Meredith Willson, 1937
Willson was born in Mason City, Iowa, in 1902. He studied piano and
flute at the Damrosch Institute of Musical Art, and by age 19 had
become a solo flutist with the New York Philharmonic. He relocated to
San Francisco in the mid 1920's, and quickly gained notoriety as the
Music Director for KFRC, before becoming NBC's West Coast Music
Director in 1932, succeeding Max Dolin. During this time, he was also
busy writing original compositions and early motion picture scores.
In 1957, his most famous work, "The Music Man", would open on
ABOVE: Meredith Willson, Music Director of the "Carefree Carnival" program, during rehearsal with the
Williams Sisters: Top standing is Laura Williams, middle is Alice Sizer and sitting is Ethelyn Williams.
(Thanks to David Alexander, the son-in-law of Alice Sizer Ludes, for making the photo available.)
In this 1936 photo, he's shown rehearsing with Estelle Caen, a
gifted young San Francisco pianost — and the sister of the beloved San
Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen — who was preparing to appear
on Willson's coast-to-coast broadcast on the NBC Blue Network.