Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31: Happy Birthday Mario Lanza

January 31: Happy Birthday Mario Lanza

If your mother was born on Jan. 30, you forgot to wish her a happy birthday yesterday. If she was born today, the 31st, she shares a birthday with Mario Lanza, and you still have time to send her an e-card.

The operatic tenor Mario Lanza made great contributions to oldtime radio. His radio show, entitled simply "Mario Lanza," ran for a dozen or so episodes from Summer of '51 into '52. It was an elegant offering of Lanza's singing and great guest stars such as Rosemary Clooney, Vesti La Giubba and Kitty Kalen. Episode titles include "I've Got You Under My Skin," "All The Things You Are," and "Night and Day."

While Lanza was considered to have one of the very best singing voices on Earth, he also had a somewhat rocky career marked by skirmishes with colleagues and bosses. He endured a small lip-synching scandal in 1954 when it was revealed he'd been miming on his TV debut, and he snubbed the New Frontier in Las Vegas for a two-week gig.

Lanza was a lover of food and drink, and died of a heart attack in 1959. He was 38.

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