and played a little ditty called
"Don't Worry About Nothin' Cause Nothins' Gonna Be O.K". I don't think it was ever
recorded. It was much like "Oh, Why Did I Kiss That Girl". Type of song.
Ken was not a complex person as people might imagine - he was rather simplistic about his out look on
life. Somewhat conservative.
* "Mince & Tatties" This is a Scottish dish, consisting of finely baked Minced Beef, with Mashed
Potatoes in a rich beefy gravy. Sometimes green peas will be added. Very tasty and filling.
Addition 4th April 2003 (From Sally)
Ken had no hobbies that I knew of - he did enjoy going to the theatre (stage plays) which he did one time when I visited him in Chicago. To my knowledge he had no hobbies like fishing or sports.
He always wore black cap shoes when he performed. Pretty much had a standard look. Was a conservative dresser, but very nicely put together.
As I understand it - Broadcast was first followed by Rondo, then on to Columbia records. I never heard him speak of Broadcast but I did hear him speak of Rondo. Was with with them when I first met him. I believe he went with Columbia in 1950 or 51. I am sure someone else can confirm that.
67 Melody Lane was his idea and was taken from his address 1617 E 50th. Shows some of the genius of Ken Griffin. Also signing with "Columbia" was his idea and not with other recording companies he had offers from. He was born in Columbia, Missourie, and that is where he made the connection. He did have a chance to sign with Mercury and I can't remember but maybe RCA. When choices were to be made he didn't get any exotic ideas but just looked around himself and found the answer.
Ken did not like recording other artists' hit songs. Sometimes he plain just got over ruled by his boss, Mitch Miller.
The two songs Kringle's Jingle and The Whistler and his Dog are two totally different songs. There is no connection. Ken wrote Kringle's Jingle as a little Christmas song.
I remember Ken telling me when he came back to Chicago after his first heart attack, Dr. Katz did not want him to be alone in case he became ill. He told me a lady was sent over from Hospice (hospital care) to stay with him for a couple of weeks. He said she was rather elderly and sort of ill herself and every morning when he awoke he would look out his bedroom door just to see if she was still breathing. I think it made him a nervous wreck - and she did not last too long. This man (Ken) had a sense of humor until the day he died.
If you have any such stories that may be myths & misinformation tales let me know about them and we shall sort them out and add them to the above section.