Greg Poppleton

23 November - Hotel Astor NYC 1910s-60s Gay Bar story Phantom Dancer radio show feature LISTEN HERE

Garwood Van, Band Leader – Phantom Dancer 2 November 2021

Garwood Van is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. Songwriter of ‘Time to Dream’ and dance band leader from 1936, Garwood Van also was an actor in ‘Love on Tap’ (1939).

Garwood Van held long residencies at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, the Trocadero, Ciro’s and Florentine Gardens in Los Angeles. The band’s theme song was Poinciana. Featured vocalists included Gail Storm, Wally Ruth and Maxine Conrad. After giving up the band scene, he operated a successful record shop and music store in Las Vegas.

HEAR this Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 2 November) and two years of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

I’m Greg Poppleton and I’ve brought you The Phantom Dancer every week on 107.3 2SER radio Sydney since 1985

Thank you to,
Adele, Gregory, Michael, Ian, Poppy, Paul, Peter, Tim, Maria, Ian, Michael, Pyman, Cybele, John, Liam, Kaillan Thomas, Adele, Bob, Jared, Harry, Jonathan, Lauren, Alison, Jamie, Troy, John, Greg, Liam, Virginia, Darren, Rowan, Anthony, Carrie, Jo, Anne, Lachlan, Bow, Lorretta, Luke, David and Fiona – who subscribed to 2SER during this year’s Radiothon.

And thank you to Maureen, Ryszard & Des who subscribed this week. All the best to all in the 2SER Radiothon prize draw!

GARWOOD VAN

From the ‘Las Vegas Sun’, Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Headline: Former big-band leader, community activist Van dies
by Jace Radke

In the early 1940s and ’50s visitors to the Las Vegas Strip were dancing to the big-band sound, and many were tapping away to the orchestra of Garwood Van “the Music Man.”

Van, who worked with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Vic Damone, Andy Williams and Liberace, died at the age of 88 on Sunday. He gave Redd Foxx his first gig.

Van first played Las Vegas in 1942 at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas and later conducted orchestras at the Last Frontier, Flamingo, Thunderbird, Dunes and New Frontier hotels.

G. Barney Rawlings, a former Strip performer and singing emcee who logged more than 3,000 consecutive performances at the Thunderbird, remembers Van’s talents and his distinctive voice.

“He was one of the last big-band leaders in the old days, and he always had the top players,” Rawlings said. “I must have met him the first week after he moved to town, and I still remember his low, scratchy voice.

“He always talked like he had a sore throat, but he sure knew how to lead that band.”

In 1952 Van met his wife, Joan, in Lake Tahoe where she was working as a dancer. They were married and moved to Las Vegas the same year.

Joan Van saw her husband play his style of music for many, including President Ronald Reagan.

“His band just had a sweet dance sound,” Van said of her husband. “It was melodic and maybe a little like the sound of Lester Lannon’s band.”

In 1959 the Vans opened Garwood Van’s Musicland, and quickly built it into one of Nevada’s largest music stores.

Van took time away from his business and music to give to his community, Rawlings said.

“We were cut from the same pattern of becoming part of the community that we were performing in,” Rawlings said. “He didn’t just go to work and forget about the community when he was done performing.

“He didn’t just ride along. He was out supporting the city.”

In 1976 Van, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran for the County Commission. He had touted his business experience and sensitivity to issues.

“One promise I can make right now is to run an entirely open campaign and, if elected, serve my constituents with integrity and dedication,” Van said in an August 1979 Sun story.

Van held several administrative positions in various Las Vegas groups and organizations.

He served as a director and song leader for the Las Vegas Rotary Club, was a member of the Civilian Military Council, a president of the Merchants Bureau of Greater Las Vegas and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Van, who was an avid golfer, was a member of the Las Vegas Country Club and was vice president of the Desert Inn Country Club.

“He loved to golf and was out on the course as much as he could be,” Joan Van said. “He wasn’t able to get out as much after he had a hip operation a couple years ago, and he missed golf.”

Van was also a member of the Musicians Locals 47 and 369.

Van is survived by his wife and son, Gary Van, both of Las Vegas.

A PERSONAL STORY

From a site called Audiokarma, a Musicland employee in 2019 wrote the following personal reminiscence about her employer, Garwood Van…

“I worked at Garwood Van’s Musicland in the late 60s/early 70s while attending college at what is now University of Nevada at Las Vegas but was then named Nevada Southern University. Musicland was a large record and stereo component shop located at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, where the Bonanza Shopping Center is now.

This is back in the day when records were arranged in alphabetical order in waist-level bins according to genre.

Garwood was in his sixties when I knew him, but he had been a well-known band leader in Las Vegas since he started at the old El Rancho in 1942.

He and his ex-dancer wife Joan owned and managed the shop. Sometimes his son Gary Paul Van (also deceased) would work, too.

Garwood was a very nice man, and I would give him a ride home in my ’54 Pontiac when needed, and he would tell me stories about Las Vegas. Several entertainers would stop in and shop at his store when they were in town, including Paul Anka. I think I waited on George Harrison once, unfortunately trying to steer him to an album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, when he had asked about the popularity of his own latest album, but I really loved “Lucky Man” more than “My Sweet Lord” — He had asked my preferences and each to their own?

I remember how eagerly anticipated new music was, and we used to play the newest tunes, which were piped outside, and one morally irate gentleman roared into the store to violently object to our first spin of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.”

It was an interesting time – Vietnam, civil rights, great music, various experimentations, etc., all in a town which was such a strange mixture of Mormons and mob.

Garwood was pretty conservative, but he also ran the Pussycat a Go-Go with his partner Joe Yip from 64-72, a popular club where I enjoyed seeing acts like Sly and the Family Stone – Hilarious to see them roll out of their bus in a cloud of smoke, patchouli, satins, and sparkles when it was time to get on stage. (Jim Morrison was arrested there when his cigarette was mistaken for a joint in 1968. I was tossed out in 1969 for dancing with a Black man who was a great dancer, but the temporary twosome was not culturally acceptable in Las Vegas back then.) The Pussycat was located on the Strip near where the Palazzo Casino is now.

2 NOVEMBER PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINECommunity Radio Network Show CRN #516

107.3 2SER Tuesday 2 NOVEMBER 2021
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 6 -7pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Tuesday 12am – 1am
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm

Set 1
1940s One Night Stand Radio
Girl of my Dreams
Randy Brooks Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Roseland Ballroom NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
17 Nov 1945
I Love Yoy
Jack Teagarden Orchestra (voc) Phyllis Lane
‘One Night Stand’
Coral Gables
Weymouth Mass.
AFRS Re-broadcast
24 Aug 1944
They Didn’t Believe Me + Blue Moon (close)
Eliot Lawrence Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jul 1945
Set 2
Stan Kenton
Open + Taboo
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Lakeside Ballroom
Dayton OH
WLW NBC Cincinati
16 Sep 1952
Impressionism
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Devine’s Million Dollar Ballroom
WTMJ NBC Milwaukee
10 Jun 1952
Limelight + Close
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Student Union Building
Teachers’ College
WBOW NBC Terre Haute
16 Jun 1953
Set 3
1950s Jazz Radio
Route 66
Bobby Troup Trio (voc) Bobby Troup
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Cameo Club
WRCA NBC NYC
1956
The Goof and I
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
‘Monitor’
Basin Street
WRCA NBC NYC
26 Jun 1955
Sleep + Close
Buddy Hamilton Quintet
‘Jazz International’
AFRTS Hollywood
16 Jun 1960
Set 4
Garwood Van
Theme: Poinciana. Medley: Rise and Sine / I Want To Be Happy
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Just a Memory
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Fine and Dandy
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Blue Caribean Sea
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Set 5
1920s Orchestras
I’m Just Wild About Animal Crackers
Irving Aaronson and his Commanders (voc) Quartet
Comm Rec
NYC
23 Jun 1926
Pardon Me, Pretty Baby
Sam Lanin Orchestra
Hit of the Week Records
NYC
13 Aug 1931
Nobody’s Sweetheart
Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
Oct 1929
I Found a Million Dollar Baby
Don Voorhees Orchestra
Hit of the Week Records
NYC
10 Sep 1931
Set 6
1930s Cancer Stick Radio
To You
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) Bob Crosby
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
11 Jul 1939
Get On Board
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) Johnny Mercer
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
27 Jun 1939
My Inspiration
Bob Crosby Orchestra
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
18 Jul 1939
If I Didn’t Care
Bob Crosby Orchestra
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
4 Jul 1939
Set 7
Goodman Orchestra 1946
Somebody Stole My Gal
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Benny Goodman Show’
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 Jul 1946
Swing Angel
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Meadowbrook Gardens
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jan 1946
And The Angels Sing
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Benny Goodman Show’
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 Jul 1946
Clarinade + Sweet Lorraine
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Meadowbrook Gardens
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jan 1946
Set 8
Miles Davis
Moose The Mooche
Miles Davis
Comm Rec
Hollywood
28 Mar 1946
Groovin’ High
Miles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948
BigfootMiles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948
Ornitholgy
Miles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948

Back to the News

02 November 2021

(Until November 02)

Garwood Van, Band Leader – Phantom Dancer 2 November 2021

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Garwood Van is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. Songwriter of ‘Time to Dream’ and dance band leader from 1936, Garwood Van also was an actor in ‘Love on Tap’ (1939).

Garwood Van held long residencies at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, the Trocadero, Ciro’s and Florentine Gardens in Los Angeles. The band’s theme song was Poinciana. Featured vocalists included Gail Storm, Wally Ruth and Maxine Conrad. After giving up the band scene, he operated a successful record shop and music store in Las Vegas.

HEAR this Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 2 November) and two years of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

I’m Greg Poppleton and I’ve brought you The Phantom Dancer every week on 107.3 2SER radio Sydney since 1985

Thank you to,
Adele, Gregory, Michael, Ian, Poppy, Paul, Peter, Tim, Maria, Ian, Michael, Pyman, Cybele, John, Liam, Kaillan Thomas, Adele, Bob, Jared, Harry, Jonathan, Lauren, Alison, Jamie, Troy, John, Greg, Liam, Virginia, Darren, Rowan, Anthony, Carrie, Jo, Anne, Lachlan, Bow, Lorretta, Luke, David and Fiona – who subscribed to 2SER during this year’s Radiothon.

And thank you to Maureen, Ryszard & Des who subscribed this week. All the best to all in the 2SER Radiothon prize draw!

GARWOOD VAN

From the ‘Las Vegas Sun’, Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Headline: Former big-band leader, community activist Van dies
by Jace Radke

In the early 1940s and ’50s visitors to the Las Vegas Strip were dancing to the big-band sound, and many were tapping away to the orchestra of Garwood Van “the Music Man.”

Van, who worked with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Vic Damone, Andy Williams and Liberace, died at the age of 88 on Sunday. He gave Redd Foxx his first gig.

Van first played Las Vegas in 1942 at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas and later conducted orchestras at the Last Frontier, Flamingo, Thunderbird, Dunes and New Frontier hotels.

G. Barney Rawlings, a former Strip performer and singing emcee who logged more than 3,000 consecutive performances at the Thunderbird, remembers Van’s talents and his distinctive voice.

“He was one of the last big-band leaders in the old days, and he always had the top players,” Rawlings said. “I must have met him the first week after he moved to town, and I still remember his low, scratchy voice.

“He always talked like he had a sore throat, but he sure knew how to lead that band.”

In 1952 Van met his wife, Joan, in Lake Tahoe where she was working as a dancer. They were married and moved to Las Vegas the same year.

Joan Van saw her husband play his style of music for many, including President Ronald Reagan.

“His band just had a sweet dance sound,” Van said of her husband. “It was melodic and maybe a little like the sound of Lester Lannon’s band.”

In 1959 the Vans opened Garwood Van’s Musicland, and quickly built it into one of Nevada’s largest music stores.

Van took time away from his business and music to give to his community, Rawlings said.

“We were cut from the same pattern of becoming part of the community that we were performing in,” Rawlings said. “He didn’t just go to work and forget about the community when he was done performing.

“He didn’t just ride along. He was out supporting the city.”

In 1976 Van, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran for the County Commission. He had touted his business experience and sensitivity to issues.

“One promise I can make right now is to run an entirely open campaign and, if elected, serve my constituents with integrity and dedication,” Van said in an August 1979 Sun story.

Van held several administrative positions in various Las Vegas groups and organizations.

He served as a director and song leader for the Las Vegas Rotary Club, was a member of the Civilian Military Council, a president of the Merchants Bureau of Greater Las Vegas and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Van, who was an avid golfer, was a member of the Las Vegas Country Club and was vice president of the Desert Inn Country Club.

“He loved to golf and was out on the course as much as he could be,” Joan Van said. “He wasn’t able to get out as much after he had a hip operation a couple years ago, and he missed golf.”

Van was also a member of the Musicians Locals 47 and 369.

Van is survived by his wife and son, Gary Van, both of Las Vegas.

A PERSONAL STORY

From a site called Audiokarma, a Musicland employee in 2019 wrote the following personal reminiscence about her employer, Garwood Van…

“I worked at Garwood Van’s Musicland in the late 60s/early 70s while attending college at what is now University of Nevada at Las Vegas but was then named Nevada Southern University. Musicland was a large record and stereo component shop located at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, where the Bonanza Shopping Center is now.

This is back in the day when records were arranged in alphabetical order in waist-level bins according to genre.

Garwood was in his sixties when I knew him, but he had been a well-known band leader in Las Vegas since he started at the old El Rancho in 1942.

He and his ex-dancer wife Joan owned and managed the shop. Sometimes his son Gary Paul Van (also deceased) would work, too.

Garwood was a very nice man, and I would give him a ride home in my ’54 Pontiac when needed, and he would tell me stories about Las Vegas. Several entertainers would stop in and shop at his store when they were in town, including Paul Anka. I think I waited on George Harrison once, unfortunately trying to steer him to an album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, when he had asked about the popularity of his own latest album, but I really loved “Lucky Man” more than “My Sweet Lord” — He had asked my preferences and each to their own?

I remember how eagerly anticipated new music was, and we used to play the newest tunes, which were piped outside, and one morally irate gentleman roared into the store to violently object to our first spin of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.”

It was an interesting time – Vietnam, civil rights, great music, various experimentations, etc., all in a town which was such a strange mixture of Mormons and mob.

Garwood was pretty conservative, but he also ran the Pussycat a Go-Go with his partner Joe Yip from 64-72, a popular club where I enjoyed seeing acts like Sly and the Family Stone – Hilarious to see them roll out of their bus in a cloud of smoke, patchouli, satins, and sparkles when it was time to get on stage. (Jim Morrison was arrested there when his cigarette was mistaken for a joint in 1968. I was tossed out in 1969 for dancing with a Black man who was a great dancer, but the temporary twosome was not culturally acceptable in Las Vegas back then.) The Pussycat was located on the Strip near where the Palazzo Casino is now.

2 NOVEMBER PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINECommunity Radio Network Show CRN #516

107.3 2SER Tuesday 2 NOVEMBER 2021
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 6 -7pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Tuesday 12am – 1am
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm

Set 1
1940s One Night Stand Radio
Girl of my Dreams
Randy Brooks Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Roseland Ballroom NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
17 Nov 1945
I Love Yoy
Jack Teagarden Orchestra (voc) Phyllis Lane
‘One Night Stand’
Coral Gables
Weymouth Mass.
AFRS Re-broadcast
24 Aug 1944
They Didn’t Believe Me + Blue Moon (close)
Eliot Lawrence Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jul 1945
Set 2
Stan Kenton
Open + Taboo
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Lakeside Ballroom
Dayton OH
WLW NBC Cincinati
16 Sep 1952
Impressionism
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Devine’s Million Dollar Ballroom
WTMJ NBC Milwaukee
10 Jun 1952
Limelight + Close
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’
Student Union Building
Teachers’ College
WBOW NBC Terre Haute
16 Jun 1953
Set 3
1950s Jazz Radio
Route 66
Bobby Troup Trio (voc) Bobby Troup
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Cameo Club
WRCA NBC NYC
1956
The Goof and I
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
‘Monitor’
Basin Street
WRCA NBC NYC
26 Jun 1955
Sleep + Close
Buddy Hamilton Quintet
‘Jazz International’
AFRTS Hollywood
16 Jun 1960
Set 4
Garwood Van
Theme: Poinciana. Medley: Rise and Sine / I Want To Be Happy
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Just a Memory
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Fine and Dandy
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Blue Caribean Sea
Garwood Van Orchestra
Starlight Room
Hotel Chase
Mutual Network St Louis
9 Aug 1944
Set 5
1920s Orchestras
I’m Just Wild About Animal Crackers
Irving Aaronson and his Commanders (voc) Quartet
Comm Rec
NYC
23 Jun 1926
Pardon Me, Pretty Baby
Sam Lanin Orchestra
Hit of the Week Records
NYC
13 Aug 1931
Nobody’s Sweetheart
Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
Oct 1929
I Found a Million Dollar Baby
Don Voorhees Orchestra
Hit of the Week Records
NYC
10 Sep 1931
Set 6
1930s Cancer Stick Radio
To You
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) Bob Crosby
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
11 Jul 1939
Get On Board
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) Johnny Mercer
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
27 Jun 1939
My Inspiration
Bob Crosby Orchestra
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
18 Jul 1939
If I Didn’t Care
Bob Crosby Orchestra
Camel Caravan
WABC CBS NYC
4 Jul 1939
Set 7
Goodman Orchestra 1946
Somebody Stole My Gal
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Benny Goodman Show’
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 Jul 1946
Swing Angel
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Meadowbrook Gardens
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jan 1946
And The Angels Sing
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Benny Goodman Show’
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 Jul 1946
Clarinade + Sweet Lorraine
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Meadowbrook Gardens
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
26 Jan 1946
Set 8
Miles Davis
Moose The Mooche
Miles Davis
Comm Rec
Hollywood
28 Mar 1946
Groovin’ High
Miles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948
BigfootMiles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948
Ornitholgy
Miles Davis
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NYC
Royal Roost
11 Dec 1948
All Gigs
12:04 pm - 2:00 pm
2SER 107.3 Sydney
Directions

Available now! Get your copy

Newsletter

Keep in touch for gigs near you and new music releases