Cast: Evelyn Whorton

Emcee & vocalist
Evelyn Whorton, mistress of ceremonies & vocalist

Evelyn Whorton sings the title track for “Pitch a Boogie Woogie,” her only known recording.

From Cincinnatti, she was performing with Irvin C. Miller’s Brownskin Models when they played Greenville in July 1947 and filmed their parts of “Pitch.” For unknown reasons, the Rhythm Vets were hired to provide music for her song as well as the other performances in “Pitch” by those in the Models.

“She was a good singer,” Willie Jones said, “an extra good singer.” He was surprised at her role in “Pitch,” though:  “”I never knew she was good at emceeing things until this, ’cause she was always, you know, singing. She was a good talker, I knew, ’cause we could do bits with her sometimes. She would do bits with the old man [William Earl].”

He described the “doll bit” she did with him and William Earl: “We would have some money, and we want to buy something, invest. And I invest his money in a doll. “

And he says, “Man, you took my money and bought a doll?”

And I say, “Yea, I bought a doll.”

He says, “Man, I can’t do nothin’ with no doll, I need my money.”

And I says, “But you don’t understand. This doll, this doll can do anything.”

He says, “That doll can do anything?””

I say, “Yeah.”

So he says, “Let’s see that doll.”

So I  bring the doll out. “Well,” I say, “this doll’s got three buttons. . . “

At this point, the UNC-TV transcriber types “can’t use this story but you’ll have it on tape,” so for now you’ll have to guess where the buttons were. The tape is at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Susan Massengale papers, where one day I’ll hear it and get the rest of this story, again.

Meanwhile, the transcriber gets back to work.

“Would she keep a straight face during all of this?” I asked.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “She was good. And she could talk a while on it.”

In a typical Models show, Whorton would usually perform three songs, the third an encore. 

Jones said that she married a saxophone player named Baker who played in the Models band and  she became known thereafter as Evelyn Baker.

She appears  as Evelyn Whorton on Models rosters into 1949. 

“Come on, honey, I’ve got money. I’ve got schemes and I’ve got dreams. . . .” Evelyn Whorton sings the title track while three from the Brownskin Models watch–Willie Jones at right.

–March 20, 2024