Dick Cathcart, Trumpet (1962-1968)
Part of Lawrence Welk's Famous Trumpet Backbone
Dick Cathcart was a dixieland trumpeter best known for his "ghost playing" of Pete Kelly in the radio show, film and TV show Pete Kelly's Blues. He also worked with Alvino Rey, Ray McKinley, Bob Crosby, Ben Pollack and Ray Noble. Cathcart was married to Peggy Lennon of the Lennon Sisters from 1964 until his death in 1993.
Cathcart was born in Michigan City, Indiana on November 6, 1924 and began playing the clarinet at age 4 but switched to trumpet at 13. His first job was with Bob Barnes at Indiana University, followed by the Ray McKinley band in 1942 and the Alvino Rey band in 1943. He served with the U.S. Army Air Force Radio Orchestra from 1943 to 1945. Beginning in 1946, he began doing a lot of session work with Bing Crosby including appearances on his TV show.
In 1962, Cathcart joined the Lawrence Welk show. He was featured weekly on dixieland and big band numbers, often in the company of Bob Havens (trombone), Don Bonnee or Mahlon Clark (clarinet), Russ Klein (tenor) and Frank Scott (piano). Cathcart married Peggy Lennon of the Lennon Sisters. They would have 6 children (Cathcart had 3 from a previous marriage). He also became brother-in-law to the Wilde Twins (Bob Crosby singers) as brother Jim married Lyn and Tom married Lee Wilde.
After leaving the Welk Show, Cathcart became a musical coordinator for the Lennon Sisters and played the annual Dixieland Festival in Sacramento. Cathcart passed away in 1993 from cancer at the age of 69.
Dick Cathcart performs "Wabash Cannonball" with Frank Scott on piano and Neil Levang on guitar: