Posts Tagged ‘Dolphin’s Of Hollywood Record Stores Huggy Boy Central’

Huggy Boy and Dolphin’s of Hollywood

April 9, 2008

Billy Ward - Huggy Boy - John DolphinDisc jockey Huggy Boy (RN: Dick Hug, B: Canton, OH; June, 1928) arrived in L.A. in about 1945, signed on the air over KRKD radio out of the window of the Dolphin’s of Hollywood Record Shop on Vernon Ave., “20 magic steps west of Central Ave” in late 1951 or early 1952.

Quickly influential, Hugg maintained a six-decade r&b DJ career in Los Angeles, and became a particular favorite of Mexican fans by catering to their cruising scene with midnight broadcasts over both U.S. and Mexican border stations. He also had at least one record label, Caddy, and was invested in John Dolphin’s Cash label, sold mail order oldies over the air and operated a record shop in Hollywood with Wolfman Jack in the 1960s.

Competing with Hugg was Hunter Hancock on KFVD and various other DJs on mainly low power stations on the upper reaches of the AM dial. Being white and so visible in a Negro district, Huggy Boy caused some confusion and even resentment on the part of the city’s all-white power structure.

From Mike Davis, “City of Quartz,” “While ‘rumblin’’ (usually non-lethally) along this East-West socioeconomic divide, or sometimes in extension of intramural athletic rivalries, the Black gangs of the 1950s had to confront the implacable (often lethal) racism of Chief Parker’s LAPD. Under previous police chiefs, Central Avenue’s boisterous interracial night scene had simply been shaken down for tribute; under Parker – a puritanical crusader against ‘race mixing’ – nightclubs and juke joints were raided and shuttered.

In 1954, John Dolphin, owner of Los Angeles premier R&B record store near the corner of Vernon & Central, organized a protest of 150 Black business people against an ongoing ‘campaign of intimidation and terror’ directed at interracial trade.

According to Dolphin, Newton Division police had gone so far as to blockade his store, turning away all white customers and warning them ‘it was too dangerous to hang around Black neighborhoods.’”