We have direct evidence that shows the improbability of Gregory being involved in Gale (either Gale). Why wasn't Gregory listed as a officer or director in the Articles of Incorporation for Gale Products, Inc.? Why was he never added as an officer, director, or shareholder? We now know that Gale was sold to Cesar Tschudin within one year of GPI being incorporated. Why sell the assets of Gale Products, Inc. after one year if M.C. Gregory was actually running the operation, i.e., if Gale was simply a continuation of his existing business?
And look what was sold to Tschudin. Thousands of mouthpiece blanks. Why didn't Gregory just help out his ex-son-in-law if Gregory was in any way involved in Gale? Gregory had proven himself to be a successful producer of mouthpieces (he lived in a very nice house and, according to Gale Satzinger, was a neighbor of the actress and Hollywood sex symbol Jane Russell). He could have simply taken all of those unfinished pieces in house in his own business. And if Gregory was directly involved in GPI, why the apparent infusion of $17,600 in capital shown in the Articles of Incorporation? And the kicker for me, if Malcolm Gregory was directly involved with either Gale and Cesar Tschudin, why would Tschudin need to recruit an experienced partner like Elmer Beechler in 1949?
In light of the documentary evidence, alleging that Gregory was involved in Gale doesn't make sense without a very elaborate explanation. And it appears that Cesar Tschudin may have provided some of the required story. Gregory starts Gale Products, Inc., gets glaucoma, commits suicide in 1950, leaves the business to his daughter Gale, she dies in a house fire, and company attorney (Tschudin) runs the "Gregory" business for 20 years. In the end, JJ Babbitt makes the blanks (and ends up with the Gregory molds?) There's your story. We would need to ignore a lot of factual evidence that we have uncovered in order for this story to still work, but you can see that this tortured narrative is really the only way to make a tenuous connection between Gregory and either Gale.
I can't say that Tschudin came up with the whole story by himself. He was probably aided by the passage of time, the interpretation of Charles Bay, the retelling by Ralph Morgan, and possibly the narrative provided to him by a "company attorney." After all, there actually was a company attorney involved. Remember Nathan Snyder, the attorney who signed the Articles of Incorporation as a member of the Gale Products, Inc. Board of Directors? He would likely have also been involved in the sale of the Gale Products, Inc. assets to Tschudin. He wouldn't have to reveal the identity of his clients (the Rico principals Roy Maier and Frank deMichele) and they simply disappeared from the picture. Maybe Snyder even knew that Malcolm Gregory's daughter (Maxine) had died in a house fire the year before (it was national news). And somewhere along the line M.C. Gregory's death got moved backwards from 1955 to 1950 in order to make the story work. And Carl Satzinger became just some engineer and not Gregory's daughter's ex-husband and a founding principal in Gale Products, Inc. Things got really, really jumbled up in order to claim that M.C. Gregory was involved in Cesar Tschudin's Gale.
Speaking of jumbled up, lets go back and look at another alleged Gregory/Gale mouthpieces. On several websites, the Rico Reloplex is alleged to be a Gregory/Gale mouthpiece. As we have seen, both the Gregory and the Reloplex were Rico products.
Fortunately, there is no mysterious Mr. Reloplex about which we can make up a saga. The Reloplex is just a Rico mouthpiece.
There isn't any evidence to indicate that the Rico Reloplex was made by either Gregory, or GPI, or CTG. This advertisement is circa 1955, so Gale Products, Inc. was out of business and Gregory was dead. The Reloplex is reported to have been available from 1955 into the 1970's. But for the Reloplex to be made by CTG, that would mean that Rico Products went to Cesar Tschudin, the jeweler who had purchased some of the assets of their defunct Gale Products, Inc., and contracted with him to produce their new flagship mouthpiece. I had my doubts. Then, in our emails with Judy Beechler Roan, Judy mentioned that her father had once contracted to produce a mouthpiece for Rico. The Rico Reloplex.
It is time to take a closer look at Elmer Beechler. Like Maier and deMichele, he was a musician from Chicago and showed up in various directories listed as a "dance hall musician." Married and with a small child, his wife died suddenly and he moved to New York. There he worked with Arnold Brilhart in a mouthpiece facing and synthetic reed business. He remarried (Sadie Roan, mother of Judy Beechler Roan) and then moved to Los Angeles to start his own business. We learned in Part VI that he partnered with Cesar Tschudin for a very short time, but left to start his own business. A few years later, when looking for somebody to produce a new model of mouthpiece for them, Rico approached Elmer Beechler.
Lumping the Reloplex into the Gregory family of mouthpieces might be plausible if we had evidence of Gregory working with Gale Products, Inc., or with Cesar Tschudin, or Tschudin working with Rico. I haven't found that evidence, and based on what I have found so far, I don't think either is a likely scenario.
Correspondence with Judy Beechler Roan is ongoing, and she is coming up with some more rather remarkable documents and evidence. Some of it has to do with the Gregory molds. The 1949 Tschudin inventory, shown at the end of Part V, lists one die (presumably a mold) and nothing is listed that has anything to do with Gregory. We have seen that it was also unlikely that Gregory had anything to do with Gale Products, Inc. and its collapse, so it isn't likely that GPI had any Gregory molds to sell to Tschudin.
The Gregory Mouthpiece Saga implies that Charles Bay ended up with the mold(s) that were in Tschudin's possession. But what exactly did Tschudin have? Based on the documents and time line, it is unlikely that he had Gregory molds. Even if the Gregory molds were controlled by Rico, it is unlikely that they would approach the jeweler who purchased part of their failed business (Gale Products, Inc.) to later make additional Gregory mouthpieces, including the new "Master" by Gregory (during Gregory's lifetime) or, still later, the new Rico Reloplex.
And if Tschudin sold the Gregory molds to Bay, that would mean that Bay could reproduce the mouthpieces used by Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, and others. That was sort of hinted at in the Saga, but then there was this odd statement. "In 1969 the making of mouthpieces was done in part by the J.J. Babbitt Co." Does that mean that J.J. Babbitt ended up with the Gregory molds?
There must currently be 10 different knockoffs of the vintage Otto Link Slant Signature hard rubber mouthpiece, so the demand is out there for famous vintage "tribute" pieces. If you were in the business of making mouthpieces (like Charles Bay) and you were a big fan of Gregory mouthpieces (like Charles Bay) would you use the Gregory molds? What would you do if you had the mold necessary to begin production of the very mouthpiece used by Paul Desmond? How about the mold for the mouthpiece used by Gerry Mulligan? Just think if you had any Gregory mold. If only, if only, if only. Yeah, it doesn't look like that part of the Gregory Mouthpiece Saga is accurate, either.
What would those old M.C. Gregory molds look like if we were to find them? They would look like these. Hey, look!! There's the alto 18 chamber plug we could use to make a new Paul Desmond mouthpiece!
Those are recent pictures of the mold pieces used for making the various M.C. Gregory chambers. They are stored in old cardboard tubes that are stamped with the "M.C. Gregory Los Angeles" diamond logo. That's what we would expect Charles Bay to have purchased if Cesar Tschudin had run M.C. Gregory's mouthpiece business for 20 years. But these didn't come from Charles Bay. They came from boxes that Elmer Beechler had in storage. After our contact with Judy Beechler Roan, she decided to go back through some boxes that her father had in storage.
We now know that Elmer was retained by Rico to produce the Reloplex. It appears that Rico may have had other molds in their possession, some of which ended up with Elmer Beechler. Hmmm, we should look more closely at old Beechler hard rubber mouthpieces! It is more likely that those old Beechler pieces are Gregory clones than it is that Gale ever produced any Gregory pieces. Wait, I'm just kidding! You can see how easy it is to start new saxophone lore.
I'm going to end Part VII here. I think that I said at the start that there would be three more parts, and now I have already written four. And I'm going to write a fifth. Along the way, I've included some of my best guesses as to what happened just because it is difficult to not make conclusions when presenting new facts (or maybe the only facts). In Part VIII, I'll give my theory of what probably happened and how one might further find out what actually happened.