With her syrupy Southern drawl, Judy Canova hosted her show with a disarming charm. Opening with a monologue, she'd then sing a number and go into skits or performances of the musical guest. Each half an hour episode was sponsored by Colgate and aired Tuesdays by CBS, from July '43 to May '53.
Other stars of the Judy Canova Show were Mel Blanc, Sheldon Leonard, Verna Felton and Ruby Dandridge. It was on the Judy Canova Show that Mel Blanc developed the Sylvester the cat and Speedy Gonzalez characters he would later make famous on cartoons, though they appeared here under different names.
The song "Goodnight Soldier" was a wartime favorite, and Canova recorded it in 1946.
Canova (1913-1983) was born into a vaudeville family in Starke, Florida. Though not from the Ozarks, she somehow acquired the moniker "the Ozark Nightingale." Like just about everyone in show business, she aspired to be taken seriously. In her case, though, she was saddled with the country bumpkin image early on and never shook it. However, in addition to her radio work and her singing, she also made several movie appearances.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Beach Boys rarely surfed; Creedence Clearwater Revival, for all their Bayou songs, weren't from that region; and Judy Canova, sometimes called The Ozark Nightingale, did not hail from the Ozarks. She wasn't even from Georgia, which means that the act Three Georgia Crackers, which she had with her brother Zeke and sister Annie was another marketing ploy.
Judy played the role of the country innocent to the hilt, and found success at a young age. Before long, the hoky act--with Judy yodeling, singing, and picking a gee-tar--had ironically made Broadway.
She then became a big radio star. She started on Rudy Vallee's The Fleischmann Hour and then landed her own show, appropriately called The Judy Canova Show. This included music and skits and stories about pigs. Some advertisements featured a pencil sketch of Judy in a straw hat and pigtails, looking not unlike the mascot for the Little Debbies snacks that would fatten a nation a little later.
Today marks the birth of an interesting comedienne and performer.