J Nate Levine was a well-known handler in other breeds before he came on the Boxer scene. He had a wonderful kennel on Harman Road, North Wales, near Ambler, PA, and made all the East Coast shows. He first appears in the 1940 & 1941 catalogues on various entries.
Nate handled many of the top winning boxers of the 1940’s. CH Overture of Mazelaine was the first champion sired by Utz. She was out of a Dorian daughter. Overture was campaigned by Nate Levine for Estelle R Slesinger, Renrew Boxers after she finished in 1940. She was shown extensively in 1941, garnering 5 BIS that year – a tremendous record for a bitch then and topped this with BOB at ABC in 1942. In her first litter she produced the littermates CH V-E Admiral of Renrew and CH V-E Wave of Renrew. CH Pacemaker of Renrew was in the second litter by CH Merry Monarch.
In 1943 Nate had yet another top winning bitch – CH El Wendie of Rockland was whelped 05/30/1942 and finished in 25 days from the puppy class. She was shown 11 times, had 8 BOB, 4 Group 1 and 1 BIS. She proceeded to eclipse Dorian’s record of 22 BIS with a total of 23 BIS in 1943, 1944 and 1945 for owners Mr. & Mrs. Alden W Harvey and later under the Rye Top banner of Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Crystal. She was by CH Konzert of Mazelaine (Utz x Dorian daughter) out of a Sigurd daughter. She whelped her first litter to Utz in December of 1943 followed by two litters in 1945 & 1946, each of which produced one champion. It is somewhat amazing today that a BIS bitch was bred in the middle of her show career but it was a common practice then to breed all bitches the first time when they were 18 mos to 3 years of age the belief being that they would have more vigor and healthier puppies at that age.
Nate was busy in 1946 and 1947 putting championships on the Rye Top Boxers. Her son CH Gentleman Jim of Rye Top was BOS to Wild Deuces of Mazelaine (handled by Larry) at ABC 1946 and her daughter CH Victory Song of Rye Top was Runner Up to the Grand Futurity Winner in 1947 and BOS at ABC 1948 to CH Apollo of San Joaquin – the first California dog to win at ABC.
He had another client in the late 1940s (1945 – 1949) – Chardythe Boxers of Mr. & Mrs. Charles F Herbertz. It is ironic that with Nate handling for them their claim to fame was to be Chardythe’s Pacemaker UD. He obtained his UD at a young age and competed in the ABC obedience trials every year for about 10 years. His owner, trainer and handler a newcomer named Jud Streicher.
In 1946 Nate also became the main handler for Mr. & Mrs. Richard C Kettles (Dorick) – the owners of CH Warlord of Mazelaine. Warlord had gone BOB at ABC from the classes in 1944 and repeated in 1945 from specials – Walter Foster was the handler. Nate had Warlord in 1947 and was BOB at ABC and BIS at the Garden (Westminister Kennel Club). Warlord – an Utz son out of the outstanding CH Symphony of Mazelaine (Dorian x Lustig daughter.) Levine probably had his pick of clients after Warlord. He handled some of the Lark’s dogs – in 1949 they had CH Yobang of Sirrah Crest and CH Schoolmaster of Mazelaine at their Meritaire kennel (and some kennel help named Eleanor).
He picked up a new client in 1949 – Dr. & Mrs. R. C. Harris of Sirrah Crest. He took CH Yoomph of Sirrah Crest to Top Bitch in 1949 and won ABC with her in 1950. They also wanted him to look at a puppy that they wanted handled at ABC “if he was good enough”. The puppy was promising and they won Winners Dog at ABC. The Harris’s wanted him to stay on Yoomph because she had a shot at breed – which she won. Who knows, if he had stayed on Winners Dog would Bang Away have gone breed in 1950? As it was, Yoomph retired to the litterbox and Bang Away and Nate went on to make history, far eclipsing Nate’s already impressive record and shattering all previous Boxer and All-Breed BIS records.
Coincidentally, the current All-Breed BIS record had been taken over by their closest competitor – Mazelaine Kennels with CH Mazelaine’s Zazarac Brandy. Bang Away was BOB at ABC in 1951 over Brandy, the 1949 Westminster winner. Bang Away was going for the BIS All-Breed title. Brandy had a two-year start on him. Bang Away raced to catch up with him and did so at Trenton Kennel Club in May of 1952 with 60 BIS. The famous picture of Brandy handing Bang Away the crown is the result of this race. Bang Away was campaigned by Nate to many of his 121 BIS awards. Bang Away stood at Nate’s kennel in Pennsylvania when he was in the East. Nate handled well into the 1960’s but was forever associated with Bang Away. Bang Away’s eventual record of 121 BIS all-breeds stood for several decades.
Bang Away was BIS at the Garden (Westminister Kennel Club) in 1952 with Nate handling and won every major Eastern show – Bucks County KC began to think they should just mail the BIS ribbon and trophy to Nate. Not all of Bang Away’s BIS wins were with Nate. He was shown on the West Coast by Harry Sangster & Russell Zimmerman. He went BIS in Oregon owner-handled by Mrs. Harris.
Thanks to 4 generations of line breeding and a careful upbringing by Mrs. Harris to bring out his natural talent, Bang Away was the ultimate Boxer showman. He was always “ON”. Film of Bang Away at 6 years with Nate (when he retired) shows a dog with tremendous charisma and animation – something not captured in still pictures although some of it can be seen in the film footage from the 1952 Parade of Champions especially with Warlord and Brandy. Nate was also with him at the famous “retirement dinner” sponsored by ABC in New York City. Bang Away still holds the record for most champions produced (81 US champions in 208 litters) and was the sire of 7 Sires & Dams of Merit giving him Legion of Merit status.
Nate did not show many Boxers at ABC in 1952, 1953, 1954, or 1955. He did show some in the late 1950’s for Charlotte Brayshaw, and the Flints. Nate was an all-breed handler and doubtless was in other rings. His last handler listing in the ABC catalog was in 1965. Nate is also credited with starting the “ball” craze.