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Albert Stiles

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Information about Albert Stiles

Profile image of Albert Stiles

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Entertainer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Red), Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Live according to your means.

Birthplace

Born:
8/13/1922
Birth Location:
Florence, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Entertainer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Red), Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Live according to your means.

Birthplace

Born:
8/13/1922
Birth Location:
Florence
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Biography

Al Stiles was born on August 13, 1922, and raised in Tampa, Florida. He began performing at an early age with a five-member jug band. At approximately age twelve, he took a bus to New York City with a nine-year old jug band partner, Nathaniel Reese. Without their parents' knowledge, they auditioned and played on CBS Radio's Major Bowes Amateur Hour. They won the show's contest and Stiles became a professional entertainer.

Stiles performed with a vaudeville novelty and comedy act before touring with a song and dance team. In 1939, he and Reese played New York's Apollo Theater. The same year, Stiles performed at the New York World's Fair. He also performed with such stars as Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis, Jr. and in such venues as the Cotton Club and the Blue Note. Stiles served in the U.S. Army and was stationed outside Ft. Wayne, Indiana..

Stiles moved to Fort Wayne and in 1971 opened Al Stiles World's Best Shoe Shine which is still the "in" place to have your shoes shined. In the 1980s, he started a program called the Talent Factory, teaching inner city youth the theater arts. Although the non-profit organization went on hiatus in the late 1990s, Stiles was planning its revival. In 2002, he released the compact disc We Can Fly, which he produced with his jazz drummer son, Ronald Stiles. The nine track compact disc features blues, jazz and 1950s-era rock sung by Al Stiles, Ronald Stiles and Herb Banks. Two songs are Stiles' original compositions. The Apollo Theater honored the contributions of Stiles by declaring him a living legend. Stiles passed away on January 2, 2014 in Carmel, Indiana

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Al Stiles interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Al Stiles's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Al Stiles talks about his parents' backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Al Stiles describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Al Stiles remembers his father's influence
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Al Stiles describes his business endeavors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Al Stiles details his family's economic hardships
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Al Stiles discusses his parents' avocations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Al Stiles describes his childhood avocations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Al Stiles continues to describe his childhood avocations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Al Stiles discusses his early successes as an entertainer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Al Stiles names his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Al Stiles discusses his childhood reputation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Al Stiles remembers influential schoolteachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Al Stiles discusses his childhood hobby, baseball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Al Stiles wants to be on 'Major Bowes' Amateur Hour'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Al Stiles describes his childhood journey to New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Al Stiles describes his arrival to New York, New York as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Al Stiles remembers his travels to New York and Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Al Stiles recalls his experiences at the Apollo Theater, New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Al Stiles details his musical act at the Apollo Theatre
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Al Stiles details his childhood travels through the South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Al Stiles remembers the famous performers he worked with in his career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Al Stiles details how he parted ways with his music partner
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Al Stiles recalls the death of his music partner, Nathaniel Reese
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Al Stiles recalls being drafted into the Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Al Stiles describes his experiences in the military and how he met his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Al Stiles details a chronic foot ailment and its effect on his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Al Stiles starts a business after leaving the Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Al Stiles details financial struggles after his business failed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Al Stiles reconnects with Lionel Hampton and returns to show business
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Al Stiles recalls an accusation of theft while performing in Canada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Al Stiles discusses his inspiration for the Talent Factory
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Al Stiles shares tales of the early origins of the Talent Factory
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Al Stiles talks about the performers that appeared at the Talent Factory early in their careers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Al Stiles recalls more performers that appeared at the Talent Factory
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Al Stiles details a racist interaction at work
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Al Stiles details his role as vice president of the International Printing Pressmen Union's Local 19
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Al Stiles talks about his leadership in the International Printing Pressmen Union
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Al Stiles details how Flashfold Box Corporation retaliated against his participation in the International Printing and Pressmen Union
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Al Stiles recalls the events leading up to his lawsuit against Flashfold Carton, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Al Stiles discusses his future plans for the Talent Factory
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Al Stiles considers his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Al Stiles considers how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Photo - Al Stiles's act, 'Note and Toe', performing with Josephine Baker at the Rancho Don Carlos, Winnipeg, Canada, 1963
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Photo - Newspaper clipping showing Richard Hale and Al Stiles performing as 'Note and Toe' at the Rainbow Theater in Winnipeg, Canada, ca. early 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Photo - Al Stiles with Nat Reese performing at the Apollo Theater, New York, New York, 1939
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - Al Stiles's act, 'Note and Toe', performing with Lionel Hampton and his band at the Blue Note nightclub, Chicago, Illinois, ca. late 1950s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - Newspaper clipping about Al Stiles at his CD release party for 'We Can Fly', Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 28, 2002
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - Al Stiles is presented a lawsuit settlement check by representatives of the International Printing Pressmen Union, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1971
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo - Former employee from Al Stiles's record shop, jazz pianist Jack Wilson
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Publicity photo of Al Stiles's son, Ronald B. Stiles, leader of the E-Waw Blue Band, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photos - A montage of photos from Al Stile's Talent Factory, Fort Wayne, Indiana, ca. 1980s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Publicity photo of Al Stiles's friend, Clayton 'Peg-Leg' Bates, a dancer at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, ca. 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - Al Stiles with dancer, 'Little Perry' at the Talent Factory, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1990
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - Al Stiles with Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Winfield Moses, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1979-1987
  • Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - Publicity photo of the musical group, 'The Checkmates'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - Al Stiles with tap dancer Gregory Hines at the Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, Indiana, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - Al Stiles in a newspaper article about the reopening of the Talent Factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, ca. 1999
  • Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - Publicity photo of Al Stiles, August 10, 1949
  • Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Newspaper article on Al Stiles's son and granddaughter, Dr. Reginald B. Stiles and Dr. Sherri A. Stiles-Walker, Fort Wayne, Indiana, ca. 2000
  • Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo - Additional copy of Al Stiles's act, 'Note and Toe', performing with Lionel Hampton and his band at the Blue Note nightclub, Chicago, Illinois, ca. late 1950s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 19 - Photo - Al Stiles's act, 'Note and Toe', performing with Josephine Baker and Vern and Verdie at the Rancho Don Carlos, Winnipeg, Canada, mid-1960s