A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 14, 2005
“Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long” (1932)
"Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long" (1932) is probably most familiar to audiences from singer Barbra Streisand. Comedian/singer Joe E. Lewis earlier had popularized the song.

The "Sam" in the song is not identified (one of the songwriters was named Sam), but it is probably Samuel Beckenstein, who ran a popular fabric and clothing store at 130 Orchard Street. Social Security Death Index records show a Samuel Beckenstein, born 5 June 1893 and who died December 1968.

The song does not specifically mention "New York City," and for that reason it was probably left out of Nancy Groce's book of New York City songs. However, the song breathes the atmosphere of the Jewish Lower East Side.

You made the coat and vest fit the best
You made the lining nice and strong
But Sam, you made the pants too long

You made the peak lapel look so swell
So who am I to say you're wrong?
But Sam, you made the pants too long,+you+made+the+pants+too+long%22&hl=en
Finally, in 1933, he had a hit with the novelty tune "Sam You Made the Pants Too Long." At the time, it was smoothly risque: "I get the damndest breexer through my BVD's. My fly is where my tie belongs...Sam you made the pants too long."

Beckenstein Fabric & Interiors (4 West 20th Street; 212-366-5142), where you'll find pros who can upholster just about anything, is owned by the same family as Beckenstein, an Orchard Street institution that's been around for 88 years.

5 June 1961, New York Times, pg. 36:
MANHATTAN'S Lower East Side has been called many things, but never a fashion center. Yet it is fashion in the form of inexpensive fabrics that lures shoppers to this neighborhood better known for blintzes than ball gowns.

The fabric shops are concentrated in three sections, Hester Street, Orchard Street and Grand Street, all of which lie within several blocks of one another.
It is amid these shops that Sam Beckenstein runs a three-ring fabric circus. On one side of the street he offers men's suiting material. On the other side, he deals with odd remnants in one store, houses bolts and bolts of fabric for fashion as well as home decorating in another.

4 July 1981, New York Times, pg. 13:
Samuel Beckenstein Inc., 130 Orchard Street, 475-4525. One of the largest, most fully stocked stores, with everything from $2.98 cotton shirtings to $250 Chantilly laces re-embroidered with sequins. The owners say their prices are the lowest anywhere. The second floor has home-furnishings materials; a branch across the street carries men's wear fabrics.

12 May 1991, New York Times, pg. 32:
The Lower East Side is also famous for textiles. At Samuel Beckenstein, at 130 Orchard Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets, 12,000 square feet is devoted to fabric for clothes and the home.

22 November 1992, New York Times, "When Uptown Looks Down" by Richard F. Shepard, pg. H5:
"I approach the material as if it were new," said Dan Siretta, the show's director. On which note he turned his attention to monitoring a rehearsal, making sure that "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long," a 1932 song by S. Lewis and Victor Young, did not have to be taken in a bit.

8 April 2005, Dan's Papers (Long Island), pg. 27:
Sam Beckenstein's men's clothing was probably the most famous and largest in the city of New York. At one point in the first half of the century, a song was written for him, a recording of which became a hit. It was called "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long."

(OCLC WorldCat)
Title: Vus toig es eich
Author(s): Skulnik, Menasha. ; Ellstein, Abraham,; 1907- ; Lillian, Isidore. ; Rumshinsky, Joseph,; 1881-1956.
Corp Author(s): Leonard, Duke.
Publication: [New York?] :; Banner Records,
Year: 1930s
Description: 1 sound disc :; 78 rpm ;; 10 in.
Language: Yiddish
Standard No: Publisher: B-2022 (A-166, A-168); Banner
Descriptor: Jewish wit and humor -- United States.
Genre/Form: Phonograph records.
Other Titles: I'm Sam, the man who made the pants too long.
Responsibility: Rumshinsky & Lillian ; Menasha Skulnik ; accompanied by Abe Ellstein & orchestra. I'm Sam, the man who made the pants too long / Duke Leonard ; Menasha Skulnik ; accompanied by Abe Ellstein & orchestra.
Material Type: Musical recording (msr); 78 rpm (78s)
Document Type: Sound Recording

(OCLC WorldCat)
Title: Two pair of shoes :
fox trot /
Author(s): Monroe, Vaughn, 1912-1973. (Performer - prf); Law, Mildred. ; (Vocalist - voc); Talent, Ziggy. ; (Vocalist - voc)
Publication: Camden, N.J. :; Bluebird,
Year: 1941
Description: 1 sound disc :; analog, 78 rpm, mono. ;; 10 in.
Language: English
Music Type: Dance forms; Jazz; Multiple forms
Standard No: Publisher: B-12260; Bluebird
Descriptor: Dance orchestra music.
Note(s): Participants: Mildred Law (side A), Ziggy Talent (side B), vocal ; Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra, performers. [Johnny Watson, director; Vaugh Monroe, Dino Digiaro, Robert Nichols, Benedict Gustaferro, trumpet; Al Diehl, Joe Connie, Art Dedrick, trombone; Andrew Bagni, Don Falco, Frank Levine, alto sax; Ziggy Talent, tenor sax; Arnold Ross, piano; Guy Scafati, guitar; Jimmy Athens, string bass; Irving Rosenthal, drums] - Cf. The American dance band discography / Rust, 1975./ Recorded in New York, June 30, 1941 - Cf. Rust, 1975.
Other Titles: Sam, you made the pants too long.
Responsibility: Twomey, George, Hall ; [performed by] Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra. Sam, you made the pants too long : fox trot / Sam M. Lewis, Victor Young ; parody by Fred Whitehouse ; [performed by] Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra
Material Type: Musical recording (msr); 78 rpm (78s)
Document Type: Sound Recording

(OCLC WorldCat)
Title: Barbra Streisand's greatest hits
Author(s): Streisand, Barbra. (Performer - prf)
Publication: New York, NY :; Columbia,
Year: 1980s
Description: 1 sound disc :; digital ;; 4 3/4 in.
Language: English
Music Type: Popular music
Standard No: Publisher: CK 9968; Columbia; KCS 9968; Columbia; PCT-00852; Columbia; LCCN: 97-707937
Contents: People --; Second hand Rose --; Why did I choose you --; He touched me --; Free again --; Don't rain on my parade --; My coloring book --; Sam, you made the pants too long --; My man --; Gotta move --; Happy days are here again.

Posted by Barry Popik
Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Thursday, April 14, 2005 • Permalink

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