The A&P Gypsies
was a musical series broadcast on radio beginning in 1924. With the opening theme of "Two Guitars," the host and band leader was Harry Horlick, who had learned gypsy folk music while traveling with gypsy bands in Istanbul.
Background and history
Born July 20, 1896, in Tiflis, Russia, Horlick remained in Russia when his family left for America at the beginning on World War I
, and he became a prisoner of war. His family and the American consul helped him get to the United States where he performed in cafés in the early 1920s. Horlick's six-piece ensemble was playing unsponsored on New York's WEAF in the winter of 1923 when they were seen by a Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company
executive who was taking a tour of the radio studio. The music group began regular broadcasts, sponsored by A&P, on Monday nights, beginning March 17, 1924.
As noted by Elizabeth McLeod
, such musical features were central to programming of the period:
- The most popular program format of the late twenties was the sponsored musical feature. It could be a large symphonic group, a dance orchestra, or a song-and-patter team—and it would usually carry the sponsor's name. The A&P Gypsies, for example—a large, genre-crossing orchestra conducted by Harry Horlick. The Ipana Troubadors—a hot dance band directed by Sam Lanin. The Goodrich Zippers—a banjo-driven orchestra conducted by Harry Reser, when he wasn't leading the same......