Dr. Hoffman brought this strange box to our home, and I thought it looked like the X-
ray machine in his office and shoe store that measured the length and width of my feet to
ensure my shoes fit properly. He let me try the instrument. It was supernatural in sound
and easy to play, but Daddy said it was very difficult to master. Dr. Hoffman was highly
skilled and performed in numerous other films, using the first synthesizer. In more recent
years, I’ve recognized its haunting sounds in a few other films, such as The Lost
Weekend, The Ten Commandments, Batman Forever.
Hollywood loved glamour in those days. The old black and white movies produced
during the forties are a truthful depiction of the lifestyle these privileged people lived.
Whenever he was hired to perform for one of their private parties, my father would leave
home looking like a polished prince, with French-cuffed, stiffly starched white shirts and
beautiful initialed gold cufflinks. On rare occasions, he wore tails, but for the most part
he didn’t project the “penguin” look. Tails were reserved for album covers or very special
occasions, perhaps an elaborate wedding or charity ball.
It wasn’t only movie stars who dressed to the “nth degree” in those days. Men dressed
in suits and ties and women in hosiery, high heels and hats even to have dinner at the
homes of their best friends. Certainly to go to church or synagogue, or to the movie
theater. It was never “the fashion” to wear denim jeans, even to do the gardening. Mother
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