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Archives on the Air 287: Trumpeter of the Golden Age – Joseph B. Colling papers

Making a successful living as a musician takes drive, determination and a bit of luck. That’s exactly what Joe Colling had. In 1908 he got his start playing the cornet in an orphanage band. By the time he was sixteen, he decided to become a professional musician. Fortunately for him, he was in Los Angeles, where the movie business was soon to enter the Golden Age.

He found work in movie theatres accompanying silent films. Colling joined the musicians’ union in 1914 and was soon invited to join the Long Beach Municipal Band. He played trumpet in an Army band during World War I, and then returned to Los Angles, where he worked with Al Jolson on some of the first movies with recorded sound.

Colling continued to record movie scores and was an accomplished band leader and musician until his retirement at the age of 74.

Read the Joseph B. Colling papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about music during the Golden Age of Hollywood.