An Autobiography: Chapter 5, The Pop Scrapbook


| 5/23/2012 12:24:35 PM


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In 1948, I was busy with the song books for toy pianos and xylophones, as well as other ventures, and I got involved in hillbilly music with my cousin Lloyd Baldwin, who was an announcer for radio station WZIP in Covington, Kentucky. The station presented a live hillbilly show on Saturday nights in 1949 at the Covington Public Library, and my very first publication in that field was a souvenir book they sold at the show. 

WZIP Book 

That led to the first of 21 annual publications in the hillbilly/country field, the first in 1950. By 1953, we were selling tens of thousands of these books, and I thought it was then time to go back to my “popular music” ideas, so I published “The ‘Pop’ Scrapbook,” featuring photos and bios of more than 200 top stars. It had a fabulous art cover with photos, including Bing Crosby, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Nat Cole, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray and Peggy Lee. 

The Pop Scrapbook 

That book was very successful and brought letters in from Dave Garroway, NBC ’s Today show, and a letter from Brad Smith, CBS Television, who wrote, “…. this has been very helpful to us in many of our press releases.” 

I took copies to New York City, and there I met many of the artists who were featured in the book. I gave everyone a copy and received dozens of autographs in “my copy,” including The Perry Como Show cast, Arthur Godfrey and cast, Nat Cole (met him on an elevator!), the beautiful Mindy Carson, and the legendary Jane Froman. I was thrilled to meet Ms. Froman. The 1952 film, “With a Song In My Heart,” was based on her life.

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