Note: The archives of William "PoPsie" Randolph (1920 - 1978) are being researched extensively for an upcoming book "Photography by PoPsie - The Legend of Broadway". In a long and prolific career spent haunting the recording studios, jam sessions, concert halls and nightclubs of New York City, Randolph chronicled the raucous postwar transformation of American Music — from swing and jazz to rhythm & blues and rock & roll — more vividly and more avidly, than any photographer of his era.
It is said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity and in the first half of the 20th Century, there were none who were more prepared than William "PoPsie" Randolph.
"PoPsie" first met Benny Goodman when he hanging around the New York City radio stations that broadcast the great Jazz players of the day. Benny had the kid help him with some band gear and tipped him 5 dollars. "PoPsie" never forgot Benny's kindness and vowed that he would someday join Benny's band.
"PoPsie" loved Jazz music and had purchased a trumpet and practiced on it until he was mildly proficient. But he wasn't good enough to crack the ranks of the Jazz world as a musician, so he decided to use his smarts to get in to the band in other ways. He hooked up with the Ida Ray Hutton all-female Orchestra as a band boy or "gopher" and became legendary among the musician ranks with his constant jabbering and random acts of signing his name any place his band would visit.
He later hooked up with the Woody Herman band and was a valuable source of information about where the best places to eat were and what musicians were available to steal away from rival orchestras. But "PoPsie" wanted to be with the biggest and best band at the time... Benny's !
His opportunity came when word got around that Benny was putting back together his band after a long layoff and needed someone who was a real go-getter to put the word out. "PoPsie" heard through the grapvine that this position wasn't filled yet and he decided that he was the man for the job.