TEX HOWARD's BAND played something billed as an "Airplane Dance" at the Glide Hall in South Kelso, Washington, in 1930. That venue served that town in two distinct ways: as place for roller-skaters to glide around the hardwood floor – & then as a dancehall in the evenings.
Howard had been musically active for some time prior to this event. On December 24, 1926 Spokane's Spokesman-Review ran an ad for the Davenport Hotel which invited people to attend a Christmas Day dinner that would feature Howard & his 10-piece "all-artist" orchestra. On February 24, 1927, the place touted "Musicale Luncheons" which featured Howard & his Davenport Hotel Orchestra.
By 1931 Tex Howard & his Tigers took on a year-long stint at Seattle's Trianon Ballroom (2nd Avenue & Wall Street) and Musicland magazine noted gushed how "They are one of the finest home-town groups...It's difficult to keep the crowds still during the intermission. So enticing and dance-provoking is the music, that the dancers hate to see the orchestra pause for even a moment."
In '34 Howard's orchestra gigged on KFOX radio in Long Beach, California. Then on February 9, 1935 the band – which included his brother Wyatt Howard on vocals – cut "Let's Honeymoon Again" for Decca Records. Two days later, they cut three more songs ("Put On An Old Pair Of Shoes," "Love Dropped In For Tea," & "Somebody's Birthday"). The result was a pair of 78 rpm singles.
Soon Howard's band was back at the Trianon, which is where the UW's Junior Prom was held on March 5, 1936. The Tyee yearbook noted the oh-so-clever maritime theme of the dance: "When the S. S. Junior Prom cleared Seattle docks from the Trianon Ballroom, on its 'Transatlantic Journey'...450 couples were aboard. It was a grand voyage with none of the inconveniences of passports, luggage or mal de mer. Stars twinkled down upon coeds in filmy formals and their escorts in conventional black and white as they danced on the spacious 'deck.' Red and green lights marked the port and starboard sides of the big liner and life preservers and pillars disguised as masts added to the naval theme. The twelve-piece ship's orchestra, conducted by Tex Howard, was enthroned in the stern while the hall's balcony became a pilot house. Nattily uniformed ship's employees worked in the baggage (check) room...".
By the 1940's brother Wyatt had split off & formed his own orchestra which: featured the vocalist "Carol Ross" (aka Jeanne Tutmarc, sister to Seattle musician, Paul Tutmarc); was based out of the Town & Country Club (1421 8th Avenue); & recorded for Linden Records.
Meanwhile in 1948, Kelso's country bandleader, Roger Crandall, bought the old Glide Hall & his Barn Dance Boys performed there many a Saturday night. As the 1950s rolled around numerous national Country stars played the hall including Tommy Duncan, Ray Price, Tex Ritter, & the Maddox Brothers & Sister Rose. In addition, a few of the Northwest's up-&-comers such as Yakima's Tex Mitchell, Tacoma's Buck Owens, & Salem's Snead Family performed there. Then, when rock 'n' roll broke out, touring rockabilly stars like Buddy Knox drew a teenaged crowd, as did one of Oregon's very first rock bands, the Teen Kings.