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The Mort Report

A Brief History of Ragtime to 3/4 aka A Waltz Through the Cosmic Thought Process

By Published: August 21, 2013
My song is ending now. As I exit. center stage—my performance but a memory to those who watched and heard—the theater door will close behind me, never to open again. The cold, sad gloomy winter wind beckons to me in its mournful dance to endless horizon's that seem much closer now than in the morn. A slow-shuffling gait brings me closer and closer to its vastness of thought and oneness with the regions of being that encompasses it's scope of existence. The hills, the snow, the laughter—her laughter!—sing throughout my every fiber of feeling that this tired, very used body of mine can resonate with all of the love that a man, this man—Me!!—will ... never ... never ... know ... again. The Song Has Ended, but ... Finito, thus.

Afterthoughts from and about me.

I was born in 1935 doing the great depression in Mckeesport. Pennsylvania. Came to Los Angeles California in 1945 with my parents, in a 1941 Chevrolet, highway 40 to St. Louis—to the (very old two-lane) Route 66. Grew older in L.A.: ran and played and surfed its beaches; hiked in the hills and nearby mountains; and saw and felt the magic that permeated the very air in and around a dying Hollywood of old.

I worked and performed in the new medium—television—throughout my teens. Graduating Susan Miller Dorsey High School June 1952, I was drafted into the Army November 1954-1956, the 1st Infantry Division ("The Big Red One"). Upon my return to civilian life, I took a look around me and... "Let the Good Times Roll."

I worked and played tenor sax in and around Hollywood/Reno/Las Vegas in various rock 'n' roll and R&B bands, learned how to drink and take uppers to hit that just right groove/feeling that, at 23 years of age, knows no boundaries or limits—only the groove...oh yeah, only the groove, man!

195,7 formed my own band (see "Mort Wise and The Wisemen"). We, in the parlance of the day before yesterday—rocked!. Literally built a nightclub with all the people we drew in each night.

We rocked Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno, Long Beach—and people and places that don't even exist anymore (did they really ever?) It was such a long time ago!

Partied and partied and played my horn and partied nonstop for three or four years; met and lived with someone off and on; fathered two children: a girl/daughter and boy/son. Partied and partied and played my horn; 1962, my mother commits suicide...partied, played my horn. Did numerous jail times, mostly for being drunk and disorderly and fighting. Partied and partied; didn't play my horn much—it really was sex, drugs and bebop! Vodka, cheap wine, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, pot, three packs of Salems and hash. Drove a taxicab in Hollywood at night (stoned) for a year; drove a Good Humor ice cream truck, worked as a roofer—a deconstructing crew—didn't party much; painted a two-story office building (inside and out) by myself on Melrose, three blocks west of Vine St in Hollywood.

Was a kept man (a gigolo, if you will) in Hollywood for about a year—movie industry wives and like that! Didn't have an automobile for five years, ended up living in the streets of L.A. and sleeping in all-night Laundromats. Got lucky and got a week's lodging in a Salvation Army board and care rest home for all the broken down people out on the streets. Finally woke up in a padded cell in the main police building downtown Los Angeles and, as I stood there naked—looking at the rust-colored walls and floor and ceiling—it very strongly occurred to me that I just might be doing something wrong with my life and from that moment on...

Wel,l here I am—78 years old and feelin'—real good! Hope y'all' dug the read! I remain— --Mort Weiss

Photo Credit

Steve Gugerty

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