Music

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Andrews Sisters Never Took Singing Lessons

The Andrews Sisters: Maxene, Patty and LaVerne Everyone in the United States who doesn't need an ear trumpet has heard the Andrews Sisters. They're almost as inescapable as the ubiquitous Bing. And the effect of their mad chanting harmony is a lot more penetrating. Maxene, Patty and LaVerne (the order in which they invariably line up to have their pictures taken) first dazzled the open-mouthed jive world as jukebox queens, when they bansheed a record of the plaintive Jewish melody, "Bei Mir ... (read more)

Cobina Wright Jr. Makes Radio Singing Debut at 17

Cobina Wright Jr. on the cover of Life Magazine, Feb. 17, 1941 At 17, attractive Cobina Wright, Jr., isn't the least bit worried by microphones. In fact, says she, "I love 'em." And she speaks from a wealth of experience, for the blond and beautiful daughter of an equally well-known mother has appeared before some of the nation's best mikes. These ventures into radiodom include guest appearances on We, the People, with Eddie Cantor's Camel Caravan, Consolidated Edison's City of Light, and the ... (read more)

Betsy King, the Youngest Disc Jockey on Radio

Radio's newest program type to run the gamut and come through a success is the kid disc jockey. The latest is Betsy King, daughter of Gene King, program director of WCOP, Boston. Betsy handles a much longer session than most of the disc jockeys who have to sit on phone books to cue up discs. She handles the program as though it were two half-hours from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. She calls her hour Let's Have Fun, and she does. Because she feels that Sundays must have prayers, she ends each ... (read more)

The Opera Singer Lily Pons Lost 5 Pounds During Performances

The U.S. Lily Pons stamp from 1997 I've dressed numbers of opera stars but Lily Pons is the most glamorous and dynamic. I know she isn't a movie star and perhaps the editor will bawl me out for including her here, but I feel that enough people have heard her over the radio to be interested in her. Lily is a great shock at first because one thinks of opera singers as being robust and dramatic. Pons is very tiny -- I think her actual weight is a hundred and five pounds -- and she is as quiet and ... (read more)

Martha Tilton Thought She Failed Benny Goodman Audition

Movie poster for Swing Hostess (1944) Sam, the man who made the pants too long, gave Martha Tilton her first job on an air show. Her singing suited the tailor man fine and he paid her the lordly sum of twenty-five dollars for her renditions over a Los Angles radio station-thousand watter KFAC. The day she got her first paycheck from the sponsor Martha rushed over to a department store and bought three items: a new hat, imitation pearls for her mother and a pink sweater for her dog who was ... (read more)

Milwaukee Firemen Scale Musical Heights on Radio

Milwaukee's Engine Company No. 3 building in the 1920s Most people associate firemen with music only in connection with those two immortal ditties, "Fireman, Save My Child," and "Oh, for the Life of a Fireman." It's all wrong. The truth is that firemen -- Milwaukee firemen, that is are likely to be known in the future as challengers of the world in the catch-as-catch-can music, no holds barred and the winner to take all the purse. For they have burst into the radio firmament through the ... (read more)

How Nelson Eddy Got in Hot Water with Two Coffee Companies

Nelson Eddy in Maytime (1937) They were all in a dither and it was Nelson Eddy's fault. By "they" I mean Chase and Sanborn and Maxwell House (they make coffee, or haven't you heard), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the National Broadcasting Company, a couple of advertising firms and a round dozen lawyers. It was Nelson's fault because he really should have arranged to be two young men, each with a Voice. Then he could have sung on two rival radio programs with everything lovely. As it was, conferences ... (read more)

Why Vladimir Horowitz Stopped Performing in the 1930s

Classical pianist and composer Vladimir Horowitz Up in Riverdale, New York, there lives a small five-year-old girl named Sonia, who from all accounts is already very much of a personality. She knows what she wants when she wants it, and is never at a loss before adults, most of whom agree that she's going to need plenty of courage, staggering under the stupendous burden of two such names as Horowitz and Toscanini. For her father is Vladimir Horowitz and her grandfather is Arturo Toscanini. Her ... (read more)

George Hall and His Orchestra, Live from the Hotel Taft

George Taft and singer Dolly Dawn George Hall leads the popular dance orchestra in the grill of the Hotel Taft. His band broadcasts 11 times a week -- which means that it is heard more often than any other band on the air. Noon, night and morning its rhythms and harmonies are carried into all the cities and all the towns and the smart country hamlets where the Columbia Broadcasting System bears romance and inspiration to the organdied girlfriends of tuxedoed youths. It is a very good thing ... (read more)

The Story of How Gus Van Met Joe Schenck

The comedy due Gus Van and Joe Schenck in the movie They Learned About Women (1930) Some men who sing direct their song to the girl they love. Some sing to a fancied ideal. Many carol out of sheer romance. A few sing solely for material reward. But different from any of these is the emotion which inspires the songs of Gus Van, interlocutor on the NBC Greater Minstrels. Van sings to a shadow -- the wraith of his former partner, Joe Schenck, whom he loved with a robust, masculine affection bred ... (read more)