Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
February, 2017

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 2-5-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 242


Here are two shows featuring "Vagabond Lover" Rudy Vallee, a pioneer crooner who, as his widow once said, would perform happily even if there were just one person in the audience. The first show is a Lux Radio Theater version of the 1937 movie "Swing High, Swing Low" with Rudy, Virginia Bruce, Una Merkel, and Roscoe Karns. Rudy plays a trumpet player and sings "Just Molly and Me" (portion), "Adios," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and "Careless" (a duet with Virginia). Standing out is Rudy's rendition of Jerome Kerns' "All the Things You Are," one of the most beautiful and lyrical love songs ever composed. Rudy, as brash Skid Johnson, swings high with success in the big time but ultimately "swings low" when success proves too much to handle. The show was broadcast February 26, 1940.

The second show is "Johnny Presents The Rudy Vallee Show" from 12-17-46. After Johnny Roventini "calls for Philip Morris," Rudy sings "Oh, But I Do" and "You Took Me Out of This World (and Into Your Arms)." Guest Doris Day performs "More Than You Know" and "The Coffee Song."

Doris Day's immense popularity with Les Brown's orchestra in the 1940's led to radio bookings not only on "The Rudy Valley Show" but also on such additional radio shows as "Your Hit Parade," "The Bob Hope Show," "The Railroad Hour," "The Kraft Music Hour," and "The Buddy Clark Melody Hour." She even had her own "Doris Day Show" in the early 1950's.

Doris, who early on trained as a dancer, turned to singing after a bad car/train wreck severely injured her leg. The voice training and voice coaching she received while recuperating over a period of some fourteen months paved the way for her remarkable singing and acting career and therefore much joy for millions of fans, me included.

Also of note on the show is a skit with Jack Kirkwood that involves a humble William Shakespeare (Howard Duff) trying to sell his plays to an annoying modern Madison Avenue type huckster to produce them for a 20th century audience. Eventually, the huckster turns Shakespeare away as he advises him to listen to "Lum & Abner" and "Amos & Andy" to learn character development.

Both of these shows are available for purchase in Jerry Haendiges' vast OTR collection. .

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 2-12-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 243


CLASSICS & CURIOS celebrateS Valentines' Day with two Rudy Vallee shows featuring love songs sung with love by Rudy and with inspiration by his guests. In the first show Rudy sings "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," and Margaret Whiting performs "There Must Be Someone Somewhere" and "This Can't Be Love." In the second show Rudy does "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" and "To Each His Own." Then guest Tommy Dorsey and Rudy combine to do Tommy's megahit recording "Marie," and then they have a fun competition playing trombone and saxophone, respectively, as they sing "Oh, Mr. V and Oh, Mr. T. Both Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey played in Rudy's band "The Connecticut Yankees" in the 1920's.

"Vallée also became what was perhaps the first complete example of the 20th century mass media pop star. Flappers mobbed him wherever he went. His live appearances were usually sold out, and even if his singing could hardly be heard in those venues not yet equipped with the new electronic microphones, his screaming female fans went home happy if they had caught sight of his lips through the opening of the emblematic megaphone he often sang through. A brief caricature of him in the Fleischer Brothers' color Betty Boop theatrical short cartoon from 1934 Poor Cinderella depicts him singing through a megaphone.[7] Another caricature is found in Crosby, Columbo, and Vallee, a cartoon which parodies the popularity of himself, Bing Crosby, and Russ Columbo.

His success was marveled and scoffed at during its height. Radio Revue, a radio fan magazine, held a contest in which people wrote letters explaining his success. The winning letter, written by a gentleman who did not particularly care for Vallee's music, said: "Rudy Vallee is reaping the harvest of a seed that is seldom sown this day and age: LOVE. The good-looking little son-of-a-gun really and honestly LOVES his audience and his art. He LOVES to please listeners—LOVES it more than he does his name in the big lights, his mug in the papers. He loved all those unseen women as passionately as a voice can love, long before they began to purr and to caress him with two-cent stamps" … Vallée sang fluently in three Mediterranean languages, and always varied the keys, thus paving the way for later pop crooners such as Dean Martin, Andy Williams and Vic Damone." (Expedia)

Character actor Billy DeWolfe, first, and, then, Burt Gordon (the "Mad Russian") bring their comedy flair to Rudy's programs. Fastidious, pompous, prissy Billy was in the mold of movie character actors Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Franklin Pangborn. Burt's exaggerated "How doooo you doooo!" became well known on radio shows, especially the Eddie Cantor Show, but Burt's part was edited out in Cantor's broadcasts sent overseas to avoid somehow offending America's new, if temporary, postwar ally Russia.

Love thoughts for every day of life: "If music be the food of love, play on." (Shakespeare) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (Jesus Christ, John 13:34) .

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 2-19-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 244


Time once again for another trip to the upper crust "cultural scene" at New York's radio city in the early 1940's to hear the Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. On CMSLBS we'll hear tongue-in-cheek dignified commentary in the manner of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcaster Milton Cross. The popular CMSLB began on the NBC Blue Network in 1940 and continued to 1944, with a revival in the early 1950's. The quasi long-haired commentary was humorously satirical, but the swing music was pure, sweet, genuine, joyful Dixieland jazz. Each show usually began with introductory words by announcer Jack McCarthy like "Good evening, lovers of fine music. Welcome to the no-doubt world-famous Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, and another concert dedicated to the perpetuation of the three B’s: barrelhouse, boogie-woogie, and the blues." [The "barrelhouse" refers to an early form of jazz with boisterous piano playing, group improvising, and two-beat rhythm heard in juke joints or barrelhouses of New Orleans in the early 1900's.]

This reprise (of Episode 170 from my archives) of the CMSLBS show from May 26, 1941, resumes our earlier Classics & Curios spotlight on the show (see Episodes 109 and 110) and features guest Benny Carter, known especially as a trumpeter, composer, and arranger, but most of all as a saxophonist. He was one of the first jazz artists to bring "hot jazz" into arranged music.

Listen carefully to the commentary for bits and pieces of tongue-in-cheek humor, scripted by Welbourn Kelley, and enjoy the uplifting music from Benny and the two "house" bands: Henry Levine and his Dixieland Little Symphony (or Octet), along with clarinetist/saxophonist Paul Lavalle and his Ten "Termite-Proof" Woodwinds.

Songs include "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" by Levine's band and then ”Down Home Rag" and "Sheik of Araby" by Lavalle’s group. Benny does "Stardust" on trumpet and "Honeysuckle Rose" on alto sax backed by Lavalle who also does "My Gal Sal" on the alto saxophone.

Finally, Levine performs W.C Handy's "Aunt Hagar's Blues" and "Farewell Blues," which is indeed not a blues tune but "torrid" jazz done in the tempo of "Look Out, Here They Come." The theme "Basin Street Blues" ends the show while the musicians one by one leave the stage in the manner of Haydn's famous "Farewell Symphony" performances.

A uniquely serious and informative feature on this show is a visit by jazz scholar Charles Edward Smith who discusses his and F. Ramsey's [then] new book on the history of jazz with the title JAZZMEN, available now at amazon.com. Smith mentions several jazz pioneers like Buddy Bolden, King Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Carter. Chamber "Chairman" Dr. Geno Hamilton serves as commentator as he generously assigns titles of doctor or professor to all participants, including himself.

Look for more Chamber Music Society shows to come here on Classics & Curios Song & Smile Time. Enjoy!


Once again (by way of reprise of Episode 171) here is the very first radio episode of the Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, broadcast on NBC Blue on Sunday afternoon, January 2, 1940. Guests are Arthur J. "Zutty" Singleton, jazz and percussionist aficionado, and "Mademoiselle Diva" Dinah Shore as soloist.

"Professor" Zutty performs "I Know That You Know" and "Bugle Call Rag," while Dinah does "Rockin' Chair" and "There'll Be Some Changes Made." Announcer Gene Hamilton assumes his stodgy commentator role as "Doctor" Gino Hamilton and speaks briefly about the trouble with modern music while alluding to his supercilious "book" on that subject with a non-sensical and wonderfully funny German title, ending with the word "Knackwurst."

Maestro Lavalle and his "Double Woodwind Quintet" contribute "Runnin' Wild" after a deliciously long, long-haired introduction, and maestro Levine and his "Mason Dixon Octet" perform the "austere classic" "Blue Room" and also "Muskrat Ramble" "with its subtle shadings and mutations."

"A Little Street in Singapore" and "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street ("All the Little Birdies Go Tweet, Tweet, Tweet") round out a super "World Premiere" show for "music lovers."

It is my prayer that these programs may bring joy to your heart, a smile to your soul, and glory to God, who lovingly blesses us with laughter and music. .