Mark Gutkowski Steve Mortkowitz Isaac Hirsch Pat Karwan Ross Oppenheimer
The 1910 Fruitgum Company is an American bubblegum popband of the 1960s. The group's Hot 100 hits were "Simon Says", "May I Take A Giant Step", "1, 2, 3, Red Light", "Goody Goody Gumdrops", "Indian Giver", "Special Delivery", and "The Train". Guitarist Frank Jeckell claimed to have adopted the name from a gum wrapper that he found in a jacket pocket while trying on a retro suit.
The band began as Jeckell and The Hydes in New Jersey in 1965. The original founding member was Frank Jeckell, with additional members Floyd Marcus, Pat Karwan, Steve Mortkowitz, and Mark Gutkowski---all from Linden, New Jersey.
During 1967, they were signed to Buddah Records, where they released five LPs under their own name and a variety of singles, as well as appearing on the LP The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus, which sounded like the usual Buddha studio band in spite of its promotion as a "bubblegum superjam". Their first hit single, "Simon Says", was written by Elliot Chiprut, but Jeckell persuaded the band to record it. During the process they changed the beat and patterned the song after "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. "Simon Says" soon became a success, hitting #4 on the USBillboardHot 100chart. The track peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart and was heard in the 1968 Frederick Wiseman documentary High School.
The original five members of the 1910 Fruitgum Company circa 1966; photo taken at the home of Floyd Marcus.
The 1910 Fruitgum Company performing live on November 17, 2007
Early during the 21st century, originator Frank Jeckell and Mick Mansuetto put the act back together which included Floyd Marcus, original drummer, along with a few musicians, and started touring again. They performed a concert on November 17, 2007 at the Caravan of Stars XIV, in Henderson, Tennessee. Also appearing at the show were Dickey Lee, Jimmy Gilmer, Carol Conners (of The Teddy Bears), Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, Jim Yester (of The Association), Jerry Yester (of The Lovin' Spoonful), Eddie Brigati (of The Young Rascals), and Dennis Tufano (of The Buckinghams).
"Simon Says" sold three and a half million. "1, 2, 3, Red Light" and "Indian Giver" each sold over one million copies. All three were awarded gold discs.