Showing posts with label al jolson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label al jolson. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 26: Happy Birthday, Peggy Lee

Al Jolson, John Wayne, and Peggy Lee were all born on May 26. For Lee, it was 1920, in Jamestown, ND. Lee is celebrated as a gifted songstress who brought to life such hits as Fever, Why Don't You Do Right? and Elmer's Tune. 

Lee sang in Benny Goodman's orchestra from 1941 til 1943 before moving on to a solo recording career and roles in several hit films. She would then win a Grammy in 1969 for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for her song "Is That All There Is?"

Naturally, Ms. Lee spent her share of time on the radio, appearing on Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time many a time, as well as Crosby's Chesterfield Presents the Bing Crosby Show. She also appeared in many sustaining broadcasts.

Lee contributed to the world of music as a bombastic vocalist, a shining star of the Big Band Era.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26: Happy Birthday Al Jolson


Al Jolson was one of the most famous Broadway performers of his day. He was spontaneous and daring, improvising at will and giving audiences long segments of his song and dance stylings. He is, of course, known to history for his blackface routines, which have suffered disrepute, widely considered racist.

Jolson's early alter ego, was Gus, a wily underdog who survived on his wits. Jolson played Gus in such revues as "The Honeymoon Express" and "Dancing Around."

Off stage, Jolson was known to bet on the ponies and on boxers. He was known for his volatile personality.

Jolson lit up the radio airwaves with appearances on Bing Crosby's Chesterfield Show and Kraft Music Hour. He also had a brief run with his own Al Jolson Show.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3: Happy Birthday, Bing Crosby


A stirrer of the imagination, a soother of souls, a gentle and loyal companion, Bing Crosby is a crooner for all-time, a superstar of the twentieth century. Known for his songs "White Christmas," "Surrender Dear," and "Sweet Leilani," the baritone was called "the most admired man alive" by Yank magazine.

From 1935-'43, Crosby appeared regularly on Kraft Music Hall. He also made many appearances on Command Performance and Philco Radio Time. These performances, in addition to showcasing his now-legendary vocal skills, allowed him to work with the biggest names of the day, including Peggy Lee, Boris Karloff, Al Jolson, Groucho Marx, and Fred Astaire.

The story has it that his nickname Bing (he was born Harry) came from his infatuation with the comic strip Bingville Bugle.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1: Happy Birthday, Kate Smith


Kate Smith was born on this day in 1907, and it's not every day we get to celebrate the birth of the First Lady of Radio. The Kate Smith Show featured not only Smith's rich voice but comedy skits, musical performances, even drama. Guests included Gene Kelley, Al Jolson, Dorothy Lamour, and Ed Sullivan. What's more, Henny Youngman served as regulars, delivering their now legendary radio comedy.

Some of you may remember a lesser-known program, Kate Smith Speaks, on which "The Songbird of the South" gave her opinions on current events issues.

One thing you may not know about her was that it was she who introduced the public to Irving Berlin's rousing anthem "God Bless America" in 1938. Happy Birthday, first lady!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante

February 10: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante


Actor, personality, voice-over expert and owner of a famous "schnozzola," Jimmy Durante was born on this day in 1893. Jimmy's calling card was his raspy, urbane voice. He hosted the Durante-Moore Show with partner Garry Moore and went solo with The Jimmy Durante Show in 1947. "Dat's my boy dat said dat!" was a catchphrase on the first iteration of the program.

Like many shows of the era, The Jimmy Durante Show featured comedy and music. Do you remember guest appearances by: Lucille Ball, Victor Moore, Bing Crosby, and Al Jolson?

After his radio career, Durante voiced the Narrator of the 1969 cartoon special "Frosty the Snowman." He died in Santa Monica on Jan. 29, 1980.

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 1936: Burlesque and the Real Life Couple

 
June 15, 1936: The Lux Radio Theater aired "Burlesque" that starred by Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler.

During their time, Ruby Keeler was a tap dancer who then became a known Broadway star, while  Al Jolson was a highly-celebrated popular singer. The starring of the two in this theater play of  The Lux Radio Theater  was heaven sent not only because of the performance talents of the two but also the fact that off-stage, they were a real couple with an adopted child, though in 1939, Keeler left Jolson.

Enjoy the The Lux Radio Theater broadcast from "Burlesque" from  June 15, 1936: