Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here are two videos; both are live performances featuring the exquisite voice of Jennifer Warnes. The first, from the 1970s, is of her hit “Right Time of the Night.” The second, from the 1980s, is “Up Where We Belong,” her duet with the great Joe Cocker, from the film “An Officer and a Gentleman.”



Monday, March 22, 2010

The S.S. United States

In a 3/10 posting, I mentioned the recent fears regarding the possible fate of the S.S. United States ocean liner (the ship, as noted in previous posts, plays a part in my book). There has been confirmation, unfortunately, that the fears are justified.

As part of its effort to sell the legendary ship (which has been docked, since 1996, on the Philadelphia waterfront), the company that owns it, Norwegian Cruise Line, is now accepting bids from scrap dealers.


Please also see the following link, for information about the S.S. United States Conservancy, and its efforts to preserve the ship:


Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Radio Once More," and "The Green Hornet"

In a posting this past week, I wrote about the radio show I appeared on, on 3/8—“The Live Show”— on the Internet station “Radio Once More.”

The hosts of “The Live Show,” Neal Ellis and Ken Stockinger, will be broadcasting tomorrow (Sunday), from the Baltimore Non-Sports Card Convention, in Towson, MD; the broadcast will air from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. (http://www.radiooncemore.com/).

Also appearing at the convention: Martin Grams, Jr., about whom I’ve written previously in this space, and Terry Salomonson. They’ll be discussing the book they’ve written, which has just been released: “The Green Hornet— A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television” (OTR Publishing, 816 pages).


Both Grams and Salomonson, incidentally, are affiliated with “Radio Once More.” They are hosts, on the station, of shows featuring old radio broadcasts.

Ella Fitzgerald

Here is a beautiful vocal performance by Ella Fitzgerald, from 1950, singing “Someone To Watch Over Me.” She is accompanied by the noted pianist Ellis Larkins.


An on-line discography notes that the record was made in September of that year. Three months later, in December of 1950, Fitzgerald appeared as a guest star on Kay Kyser’s television show, on NBC. She sang the song, "Orange Colored Sky," a hit record that fall for Nat King Cole.

The co-writer of "Orange Colored Sky," as noted in a previous blog entry, was Milton DeLugg. DeLugg, in 1950 and 1951, was the bandleader on the NBC late-night television show Broadway Open House.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Radio Once More"

Last Monday night (March 8th), I appeared by phone, for a couple of hours, on the Internet radio station “Radio Once More” (http://www.radiooncemore.com/).

For most of its broadcast day, the station airs radio programs from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s (shows such as “The Lone Ranger,” “Inner Sanctum,” “Dragnet,” “The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show,” “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “The Mercury Theatre,” and many others).

Yet four times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 p.m.-midnight, and Sundays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.) the station features its three-hour “Live Show”; this is the program on which I appeared last week.

The program is oriented toward nostalgia and Old-Time-Radio subjects, and has been airing since the start of January. Its hosts, well-known in the Old Time Radio community, are Neal Ellis and Ken Stockinger.

The show features guest interviews, conversations between the hosts, contributions from listeners—via phone calls, e-mails, and postings on the show’s Facebook page—and episodes of old radio broadcasts.

(Part of one show, last week, concerned the 77th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s first “Fireside Chat”; two “Fireside Chats” were re-played, including Mr. Roosevelt’s initial 1933 broadcast.)

Neal Ellis and Ken Stockinger are warm and engaging hosts, and it was a great pleasure appearing on their program.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Radio Once More"

Tonight, at 9 p.m. (EST), I’ll be talking about The Lucky Strike Papers on the Internet radio station “Radio Once More.” (www.radiooncemore.com)

The program—the station’s “Live Show”—airs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 p.m.-12 a.m., and Sundays from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

The show’s hosts are Neal Ellis and Ken Stockinger.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Early TV, and the Big Bands

An important part of my book about early TV is its focus on singers (including, of course, my mother).

There are a number of singers interviewed in the book. Many of them—such as Eileen Wilson, Dorothy Collins, Snooky Lanson, Merv Griffin, and Jack Leonard—were vocalists from the big band period, who then became a part of the new medium of television.

The book, indeed, is primarily about television’s early years. Yet it also concerns this concurrent time: the last years of the big band era.

Some of the early TV programs on which my mother sang, between 1949 and 1952, were built around bandleaders: Kay Kyser’s show, Freddy Martin’s show. Your Hit Parade starred a cast of vocalists—yet it also featured, prominently, The Lucky Strike Orchestra, led by musician Raymond Scott; Scott had achieved great success as a bandleader in the 1930s and 1940s.

Such TV shows, therefore, were not simply part of the new, emerging medium. They were also part of (or had roots in) the band era, yet it was an era which was receding. A new musical period was coming into view: one in which individual vocalists were supplanting the big bands, in popularity—vocalists such as Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore, and Patti Page (all of whom starred on their own TV shows during the 1950s).