[78-L] Alvino Rey and The Kings

Geoffrey Wheeler dialjazz at verizon.net
Thu Apr 22 07:41:17 PDT 2010

Majestic Records Inc., 29 West 57th Street, New York City, entered the 
phonograph recording industry as a wholly owned subsidiary of the 
Majestic Radio & Television Corp., headquartered in the picturesque 
river town of St. Charles, Ill. The formation of Majestic Records was 
announced by Eugene A. Tracey, president of Majestic Radio & 
Television, Chicago. James J. “Jimmy” Walker (born June 19, 1881 in New 
York City; died November 18, 1946, in New York City), former Mayor of 
New York, was elected president of the new firm. Other officers 
included: executive vice-president, Eli Oberstein, New York; 
vice-president, Parker Erickson, Chicago; treasurer, C. E. Underwood, 
Chicago; and secretary, Curtis Franklin, New York. According to Radio & 
Television Retailing [March 1945, page 126]: “To form Majestic Records 
Inc., the parent company contracted to purchase three established 
concerns in the recording field—all headed by Eli Oberstein, who has 
been associated with the recording industry since 1924. The three 
companies involved are: Transcriptions Inc., New York; Classic Record 
Co., New York; and New Jersey Plastics Inc., Newark, N.J. The 
facilities of the latter, a factory, makes possible a pressing capacity 
that assures Majestic early establishment in the industry” The company 
announced in December 1945 that it was building a West Coast plant in 
Burbank, Calif. that would be devoted exclusively to the pressing of 
Majestic records. Walker had been elected president of Majestic Records 
Tuesday, February 13, 1945, per a report in the New York Times February 
14, 1945 (page 22, col. 6). The Wednesday, May 2, 1945 issue of Variety 
noted on page 51 that long-time recording supervisor and conductor, Ben 
Selvin (born March 5, 1898; died July 15, 1980), had joined Majestic as 
assistant to the president, Jimmy Walker. All was not serene at 
Majestic, however, because Selvin sued Oberstein for $75,000 as 
commission on the sale of Hit Records to Majestic (Variety, September 
26, 1945, page 50). A follow-up article in the Wednesday, November 7, 
1945 issue of Variety (page 51) reported Selvin and Oberstein had 
settled the suit out of court for an undisclosed sum.

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