An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

15,000 Records in Villa Park

Life changed for the better in 2005. That was the summer I purchased some 200 LPs from an estate sale for the paltry sum of $5, which included a swank gold-tone record stand. They were all from the '50s and '60s, a well cared-for mix of bossa nova and cha cha, orchestras and organists and vocalists, most of which I had never heard of before.

I didn't even own a turntable at the time, but that was soon remedied at a nearby Circuit City for around $100. And since that time, my collection has grown to about 1,000 records. Which seemed like a lot, until I stepped into the garage of this Villa Park ranch.

Knowing what 1,000 records look like, I can conservatively estimate this collection at around 15,000.

There were more records here than a county courthouse.

Along with a staggering number of 45s.

It was a good thing I wasn't in a hurry, or had someone with me that day who was. Because I intended to go through every single one of them.

And of course there were gems, like this soundtrack from The Saga of the Dingbat. This all-but forgotten show from 1965 was an industrial musical sponsored by the New York Herald-Tribune. Today, copies go for around $24 and up on Amazon.com.

This 1956 album doesn't even turn up on Google Shopping, which technically makes it priceless, I suppose. And it could have been mine for $1. Once again, untold riches slip through my foolish hands.

Wikipedia lists Mickey Katz as a musician and comedian who specialized in Jewish humor. He went on to father Cabaret's Joel Grey and was grandfather to Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey.

Caution: Men Swinging is a big-band jazz album, though the title makes me think of something entirely different. Actual retail price: $14 and up.

As you may know, Elsa Lanchester played the Bride of Frankenstein in the movie of the same name. Obviously she went on to much, much scarier things.

I didn't buy this, and I should have, because it's very old and pre-dates the whole natural childbirth movement that really caught hold during the '90s. My only excuse is that there were so many records that this one's fantastic oddness was simply drowned in all the competition.

This record just naturally follows the one before.

And finally, this exercise album by Debbie Drake, who was the Patio Diet Cola girl back in 1963. (Which was a real thing, not made up by the writers of Mad Men, god bless their historically accurate hearts.) My parting shot: I'm not sure if those photos of Debbie are illustrating calisthenics or positions from the Kama Sutra. Possibly both.

Purchased: Carol Burnett, Carol Burnett Remembers How They Stopped the Show; Hertz Truck Rental, Music to Move Families By; three others I can no longer recall, $5.

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