Or so Lawrence Welk supposedly once called it while announcing Billy Strayhorn’s immortal ‘Take The A Train’. The above is Duke’s 1943 band playing the band’s theme (as of 1941 when it was written) on a train apparently–it’s a scene from a wartime contraption called ‘Reville With Beverly” (har). The Duke we see in this clip is the chubby, Latino-esque Duke–the conked hair gave him the latter trait while the weight was due to his fondness for chocolates, sweets and liquor. He later gave up drinking and switched to a diet that consisted of steak, grapefruit and black coffee (sometimes known as the ‘Acid Bomb’). He lost a good deal of the weight as a result and probably lost a decade of his life as well. No matter. We wish a happy 119th birthday, Duke…and will continue to do so long after the piano player has finished his riki-tiki…


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