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May 30: Happy Birthday, Ben Bernie

Who hasn't whistled "Sweet Georgia Brown"? It's a jazz standard and the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters, and it was co-written by today's birthday boy, Ben Bernie, whose orchestra made the song's first recording. 

Bayonne, NJ's own Ben Bernie was a violinist, bandleader, and radio star. From 1930 to 1943 he hosted various radio variety shows, all bearing his name. This vehicle allowed him to popularize his catchphrase "yowza, yowza, yowza!" He became one of the most beloved radio personalities.

One trait of his radio career was a fictional feud with writer Walter Winchell, a little publicity stunt. So go up to your friends, give 'em a couple of "yowza"s, and see if they recognize the source.

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