Sunday, December 30, 2007

The S.S. United States

Another picture of the S.S. United States, in 2000, on the Philadelphia waterfront.

(Photograph copyright Jenny Lynn)

The S.S. United States

The S.S. United States, one of America's legendary ocean liners, is today docked on the Philadelphia waterfront. The ship--more than one hundred feet longer than the Titanic--stopped carrying passengers in 1969. Today it is in disrepair, and is largely gutted. It was purchased in 2003 by the Norwegian Cruise Lines company, and will presumably, at some point, be seaworthy again.

The S.S. United States plays a part in The Lucky Strike Papers. In June of 1952, days before the ship's maiden voyage, the last telecast of Your Hit Parade, for the 1951-1952 season, took place on the ship. The telecast from the ship, it turned out, was my mother's last appearance on the program.

The Lucky Strike Papers features a number of photographs, taken on the ocean liner in 1952 , during rehearsals for the Hit Parade broadcast.

Seen here: the United States in 2000. (Photograph copyright Jenny Lynn)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A TV Magazine

Here's an issue of TV Showtime, called "The Midwest's Own Television Magazine," for the week of June 7th through June 13th, 1950.
Featured on the cover (left to right): Marion Bye and Sylvia Textor, two of the singers in the vocal group The Honeydreamers. The group was featured, during this time, on Kay Kyser's College of Musical Knowledge.
Sylvia Textor was known as Sylvia Michaels while singing on Kay Kyser's program; her husband, Keith Textor, was another of the group's singers, and the group's founder. Later, when the Textors left the group, they appeared as a duo on Fred Waring's TV show, and then sang on Your Show of Shows for the program's final several months.
Also in The Honeydreamers, during its time on The Kay Kyser Show: Bob Davis (married to Marion Bye), and Lew Anderson.
In 1954, Anderson took over the role of Clarabell The Clown on the Howdy Doody program, remaining with the show until it went off the air in 1960.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Lucky Strike Papers (subtitled Journeys Through My Mother's Television Past) is now available. It can be purchased directly from the publisher, BearManor Media, at:

It is also available through

I hope you'll consider getting a copy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Freddy Martin Show, 1951

The Freddy Martin Show (also known as The Hazel Bishop Show, after its lipstick sponsor) made its debut on NBC-TV in July of 1951. The weekly show, which continued airing in the fall, starred bandleader Martin, singer Merv Griffin, pianist Murray Arnold, and the vocal group The Martin Men, made up of sidemen from Freddy Martin's orchestra. My mother sang on the show regularly as a guest vocalist.

In this photo, she sings the song "Everything Happens To Me."

Photo, from a video of a kinescope, by Jenny Lynn.
Video/kinescope image used by permission of NBC Studios, Inc.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two artifacts, 1950

Two artifacts:

The first: a mailing from 1950, sent to a home in Phoenix, New York. On one side, the card displays the broadcast schedule of television station WKTV, in Utica, New York. The station featured programs from three networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC. On the reverse side of the card is an advertisement for Kay Kyser’s Thursday night television show.

The second: a ticket to the last telecast of Kay Kyser’s program, at New York’s International Theatre, in December of 1950.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Photograph

Here's a photo, from January, 1952, of Your Hit Parade (a photo not included in my upcoming book). Pictured: Snooky Lanson and Sue Bennett, singing the song "Down Yonder." The picture was taken of a television screen, as the program was telecast. (photographer unknown)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Introductory Post


This blog will largely be concerned with my soon-to-be-published non-fiction book, The Lucky Strike Papers, and with its primary subject: the era of early television.

My late mother, singer Sue Bennett, was featured on various network TV shows between 1949 and 1952—including NBC’s Kay Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge, in 1949 and 1950, and Your Hit Parade (also known as The Lucky Strike Hit Parade), in 1951 and 1952. She also appeared regularly on other NBC programs: bandleader Freddy Martin’s TV show, and Van Camp’s Little Show, which starred singer and actor John Conte.

The book features conversations with singers, bandleaders, comedians, dancers, writers, producers, directors and others from the shows with which my mother was affiliated. It will be brought out later this year by the Georgia-based publisher BearManor Media; BearManor specializes in entertainment-related books, including many about old radio and TV shows.
So: thanks for looking, and please visit again soon!
(Photo: Kay Kyser and Sue Bennett, 1950 issue of TeleVision Guide magazine.)