Horace Heidt Sr. was the much-heralded Big Band leader who, during the 1930s and 1940s, was a mainstay on radio with six massive radio shows to his name as well as an incredible succession of more than 50 hit records dating from 1937 to 1945. The native Californian not only played with but discovered and encouraged innumerable artists, including the King Sisters, Art Carney, Glenn Miller, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Alvino Rey, Gracie Allen, and dozens of others.
Besides his extraordinary musical accomplishments, this multi-talented human being was
also a forward-thinking investor. In 1940, he purchased property in the San Fernando Valley and built The Horace Heidt Hawaiian Estates
- 150 apartment buildings located in Sherman Oaks, CA. He bought the property in order that his band
might have a place to bunk down when they were working in nearby Hollywood.
All of these wonderful moments - and many, many more - are documented in Horace Heidt: Big Band Star-Maker, a book written and researched by Heidt's son, Horace Jr. Additionally, there are over 500 fascinating photos shot by Heidt's personal photographer.
This is the story of California as it breaks into the 20th century. Heidt Jr. has written lovingly about his father, but at the same time he has picked up on the growth of the West Coast as it transformed from sleepy farmland to musical mecca.
You may recognize the names of Glenn Miller, Tom Dorsey, and Lawrence Welk when a discussion arises about the giants of the Big Band era. But Horace Heidt was every bit as significant as any of them.
After reading this entrancing history about the man, you'll understand why.