Professor & Paderewski

Finally I’ve been able to peek inside the Crackajack tutor booklet. A few gems were discovered from within its pages. The diamond was the Professor’s tips on playing the instrument that fits in a waistcoat pocket. Was the Professor the one they termed the Paderewski of the mouth organ? What is a Paderewski? More on the Professor and Paderewski later. Let’s have a gander.

We’ll try to unpack point number ten for it’s clear as mud to me. I invoked the expertise of Guru Pat (Missin) for enlightenment (via his website). There he ascertains you can sustain a drone note with tongue blocking and by widening your mouth, more holes can be closed off to achieve a greater range of accompanying higher notes (the air). Check out Pat’s page here if the turbidity hasn’t cleared, Drones.

Al Simmons has another technique in making the harp sound like a bagpipe. A large balloon is inserted into the first hole to provide the drone.

The opal within the booklet was an illustration of the short lived Crackajack Tivoli model (probably three inches big). Seydel would not have been impressed with their cover plate design being ripped off again. The advertised Tivoli would date the booklet to 1926-27 when that model was available. The tutor appears to have been initially offered in 1925 and then updated the following year.

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The Professor, Walter Leslie Thacker Omond (1877-1933) was born in Kyneton, Victoria. He was one of Australia’s first known professors of the mouth organ and arguably our first champion. His title win, proclaimed in the booklet, was against one opponent and more than likely held between boxing bouts. Walter appeared in an earlier Riff Raff article What! What! What! as the inventor of a sliding piece for the mouth organ in 1904. Interestingly Walter’s occupation is identified in the Gazette as a tailor’s cutter – he later went on to be a registered dentist. There is evidence (court proceedings) he had been practising dentistry illegally before obtaining the necessary credentials. Not sure how you became a qualified dentist back in the early 1900’s – perhaps being a mouth organ exponent might have added some weight. Walter at one time endorsed the Albert’s Boomerang mouth organ before switching teams and signing with the Allan’s Crackajack. 

What was a Paderewski? My investigation uncovered it wasn’t a what, but a who! Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a Polish pianist and composer, who was a passionate spokesman for Polish independence. At the conclusion of The Great War he became the new nations Prime Minister. Ignacy would then whack his autograph, alongside George, Alondo, Woodrow, and Clemenceau on the Treaty of Versailles. Was Walter Omond the one they christened the Paderewski of the Mouth Organ?

Ch EssDawg

Thanks to John Whiteman for providing the peek inside.

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