Jeff Kallman's excellent The Easy Ace: A Journal of Classic Radio
is a wonderful place to spend hours on end, rediscovering the Golden Age of Radio
as it's meant to be discovered and celebrated. Article after article
is filled with a wonderful new vignette about Golden Age Radio History.
---The Digital Deli Online.

[I]n his matchless on-this-day approach to chronicling “yesteryear,”
he easily aces out a less organized mind like mine,
which promptly lapsed into a more idiosyncratic mode of relating the past.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So Danco Samba: The Way It Was, 20 August

Disappointed that Atterbury (Gale Gordon) is bringing over a new bank director (unknown, but sounding rather like Hugh Beaumont), on a night she'd hoped George (Richard Denning) would take her dancing at the Starlight Roof, Liz (Lucille Ball)---who doesn't have much patience for the man's boring stories and overtold jokes---stumbles into a way to get on his good side: teaching his shy son Wally (?!?) to samba . . . which may make his father's stories and jokes seem child's play to her.

Especially when Wally (Richard Crenna) can't keep his eyes off her hips . . . until she suggests the awkward kid try dancing with her ("George, Wally dances the samba like a kangaroo with hot coals in his pouch!") . . . an experience she isn't (and her feet aren't) anxious to repeat for a followup lesson, even it means a possible promotion for George from Wally's grateful father, and especially after the kid asks her for help with a particularly knotty problem of the heart.

Katie: Ruth Perrott. Announcer: Unknown. Music: Marlon Skiles, Wilbur Hatch. Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.


HARRY JAMES AND HIS MUSIC MAKERS: REMOTE FROM CASINO GARDENS (NBC, 1944)---This performance from Ocean Park, California, shows the perhaps too-well expanded James band---complete with a full string section---launching with vocalist Buddy DeVito's somewhat saccharine reading of "Come Out, Whoever You Are," a performance of just the kind of music that has caused critics, and hardcore jazz listeners, to dismiss James as the credible jazzman as which he'd established himself with Benny Goodman and his earlier, pre-1941 band.

That, however, is followed by future solo singing star Kitty Kallen singing "I'll Walk Alone," with a little more swing and a little less sweetener; "The Feet Draggin' Blues," which features a curiously restrained (and effective) trumpet solo by James to open (the ensemble here betrays an influence that becomes more overt in James's music, by the early-to-mid 1950s, after the hits dry up, and his media profile becomes smaller: Count Basie, whom James admired deeply); and, "Moten's Swing," a number James got to play at times in his days with Benny Goodman, this time using the string section much the way Tommy Dorsey had done earlier (on such hits as the impeccable, bristling "Opus One"), as a gliding counterpoint to the fat brass and reed emsemble passages, while it lays back for a few spry piano interjections.

Announcer: Unknown.


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