Two generations in the spotlight
by Michael Perlman
Feb 02, 2016 | 17929 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Boxing Manager Hymie Caplin with Al The Bronx Beauty Singer circa 1928, Courtesy of Paul Morris
Boxing Manager Hymie Caplin with Al The Bronx Beauty Singer circa 1928, Courtesy of Paul Morris
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Paul Morris, grandson of Hymie Caplin
Paul Morris, grandson of Hymie Caplin
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Rego Park-based keyboardist, songwriter and producer Paul Morris is resurrecting the history of his late grandfather Hymie Caplin (1901–1949), a highly influential boxing ring manager who once called 69-23 Ingram Street in Forest Hills home.

Caplin was recognized across America and beyond for the five world champions under his guidance. His stable included bantamweight Lou Salica, lightweights Lew Jenkins and Al “The Bronx Beauty” Singer, and middleweights Ben Jeby and Solly Krieger, and other noteworthy boxers including Abe Feldman, Ruby Goldstein, Allie Stolz, Sid Terris, and Billy Fox.

Caplin was a regular at the Sunnyside Garden Arena on 45th Street and Queens Boulevard, the New York Hippodrome on 6th Avenue between 43rd and 44th streets, and the former Madison Square Garden on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th streets.

Morris’ grandfather passed away before he was born, but his interest in his family’s history originated after hearing his mother’s stories.

“My grandfather personally taught his fighters,” said Morris, referencing a distinguishable aspect of his career, which spanned the golden era of boxing during the 1920s and 1930s, setting him apart from other boxing ring managers.

Caplin was known for being talkative, lively, and quite a character.

“My mother told me that while she would be walking to school, he would open up the window and with a cigar in his mouth, scream at the top of his lungs, ‘walk straight!’” Morris said.

Caplin did not appear in many photographs, but earned recognition in public prints as a wise-cracking, argumentative manager.

From 1937 to 1949, Caplin owned an Old English Forest Hills home and its residents included his wife and three children, with a major draw being the garden.

Two generations later, Morris, who was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1959, currently lives in Rego Park close to his family’s roots. At age 12, he began studying piano in New York, and by age 18 he further cultivated his talents by studying under jazz greats including Lennie Tristano, Hal Galper, and Sal Mosca.

On Long Island, he played with the bands Full House and Vixen, and he played with former Forest Hills resident and Sheryl Crow guitarist Todd Wolfe in the band Troy and the Tornados.

Morris is best known as the keyboardist in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The group’s 1995 album “Stranger in Us All” showcases his talents on keyboard and features the track “Black Masquerade,” which he co-wrote. From 1998 to 2005, five albums were released in partnership with rock ‘n’ roll vocalist Joe Lynn Turner.

Most recently, Morris plays with the highly regarded Bon Jovi tribute band Slippery When Wet. On February 28 at 6 p.m., music fans can hear Morris on keyboard in collaboration with Turner at Blackthorn 51 at 80-12 51st Avenue in Elmhurst.

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