Articles

The jazz-happy tailor

McKENZIE PORTER December 21 1957
Articles

The jazz-happy tailor

McKENZIE PORTER December 21 1957

The jazz-happy tailor

He’d rather be on the bandstand hut

McKENZIE PORTER

David Caplan, a thirty-two-year-old Toronto bachelor, has a plump five-foot-eight body; puffy white cheeks wreathed in a cocky grin; glossy black hair; sleepy slit eyes that stir vigilantly at sight of a blonde; and a tongue that wags endlessly in jazz slang. He wears sharp suits of a lustrous, silky texture; narrow ties of a silver or golden hue; fancy shirts clipped at the French cuffs with carved links as big as walnuts; and a pair of heavy horn-rimmed glasses with two lightning-bolts inlaid on each car-piece. The glasses give him an owlish look and this is appropriate, for Caplan lives by night.

Six evenings a week he tours theatres, radio stations, television studios, dance halls, bars, ■restaurants, cocktail lounges and night clubs in i scarlet 1957 convertible with imitation gold stars encrusted in its black upholstery. At the "wet” ports of call he sips rye and Seven-Up with one of his numerous girl friends, smokes king-sized gold-tipped cigarettes named “Celebrity,” and waits for the entertainers who are billed as attractions to ask him to make them a suit.

Caplan advertises himself as “The Showmen's Clothier,” and tells his friends that he is a “frustrated horn blower.” Although he makes a good

living out of tailoring he's always detested the garment trade and pined for the life of a jazz musician. As a boy he couldn't afford a trombone so he had to settle for a tape measure.

Five years ago he was yawning with boredom in a fifty-dollar-a-week job at Tip Top Tailors Ltd., Toronto. To save himself from “going nuts” he cultivated the company of jazz bandsmen. As a sideline he began making suits for his jumpy cronies. Soon he made tailoring tolerable—and profitable—by striking out on his own. Today he sells suits to dozens of celebrities in the entertainment industry.

“1 can't get into showbusiness myself,” he says, “so 1 get my kicks out of clothing men who can.”

Caplan works from his modern North Toronto apartment, or from his car, and carries all the equipment he needs in two big brief cases. His suits range in price from sixty to one hundred and twenty-five dollars. His ready-mades are turned out by W. R. Johnston and Co. Ltd., Toronto, his custom-mades by William H. Leishman and Co. Ltd., also of Toronto. On all of them Caplan takes a retailer's profit.

Most of Caplan's customers arc drummers, pianists, saxophonists, double-bassists, guitarists and accordionists who play syncopated music in some twenty Toronto nightspots and sustain the city's reputation as the fourth jazziest metropolis-after New York. Chicago and Los Angeles—in North America.

Dave Caplan can’t blow a horn—so he lives the roaming night life he loves by selling suits to stars and celebrities

While thriving on the trade of such blowers, pluckers and thumpers Caplan has added many other types of performer to his clientele. These include actors John Drainie. and Lloyd Bochner; singers Jimmie Shields and Jack Bailey; disc jockeys Elwood Glover and John Rae; commentators Nathan Cohen and Byng Whitteker; and interviewers Percy Saltzman and Gil Christie of the CBC television show Tabloid.

Caplan, who is ready to do business anywhere any time, once cajoled the protesting Saltzman into taking a fitting on a crowded street. Christie is the most celebrated victim of Caplan’s persuasive tongue. Last April he was talked into wearing on Tabloid a sensational new suit Caplan had made — a cross between the single-breasted and the doublebreasted. The hybrid style evoked a roar of protest from more conservative tailors and produced a six-column headline in the Toronto Telegram. Caplan reveled in the publicity.

It was the late Dick MacDougal, MC of Tabloid, who first whetted Caplan's appetite for

fame. Introduced to continued on page 33

Continued from page 21

Caplan four years ago, MacDougal ordered a suit and wore it on Tabloid. During the show he read aloud a note that had been handed in by a viewer. It said: "Take your hands out of your pockets. You are ruining our suit. Signed: Dave Caplan, your tailor.”

The promotion brought Caplan a shower of show-business orders. Art Lund, the six-foot-five American singer who starred later in the New York musical Most Happy Fella, ordered three Caplan suits while playing Toronto and wore one of them on the Ed Sullivan show. Last winter Ralph Marterie, the American band leader, wore a Caplan suit on the Perry Como Show. The Diamonds, a quartette of young Toronto male vocalists, have shimmered in Caplan suits in many TV appearances.

Nowadays Caplan's friends are used to his excusing himself from cocktail lounges by saying: “Man, 1 gotta split now. and watch a set of vines on channel six.” By this he means he has to leave and study one of his suits on the back of a television artist.

In cocktail lounges Caplan also sells sets of vines to owners, managers, bartenders and waiters. His biggest customer— sixty inches around the rump — is Sam Shopsowitz, the delicatessen millionaire who recently bought Toronto's nightspot the Club One Two. In Toronto's newest hotel, the Lord Simcoe, Caplan has a customer who was born a Polish count and is now a waiter.

Caplan also outfits many professional men with a predilection for night-life. Typical of these is George Robb, a bachelor architect who designed the Shell observation tower at the Canadian National Exhibition. Recently Robb noticed new Italian immigrants in a cut of suit he admired. Caplan spent hours driving with Robb about the Italian quarter of Toronto until they were able to persuade an immigrant to sell his suit. Caplan is now copying it for Robb.

Caplan meets many of his customers on bandstands, stage sets or bar stools. Behind pianos, curtains or screens, or in washrooms, dressing rooms or the offices of obliging managers, he shows them swatches of cloth and measures or fits them. Sometimes he delivers the finished suits to their places of employment and sometimes to their homes.

At one o’clock one morning he delivered a man’s suit to the home of Juliette, the television singer who’d had it made up secretly as a gift for her husband, saxophonist Tony Cavazzi. As Caplan was going downstairs from Juliette’s apartment he noticed Cavazzi coming up. To protect the secret of the suit Caplan ducked down a corridor and hid until Cavazzi had passed.

On leaving a customer’s house Caplan usually visits a night club and seldom gets to his own home before four in the morning. His foam-rubber suite of furniture is covered in gold and beige. An iron lamp standard is fitted with two enormous shades, the shape and color of ice-cream cones. Another feature is an iridescent aquarium in which black, gold, pink and silver fish glide about a submerged chinaware model of Ann

Hathaway’s cottage. On the walls are three pairs of plaques representing a fighting bull and a matador; two West Indian mambo dancers; and the masks of Comedy and Tragedy. The ornaments are dominated by a family of snarling, loping black panthers. But the major attractions are a lined closet stacked from floor to ceiling with eight hundred long-playing jazz records—worth three thousand dollars—anti a huge combination radio-television-hi-fi set.

During the hours that Caplan is awake at home—usually between one

and four in the afternoon and four and six in the morning—the hi-fi throbs incessantly to such music as the Shorty Rogers’ group playing Sweetheart of Sigmund Freud and Chant Of The Cosmos.

For this reason Stan Hellcur. the Toronto Telegram columnist, calls Caplan “the real gone tailor.” meaning that Caplan is a fan of Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, and other bandleaders who stress rhythm above melody and use a composer's score only as a basic theme around which to extemporize

staccato clusters of their own notes.

In Caplan's opinion rock 'n' roll is “strictly for peasants and morons;" melodic dance music is for “moldy figs:” and classical-music lovers are “squares.” Caplan’s opinions on jazz are quoted by Toronto newspapers and he appears as a “chat-back” man on local disc-jockey shows. Caplan is also founder and president of a jazz-fan organization named the Town Club which meets in Toronto nightspots.

More than ten Toronto nightspots now usher Caplan to a reserved seat in

a conspicuous position. The welcome springs from the fact that Caplan, far from being a nuisance to club owners, is a boon.

Although he takes money out of night clubs in orders for suits, he brings more in by publicizing the haunts he frequents. He writes the Man About Town column in the new Canadian showbusiness magazine, Music World. Entertainment-page editors on Toronto's dailies are used to Caplan phoning in gossip items about visiting performers. He discovered, for instance, that George Shearing, the blind pianist, wears a Braille wristwatch and that Duke Ellington sleeps in a yellow bandana to keep his wiry hair under control. Caplan is usually mentioned as the source of these snippets and the club the artist is playing gets a plug.

Three years ago Caplan visited Hollywood and stood in a crowd watching stars enter Ciro’s to celebrate a new Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis night-club act. He elbowed his way forward and noticed that all the stars hailed the maître d’hôtel as “George.” So Caplan walked up and said, “Hi, George.” George, whose job is to know Ciro’s customers, looked apprehensive. He said, “I haven’t seen you around for a long time, sir.” Caplan said, “I’ve been on location in the desert and I just flew in to catch Dean and Jerry.” George summoned a waiter and said, “Show Mr. Ah . . . Mr. Ah . . . to a table.”

“It was the most”

Caplan was shown to a table occupied by Ethel Merman, Jo Stafford, Esther Williams and Fred Clark, who was “the Neighbor Next Door” in the original Burns and Allen TV show. There was some tension until Caplan caught and held the eye of Mack Gordon, the elderly composer of Chattanooga Choo Choo, who was passing with a young blonde on each arm. Gordon returned Caplan’s stare, harrumphed, and then said, “Hi.” Caplan waved and cried, “Hi, Mack.” After that everything went smoothly.

Fred Clark asked Caplan if Caplan didn’t think that he had been right to quit the Burns and Allen show. “Man,” said Caplan, “you were so right. You were getting typed.” When Esther Williams asked Caplan where he had been for so long Caplan said he'd been up in Canada looking over a clothing business he owned. Caplan recalls that Esther Williams became “real friendly.”

He had six drinks and each time the waiter served him he did what the others did. He nodded. By doing this he discovered that he avoided a bill. “When I left,” says Caplan, “I couldn't believe I'd been mixing with all those people. It was too much. It was the most. I don't know who they thought I was or whose account my drinks went on.”

Caplan then filed a thousand words of Hollywood gossip to Alex Barris, Toronto entertainment columnist. Barris gave Caplan half a column and when Caplan returned to Toronto he found new clients galore.

Caplan also loves to see his picture in the papers. He employs a part-time photographer named Bruce Cooper to follow him about, “shoot him” in the company of celebrities, and circulate prints to the Toronto press.

Last summer, when Jayne Mansfield posed for Toronto amateur photographers in leopard-skin briefs and bra. Caplan obtained an introduction to her, executed a quick flanking movement and enclosed her in his arms, taking care not to conceal the famous bosom. There

followed a Hurry during which Caplan got into a cheek-to-cheek pose with the astonished star. At this moment Cooper shot the picture and Caplan was rewarded with the publicity of a two-column cut in several newspapers.

I he next day a dozen customers—who had been reminded by the picture that they needed new suits—called Caplan for appointments.

None could reach him before midday because he protects himself with a telephone-answering service and sleeps late. Between noon and two, he says, he “wakes up naturally.” He asks TAS for his morning messages and spends a couple of hours following up calls. Then he does his clerical work, which is simple because Caplan rarely writes letters. He uses the telephone for all communications, even when he wishes to remind customers of overdue bills. Once he spent thirty dollars in indignant long-distance calls to New York in order to dun an American musician for an overdue account.

While Caplan spends most of his time chasing customers, both good and bad, a few visit his home in the early afternoons.

When I called on Caplan at noon one day the hi-fi was bouncing to the beat of Count Basie in Sixteen Men Swinging. 1 was about to attempt the Olympian feat of keeping up with Caplan through a typical day in his life. Caplan. just up, was wearing pink and white shorts and breakfasting on a glass of lemon tea, a beef sandwich and six chocolate confections named Weston’s Midget Mallows. The telephone rang.

Lowering the hi-fi volume and picking up the receiver Caplan said. "Who’s this?” Tartly a girl replied. “It's the short blonde for this week.” Caplan laughed, covered the mouthpiece, and said to me, "I got big eyes for this chick.” The “chick” berated Caplan for neglecting her and Caplan mollified her by promising her a gift. She said she would like a bed doll. “What kind of bed doll?” asked Caplan. She said, “A tiger bed doll.”

“Listen, baby,” said Caplan, “I'm going down to the Ex today and I'll win you a doll if I have to go broke trying.”

While Caplan bathed, with a lavish use of skin lotion, hair tonic, talcum powder and deodorants, he kept splashing out of the bathroom to lower the hi-fi and answer the clamorous telephone.

Eva Koch, wife of a CBC television stage-hand crew leader, called to ask Caplan to measure her for a suit, explaining that her figure was too unusual for a suit off the rack. “You and Jayne Mansfield!” cried Caplan. “Mansfield can’t buy suits off the rack either. So what are you worrying about already. You got a figure like Jayne Mansfield. I’ll be around.”

Long-haired Clem Hambourg, maverick son of a famous Toronto family of classical musicians, and owner of the jazz spot, House of Hambourg, called to say his wife, Ruth, in addition to doing all the cooking at the night club, renting its rooms on Sunday mornings to revivalists, and running a course in physical culture, had now designed lounging pajamas which had attracted the interest of a manufacturer. How, asked Hambourg, should she charge for the designs?

“On a royalty basis,” said Caplan.

To me, Caplan said, “Everybody wants my advice.”

When he had finished dressing Caplan led me out to his car and switched jazz on the radio. “That’s Joe Ricco of WHLD Buffalo,” he said. “His show’s called Jump for Joe.”

Caplan jumped happily for Joe on the way downtown. He drove to Irishman's plant, which is in the Tip Top Tailors building, to hand in some measurements. As he walked through the Tip Top plant he hailed many old colleagues. "Hi. Caplan." cried one, "When are you gonna give us a picture of you and Jayne Mansfield?”

A young man with a dead-pan face said. “Dave. I've got a fortune of an idea for you. Cuff links for short-sleeved sports shirts. You get your customers to have their wrists pierced like women

have their ears pierced. Then you sell ’em the pins to stick through their wrists and different sets of studs to clip on each end. Cuff links for short-sleeved sports shirts! Gcttit?” Caplan said. "How d’ya like that? This guy's morbid. He oughta see a head shrinker."

Hurrying through one of the clerical departments Caplan chucked under the chin a comely Negro stenographer and left her smiling mysteriously. In a swatchcutting department he pinched the cheek of a pretty blonde. Wherever he went in Tip Top and Leishman’s men and wom-

en greeted him with such remarks as, "How’s Esther Williams. Dave?” and “Who're you taking out tonight, Caplan, Marilyn Monroe?"

In Leishman’s shipping department Caplan picked up two half-finished and two finished suits, and a tartan sport coat. He drove to the CNE and took the two half-finished suits into the Automotive Building. There Ed Eitkin, CBC sports commentator, was commentating for the demonstrations of the professional American golfer Porky Oliver. Between shows Caplan fitted the suits on Eitkin

behind a curtain. As he patted and pinned Fitkin. Caplan talked to Oliver about the bit in the show in which—after some comedy gags—Oliver drives a golf ball off the toe of a volunteer.

“You should build up the comedy suspense,” Caplan advised. He held up a black cummerbund belonging to Fitkin, then said to Oliver, “Tie inis around your eyes and pretend you are going to do the toe shot blindfold. You'll have your audience screaming.” Oliver tried the blindfold during his next show, found it made a good gag, and shouted his thanks to Caplan. “You're welcome,” said Caplan.

Caplan then hurried to the Midway where he spent two dollars trying in vain to win a tiger bed doll. Then he made his way toward the car park. He met so many people he knew he hardly stopped talking. The acquaintances included Tim O’Rourke, a columnist on Hush, Joyce Mancuso, an editorial assistant on Music World, Dick Kerrigan, a clothing-company sales manager, and The Tops, four pretty stenographers from Edmonton who were trying to break into Toronto showbusiness as a vocal quartette.

Caplan also hailed trumpeter Bill Sullivan and saxophonist Art Miscove who were playing in the CNE brass band. “I caught you.” he yelled gleefully. “You’re just a coupla squares.” The musicians grinned sheepishly. “They’re ashamed,” Caplan told me. “They’re jazz men. really. They hate being caught out in those doormen’s uniforms.”

Caplan then met Mike Peterson, another saxophonist who said, “You know that suit you made for me four years ago? Well I burned a hole in the pants. Will you get them fixed?” Caplan said, “How d’ya like that? He buys one suit in four years and then wants me to get the pants fixed.” He said to the saxophonist, “You drive the pants up to my apartment in the morning and leave them in the milk box. You’ll have ’em back in two days, you cheap skate.”

As Caplan was hurrying from the park, munching a twelve-inch hot dog and sipping from a carton of Honeydew, he met a man with the expression of a wounded deer. Caplan exchanged a few quiet words with him. Then he said to me, “You can see he’s a good-looking guy. Well he got two rich chicks to fall in love with him and turn a lot of dough over to him. He’s just come out of prison.”

It was dark now and Caplan decided we needed a drink. He drove to the Park Plaza Hotel and sank a shot of rye and Seven-Up with Alf Coward, a Negro jazz pianist who is playing his way through University of Toronto medical school. Then he drove to the Club One Two and ate a hefty meal. Later, at the Rosedale home of actor John Drainie. he delivered two finished suits. When Drainie tried them on, one of his daughters said, "Oooh, Daddy, you look like Pat Boone.”

Caplan then drove to the suburb of Scarborough and measured Eva Koch for a suit. Next he drove back to central Toronto and measured CBC staffer Helen O’Brien. He delivered the tartan sports coat to Les Foster, leader of the band at the Savarin Tavern. Then he showed swatches to Jackie Long, leader of the band at the Concord Tavern, and to Douglas Kemp, leader of the band at the Masonic Temple Dance Hall.

By now it was eleven o'clock and Caplan decided we must “have a ball.” At the Stage Door he was given a reserved table in the area frequented by television artists. Maureen Cannon, an American singer, was belting out a jazz version of I Belong To Glasgow. She gave Caplan

a wink and announced to the crowd, "Dave Caplan is with us tonight.” One girl in a party of six stenographers said excitedly to her friends, "It's Dave Caplan. the jazz-mad tailor. He's a bachelor.” Caplan acknowledged her desperately available smile with a dignified nod. Then, proudly, he lit a "Celebrity.”

Later Caplan said we should do some table-hopping. He said hello to bandleader Billy O'Connor, to Jackie Rae. the MC. to Barbara Hamilton and Kate Reid, who are television actresses, and to the estranged wife of a well-known comedian. He chatted for a while with Kate Reid's husband, actor Austin Willis, who told Caplan that he will only buy a Caplan suit when Caplan can find a highquality herringbone worsted with herringbones no wider than half an inch.

Toward midnight Caplan invited to his table a crew-cropped young saxophonist named Dave. Hammer, and the young comedian of Spring Thaw fame. Dave Broadfoot. "We're the three Daves,” said Caplan. Broadfoot talked about the difficulties of getting a booking in New York. Suddenly he noticed Caplan studying his sports jacket and flannel pants critically. With a crestfallen air Broadfoot fingered

the pants and murmured, “Eight ninetyfive, just off Broadway.”

At midnight Caplan led his party outside. On Yonge Street they watched a drunk trying to get into the Stage Door. He kept shouting. “I'll get you, buster!" Caplan looked around helpfully and said, “Where's buster?” Nobody seemed to know. Then a cop doubled across the street, seized the drunk, and frog-marched him around the corner. The drunk kept shouting: “Oh! Oh! Oh!”

At this moment Caplan’s party was joined on the sidewalk by a pretty, dark young woman in a scarlet raincoat. Caplan introduced her as Ann Marie Moss, “a great little Toronto jazz singer who’s not appreciated in her own home town.” Miss Moss explained that she was on vacation. She'd never been able to break into Toronto show business, she said, and had to earn her living singing “corny ballads” in U. S. bars. Caplan said that Miss Moss was too plump to make a hit. “I'm not," said Miss Moss. "You are.” cried Caplan. “Em not." she said. “You are.' he cried. With blazing eyes Miss Moss took two steps back, threw open her coat, and said, “Take a look at that." Caplan studied Miss Moss's figure and said, “Ten pounds overweight.” Miss Moss said. “Em not." Caplan said. “Well, five pounds anyway.” Miss Moss flounced off. “A great kid.” said Caplan.

A fewminutes later Caplan sat down to baked spare ribs and beer with Broadfoot, Hammer and me in the dining

room of the Town Tavern. We were joined by George Robb, Caplan’s architect customer, and a gorgeous blonde who nodded her head dreamily to the modern jazz of the Norm Amadio Trio. When the trio didn't get much applause Amadio held up a white flag and played on the piano a spoof of the melodic kind of music “squares” are supposed to like. There w'as a roar of superior laughter from the jazz fans and after that Amadio got plenty of applause.

The singer was a beautiful American Negro named Lorlean Hunter who. after her show', joined Caplan. It turned out that one night in New York Caplan had rescued her from a sailor. Miss Hunter indicated two handsome young Negro men who were waiting for her at another table and told Caplan they were becoming "too possessive.” But Caplan wasn't interested in knight errantry this time. He wanted to take me to the House of Hambourg.

At the bottom of a rickety staircase, in a cellar of vaulted brickwork, hung with oil paintings of famous jazz artists and lit by many candles, a quintette was playing esoteric jazz under the leadership of Jack Lander, a bearded Australian. The House of Hambourg is dry and most of the audience were clean-cut youngsters from the University of Toronto. They drank ginger ale and munched sandwiches. ,

Clem Hambourg, a man in late middle-age with tawny hair hanging about his shoulders, a rumpled suit, a tie all awry, and the sort of expression you see on absent-minded professors in comic strips, showed Caplan a photograph of a scantily dressed woman with a nubile figure. She was standing in the classic pose of the Greek urn carrier. Hambourg said she was one of his wdfe’s physicalculture students and asked Caplan to guess her age. Caplan guessed thirty-five. Hambourg clapped his hands triumphantly and cried, "She’s ninety! Truly! A veritable Ninon de Léñelos!”

Then out of the crowd came Ann Marie Moss and offered to sing. She sang wistful jazz numbers which enraptured the youngsters. When she had finished they applauded and cried “Bravo!” and “Hooray!” Caplan shouted “Hooray!” several times and then clutched my arm. “Don’t mention I said ’Hooray,’ ” he said. “It’s considered corny.” Ann Marie Moss had forgotten the quarrel over her weight and joined Caplan’s party. She said over and again how she wished she could break into Toronto show business. Caplan said, “You'll have to take some weight off.” This time she smiled.

At three-thirty the House of Hambourg closed and Caplan drove me to his home. He put Benny Goodman on the hi-fi, lay on his back on the chesterfield and then, in the manner of a patient talking to a deaf psychiatrist, began to shout above the music about the beginnings of his life.

Between the World Wars his Russianborn father ran a second-hand store in the poor Jewish quarter of Toronto. When he died, five years after Dave Caplan's birth, the family moved into a walkup cold-water fiat. Mrs. Caplan and Dave's two older sisters went out to work.

At fourteen Dave Caplan studied at the Central High School of Commerce where he began to hero worship a buddy named Teddy Roderman who had a trombone and played in a group engaged for high-school hops. Caplan wanted to emulate Roderman but he couldn't afford a trombone, so he had to be content with following his hero around and doing small chores for the band.

Once Roderman was engaged to play at Ridley College, a boys’ boarding

school in St. Catharines. Roderman lent Caplan a white jacket and a pair of blue pants and invited him to tag along. When Caplan walked into the college ballroom he was indignant because all the students were also dressed in white jackets and blue pants. “I like to be different,” he explained.

He took a girl for a walk in the grounds and just as he was about to disappear with her into the darkness a porter ran up and said. "You know the rules. No ladies beyond the light of the arclamps.” Caplan said, “Listen, you. I don’t

go to this lousy school. Em with the orchestra.” With the air of a man who’s produced a passport he conducted the girl into the trees.

When he was sixteen Caplan went to work in a factory, ironing the felt crowns of men's hats. He received six one-dollar bills and seventy-five cents in silver every Friday. He gave the bills to his mother and kept the silver. Later he moved to Tip Top Tailors and started by lugging a trolley full of half-made suits from one department to another. Eventually he became a "ticket marker,” a fifty-a-week

job that involved interpreting measurements for the cutters.

He was still hobnobbing with musicians. In return for their companionship Caplan used to scour Toronto for rooms where they could hold jam sessions free. Once, after looking for a room in vain, he went in desperation to the Red Cross Lodge of Christie Street Hospital and told the matron that a few friends of his would like to play sweet music for the convalescent patients. A room was made available. Dozens of patients arrived in wheel chairs. A few seconds after the jam session started there was a jam of wheel chairs at the door as the patients tried to escape.

Roderman became one of Toronto’s foremost radio musicians and suggested that Caplan should make extra money by tailoring suits in his spare time for “cool cats.” Caplan’s first “name” customer was Billy O'Connor. O’Connor introduced Caplan to Dick MacDougal. Since then Caplan has never looked back.

As soon as Caplan began to earn good money his two sisters stopped work-

ing and married. Caplan lived with his mother in the cold-water fiat, until her death eighteen months ago. Then he moved to his present apartment. He took with him a long-playing record of his mother singing plaintive Yiddish songs. At five o'clock on that morning that ended a typical day in Caplan’s life he put the record on the hi-fi. The songs, so different from the jazz on which he thrives, brought tears to Caplan’s eyes. When he removed the record he said, “Don’t say anything about this. The boys will think I’m square.”

As if to drum the memory of the old Jewish songs out of my mind, Caplan put on, and turned up to full blast, Stan Kenton playing Artistry Jumps.

1 tottered out into the dawn. As I walked away Caplan shouted, “I’ll make you a suit." I turned wearily and shouted back, “Look, Caplan, the only suit I need right now is a wooden one.” Caplan roared. “Ho! Ho! Say, that’s good. Yeah, that’s real good. I’ll tell you what. I’ll use it in my column. Yeah man. I’ll give you a plug.” ★