Gene Rodemich

Eugene Frederick (Gene) Rodemich (April 13, 1890 in St Louis, Missouri – February 27, 1934 in New York) was a pianist and orchestra leader, who composed the music for Frank Buck’s first movie, Bring 'Em Back Alive (1932) .

Gene Rodemich
Gene Rodemich
BornApril 13, 1890
DiedFebruary 27, 1934, age 43
New York
Occupationband leader, pianist
Spouse(s)Henrietta Pauk Rodemich (1915-1934, his death)

Early life

Rodemich was born in St. Louis, son of a dentist, Dr. Henry Rodemich, and wife Rose Rodemich. Gene Rodemich began his musical career in and near his home town as a pianist, later becoming conductor of a dance orchestra. An entrepreneur, he formed the Rodemich Orchestra Exchange, through which he put together small bands of St. Louis-area musicians to play for wedding receptions and other social functions. Wanting to try his chances as an accompanist and bandleader in Chicago and then New York City, Rodemich sold his orchestra exchange to Walter Gustave (Gus) Haenschen, a popular bandleader in St. Louis. [1] In 1919, when Haenschen was named founding Director of Popular Releases for the new Brunswick Record Company in New York City, Rodemich became one of the first bandleaders to whom Haenschen offered an exclusive Brunswick recording contract.

Before joining Brunswick, Rodemich was the primary accompanist for Elsie Janis on several tours, including one in Europe. Before starting in radio in New York, 1929, he had for three years been director and master of ceremonies at the Metropolitan Theatre, Boston.[2]

Later career

Rodemich was musical director of Van Beuren Studios, writing music for animated cartoons. He composed for many of the studio’s other shorts (including six Charlie Chaplin comedies) and for Frank Buck’s first feature-length film, Bring 'Em Back Alive (1932).[3] He also conducted during numerous NBC programs and recorded for Brunswick Records.[4] Singles

Year Single US
1920 "Margie" 7
1923 "Wolverine Blues" 7


Rodemich became ill while making a recording with his orchestra, which had been accompanying a National Broadcasting Company program on Sunday nights. He insisted on continuing the recording although he had been stricken with a severe chill. He was taken to the Medical Arts Sanitarium, 57 West Fifty-Seventh Street, and died three days later of lobar pneumonia. He is buried in Kensico Cemetery,[5] Valhalla, New York. A widow, a son, and a daughter survived him.[6]


  1. St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 12, 1913
  2. Dennis Owsley. City of Gabriels: the history of jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973. Reedy Press 2006, p 25
  3. Bring 'Em Back Alive: The Best of Frank Buck. Texas Tech Univ Press 2006.
  4. Ross Laird, Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, Brunswick Radio Corporation. Brunswick records: a discography of recordings, 1916-1931. 2001 Page 117
  5. Kensico Cemetery Records
  6. Gene Rodemich, 42 [sic], musician, is dead. New York Times. March 1, 1934.
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