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Apr 20, 2024 - 3:08 PM
1112 posts since 5/31/2004

Yesterday, a friend of mine alerted me to this 1954 Jack Benny Program in which several Hollywood celebrities assembled to do a Dixieland number, Basin Street Blues.  You will see Kirk Douglas (on banjo) Tony Martin, Fred McMurray, Dick Powell, Dan Daily and others. 

I'm not able to positively identify the model of tenor Kirk is playing.  The film resolution is not very sharp and when I freeze the video, the image becomes even blurrier.  It looks to me like it might be a Recording King.  Can anyone positively identify it?

Kirk comes in at about 17:55.  There's a close up of the banjo at about 27:26.

Apr 20, 2024 - 5:03:12 PM

1787 posts since 4/13/2009

maybe this will help


Apr 20, 2024 - 5:09:51 PM

1112 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks for this still. The peghead looks to me like that of a a high-end Slingerland, but I can't tell for sure.

Apr 20, 2024 - 7:05:12 PM

1787 posts since 4/13/2009

If you google "Kirk Douglas banjo" images, you will get a number of them. This was the best from the Jack Benny show that I could find

Apr 20, 2024 - 7:11:26 PM
like this



28 posts since 12/7/2012

That’s why I like the Banjo Hangout. Where else are we going to find out stuff like this?

Apr 21, 2024 - 12:12:12 PM

1112 posts since 5/31/2004

Could this be the same banjo? The inlays are clear enough here for someone to recognize.


Apr 21, 2024 - 12:33:47 PM

1112 posts since 5/31/2004

I just noticed that the flange holes are round, the tone ring is an archtop and the hooks are flat. Maybe it's a William Lange-made banjo.

Apr 21, 2024 - 3:30:22 PM

2348 posts since 5/19/2018

His best one was this…


Apr 21, 2024 - 4:30:16 PM

1112 posts since 5/31/2004

Ha! I saw that as well.

The banjo Kirk is playing in the color photo (with the portly gentleman) seems to be the same banjo in the photo below, a Liberty. I'm beginning to think this is also the one he played on the Benny program.


Apr 21, 2024 - 4:44:17 PM
Players Union Member



1803 posts since 10/11/2004

Ludwig ?

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