Greg Poppleton

21 May - Hear 1940s Jazz Harpsichord on this week's Phantom Dancer LISTEN

Fats Waller – Phantom Dancer 18 August 2020

Fats Waller from 1938-43 radio and recordings is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. You’ll hear Fats Waller broadcsting live and on V-Discs.

Greg Poppleton presents The Phantom Dancer every week. It’s your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week. The Phantom Dancer’s been on-air over 107.3 2SER Sydney since 1985.

Hear The Phantom Dancer online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 18 August at where you can also hear two years of archived shows.

As always, the finyl hour is vinyl.

fats waller


At the end Waller’s career in 1943, the year he died, Fats Waller had the distinction of becoming the first African-American songwriter to compose a hit Broadway musical that was seen by a mostly white audience. Broadway producer Richard Kollmar’s hiring of Waller to create the musical Early to Bed was recalled in a 2016 essay about Waller by John McWhorter, an American academic and linguist who is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy, and music history.

“Even as late as 1943, the idea of a black composer writing the score for a standard-issue white show was unheard of. When Broadway performer and producer Richard Kollmar began planning Early to Bed, his original idea was for Waller to perform in it as a comic character, not to write the music. Waller was, after all, as much a comedian as a musician. Comedy rarely dates well, but almost 80 years later, his comments and timing during “Your Feet’s Too Big” are as funny as anything on Comedy Central, and he nearly walks away with the movie Stormy Weather with just one musical scene and a bit of mugging later on, despite the competition of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lena Horne, and the Nicholas Brothers. Kollmar’s original choice for composer [of Early to Bed] was Ferde Grofé, best known as the orchestrator of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” whose signature compositions were portentous concert suites. But Grofé withdrew, and it is to Kollmar’s credit that he realized that he had a top-rate pop-song composer available in Waller. Waller’s double duty as composer and performer was short-lived. During a cash crisis and in an advanced state of intoxication, Waller threatened to leave the production unless Kollmar bought the rights to his Early to Bed music for $1,000. (This was typical of Waller, who often sold melodies for quick cash when in his cups. The evidence suggests, for example, that the standards “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” were Waller tunes.) Waller came to his senses the next day, but Kollmar decided that his drinking habits made him too risky a proposition for eight performances a week. From then on, Waller was the show’s composer only, with lyrics by George Marion, whose best-remembered work today is the script for the Astaire-Rogers film The Gay Divorcée.”

Six months after the premiere of Early to Bed, it was still playing in a Broadway theater. At that point newspapers reported Waller’s premature death.


Two acetates of piano by Fats Waller recorded in 1943 probably in September during a private session.
The first piece is ‘That Does It’, the second one is unknown.


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #450

107.3 2SER Tuesday 18 August 2020
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program:
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2MCE Bathurst / Orange / Central West NSW Wednesday 9 – 10am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Sunday 5 – 6am

Set 1
1940s Swing Orchestras Live On-Air
Open + Whispering
Gene Krupa Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Blue Network
11 Nov 1944
Speak Low + Instrumental
Bob Chester Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Panther Room
Hotel Sherman Chicago
AFRS Re-broadcast
10 Aug 1944
With My Head In The Clouds + Close
Glenn Miller AAF Orchestra (voc) Tex Beneke and The Modernaires
‘Uncle Sam Presents’
New York City
AFRS Re-broadcast
Feb 1944
Set 2
Let’s Go To Town Transcriptions 1954
Open + Song In Blue
Les Paul and Mary Ford
‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (voc) Patti Page
‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
Man From Mars + Blue Flame (Close)
Woody Herman Third Herd
‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
Set 3
Vaudeville and Music Hall on the Radio
So Is Your Old Lady
Sadie Gale (voc)
Humphrey Bishop and his AWA Light Opera Company
‘Songs Of The Shows’
2CH – AWA Sydney
Jun 1944
Selections from ‘The Girlfriend’
Royal Air Force Concert Party
‘Serenade To The Stars’
British Forces Radio
Have Your Chill
Coot Grant and Kid Socks Wilson
‘This is Jazz’
WOR Mutual NY
3 May 1947
Set 4
1930s – 1940s Pop on Your Hit Parade
As Long As Your Not In Love With Somebody Else + Brazil
Mark Warnow Orchestra (voc) Barry Wood and The Hit Paraders
‘Your Hit Parade’
AFRS Re-broadcast
New York
23 Jan 1943
Let’s Get Lost
Mark Warnow Orchestra (voc) Fran Sinatra
‘Your Hit Parade’
9 Oct 1943
Change Partners + I’ve Got A Pocket Full of Dreams + Close
Al Goodman Orchestra (voc) The Hit Paraders
‘Your Hit Parade’
22 Oct 1938
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Greg Poppleton (voc) and the Bakelite Broadcasters
Set 5
Fats Waller on the Radio
Waller Jive
Fats Waller (piano and vocal)
New York City
23 Sep 1943
Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Open) + Hold My Hand
Fats Waller and his Rhythm (voc) FW
16 Jul 1938
Yacht Club (Open) + I Do, Do You?
Fats Waller and his Rhythm
Panther Room
Hotel Sherman
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
10 Dec 1940
When You And I Were Young + Yacht Club Swing (theme)
Fats Waller and his Rhythm (voc) FW
Panther Room
Hotel Sherman
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
3 Dec 1940
Set 6
Early 1930s Radio Bands
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Roane’s Pennsylvanians (voc) ‘Snowball’ and Band Chorus
Comm Rec
New York City
28 Jan 1932
Do The New York
Gus Arnheim Orchestra
‘Cocoanut Grove’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Ruth Etting (voc) Ben Selvin Orchestra
Radio Transcription
New York City
When The Rest Of The Crowd Goes Home
Jimmy Grier Orchestra (voc) Donald Novis
‘Cocoanut Grove’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
Set 7
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson 1940s Radio
Handsome Harry The Hipster
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson
Radio Transcription
Muzak NYC
21 Apr 1944
In A Mist
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson
‘Eddie Condon Jazz Concert’
Town Hall
22 Jul 1944
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson
‘Eddie Condon Jazz Concert’
Town Hall
22 Jul 1944
Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
8 Feb 1946
Set 8
Women Big Band Singers on 1940s Radio
Betty and Rosemary Clooney (voc) Tony Pastor Orchestra
New York City
Oct 1948
It’s So Peaceful In The Country
Peggy Lee (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
Meadowbrook Ballroom
Cedar Grove NJ
20 Sep 1941
I’d Do It All Over Again
Anita O’Day (voc) Gene Krupa Orchestra
Astor Roof, Hotel Astor
WOR Mutual NY
15 Aug 1945
Beg Your Pardon
Dinah Shore (voc) Harry James Orchestra
‘Dinah Shore Show’
4 May 1948

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