specializes in numbers such as SAM, YOU MADE THE PANTS TOO LONG;
JOSEPHINE, PLEASE NO LEAN ON THE BELL; and CASANOVA CRICKET. Ziggy may not
be a crooner, but his following is almost as fanatic as theirs. He was
born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 25, 1912, sang in choirs and in school glee
clubs. His voice he claims, has always been strange, always "high, without
touching the beauty of a soprano--sort of a cross between milk and sour
cream, like buttermilk."
Though you'd never suspect it now, zany Ziggy was a bashful child. Once,
at a Sunday family gathering, the kind that are part of New England
tradition, the elder Talents called upon their young prodigy to sing.
Ziggy obliged, he says, but "from behind the door in the next room, where
nobody could see. I was only ten, so I guess I can be excused."
t was at this time that Ziggy got his first
saxophone. His brother, Leo, a musician, was playing in a three-piece
outfit at a Boston hotel. Leo brought Ziggy along to see the show. "I
brought my kazoo with me," reminisces Ziggy, "and while they were doing a
number I kazooed along with them. One of the patrons heard me, was
curious, and asked Leo about me. Leo told him I was just his kid brother
and that I was practicing to be a saxophonist."
Ziggy had no idea at the
moment that he would become a saxophonist. But next day, Leo, who had by
then become convinced that it might be a good idea, went out and rented an
instrument and hired a teacher for his kid brother. "So," cracks Ziggy, "I
got a big kazoo with keys, for the small one."