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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)

Lanny Grey Conducts the Rhythm School 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 ... (read more)

The DeZurik Sisters, Yodelers on the National Barn Dance

Mary Jane and Caroline DeZurik Just a little more than three years ago a couple of blond, blue-eyed sisters up in Royalton, Minnesota, decided they'd learn to sing. neither of them had ever sung a note and they didn't know the first thing about playing any musical instrument -- but that didn't stop them. They got to work on the song, "Will the Angels Play Their Harps for Me?" and discovered to their surprise that their voices sounded pretty good. After they had practiced a few more songs, they ... (read more)

Obituary for Radio Drummer Roy C. Knapp

Drummer and percussion teacher Roy C. Knapp Roy C. Knapp, a network orchestra musician during radio's golden area in Chicago and a highly respected percussion teacher in the city for decades, died June 16, 1979, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 87. The cause of death was not released. Knapp was a longtime resident of Chicago's Near North Side. He was born on Oct. 26, 1891, in Waterloo, Iowa, where his father operated the town's first movie theater. Knapp could play several ... (read more)

Roy C. Knapp Followed the Beat of His Own Drum

A 1952 ad for the Roy C. Knapp School of Percussion A series of accidents led Roy Knapp Into the life of a professional musician. Of course, Knapp had been reared in music. His father was a violinist, and from his earliest days Knapp was taught to play the violin. Then he broke his left arm in such a way that, even after it healed, it was impossible for him to finger the strings of the violin. So he took up the trumpet. His father wanted Knapp to be a farmer, and several times Knapp was ... (read more)

Nelson Selby, the Busiest Organist in Buffalo

Organist Nelson Selby at Old Laube's Restaurant in Buffalo One rarely thinks of an organist as being a much-traveled man or one whose activities would run from virtually dawn to midnight. But WBEN organist Nelson Selby is currently providing the musical backbone of Breakfast at Laube's Old Spain five mornings a week, playing at the Hotel Lenox six evenings a week, and airing a Sunday afternoon organ program on WBEN. He also is heard frequently on Sundays at Buffalo's leading churches. ... (read more)

Bing Crosby: A Quick Study in Singing and Acting

Bing Crosby in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949) When Bing Crosby changed from "live" radio shows to transcribed ones, it was because he felt that better programs would result when they could be assembled and produced with the care and control that transcribing allows -- you can't change a song or a comedy line once it's gone on the airways, but you can always "edit" a transcription. Besides, having to show up for rehearsals and broadcasts at set times every week was ... (read more)