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This is sad news. I had the pleasure of meeting Wil years ago at a
convention in NY, and we passed away the better part of a couple of
hours chatting. Some fascinating stories. I hope someone has copied them
down.

--Scott D. Smith

Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Steve Ramm wrote:

>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
>Time  From: [log in to unmask] (mailto:[log in to unmask])   To:
>[log in to unmask] (mailto:[log in to unmask])   Sent from the Internet _(Details)_
>(aolmsg://06980430/inethdr/3)
>
>Wilfrid Graham
>1909-2005
>
>  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
>century.
>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
>
>
>
>