Lanny Grey Conducts the Rhythm School of the Air

Publicity photo of Lanny Grey holding a microphone on the radio show Rhythm of the Air
Lanny Grey hosts Rhythm of the Air on NBC

Lanny Grey, young NBC singer, pianist and arranger, is going to see his name in big Mazda lights one of these days, if I'm a judge, because he has the certain priceless ingredients that help mold great stars.

He concocted an idea, Rhythm School of the Air -- something just a little different -- and you can hear it any Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time -- and he's going to sink or swim with it.

It's just a sustainer now and by the time Lanny pays out his small cast, he's got just enough left to buy a copy of Variety and grab a sandwich in the Radio City drugstore. But he's not worrying. You even believe him when he candidly tells you that he never took a piano lesson in his life and even today can't read a note of music!

His little program is all his own idea. The entire show is done in rhyme and there are no spoken words. Lanny plays the piano and arranges all the numbers. He has perfected a system of signs instead of the customary musical notes. Lanny studies the new tunes at the publishers, memorizes them, then coaches Judy, the Sing-Sing Sisters, the Rhythm School Quartet, Mary McHugh, Jimmy Rich, Nursery Crime Detective and Don Richards.

It takes him a week to get the show perfected, but only a half hour to remember a tune.

The cast is not as imposing as it sounds.

"You see the Sing-Sing Sisters are really Judy and Mary. The Rhythm School Quartet is composed of Jimmy, Judy, Mary and myself. Jimmy Rich the organized doubles as the Nursery Crime Detective, and the other 12 characters on the show are divided among the five of us," explained the University of Pennsylvania graduate.

The kids on the show are sticking with Lanny until sponsorship offers come his way. They have turned down several flattering individual contracts. They're placing their bets on Lanny.

:Any guy that can pick up the ukulele, learn the chords, then master the banjo, and finally the piano, without even a metronome in the house, can do anything," is the way partner Judy sums it all up.

At nights they usually get together at Lanny's apartment to concoct the big commercial idea that they think the show still lacks before it can go bigtime.

Ken Alden in Radio Mirror, November 1938

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