I present you with another estate sale find. As you can see by the caption, this is the 1937 Al Chymia Temple Oriental Band. Just look at their fancy robes and sashes and headdresses and boots — oh, what a shame this old photo isn't in color.
I’m not sure what kind of music this band performed, since the only instruments they are holding seem to be little drums and what appear to be either kazoos or harmonicas. Since they are supposedly “oriental” maybe it’s some other gadget entirely. Probably not harmonicas.
I’d like to point out some interesting details. First of all, you have to look carefully, but those fancy “exotic” moustaches are painted on. And one fellow in the front row (second from left) seems to have forgotten his oriental-style footwear, since he’s wearing plain old lace-up dress shoes.
I don’t even want to know who, or what, that “lady” is doing with these guys.
Finally, I hope local history buffs recognize the location. They are standing on the steps of the old Cossitt Library downtown, in my humble opinion one of the most wonderful buildings ever erected in Memphis — a turreted sandstone castle overlooking the river — but demolished to make way for a new, modern building that most people walk by without even noticing.
You’ve got their last names at the bottom of the image. Does anybody recognize their grandfather or some other relative in this photo?