My friend Anthony DiFolio sent me this news this morning. I thought other
ARSC members would find the info useful. Wil traveled the long distance to the
Syracuse Conference with Fred Williams and I and regaled us with lots of great
 stories of his "Victor" days.

Steve Ramm

    Subj: Wilfrid Graham-RIP   Date: 6/22/2005 12:39:17 AM Eastern Standard
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Wilfrid Graham

  Our Friend  Wilfrid Graham passed away on June 20th at the age of 96.  He
had been  residing at the Bryn Mawr Terrace, but he had been a longtime
resident of  Wynnewood, PA. What a truly unforgettable character he was to all who
had the  priviledge to know him.  Wil was much more than just a record
collector, he  was an eyewitness to much of the entertainment world of the twentieth
Wil was born in New  York City and was interested in music from an early age.
 He attended  George Washington High School and wrote for the school paper
the Cherry  Tree.  He so impressed his teacher that he was able to get free
passes to  the Metropolitan Opera as a reviewer!  This was during the 20's the
golden  age of the Met.  No, he never saw Caruso, but Gigli and Martinelli were
favorites. Lawrence Tibbett was his idol. Wil loved classical and  popular
music equally.  He spent as much time at the RKO Palace watching  vaudeville as
he did at the Met. Wil attended the earliest Vitaphone exhibitions  and always
delighted in telling of the time that the violinist played on screen  and no
sound was heard! He saw all the greats of vaudeville in the 20's like  Billy
Murray and Irving Kaufmann. In fact, in later years Wil and Irving would  become
close personal friends.
As a young man during  the great depression, he so impressed Louis Katzman,
the program director of  WINS-AM radio in New York that he was hired as the
first classical music disc  jockey in 1937. (He had all of Katzman's recordings!)
This led to his being  hired by RCA Victor for the 1940 New York World's
Fair.  Will was a  record presenter at the RCA Victor Pavilion.  He was so
successful that  Victor hired him and he moved down to Camden, NJ. for a golden
decade with Nipper.  Later in the decade, Will used his encylopaedic  knowledge of
Victor's classical catalog that he started the Vintage Series of  prestigious
classical rereleases with a distinctive gold label and sleeve.   Wil ordered
rare unreleased masters and alternate takes from the unsuspecting  guardians
of the vaults to the delight of hardcore collectors.  He left RCA  in 1950 and
spent the better part of the next three decades on the road as a  sales
representative for high end audio manufacturers like Sansui.
He and his wife Helene  enjoyed their home in Wynnewood that they shared with
their son Tony and Wil's  magnificent collection of 78 rpm records,photos,
vintage victrolas and  cylinder players; and Wil's fabulous set of original
vintage Lionel Trains.  Until his health declined in recent years, he faithfully
took the autotrain down  to Ft. Lauderdale for his winter sojourn. (And to
visit his collection of  popular personality records!)
Well into his late 80's  the dapper Mr. Graham would come down to
Philadelphia for our weekly Friday  afternoon luncheons, and regale us with his great
stories. He would  frequently appear on the "Sunshine, Music Memories radio
program with  Smiling Lou Powers and recount those priceless memories for an
appreciative  audience.  He was a longtime member of ARSC, and will be fondly
remembered  by his fellow record collectors and musical enthusiasts.
Wilfrid Graham will be  buried next to his beloved Helene in New York. His
magnificent collection   of musical memorabilia has been consigned to Lawrence
Holdrige. I hope that  those who win some of his priceless items will
appreciate the love and devotion  he showed over many years to acquire them.

Anthony DiFlorio III