Milton J. Hinton: Cab Calloway and friends with the winner of the Calloway Quizzicale, Rhode Island

Milton J. Hinton
American, 1910-2000

Cab Calloway and Friends with the Winner of the Calloway Quizzicale, Rhode Island, c. 1938
20” x 16”
Gelatin Silver Print

Puchased with funding from the State of New York. Percent for Art Program, 2001.


Milton J. Hinton was both a photographer and jazz bassist. He was a member of the Cab Calloway Orchestra from 1936 to 1950 and starred alongside him in his Quizzicale Show from 1941-1942.

The Quizzicale radio show was revolutionary in centering Black, lower-middle-class contestants. According to Variety, “It is one of the most spontaneous and infectious quiz shows on the air. Far from being any drawback, the racial angle gives an extra boost.” As we continue to see in entertainment today, however, those who stood to profit from Quizzicale didn’t see it as worthy of investment since it didn’t appeal to the “masses”—code for white audiences—and the show was canceled after one year due to a lack of willing sponsors.

In this black and white photograph, Hinton captures Calloway surrounded by a group of primarily white children who, with big grins, appear giddy at this celebrity’s presence. One Black child, center, proudly graps Calloway’s trombone, a source of artistic power. This scene depicts not only the universal star appeal which Calloway possessed—evidence of the networks’ failure in recognizing Quizzicale’s potential profitability—but also the necessity of allowing children to have successful role models who look like they do.