Information about most of the players and endorsers pictured in the early Epiphone catalogs is hard to find. Therefore, if you have any information whatsoever about the players pictured in the galleries below, please let us know.
The influential duo of Dick Mc Donough and Carl Kress were among the earliest endorsers to be featured in Epiphone literature. Mc Donough held the guitar chair with the A&P Gypsies on the supermarket chain’s popular radio program, while his partner Kress was a member of Paul Whiteman’s huge orchestra. They were followed by Allen Reuss with Benny Goodman, Carmen Mastren with Tommy Dorsey, Hilton Lamare with Bob Crosby, Freddie Green with Count Basie, Oscar Moore with Nat King Cole, and most prominently George Van Eps with Ray Noble and the Dorsey Brothers. (F&F p. 190)
There were cross-endorsements in the late 1930s with many popular radio “hours”. Epiphone guitars and artists could be heard nightly, coast-to-coast on such sponsored shows. There were also cross-endorsements with major motion pictures in which Epiphone instruments and endorsers played supporting roles. (F&F p. 190)
The 1940’s and 1950’s gave rise to a new generation of electric guitarists. Harry Volpe, Al Caiola and Billy Bauer could be seen playing Epiphone electric guitars as they plugged in to their Electar amplifiers. (F&F p. 192)
” It is interesting to note the appearance of several African-American guitarists in the Epiphone catalogs. It is well into the 1940’s before Epiphone’s Kalamazoo rival would feature any African-American faces in its literature.Â Perhaps the contrast can be explained in part by Epiphone’s cosmopolitan location in Manhattan, a considerable more vital crossroads for entertainment than Gibson’s home base in the Midwest.” (F&F, p. 191)