Ingenues / Melodears

Dorothy and Juel (1939 or 1940)


Sent: Thursday, July 2, 2020 2:57 PM

To: Brian Donahoe

Subject: A fabulous picture for the family album.

Well this was a surprise! My cousin. Patricia May (daughter of Dorothy Donahoe) just sent me this picture taken in West Berlin, which allegedly was part of a newspaper ad promoting a filmed jazz musical 'short'for a piece called HOLD THAT TIGER! The film is dated 1940. It shows the all male Victor Young Orchestra performing the piece. But I am thinking the picture was taken in 1939 or earlier.

It's simply amazing that my mom and Aunt Dorothy ...members of the ALL FEMALE jazz orchestra The Melodears somehow ended up doing a promotion in West Berlin- before the musical short film of the hit song "Hold That Tiger" became public. The video was showing up in 1940 but I think the post card picture was taken in 1939 or earlier. It was taken in West Berlin. Victor Young Orchestra was all men. The Melodears all women as you know but both played Jazz. The band connections from each side must have known each other. Maybe the managers knew each other. Isn't that amazing that this promo ended up being in a German newspaper way ahead of the musical short for this very famous Victor Young Orchestra.

I guess we will never know how it came to be..but it seems my mom's band connections, (maybe managers) and those involved with well known Victor Young, knew each other well enough to come up with this fantastic promo for a German newspaper.

Good grief ..Pat and I are lucky to be on the planet! One false move..and there might have been 2 dead ladies named Juel and Dorothy Donahoe. Can you imagine living that kind of life!

The Ingenues (the band that Juel, Mary, and Dorothy Donahoe played in)

For the photo above, according to Ginny Zender:

This IS A RARE FAMILY PHOTO WITH ALL THREE OF THEM TOGETHER. Mary the oldest was born in 1899, my mother in 1912--so pretty good age spread and they were usually doing different things and/or in different stages of life.

Mary Donahoe is FOURTH from our left; a tall-ish woman with the round-topped hat tilted handsomely to partially-cover one eye. I am really excited about this photo because there aren't many pictures of never-married almost forgotten Mary; and she was talented at so many things; painting, writing, sewing, and all those instruments she played. Dorothy is in the front row between a trombone player to our left and an accordion player on the right. She is also wearing a very long lariat-type necklace. Her features and Mary's are more angular and sharp than my more oval shaped face mother. Dorothy had the darkest hair, so she is usually recognizable in the pics. Mary had freckles and very very fair skin and a really pretty strawberry color or light red hair. My mother had more of the brighter red, also very fair with freckles, but not lanky like those two. My very young mother Juel Gertrude Foster Donahoe was only about 16 in this picture. She looks like a fresh-faced teenager alright; pulled out of Immaculata High School on Lake Shore drive in her Sophomore year, to travel across the world. I wonder how about the effect that might have had on her. She liked school and was also very good at writing and art, and played five instruments. Juel is the ninth person from our left (including the inclusion of a very short person who is not very visible in the photo). She is standing next to a lady leaning on the piano holding a brass instrument.

Dorothy on left, Mary interacting with guy, Juel on right (?)

Dorothy on 2nd from left, Mary just to right of her (?)

The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.

Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society

From Ginny Zender on 3/6/2018, regarding the picture above: Dorothy and My Mom serenading cows at the University of Wisconsin (Madison); part of a scientific experiment to determine whether cows at the University dairy farm (which is sill there) would product more milk due to the cow concert! lol. Dorothy has her leg hiked up on some old wooden structure or another, and my mom's head is in the pic, but sadly her face is obscured.

With the Three Stooges

Juel Donahoe (trumpet player) with Ina Ray Hutton and her Melodears

Juel Donahoe (trumpet player) with Ina Ray Hutton and her Melodears