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View Full Version : One from the collection...Bobby Breen Soprano



ukulelecowboy
03-01-2011, 10:08 AM
Hi all,

It occurred to me that I really should start showing some of the ukuleles that are in our collection. As we have a decent cross section of instruments, I thought that I would start posting some photos and information about some of the more "interesting" ukuleles. I might add that these are only ukuleles that are in our collection presently. There are far more comprehensive online ukulele overviews (frets.com, Tiki King, etc.)
Basically, we have them, why not share some history and photos?

I might also add, if any of you fellow UU'ers can provide any more insight, information, history, etc. I would be thrilled to learn of it. As they say, Knowledge is power (and I want to be very powerful...)

I chose this as the first example because the ukulele literally smiles at me everyday when we go into our rehearsal/ukulele room. This is a Bobby Breen Soprano Ukulele manufactured by either Regal or some close cousin in the 30's. What follows is the current reference from Wikipedia:

Bobby Breen (born November 4, 1927) is a Canadian-born actor and singer of the 1930s. He made his professional debut at age four in a night club in Toronto and was an immediate sensation. He made his radio debut soon after. He played in vaudeville and his sister paid for his musical education. Breen went to Hollywood in 1935. His first major appearance was on Eddie Cantor's weekly radio show in 1936, and he soon became the leading child star at RKO Studios. He is best remembered today for his films, and for the fact that he was a boy soprano. His first film was Let's Sing Again (1936), followed by eight more, including Rainbow on the River (1936), Make a Wish (1937), Way Down South (1939), and his last film, Johnny Doughboy (1942).

He continued working as a singer in nightclubs and a musical performer in stock theatre, later serving as a guest pianist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra on radio, and hosting a local TV show in New York. He also recorded briefly for the Motown label, singing on two singles and an unreleased album in 1964.[1][2]

As of 2002[update], Breen was living in Tamarac, Florida, as owner/operator of Bobby Breen Enterprises, a talent agency.

This happens to be a particularly fine example because the headstock "decal" is still intact, the body is structurally sound, and the paint is in good shape. A very nice collector's ukulele.

The really interesting thing about Breen is that he is represented on the cover of The Beatles's album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He is directly behind George Harrison as highlighted in the last photo.

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/BREEN1.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/BREEN2.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/BREEN3.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/sgt_pepper_cover_BREEN.jpg

Thanks,

mm stan
03-01-2011, 10:42 AM
Aloha Ukulele Cowboy,
Nice story and thanks for sharing..looking forward to see and hear more of your vintage ukes...Happy Strummings...MM Stan...

RyanMFT
03-01-2011, 10:51 AM
That is really cool! I've only seen one of those come up on eBay in the last couple years, and yours looks almost perfect.

It would also be cool to post some of these vintage ukulele's to ukuzoo, a great site that has a big variety of vintage ukulele's. I have a small album there and it is really cool just to click around and check out what treasures are out there!

http://www.ukuzoo.com/

joeybug
03-01-2011, 11:04 AM
Always nice to read and different Ukuleles...looking forward to more posts from you about your massive collection!

philpot
03-01-2011, 11:19 AM
Thats pretty cool! Thanks for sharing :D