Showing posts with label Kay Kyser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kay Kyser. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18: Happy Birthday Kay Kyser (Kollege of Musical Knowledge)

James Kern Kyser was born June 18, 1905 and became one of the most notable bandleaders of the 30’s and 40’s. He...oh wait, you may know him by his other name, Kay Kyser...went onto become of the most respected and admired radio personalities of his day. Because of his energy and enthusiasm while in college, Kyser was asked to head up a band whose leader was moving on to other pursuits. As the new bandleader, Kay Kyser discovered his talent lay more in the announcing end of leading then trying to perform an instrument. Kyser would record a couple of hit pieces for Victor before becoming nationally acclaimed. As the band toured the country, Kay’s benchmark of turning playing music into quiz time for the audience, earned the band the name of the Kollege of Musical Knowledge. And as the “The Ol’ Perfessor”, Kyser would use his position to query and encourage the audience into dancing with phrases like, “C’mon chilluns, let’s dance”. By the late 30’s and in through the 40’s, the Kollege of Musical Knowledge was performing on radio for Mutual and NBC. The “Ol’ Professor” was calling out the quiz questions on the air just before hitting the band music for listeners everywhere. Jack Benny and Burns and Allen radio programs were some of the venues that had visits by The Kollege of Musical Knowledge. Hit instrumentalists like Sully Mason and Jack Martin were part of the band, which identified the unique calibre and personality of this travelling ensemble. Kay Kyser would take his band and fame into the movie industry and television. But his legacy as the travelling center of musical academia was his showpiece. Kay Kyser passed away in June of 1985. The “The Ol’ Perfessor” had ended his tenure.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21: Happy Birthday, Jane Russell

On June 21 of 1921, Ernestine Jane Russell was born and thus began a story and life that was the envy of millions of women and eye-catching of men. Miss Russell made her movie debut in 1943 when she filmed “The Outlaw”.

A famous pose of her stretched out on hay and holding a revolver was an instant pin-up hit for servicemen everywhere. Her obvious physical traits notwithstanding, Miss Russell drew the attention for her acting ability that would garner her much success in the years to follow.

However, she was a versatile performer as a singer as well and her talent was added to a number of films. She performed with Kay Kyser and his band for radio by creating two hit singles, “As Long As I Live” and “Boin-n-n-ng”.

Her 1948 hit movie The Paleface with Bob Hope, was broadcast for radio on Screen Director’s Playhouse in 1950. She also would record for Columbia a number of ballads that allowed America to hear her talents rather than simply focus upon her body shape.

Jane Russell was big on keeping things appropriate when men mused about her physical stature and always tried to maintain a modicum of decency in her dress. Although a few jokes were focused upon her womanliness, Miss Russell never felt her looks should be her legacy. Married three times and having adopted 3 children, Jane Russell also was a registered Republican and devout Christian.

In February of 2011, Jane Russell passed away at the age of 89 and left behind an admirable movie history.