|Visit Us On FB
of at least a dozen pieces of luggage . . . when the clerk sees that I'm the Mr. Eldridge the reservation was made for, he suddenly discovers the last available room has been taken. I lug all that luggage back into the street and start looking around again.
"By the time that land of thing has happened night after night, it begins to wear on my mind; I can't think right, can't play right. At the Palladium in Hollywood I had to watch out who I could or couldn't sit at the tables with. If they were movie stars who wanted me to come over, that was all right; if they were just the jitterbugs, no dice. And all the time the bouncer with his eye on me, just waiting for a chance ... on top of that, I had to live way out in Los Angeles while the rest of the guys stayed in Hollywood. It was a lonely life . . . one night the tension got so bad I flipped. I could feel it right up to my neck while I was playing Rockin' Chair; I started trembling, ran off the stand, and threw up. They carried me to the doctor's. I had a 105 fever; my nerves were shot. . , ."
At Norfolk, Virginia, barred from the washroom the other musicians were using, Roy' was handed a bucket of water. Riding on the Norfolk ferry with some musicians on the top deck he was told: "We don't allow no niggers up here." When a complaint about this remark was made to the captain, he commented: 'Well, if you can stand him, it's all right with me."
"Just as if I had leprosy," said Eldridge.
In Youngstown, Ohio there was no room in the hotels, no service in the restaurant; even Krupa's offer to let him use one of the twin beds in his own room could not console him. Eldridge abruptly left town; it was a week before he could be talked into rejoining the band.
In 1944, working with Artie Shaw, Eldridge ran into the same problems. No food, even in a small Mexican restaurant in Del Mar, California, where the white musicians walked out with him in sympathy. No admission to the local dance hall even though his name was up in lights outside as a featured attraction with Shaw.
"When I finally did get in, I played that first set, trying to keep from crying. By the time I got through the set, the tears