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Sunday, September 1, 2013


         Rufe Davis is one of those great old time performers whose name and talent is in the process of being forgotten. Rufe (that’s short for Rufus) got his start in show business as a jazz guitarist. One of his first big breaks was in 1937 with the band of the drummer – big band leader Gene Krupa’s orchestra. Rufe was famous for his comic imitations of animals and musical instruments.
         In his film and television career, Rufe was often featured as the comic sidekick for the lead actor. For much of his career he lived and worked in the San Fernando Valley.
         In 1939 Rufe Davis signed with Republic Pictures in Studio City. He was cast as “Lullaby”, the Republic series “The Three Mesquiteers”  from 1940 to 1942.  Davis was in 14 of this series. From 1963 to 1968, he starred as the railroad brakeman / conductor on the CBS 
television series “Green Acres” and Petticoat Junction.”  
 He became friends with Ralph Muzzillo, Sr. when Ralph worked for Gene Krupa as a trumpeter.
         Rufe Davis is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Burbank.

         Rufe Davis  - Rufus Davidson
         1908 to 1974 
Note: This autographed photo of Rufe Davis, in the collection of Ralph Muzzillo Sr, courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr, has a note superimposed by a publicity photograph likely released by Paramount Pictures. Printed on the picture, it reads:  "Best Wishes Rufe Davis" Written in pen over the printed message is" "To Ralph - Paramount Remember - Rufe Davis." (Click on this image to enlarge it.)

Gene Krupa – drummer – actor – big band era band leader.
1909 – 1973

            Gene Krupa and Ralph Muzzillo Sr. when they played in the Benny Goodman band.  His drum solos were the first ever to be featured American popular music records. He’s the drummer in Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.”  Gene Krupa became the whipping boy for fundamentalist religious groups who found drum music as a tool to seduce and corrupt youth. Swing music and jazz dancing were also attacked by Hitler and other fascists as undermining the purity of the white race. Krupa was watched constantly by police and eventually arrested for possession of two marijuana cigarettes and given three months in prison.

3 comments: said...

Thanks Ralph, for the new photos, they are very interesting. said...

Thanks Ralph, for the new photos, they are very interesting.

Peter Brightman said...

The photo of Gene Krupa at the Palomar Ballroom dedicated to Ralph Muzillo Snr is wonderful - I am a collector or Gene Krupa material for a book I ma writing on his life - if you have any more photos of Gene Krupa during that period with your father or for that matter in any circumstances this would be so deeply appreciated - happy to pay for them if it helps thanks
Peter Brightman