Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Once Upon a Diamond…

October 2, 2010

I thought you’d like to hear the story about Al Capone… a Diamond… Prohibition…the “Beer Baron of Chicago”…and an unusual payment of debt, gangster style.

Terry and Joy (Magruder) Stone

During the Prohibition era in Chicago… it wasn’t the Italians who were the “muscle” in the beginning… it was the Irish!… especially on the South Side. The most powerful gang in the gin and beer business was the “Drugan-Lake Gang”, headed by the man known as the “Beer Baron of Chicago”… Terrence (Terry) Drugan. He literally had a lock on all the beer traffic, warehouses, trucks, etc. He had even owned race horses and 1/3 of Arlington Race Track. This was before Elliott Ness. He drove Deusenbergs, a Bugati, Pierce-Arrows or whatever he fancied at the moment. It was said that he actually owned a solid gold toilet seat. I’ve had it confirmed that it was only gold plated! The actor, James Cagney, looked a lot like him and played a character in the movie, “Public Enemy” which was based on, you guessed, Terrence Drugan… grapefruit and all!

Eventually, others saw the possibilities of moving in on the Irish in other areas…headed by a new guy, Al Capone. Drugan allowed Capone to “lease” some of his operations…for a nice price. It worked out well, at first…. but ugly ambition set in, then violence. The Capone people decided that they shouldn’t have to pay to do all the work! So they didn’t. This made Drugan angry… he personally called on Capone to pay up. Capone pleaded poverty and wanted time…. Drugan was having none of it. He then noticed the belt buckle that Capone was wearing. He demanded, “Give me that… the diamond in that belt buckle!” Capone said no… guns were drawn… Drugan insisted…. Capone refused… guns all around were flashing even more than the diamond. Finally, Al Capone realized that he had no choice but to give it up. He ordered his “assistant”, Frank Nitty, to remove the almost 2 carat stone from the buckle with his knife. It didn’t cover the entire debt but it established a strange working relationship between the two men.

Drugan kept the diamond (unmounted) in a safe deposit box where it was found many years later… after his death in 1954. Terry Drugan became the father-in-law that I never met! His son had changed his name from Terrence Joseph Drugan Jr. to Terry Stone… because of the negative baggage attached to the Drugan name in Chicago and points east. His father passed away one month before I met Terry. The Capone Diamond was given to me to honor our engagement/wedding. We took it to Laykin et Cie at I. Magnin in Los Angeles with my own design which placed the stone in the center of a bow of diamonds set in platinum. I wore it for the 10 years of our marriage. Terry passed away in 1965.  Now, I am afraid to wear it, as beautiful as it is. I keep it in a bank vault where it will remain until I pass it on to my daughter and/or grand-daughters.

The Capone diamond can easily be identified because it is an antique mine cut from the 1920’s or earlier…but most importantly…what looks like a defect is actually an identifying asset. The very point of the stone has been cut and blunted. The reason?….because it wouldn’t fit in the buckle…otherwise!!


Live at Joy’s

July 13, 2010

Byron FryThe Jam Session“Jammin’ at Joy’s House” is not unheard of…In fact, Live Music is the absolute norm….that’s everywhere….all the time. But something truly Special happened on March 19, 2010. Super Guitarist Byron Fry came to LA for a gig at the Lighthouse and wanted to “play” on his free night, so…we put together an outstanding group of musicians…Larry Wilmon Williams on EWI; Paul Morin, String Bass and Remo Packer brought his gorgeous drums. Karen Elaine came later and added her magic on Viola!
Paul Morin I had a “feeling” that this might be worth recording….so I brought in Steve Pierson, recording engineer and Greg Dahl, to photograph it all. A little food, cookies and Newcastle turned it into a party!! Even the break was fun…cigars on my front porch (me too!). Anytime Byron and Larry can play off each other…oh well, what can I say?….sexy….exciting….funny….a challenge to the musical Ear! What a spectacular night of Jazz!!
We are planning to capture some new magic in July…when Byron comes down from Bishop, again.

We are now calling the band “Element”. Look for them around town soon….

Romantically Inclined

July 13, 2010

Romantically inclinedA while back… I went to Mexico City to compete in the World Championship (shotguns). I was privileged to be a shooter on the American Team and most of us, as well as the other competitors from the U.S., traveled on the same plane from LA. There wasn’t the security problem we have now. There were enough privately owned guns on that plane to start a revolution! All each of us had to do was present our guns, safely in their cases, to the Steward and he would take them to the Pilot’s compartment. At the end of the flight, we would personally reclaim our weapons. Smooth. Ammo went through “Luggage”. Since this was a World Competition, each Country sent their shooters the same way. America’s greatest competition was the Italian Team. They arrived wearing matching coats, hats and ties! We all spent the next two weeks trying to sabotage each other at restaurants and parties…with champagne and mariachis and other impractical jokes! Parties?….Oh Yes….remember this gathering was on a World Scale… Royalty, Political Leaders, International CEO’s, Celebrities, and me. I was happily single. One of the most memorable evenings went as follows….
The President of Mexico, Miguel Alemán, invited many of the most prominent competitors from the U.S., Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico and England to a very elegant party at the Museum of Anthropology which houses the famous Aztec Calendar and other Mayan and Aztec treasures. There was an Orchestra and we all wore our best formal clothes. After a magnificent dinner, the President asked me to dance with him… of course, I accepted. El Presidente!!! We danced a slow Fox Trot first… then he, very dramatically, put his fancy sombrero on me and the Orchestra started to play a Mexican Folk Dance. Fun! Except, just then we were interrupted by a very classically handsome Gentleman. The President was a little startled that someone would have the nerve to “cut in”. The Orchestra suddenly stopped….everyone else did too. The Gentleman offered a polite excuse…got down on his knee….took something out of his pocket…and said to me….”I want you to marry me and become the mother of my children”…then he presented me with an exquisite antique diamond ring!!
What an impossible situation! Yes, I knew who he was…he, elegant and silver-haired… was a well known Italian Count! He had attended many shooting competitions all over the Western States in which I participated. These included a lot of social events. We had been introduced and he had watched me shoot in competition. I remember his name to be Luciano. I had no idea that he had such intentions. No, I did not accept his proposal or his ring… much to the disappointment of the romantically bent audience. Of course, I was honored… but I hardly knew the man and there were so many other adventures awaiting… though I have often wondered what my life would have been like… as a countess!

During the 10 days of competition, I managed to maintain a 4 way tie for first place. On the last day I whiplashed my neck during practice. The team doctor couldn’t do anything for me. Drugs would have disqualified me.  I had no ability to move on a quick shot to the left, and unfortunately that’s what I got and missed. Individually I finished fourth in that World Championship. The American team placed second, beating the Italians. Hah!

Fan Happenings

June 12, 2010

I’ve had many fan clubs during my “Hollywood” years. They were very important to me and a lot of fun. I personally answered each letter….sometimes in the hundreds, each week. Whether it was because of my frequent TV exposure, locally and nationally….or the USO Shows that I had been doing since I was three….or just because of a large group of sailor-fans from various ships….I was never sure….But I was honored for the day on the USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier. The Navy brought it into Long Beach to celebrate “Hollywood” and its contribution to the Armed Services. There was a huge sign with my name, welcoming the Wasp to Hollywood….Bob Hope was the Emcee. We did a show of comedy routines and music. There were hundreds and hundreds of the best Sailors the Navy had to offer….cheering for me (I was a voluptuous 14 year old, cheating as 16) on that magnificent ship!! It totally went to my heart. What a thrill!
But my favorite fan “happening”, at that time, was closer to home. It was a Daily Parade from my school to my home….about 5 blocks. I went to an 8 year parochial school in LA, which was next to the all boys’ Loyola High School. On days that I wasn’t filming, I was met after school by about 25 boys on foot, skates or bikes…and another 10 or 12 in cars from the high school (including Bing Crosby’s boys, David and Lindsay)! The “anointed” ones would carry my books and, with all the rest, escort me home in the most outrageous Daily Parade in the history of my neighborhood…or so they told me. I lived in a big Victorian house with a huge front lawn…and everybody would hang until my dad would come home and good naturedly “chase them all away!” It was a lot of crazy fun and of course…..I was very flattered. Is it any wonder why I am the way I am, today?

In Loving Igor

June 12, 2010

The artist in his studio

“I have more music racing through my brain than I could ever capture….walking out through the sage, under a full moon does that every time.”
Byron Fry is an Artist whose instruments and interests provide him with the best in musical technology. Yet with all this at hand, he still notates all his music with a pencil and a paper score pad! Sure, he has a full blown studio where he can track and tweak any sound in his musical universe…but he walks around with his 2nd Symphony in his head, thinking about Igor…or what he can call the sexy new ballad that he had just written as his 4th song on his new Album.
Then there is the now infamous Rock Opera he has been working on….recently writing a murder scene to the poetry his client provided. How juicy is that?
His current fusion Album, “Combustible” is still the best seller, after one year, on It’s available on and Pandora Music (radio) now has Byron on its list of Artists for air play. You can also check this Album on myspace…. It’s wild….provocative….exciting and beautiful! It is full of energy but I like to play it at the end of a long day…as a lullaby!
Byron tells me that his new Album will be more “organic” …with “sexy ballads”…more deeply into “interesting”. “Chowderhead Theorem”, “Meltdown” and the amazing “Sandfire” can be heard on his website.
It seems that living in Bishop, CA… the paradise of the Eastern Sierras, would isolate a composer of contemporary and classical music…from the “nowness” of what is happening musically on both Coasts. But he seems immune to so much of the pop-junk that abounds….especially on TV. Though he comes to LA to record and perform….Byron, through his technology, works with the best of the music world Internationally. He plans to tour with the Rock Opera next year.
A final note….for now. Many of you know that while he is one of the best contemporary guitarists alive….Byron is also a strong political activist. He cares about our Planet and works hard to improve our lot. On Memorial Day…outside…at Mammoth Mountain…he dramatically performed Jimi Hendrix’ “The Star Spangled Banner”! What a beautiful tribute to those who gave everything for us to be free. Bravo, Byron.
Sign Mailing List on
and myspace

Shreds of Genius

March 10, 2010

Byron Fry: ShredderAt this point in my Life…it seems ridiculous to think of myself as a “Late Bloomer”! But I have to admit that this is very true….and totally wonderful! I have just discovered the Brilliance…the Genius….of Byron Fry!!
I am envious of the magnificent ROAR that he has within him…to be able to harness that energy into such a thing of beauty…His Music.
I know…I know…a lot of you are familiar with the exciting music he creates on Guitar. He can play anything! He can “Shred” to make your head spin and make your heart ache with his ballads. Jazz, Latin, Fusion, Classical, Flamenco, Pop, and good ol’ R&B… it’s all within this one remarkable man!
And more astonishing is the fact that he has written “Fry’s 1st Symphony”….all three movements have been performed in the Eastern Sierra city where he lives…Bishop, California. Breathtaking music created in a breathtaking part of paradise.
He has just finished writing a complex Rock Opera for an Australian client. He has composed scores for TV and Movies and would like to do more. He has traveled with his Music, though not recently. Since he feels very strongly about Education…he enjoys giving clinics and has many students. So many roads beckon him….it is his dream to “do it all.” He will.
I discovered Byron through Friends and Facebook. How could I not have heard of him before? I recently ordered his new CD, “Combustible” through Wow…WOW!!…it’s Passionate, Provocative, and Powerful!… “Music to make love to…all night”…Sexy…Whew! But pay close attention to the tune, “Blues for Brittany”…a touching tribute to his daughter. His love for her is revealed in its unforgettable theme, He is already working on his next CD. He sang a few lines of his newest tunes to me…Marvelous!
Getting to know Byron and his Music is an on-going adventure. I will bring you along with me…it should be a pleasure for us all.

For the First Time….

March 9, 2010

Larry WilliamsIt happened last night!…for the First Time ever!…I’ve been lucky enough, in the past, to have been the sole listener to a performance by a musician…just for me…nobody else. But this was oh so different….oh so wonderful! Larry Williams gave me a long promised Private Concert in his EWI. I’ve been fascinated by this instrument (Electronic Wind Instrument), especially having heard what Larry has done with it on several of his own CD’s. He plays EWI, Trumpet, Guitar and Percussion on his newest album, “Tales of Wilmon.” He promised he would “show” me sometime.
Well, last night, He kept his promise. He brought speakers, a small board and a whole lot of cords. He plugged everything into his Blackberry! He said that this would control not only the sound but also his rhythm tracks. He set up in my “infamous” Living Room. He sat me down on a small loveseat and started to play…I’m clutching my heart, remembering…how honored and thrilled I was. How Beautiful!…He played his unique versions of American Song—Book tunes…and three songs which he had never recorded. One Romantic ballad brought tears to my eyes. This was one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts ever presented to me! No special occasion…just an impromptu moment. The best kind.
My Living Room will serve another musical purpose…on Tuesday. This will be the very first rehearsal for Larry’s “Wilmon Band.” This quintet will perform his charts based on music from “Tales of Wilmon.” We are very, very excited….this is a NEW idea…Larry’s version of “Chamber Jazz.” Who says that there’s nothing new in jazz?
How lucky I am!…I truly lead a wonderful Life…to the most incredible “sound track” imaginable!!!

My Magic Closet

March 3, 2010

Mai West ImageA long time ago….things were different.
When I would open my closet door to get dressed for work…. I used to think…. Oh, do I want to be Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe or an Indian Princess?…. who am I today?
My closet was truly magical. I loved to shop at Movie Studio Sales, Vintage and Thrift Stores long before it became popular. Not only did I find fabulous stuff but everything was super affordable. My daughter, Debbi and I would travel from L.A. to Ventura and even Santa Barbara. I still love Retro anything!
Theda BaraI’ve talked about the Steve Ponce Salon, where I worked. It was like nothing else, not even in the movie, “Shampoo.” During the Late ‘60s and early to mid ‘70s, this was the hippest salon….remember, we had “The Magruder Machine” Big Band on Wednesday nights….and a celebrity clientele that would keep “TMZ” busy today.
The Salon was enormous and sexy. It was crazy fun for stylists and clients. It was not unusual for someone to start a conga line or a tap dance and have half of the Salon join in! So it wasn’t really odd for me to dress up my imagination….every day. It made Life more interesting and kept me sane. I sometimes wore low cut blouses and mini skirts….much to the delight of my many male clients who had just started to leave the dullness of Barber Shops for Salons…at that time.
Hair Which ImageAnd then there was Halloween! The entire Shop totally dressed up for the “Day”. The press and local TV News Shows loved it!
One year, I was a self-designed “Hair Witch” with the biggest hair imaginable. My black silk capelet was fringed with natural human hair swatches…hot pants and fish-net hose completed the look. I wore silver-green make-up with a spider painted on my cheek. I not only worked all day in this but I had to pick up my daughter at LAX that evening before going to a party. I nearly caused a riot!Hair Witch Body Image
The next year was a Doozie!… Carmen Miranda. I found a colorful 1940’s dress with a long train and platform shoes…but it was the wig/head piece I made that really zonked the outfit. It was over 3 feet tall…with bananas and fruit, orange feathers and white doves flying around!! I had to go to a party after work and it was too complicated to take off my headpiece and put it back on…so I called a Cab! It took four people to get me in the back seat….laying down, with feathers sticking out one window and red platform shoes sticking out the other. What a ride!! When we arrived at the party, the taxi driver had to pull me out by my feet. When we got to the party house…the host opened the door and said….”Joy, how clever for your date to come as a Taxi Driver!” My real Date met me at the party. He pulled up in his Corvette convertible wearing an Armani Western style tuxedo, cowboy hat and carrying a real saddle! He called himself….”Midnight Cowboy.” He was a cinematographer who owned a horse ranch.
A very exotic “Theda Bara,” the Vamp from the Silent Movies followed, the next Halloween. Then an obvious “Mae West” in a blonde wig and backless, almost frontless, long black dress…..was my final fantasy.
I kind of miss those days.

Joy as Carmen Maranda Image

Once Upon a Time

January 8, 2010

I have had so many requests to write the story of how I met John.

Once upon a time….there was a fantastic Baritone Player with the Don Ellis Big Band. Bari is my favorite Sax and this Guy was Good! So I went to hear the Band as often as I could…by myself. The guys that I was dating didn’t particularly care about…Odd Times…or Jazz. John Magruder became my second favorite Baritone Player (after Gerry Mulligan). I never got enough nerve to talk to John. I bought all his records.

In the meantime, my daughter, Debbi, transferred to University High School from Van Nuys High. A pianist, she took a music theory class and was the “secretary” from Marching Band. Her teacher was a “Mr. Magruder”. He made her cry on the first day of school. He didn’t think her dramatic pout was very cute! Eventually I had to come to school because she was failing gym class. In January 1972…I walked into Mr. Magruder’s first period Band class and they were playing “The Philosopher”, a chart that Bob Harmon had written for the Don Ellis Band. Yes, dear friends….it was the Real John Magruder!! His students, including Ron Singer, Steve Rawlins, Bruce Eskovitz, etc., were playing those difficult charts with ease and excitement; I stayed for the rest of the school day….I was so impressed.

Now, I have to explain that I was a hair stylist at a very hip salon with celebrity clients. I did not wear “normal” clothes. The day I met John, I came to school in a black hot pants suit with black pantyhose and tall high-heeled boots! He was 15 years older, so I was not quite sure what he thought (his students thought I was a “Babe”). Apparently he liked what he saw…me too. We became great friends. I went to football games, monitored marching band buses, and did costumes, hair and make-up for Uni musicals. I also discovered what a pro-musician’s life was all about. My professional life was totally unpredictable and nutty…very “Hollywood”. Somehow the two combined well.

Nine months later, after one of John’s gigs, I told John I had something important to discuss. He thought I was going to say good-bye… but instead I proposed! We both had decided that we were crazy in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Then we went to Disneyland. It’s true. We did.

We decided to get married two months later. It was crazy nights and crazy days with a lot of happiness in between– I kept a full work schedule at the salon, plus hair and make-up for Vogue Magazine, TV commercials and wig design for a Las Vegas show – not to mention the pool motor exploded and moving into an 11 room house bringing 12 cats, one dog and a teenager!!! Of course John continued his busy schedule as a school teacher and musician.

Six days before we were supposed to get married….I had a heart attack! It was a big surprise since I was only 32 years old. It turned out to be caused by a rare birth defect. (can you just hear the violins in the background?) We had planned to marry on John’s 47th birthday. I was very determined to walk down the aisle on that day….and so I did.

It was a beautiful wedding and reception. With some very colorful guests on both sides. Some of the male guests wore dresses… John had one ex-wife and one ex-girl friend…. I had three ex-boy friends. The boy friends only wanted to know, when I told them that I was getting married, if I would still cut their hair….of course, I would.

Not long after we were married, we started the “Magruder Machine”…John’s Big Band. See my Blog Postings… “Ponce’s Saloon” and “Cat Calls”.

The rest is both History and legend. We had 30 amazingly wonderful years together. I truly miss him.

Band Brats

January 8, 2010

“Mr. Magruder was a major influence in my life”…”He is the reason why I am what I am, a professional musician”…”So many great memories”…
….These are slices of conversations which have been repeated so often that they have beome such beautiful music to my ears.
John was the Music Director at University High School in West Los Angeles for 37 years. He was extremely passionate about teaching…about being a “Guide” to the wonderful world of music and to life itself. He was a father-figure to many and simply a hero to others. He was able to teach and be a professional musician and a composer. He lived exactly the life he wanted. We shared 30 wonderful years together. Year after year, we invited his Jazz students to come to our house on Wednesday nights to hear John’s 18 piece Big Band, “The Magruder Machine”, rehearse in our dining room. They got a chance to see, hear and talk to the “Professionals”. We lovingly called these students “Band Brats”! So many have kept in touch through the years…it’s really incredible. I love hearing from them. These days, they are very supportive of my efforts in continuing what John started with the “Monktet”. A whole bunch came to our recent LACMA Concert. There were even members of the class of ’66!! In fact, three former “Band Brats” regularly play in the “Monktet”…Rick Fleishman, Guitar; Gary Pratt, Bass; and Ron Singer, on Alto. Occasionally, Vince Suzuki subs on any of the saxophone chairs. Imagine that!
Tony Wingate….trombonist, drummer, gorilla on the Music Department’s only Homecoming float and most famously, the sousaphone guy who missed dotting the I in UNI during a half-time marching band performance….has started a new site called, “Students and Friends of John Magruder” on Facebook. Check it out. It is a very unique site…great fun and is getting fantastic participation. Thanks, Tony.
That John lives in so many memories…that he made such a lasting impression on so many young minds, touches my heart. There could be no better tribute to a most amazing man.