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Ray McKinley Orchestra

Collection Performer:
Basie, Count, 1904-  Search this
Webster, Ben  Search this
Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971  Search this
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Fitzgerald, Ella, 1917-1996  Search this
Goodman, Benny (Benjamin David), 1909-1986  Search this
Jamal, Ahmad, 1930-  Search this
Robinson, Bill, 1878-1949  Search this
Davis, Miles  Search this
Collection Collector:
Smith, Ernie  Search this
Extent:
1 Motion picture film
Container:
Reel AC0491-OF0287
Type:
Archival materials
Moving Images
Motion picture films
Scope and Contents note:
Video reference copy available.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the films are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection
Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection / Series 2: Additional Titles
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8f1d79841-b33b-4858-a8ec-a6c92b20849f
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0491-ref2158

Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera

Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Names:
Glenn Miller Orchestra  Search this
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra  Search this
Ray McKinley Orchestra  Search this
Extent:
19.5 Cubic feet (56 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Ephemera
Music
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Date:
1945-1994
Scope and Contents:
The Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera consists of music, scores, sideman books, photographs, correspondence, news clippings and magazine articles, business records, awards, audio and videotapes, 45 rpm commercial recordings, and miscellaneous biographical notes. The records date from the the late nineteenth century to 1996 and document the professional music career and personal life of Ray McKinley (drummer, band leader, and vocalist). The collection is organized into three series; Series 1: Music ca. 1942-1990, Series 2: Ephemera ca. 1870-1996, and Series 3: Miscellaneous ca. 1943-1993. Materials in each series are arranged either alphabetically by music title or chronologically by date.

The following reference abbreviations are used in the container list to facilitate cross-referencing of materials in different subseries:

see: look for this title or material in the following location sa: see also: additional or related material is available in the following location aka: also known as OS: oversize score OP: oversize photograph
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1: Music

Series 2: Ephemera

Series 3: Audio Visual Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Ray McKinley was born on June 18, 1910 in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Flora Newell McKinley and Raymond Harris McKinley, Sr. McKinley, Jr. entertained himself at an early age by "drumming" on whatever was available, and he received his first drum set at age nine from a family friend. His performing career had begun even earlier, at age six, with a snare drum solo for several thousand at the Elks Circus in the North Fort Worth Coliseum. At twelve he started playing professionally with local bands and orchestras. In an April, 1986 article in Modern Drummer, McKinley commented, "I wasn't that terrific, but everyone thought I was" (see Subseries 2B: Newsclippings and Magazine Articles). Whether deserved or not, his reputation was good enough that when the Jimmy Joy Orchestra came to town and was strapped for a substitute drummer, twelve-year-old McKinley got the job.

McKinley left town for the first time on a tour with the Duncan-Marin band in 1926. While performing in a Chicago nightclub, he was caught in the crossfire of a gang shoot-out and shot in the leg. During his convalescence, he wandered the clubs and listened in on sets. He met "Benny Pollack, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and others" (Ray McKinley, see Subseries 2F: Biographical Materials). He left the Duncan-Marin group in 1927 for the Beasley Smith orchestra, and joined the Tracy-Brown Orchestra in 1929. He played with Milt Shaw's Detroiters for a time in 1930, followed by a stint with Dave Bernie's band. With Bernie, he made two trips to England, "where he acquired a set of neckties and a Southern accent" (McKinley, Biographical Materials).

Glenn Miller asked McKinley to join him in Smith Ballew's band in 1932, and Miller later placed McKinley and four others with the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra. When the Dorseys split, McKinley stayed with Jimmy Dorsey, although he was heavily recruited by other band leaders, including Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. He became known as a vocalist as well as drummer in Jimmy Dorsey's band, and had Bing Crosby name him "one of the ten best vocalists in the country" (All-American Band Leaders, July, 1942). In 1939, at the suggestion of booking agent Willard Alexander, McKinley joined forces with Will Bradley (formerly Wilber Schwitsenberg) to form the "Will Bradley Orchestra featuring Ray McKinley." With McKinley on vocals and drums, the band's several hits included Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar, Down the Road Apiece and Celery Stalks at Midnight. McKinley left in 1942 to form his own group, The Ray McKinley Orchestra. The band was very well-recieved, but broke up after only 8 months due to external factors including the outbreak of the second World War. McKinley placed many of his players with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra just before he was drafted.

McKinley's old association with Glenn Miller paid off when Glenn took him on for his famous Army Air Force Band. McKinley says that Glenn Miller's band "was one of the two best musical organizations I had anything to do with as a player" (Modern Drummer). The Glenn Miller Band was sent to England in June, 1944. After Miller disappeared in 1944, McKinley fronted the band until its return to the United States in 1945. At this point, McKinley handed the reins to Tex Benecke and formed a new Ray McKinley Orchestra.

McKinley's new orchestra enjoyed great success, partially due to its young talent, including that of arrangers Eddie Sauter and Deane Kincaide. McKinley's showmanship and skills as leader, vocalist, and drummer also earned the band many fans. Some of their hits included Red Silk Stockings and Green Perfume, You Came a Long Way From St. Louis, and Arizay. Unfortunately, the group's inception coincided with the end of the big band era. McKinley adjusted the size and style of the band in attempts to satisfy public demand, but he finally disbanded the group when he suffered an attack of amoebic dysentery in 1951.

After his recovery, McKinley freelanced with different bands and in radio and television, mostly accepting appearances that kept him near his home in Connecticut. His last extended stint with any band came in 1956, when Willard Alexander persuaded the Glenn Miller Estate to sponsor a New Glenn Miller Orchestra with McKinley as its leader. The band played arrangements of old Miller favorites from the original music as well as more contemporary hits. This orchestra, like McKinley's earlier ones, was very successful, performing on television and travelling all over the world. In 1966, McKinley tired of the road and "retired". For the next thirty years, McKinley again stayed close to home, playing "gigs" with various bands, working as a musical consultant for Walt Disney World in 1971, and doing some television and recordings.

McKinley is remembered as a loving family man, screwball showman, and dedicated musician. In January, 1950,InternationalMusician said that McKinley was "known in the trade as a 'drummer's drummer'--just about the highest accolade one can receive." Many of his fellow musicians attest that his clean, energetic style of drumming provided the drive behind many of the bands he played with, while his technical skill and sense of humor produced the exciting solos that made him popular with the public. According to drummer Cliff Leeman, "Unlike many of the highly technical, showman drummers, McKinley combined elements of showmanship and thoughtful, feeling performance. He never ignored his timekeeping duties" (Modern Drummer, 1986). Both on the drums and as band leader, McKinley was a bit of a clown. For instance, the "vocal" in Celery Stalks at Midnight originated when McKinley, for no particular reason, "instead of playing a two bar solo on the drums...just yelled out, 'Celery Stalks along the highway!'" (McKinley, Big Band Jump Newsletter). Still, despite his antics and the fun he obviously had while on the stand, McKinley was deadly serious about music. His thoughts on drumming are evidence of this: "Once you have the techniques down and combine them with an inherent sense of rhythim--I believe you have to be born with it--you're well on your way to becoming a good drummer. If you don't have that bone-deep rhythmic sense, or 'feel', you should be doing something else. That may sound autocratic. But that's the way it is, as far as I'm concerned"( ModernDrummer).

McKinley was married in 1937 but divorced by 1942. He then married ballet dancer Gretchen Havemann in 1943, a few months into his tenure with the Glenn Miller Band. On April 7, 1949, they had daughter for whom Gretchen coined the name Jawn. A loving, happy couple, he and Gretchen celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1993. In 1983, he and Gretchen began spending half of their year in a home in Florida and half in Canada. He died in 1995.
Separated Materials:
Ray McKinley drumset and two band stands are located in the Division of Music History (now Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Provenance:
Donated by Gretchen McKinley and Jawn McKinley Neville on February 2, 1998.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Topic:
Big band music -- 1940-2000  Search this
Jazz musicians  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Ephemera -- 20th century
Music -- 1940-2000
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0635
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8afd188b7-bbff-4982-a44f-5b35f96830eb
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0635
Online Media:

Ray McKinley Orchestra,1942 #10-12

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89acae301-870e-4841-b684-a95057df0903
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1014

Ray McKinley Orchestra, post-war #30-42 Sample

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep83a7db1cd-e337-4dcf-80f7-51417a89be74
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1016

Ray McKinley Orchestra, 1942 #2-3

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep896cc27ec-5d63-4f6e-beba-aef49f8ebc3a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1021

Ray McKinley Orchestra #15-24

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep839ea9d29-66e8-4558-aaf6-96549a734302
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1027

Ray McKinley Orchestra post-war, Ray with Louis Armstrong #1-2

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8ef32acbd-39e0-4038-a00e-e20de623fe79
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1031

Ray McKinley Orchestra post-war #3-22

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep845bacb22-1277-4e1f-a445-c49b97e26582
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1032

Ray McKinley Orchestra post-war #1-6

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c9acaaee-ae63-4fed-8485-a3007eb23afe
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1034

Ray McKinley Orchestras, Photographs and news clippings #1-14

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 50, Folder 12
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1942-1949
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep81de0cf37-1451-4d73-b83c-a17645170e0d
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1054

Programs and Publicity

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1932-1990
Scope and Contents:
Subseries 2.4 consists of three folders of publicity materials and programs for appearances and recordings of Ray McKinley's Orchestras, as well as product endorsements by McKinley. Materials include advertisements from magazines and newspapers, broadsides, flyers, press releases, and programs. Records are placed in chronological order, grouped, when possible, by the band Ray belonged to when the materials were produced.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0635, Subseries 2.4
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep810d9b395-fed6-49e5-8e0b-84004f78a384
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1085

Programs and Publicity: Glenn Miller AAF Band/Ray McKinley Orchestra 1942-1949

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 52, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 2: Ephemera / 2.4: Programs and Publicity
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89d3a7662-baf1-4244-b2cd-6a962aa8fd23
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1086

Stencils: "Ray McKinley Orchestra"

Collection Collector:
McKinley, Ray, 1910-1995 (musician, bandleader)  Search this
Container:
Box 55, Folder 14
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions. Contact the Archives Center for information.
Collection Citation:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, ca 1945-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera
Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera / Series 3: Audiovisual Materials / 2.9: Reference Videotapes / Series 3: Miscellaneous
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep84fb46dda-e7fa-48e4-8b98-27cd2a462393
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0635-ref1198

Rock a Bye The Boogie

Recording artist:
William Bradley & Ray McKinley Orchestra  Search this
Manufacturer:
Bandstand  Search this
Physical Description:
vinyl (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 12 in; x 30.48 cm
Object Name:
Sound Recording
Place made:
United States: California, Diamond Bar
ID Number:
1996.0153.00512
Accession number:
1996.0153
Label number:
7112
Catalog number:
1996.0153.00512
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746aa-b484-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1221071

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