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1949 All-Western Drum Majorette Queen

1949 All-Western Drum Majorette Queen Marilyn Watson

In 1949, Marilyn Watson won the title of All-Western Drum Majorette Queen. As such, she led a four-hour parade during the 9th Annual All-Western Band Review, Long Beach, California. More than 5,000 musicians in 84 bands representing the Navy, Marine Corps, schools, colleges and organizations, competed for awards. Among them were the trophies featured in the above photo. More than 500,000 spectators witnessed the event, which was the nation’s largest band parade.

Watson was the winter majorette at George Washington High School in the late 1940s and early 1950s. GWHS is a public preparatory school in Los Angeles.

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About the All-Western Band Review

Here is an excerpt from an article on an old Angelfire webpage that explains the All-Western Band Review:

The All-Western Band Review For those of you who do not live in California, we have a form of high school band competition that other states dropped over thirty years ago. It is the band review, a parade of nothing but bands. Bands play a standard military march in a standard military formation. There is a simple dignified elegance to the whole thing. And besides, the kids in the band get to march in a parade where they don’t have to worry about the horses in front of them! The biggest of the band reviews was the All-Western Band Review on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. When it began in the late 1930s, not only high school bands were judged but there were professional civilian, military, and college divisions. (In one year the Aggie Band from the University of California at Davis beat both U.S.C. and U.C.L.A.!) Since World War Two only high school bands competed. It was a big thing for bands from all over the state to compete against each other. As my memory recalls the All-Western from my time in high school the shimmering letters from Tranquillity, Upland, Patrick Henry, Watsonville, Armijo, La Puente, Chowchilla, Glendora, Helix, Cupertino, Woodlake, Tracy, Loara, Castle Park, John North, East Bakersfield, Arcadia, Reedley, Orosi, Porterville, Merced, Atwater, Manteca, Montebello, and, my alma mater, Colton High School bands sparkle into view. The last All-Western Band Review was in 1983. Approximately 75 bands from all over California were there. There are still other band reviews but none offer the attraction of so many bands from so many diferent places as the great All-Western Band Review…

Things Which Aren’t Here Anymore

Phyllis Fleming, 1951 All-Western Drum Majorette Queen

In 1951, Phyllis Fleming, 16, won the All-Western Drum Majorette Queen title. She went on to lead the 11th Annual All-Western Band Review. Judy Weed, 18, was runner-up. The story that ran in the Los Angeles Examiner identified Fleming as a blue-eyed blonde. It described Weed as a brown-eyed brunette. It was common during this era to describe twirlers and majorettes by their physical attributes.

These photos are from the University of Southern California Archive. They are shared for educational purposes with permission from the Doheny Memorial Library, USC. All Rights Reserved.

Fleming marched with the Camp Pendleton Marine Band. She went on to win the title of Miss San Diego and was crowned “Dream Girl of Pi Kappa Alpha” while attending San Diego State University. According to the Southern California Baton Boosters Association (SCBBA), she was Miss Teenage Majorette of America in 1955. Also, she went on to serve as director of the San Diego Chargettes.

Weed was a majorette at El Monte High School, El Monte, California and also at Pasadena City College. We have not been able to locate any other information about her.

If you have any information about Phyllis Fleming or Judy Weed that you’d like to share, please contact us at

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