Everybody's favorite intermezzo is Max Werner-Kersten's Bummel Petrus (Peter the Vagabond), no? It's mine, for sure, though it sounds an awful lot like a polka.
Something else it sounds an awful lot like--the Hogan's Heroes theme. Listen to the first two bars, and you'll hear what I mean. Weirder yet, the start-and-stop nature of the piece, combined with the wonderful whistling chorus toward the end, makes this sound like a much later production. Except for the surface noise, which brings everything back to 1928 and shellac and worn gramophone needles. Ah, those were the days.
This has to be the coolest polka I've ever heard:
Bummel Petrus--Intermezzo (M. Werner-Kersten), International Novelty Orchestra, dir. by Nat Shilkret. Possibly 1928. From a much-played 78.
Now we jump ahead eleven years to more swingin' times, courtesy of the most swingin' outfit of them all--Andre Kostelanetz'. Actually, this one swings more than adequately--and what an imaginative arrangement by Phil Wall, who arranged and played piano for Paul Specht in the 1920s. Looks like Phil also played piano for the Hit of the Week Orchestra. Now we know.
There are some Spike-Jones-style touches to listen for: the ocarina and piccolo solos, and the wonderful each-note-played-by-a-different-instrument moment that occurs in the first half. And I thought Jones pioneered that gimmick. Oh, and don't miss the Bolero borrowing:
Bugle Call Rag (Pettis-Meyers-Schoebel), Andre Kostelanetz Presents, 1938. From Brunswick 78.
Damn, that was good. Unfortunately, the flip--Turkey in the Straw--is beyond hope. It looks O.K., but it's got invisible groove damage. Probably from being played with an invisible needle.
Ha, ha! Get it? An invisible needle!
Hm. The cats aren't laughing at my joke. I think they might be asleep....
Lee, composer of the Cats Everywhere Polka