Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
June, 2017

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 6-4-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 255


Here is more of Al Jolson and two more of his Ladies of Song shows on the Kraft Music Hall on NBC featuring Doris Day and Dinah Shore. Al does his energetic "Jolson" treatment on "Sittin' On Top of the World" and welcomes Dinah by singing "Dinah." Oscar Levant plays "Maleguena," and then Al's "Down Among the Sheltering Palms" and "When Day Is Done" round out the first show.

Then on the KMH of December 30, 1948, Al does his special upbeat rendition of "Smiles" followed by "It All Depends On You," "Who Cares." and "When You Were Sweet Sixteen." Band leader Lou Bring conducts the orchestra on this AFRS show.

After being on top of the entertainment world before and through the 1920's and 1930's, Jolson and his popularity hit bottom with changing musical tastes until the 1946 movie on his life, "The Jolson Story," opened new horizons on radio in the later 1940's. Once again, he was on top, but sadly, he passed away in 1950, just one month after returning to the U.S.A. after performing for our troops in South Korea and when he was scheduled for an appearance on Bing Crosby's radio show. And plans were in the works for his TV debut in grand style. Also, he was to costar with Dinah Shore in a movie to be called "Stars and Stripes Forever." Columbia was even considering another Jolson musical starring Al himself. It was to be called "You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet" and would dramatize his tours of military bases. But the exertion in Korea took its toll, especially for a man with only one lung, and he succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 64.

Jolson's activity and dedication to entertain our troops in World War II has been almost forgotten by older or perhaps overlooked by newer generations. Even before the USO began to set up a formal program overseas, the excitable Jolson was deluging War and Navy Department brass with phone calls and wires. He demanded permission to go anywhere in the world where there is an American serviceman who wouldn't mind listening to "Sonny Boy" or "Mammy." Early in 1942, Jolson became the first star to perform at a GI base in World War II He did as many as four shows a day in the jungle outposts of Central America and covered the string of U.S. Naval bases. He paid for part of the transportation out of his own pocket. While touring in the Pacific, Jolson contracted malaria and had to have his left lung surgically removed.

On September 17, 1950, a dispatch from 8th Army Headquarters, Korea, announced, "Al Jolson, the first top-flight entertainer to reach the war-front, landed here today by plane from Los Angeles…Jolson traveled to Korea at his own expense. And a lean, smiling Jolson drove himself without letup through 42 shows in 16 days."

Alistair Cooke wrote, "He [Jolson] had one last hour of glory. He offered to fly to Korea and entertain the troops hemmed in on the United Nations precarious August bridgehead. The troops yelled for his appearance. He went down on his knee again and sang 'Mammy', and the troops wept and cheered. When he was asked what Korea was like he warmly answered, 'I am going to get back my income tax returns and see if I paid enough.'"

After returning from a tour of overseas bases, the Regimental Hostess at one camp wrote to Jolson, "Allow me to say on behalf of all the soldiers of the 33rd Infantry that you coming here is quite the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us, and we think you're tops, not only as a performer, but as a person. We unanimously elect you Public Morale Lifter No. 1 of the U.S Army."

Soon after Al's death Defense Secretary George Marshall presented the Medal for Merit to Jolson, "to whom this country owes a debt which cannot be repaid." The medal carried a citation noting that Jolson's "contribution to the U.N. action in Korea was made at the expense of his life" and was presented to Jolson's adopted son as Jolson's widow looked on. Another source sharing Jolson's faith commented, "Until Jolson died, heaven hadn't heard 'nothin' yet."

Information and quotations were gathered from Wikipedia and various online biographies.


Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 6-11-16

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 256


You may recall Johnny Roventini and his "Call for Philip Mor…ris" on old radio shows. I wish I could play Johnny singing "Call for Eddie Hubbard" because we have a special treat this time. Eddie Hubbard sings his own composition called "Radio Then." The song is filled with great unique memories that recall many wonderful old radio shows. To my knowledge, this has rarely been played on the air, if ever. Following this performance we'll hear one of Eddie's best Browsers shows which I subtitle "I Like Bananas" for reasons that appear below.

For some 25 years, Saturday meant Browsers time on ABC radio, with Eddie Hubbard and Phil Holdman guiding the show. Today's show is from the 1990's and features the usual Browsers great music and big band trivia fun.

Among the great recordings highlighted this time are "Boogie Woogie" by Tommy Dorsey, "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)" by Vaughn Monroe," "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Duke Ellington, "These Foolish Things" by Les Elgart, "Intermezzo" by Freddy Martin, "Let's Dream This One Out" by Frankie Masters, and "Cherokee" by Charlie Barnet.

Special is a super 1936 curio song from Great Britain's Henry Hall band and vocalist George Elrick who sings "I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones," and, to add to the novelty, during the recording Elrick mimics Jimmy Durante.

Among songs added by Eddie in place of commercials are "Am I Blue" by Nat King Cole and "Till I Waltz Again With You" by Teresa Brewer. Phil Holdman's "Phooler" challenge this time involves a gal who sings "Funny Valentine."

Trivia challenges on this show include naming Charlie Barnet's other recording with reference to American Indians, pseudonyms for Freddy Martin, more banana song titles, Frankie Masters' theme songs, and two ladies who had great recordings of "I'm Beginning to See the Light."

A reminder that one of the Browsers on today's show, Bob Knack, writes an interesting ongoing online big band newsletter that carries on the tradition of Phil Holdman's "Browser Notes." Go to dixieswing.com and enjoy Bob's free "Great Escape" featuring entertaining stories, information, and articles concerning big bands


Special thanks to Jerry Haendiges Productions for expert remastering and restoring of the original studio tape for rebroadcast. For more about Jerry's excellent Audio Restoration Services go to his website at www.OTRSite.com or call him at 562-696-4387.


Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 6-18-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 257


Time to celebrate the month of June again with performances by Jimmy Dorsey, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Marty Robbins, the Four Lads, the Brothers Four, and the Erskine Hawkins orchestra. Eddie Hubbard's June Special has all of those performers and more on this undated special episode from Eddie's private collection, and, of course, songs relate to romance, weddings, graduation, or simply summer fun and memories — memories close to every dad’s heart every day and especially every FATHER’S DAY!

The Jimmy Dorsey band does "Give Me a June Night," Bing sings "The Wiffenpoof Song," Frank performs "Love and Marriage," Marty sings "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation," the Lads do "Moments to Remember," the Brothers contribute "The Green Leaves of Summer," and Erskine Hawkins and his band add "Tuxedo Junction."

Additional June tunes include ("The Wedding Song (There Is Love)" by Noel Paul Stookey, "White Silver Sand" by Don Rondo, "Roses Are Red, My Love" by Bobby Vinton, and "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Ben E. King and the Drifters.

So to sum up this Eddie Hubbard Special, in short, "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" -- a song from "Carousel" -- and, appropriately, it's that great tune by Rogers and Hammerstein that opens the show. "Junction," composed in 1940 by Hawkins, Bill Johnson, and Buddy Feyne, closes the show with the great Wilbur Bascomb's "delicate but swinging trumpet" solo that helped make it the band's best hit and its theme song -- not to mention the fact that carefree high-school grads danced to the song at proms all across the U.S.A., especially after Glenn Miller's legendary slower version hit the juke boxes. As the Brothers Four sang in "The Green Leaves of Summer," "Twas so good to be young then."

[For more on Erskine Hawkins and his orchestra check out George T. Simon's THE BIG BANDS with a foreword by Frank Sinatra.]


Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 6-25-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 258


This Episode features John Wilson’s “World of Jazz” radio program as he brings “The biggest little band in the land” of John Kirby and “The best known unknown jazz musician” Frankie Newton. Both Kirby and Newton were new to me as I listened to the World of Jazz collection as restored by Jerry Haendiges, and immediately they earned special spotlighting on this Classics & Curios show.

Bassist Kirby’s early career included successful stints with bands such as Chick Webb’s and Fletcher Henderson’s, and according to Wilson, as a bandleader Kirby’s music proved to be “crisp, concise, and rhythmic.”. Red Norvo adds that it is “music you get when you play it right.” Kirby’s Sextet’s first recording was Charlie Shavers’ jazz standard “Undecided.” Charlie was also a trumpeter as well as arranger and composer with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, and Billie Holiday and in 1945 he joined Tommy Dorsey. The Sextet also accompanied Mildred Bailey on her last recording as she performed “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance” supported by her husband Red Norvo. Critic George Simon noted that Kirby helped prove “that swing could be polite, musical, and commercial all at the same time.”

Frankie Newton was a cool jazz artist during the time when swing was king and was a frequent and popular studio musician. Host Wilson points out that Frankie remarkably performed the only solo on one of blues singer Bessie Smith’s last recordings, “Gimme a Pigfoot,” which also had legends Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden for the recording session. Frankie’s muted trumpet marked him as one of the best to accompany a singer, as on Ella Fitzgerald’s “My Melancholy Baby” with Teddy Wilson in 1936. Other selections showcase Newton’s muted trumpet with his own band, the Uptown Serenaders, as on “Brittwood Stomp,” with John Kirby on bass and Cozy Cole on drums. This recording was actually a somewhat “disguised” version of “High Society.” “Hot Harlem” from 1944, one of Frankie’s last recordings, concludes the show.

Wilson’s “The World of Jazz” radio series was broadcast on New York’s WQXR from 1954 to 1970. See my Classics & Curios Episodes 249 and 251 in my Archives for Wilson’s programs featuring Helen Forrest and Bob Crosby, respectively.