The “Victory Quartet” was in political harmony with fellow Republicans when it performed on the GOP “No Third Term” broadcast at 6:30 pm on October 23rd, 1940 on WSLB radio in Ogdensburg.
The musicians had been singing much longer that FDR, who they hoped to turn out of office.
The quartet had been a regular feature on the campaign trail in St. Lawrence County every two years since 1920, when Republican Warren Harding won election.
Republican state Assembly candidate Rhonda Fox Graves, campaigning with the quartet in 1924, said the volunteer quartet was better than a New York City quartet that was paid $2,000 a night.
“The Victory Quartet of Ogdensburg, which has been so popular in previous campaigns, is already rehearsing in preparation for the coming meetings,” the Courier and Freeman of Potsdam reported in 1936.
The quartet that year showed up and sang at a rally in Heuvelton, even though the “Victims of Future Taxes Caravan,” the scheduled headliner, had returned to New York City the previous day because of vehicle motor troubles.
The quartet’s repertoire included vocal standards such as “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” and “Hey Diddle Diddle,” patriotic tunes, and original and parody campaign songs written by first tenor Charles D. “Boo” Ingram, a long-time St. Lawrence County Republican chairman.
In 1928, the repertoire included, “Someday We’re Going to Change Our President,” and “A Man Named Smith Is Running.”
In 1938, The Advance-News of Ogdensburg parodied the parody makers with an editorial quip, “The Victory Quartet will now sing: ‘Adieu, Mr. Dewey, Adieu. We did our best for you.’”
The quartet formed in 1919 to sing at Victory Loan war bond rallies and switched to politics the next year.
The quartet also sang at charity events and funerals.
The quartet first sang on radio April 8th, 1925 on WCAD at St. Lawrence University in Canton.
The quartet sang on Republican campaign broadcasts in 1936 and 1938 on CFLC of Prescott, Ontario, across the St. Lawrence River from Ogdensburg.
Members in 1940 were Ingram, second tenor Hyman Fisher, first bass Charles Bowman and second bass Harry “Choppy” Proctor.
Other members over the years included John Stevens and Charles Hastings.
Photo: Thomas E. Dewey.