The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bantams On The Block

In the late 1920's, British automaker Austin started producing its small cars in the U.S.  After some initial success, American Austin fell victim to the Great Depression, and filed for bankruptcy.  A former Austin salesman bought the company, reorganized it under the name American Bantam, and began producing some very neat little cars in the late 1930's through 1941, when all domestic auto production ceased due to the war.  The Hemmings blog reports that three of them will be sold at auction in September in Canton, Ohio.
Bantam had several claims to fame.  The company designed what would become the original Jeep, before Willys stole the idea and the contract.  The Bantam also provided the inspiration for Donald Duck's car.  Its predecessor, the American Austin, played a pivotal role in the 1931 version of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court starring Will Rogers, Maureen O'Sullivan (the original Jane) and Myrna Loy, when hundreds of the little vehicles emerge from quaint, medieval English cottages to rescue a princess. 

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