Letter: ASCAP shakedown recalled
The recent article about ASCAP ("Music fee strikes sour note for Marysville") really brought back some old memories.
My father had a restaurant and bar near Boston in the 1930s and 1940s. When I came home from World War II, my father had had a couple of strokes. I only had a few more days before getting out of the Navy. My father said that his doctor advised him to take a vacation. He put me in charge of the restaurant.
One day a fellow came into the restaurant and asked for my father and I told him I was running the business while he was on vacation. He evidently knew the place as he asked me to go upstairs to the office. He showed me an ID card from ASCAP. He said that was where Bing Crosby and the like got their retirement and that we owed them $400. I told him I wasn't about to give him that much money as it was a lot of money at that time. He told me to phone my father's attorney. The attorney told me that if I didn't pay him that they could padlock every door and shut down the business. Later on the attorney told me that it was a legalized shakedown! Needless to say, I paid it.
When my father came home he told me that he never would pay it, that's why it was up to $400. You can ask any bar owner and most will say it is a shakedown. I have told this story for years as it is really hard to believe. And now they are after the cities?