Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thomas A. DeLong

I was saddened, this week, to learn of the death of writer Thomas A. DeLong. He passed away July 12th, at 75.

I enjoyed reading Mr. DeLong’s work, over time—which included such books as Radio Stars (subtitled An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960), published in 1996 by McFarland & Company, and Quiz Craze—America’s Infatuation with Game Shows (Praeger, 1991). I had the pleasure of speaking with him, by phone, several months ago.

Mr. DeLong lived in both Florida, and Connecticut. Here is an obituary, from the Westport, Connecticut on-line publication WestportNow:

Here, too, is a page which lists four of the ten books Mr. DeLong published during his writing career.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Louis Armstrong, "La Vie En Rose," Ricky Riccardi

There’s a nice commercial on TV for the iphone 4, directed by Sam Mendes. It features Louis Armstrong singing “When You’re Smiling.”

Previously, in this space, I wrote of Ricky Riccardi’s enjoyable blog, “The Wonderful World Of Louis Armstrong” ( In November Riccardi wrote about “When You’re Smiling,” and had included in his posting an audio recording (one I had not been aware of before, and which I was therefore delighted to hear) of Armstrong performing the song on Kay Kyser’s NBC television show, in 1950:

Riccardi, as noted in my previous post, is the Project Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens ( He also lectures about Armstrong, and is the author of the forthcoming book What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years (Pantheon). The book was originally scheduled to be brought out this past spring, but now will appear in May of 2011. (The cover of the book, as currently seen on amazon——appears above.)

In his 1950 appearance on Kay Kyser’s TV show, Louis Armstrong performed two songs: “When You’re Smiling,” and “La Vie En Rose.”

Riccardi, in his blog, recently wrote about “La Vie En Rose.” As was the case when he wrote about “When You’re Smiling,” he included in the recent post a recording of Armstrong’s performance of the song on Kay Kyser's TV program.  The recording appears at about the halfway point of the post:

As I had not heard the performance of "When You're Smiling," from Kay Kyser's program, until coming upon it several months ago on Riccardi's blog, I had also not previously heard the performance of "La Vie En Rose," from the same telecast.  It was wonderful to be able to listen to it. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

JCC of Middlesex County, NJ

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time appearing at the Jewish Community Center in Edison, New Jersey last week. It was a great pleasure meeting with and speaking with the attendees—and hearing about their recollections of early television.

During the presentation, I showed some videotape, made from kinescopes of Your Hit Parade. One of the kinescope segments was of the end of a Hit Parade telecast from 1952, featuring the program’s singers and dancers; they sang the show’s closing theme song, “So Long for a While”:

So long for a while,

That’s all the songs, for a while,

So long to Your Hit Parade, and the tunes that you picked to be played.

So long…

As the video of the theme song played, a number of people in the JCC audience sang along with it. It was a very lovely moment—hearing the audience members sing the song, so many years after the program left the air.

Friday, July 2, 2010

An Event at the JCC, Middlesex County, NJ

On Tuesday (July 6th), I'll speaking about my book in Edison, New Jersey--at the Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County.  I'm very much looking forward to the presentation, which will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Here's the JCC's website: