DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The last Ink Spot is still making music here, high above the ocean.
Duke Gainous, whose baritone tones so distinguished The Ink Spots on such classics as "If I Didn't Care," works nightly in the 10th-floor Penthouse Lounge of La Playa Best Western Resort.
Sitting around the lounge, a varied crowd of mature locals and partying race fans sip their drinks, dance to everything from Ink ,, Spot favorites to the "Electric Slide" and listen to the man whose voice thrilled teen-agers in the 1940s.
The Ink Spots -- Gainous, Bill Kenny, Orville Jones, Ivory Watson and Charlie Fuqua -- found their career interrupted by World War II. During the war, Gainous worked with a 15-piece military band called Java Jivers in the Pacific.
Afterward he didn't rejoin the Ink Spots, deciding, instead, to attend Bethune-Cookman College under the G.I. bill, and working for his brothers at Gainous Funeral Home here.
He began several different bands here, but then in 1976, La Playa called, asking him to play for a weekend, and he's been here ever since.
Gainous, who won't tell his age, but is well into his 80s, is now in his 22nd year at La Playa. "I'm taking it a day at a time," he said when asked about retirement.
He likes it that people remember his old group, though he says many "don't have any idea" how the Ink Spots got their name.
"In those old days, we used those ink-well fountain pens," he said. "When we signed our contract, we had trouble with the ink. Every time we signed our name, a spot of ink would drop on the paper when we lifted the pen. That's the real story. That's how it happened."
Pub Date: 2/12/98