Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Henry R. Thies, Jr. -- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Thies (born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893) became known in Detroit, Michigan, as a "boy wonder" on the violin and rapidly rose to lead his own orchestra in one of the city's top hotels.  In 1926, the orchestra leader brought his stylish brand of symphonic jazz to Cincinnati where appearances at the Chatterbox Club led to a devoted following on local radio.  Well known on the Ohio hotel circuit, Thies also toured on vaudeville and performed in theatres.  In the early thirties, he left the road to become orchestra leader for Cincinnati radio station WLW.  Following a nervous breakdown in 1933, Thies survived an overdose of sleeping pills, but spent 15 months under observation in a sanitarium.  Thies was apparently in good spirits after arriving at his home in the Phelps Apartment at 506 East Fourth Street in the Queen City shortly after 6:00 P.M. on June 12, 1935.  While his wife, 19-year-old son, and a musician-friend waited dinner for him in the dining room, Thies went to the bathroom to change.  The 41-year-old orchestra leader stood in front of a long mirror, placed the muzzle of a .32-caliber pistol in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.

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