The persona Phil Harris created on the radio was one who was easy to like. He was a happy-go-lucky hep cat who never met a bottle or a pretty girl that he didn't like. By reputation, he made acquaintances with plenty of both. Most of all, the radio Phil Harris was easy to like because he was a fundamentally happy fellow, as willing to laugh at himself as he was to laugh at those around him. When your boss is Jack Benny , of course, there is plenty around you to laugh at. Phil is best remembered as one of Benny's many “second bananas”, although he had a relatively successful career beyond the Jack Benny Program. He was never quite a superstar, but that seems to have been just alright with him. On June 24, 1904, Wonga Philip Harris was born to circus performers Harry and Dollie Harris in Linton, Indiana. Harry, a circus band leader, taught the lad to play several instruments and gave his son his first gig, playing drums under the big top. The boy played in movie houses
February 15: Happy Birthday, John Barrymore Drew Barrymore's grandfather, yes, but John Barrymore was also a theatre actor lauded for his performance as the title character in Hamlet on Broadway (1922) and for his roles in the films Don Juan, Dinner at Eight, Twentieth Century and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . His radio life included many appearances on The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour ( The Rudy Vallee Show ), most of them in 1941. His last performance was on the May 5, 1942 episode of the show. It was at a rehearsal for Vallee's show later in the year that he collapsed and went into a coma. A brief life of hard-drinking ended for Barrymore on May 29, 1942. Depending on who one believes, his dying words were either "Die?...No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him," or "you heard me, Mike." The oldtime radio world salutes John Barrymore on the day of his birth in 1882.
The consummate entertainer is one that carries a “valise” full of varied talent. Rudy Vallee was one example of such a skilled performer. Born on July 28, 1901, Vallee carried the mantle of bandleader, singer and actor...if only he could have danced. Music was dear to the heart of Mr vallee and it showed with is being part of his high school band. He could play drums, clarinet and saxophone. In the mid-20’s he went to London and played with the Savoyband. Upon returning to the U.S., vallee enrolled in college and and put together his own band, “ Rudy Vallee and The Connecticut Yankees.” He developed as a crooner using a megaphone and his style made him an instant hit with the young ladies of his day. This early century version of a “pop star” began to grow in his musical repertoire as he began to record label after label for the music fans. Hits like “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” and “As Time Goes By” began to appear on the airwaves from stations all over the country. Rudy Val