Tex Beneke died 30th May 2000

In 1938 Tex received a phone call from a guy he did not know called Glenn Miller. Glenn offered Tex a job in his new band and Tex after some haggling over pay decided that he'd take the job as it may well get him eventually to New York where the action was.

The outcome of this association is well known now of course but prior to all that happening Tex Beneke a young man of 16 was studying classical
music where he met a young lady by the name of Autie Culver.

Autie Marie Culver

Out of the blue recently or should I say through the wonders of the Internet I receive a letter from Lou Bilder the daughter of Autie Marie Culver who, together with information from her brother was able to tell me something
of those days when Tex was just a budding teenage Saxophone player.

Lou's mother was studying classical music at the same time as Gordon Beneke. (This would be around 1930). On Sunday mornings she would play piano in the First Christian Church in Fort Worth, and on Saturday nights Autie Culver would play piano in a local swing band. Gorden Beneke also wanted to play in this band but his mother would not let him. Autie's mother and friend of Gordon's mother was able to talk Gorden's mother in allowing him to sit in with the band.
At first the bandleader Lonnie Hellums asked how old Gordon was and when he found out he said, “no he was too young”. However he did agree to hear him play. Once he heard how good he was, Gordon Beneke was in the band.

This unique picture sent to me by Lou show the band on stage. The young Tex Beneke second from left (can't you tell) and Lou's mother Autie at piano.

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