An Autobiography: Chapter 3, Pop Music to Rhythm and Blues


| 5/10/2012 10:38:55 AM


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Music has been an important part of my life - popular, classical, rhythm and blues, country - all genres. I was singing the hit songs of the day as far back as I can remember, buying the various magazines that featured the lyrics. I still have copies of some of these going back to 1942. Interesting, too, many of them carried a log of the radio shows on the networks. In those days there was Sammy Kaye’s Serenade; Dinah Shore; Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch; Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra; Red Skelton; Fibber McGee and Molly; Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra; Fanny Brice; Arthur Godfrey; and, of course, “Your Hit Parade” on Saturday nights. 

Hit Parader 

In the 1930s, radio was important. We had a big Xentih, the one with the “green eye,” which almost hypnotized you when you sat there listening intently, watching that needle moving.

In 1938, when I was 12 years old, I was selling newspapers regularly and had income to spend on song sheets, comic books, Hollywood fan magazines, and movies. I saw an ad on the back cover of a comic book for a restored Underwood typewriter for $39.95, with the option of putting 50 cents down and making a payment of 50 cents a week. Well, I sent my order in, and you talk about a youngster being excited when that typewriter came! I knew nothing about a typewriter, probably never saw one before, and the most interesting feature to me was the ribbon - you could print black AND red! Imagine that.

Typewriter 

I bought a 3-ring notebook and tabbed five sections in the book. The first was HIGHLIGHTS, and I filled 7½ pages with interesting facts about movie stars. Like “David Niven once delivered laundry in a Rolls-Royce” and “Tyrone Power on his trip East was in his hotel room one hot day and ordered a couple of fans. In two minutes, two breathless girls arrived, bearing an autograph book.”

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