Greg Poppleton

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Frances Faye – Phantom Dancer 4 August 2020

Frances Faye, cabaret singer and pianist, is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. Peter Allen credited her as a major influence. He had Faye sing the vocals on the track ‘Just a Gigolo’ on his 1974 album, Continental American.

Personally, I wonder whether the Continental in the name of that album refers to the Continental Baths in New York City where Allen re-launched his career after being rescued by a friend of mine, and Continental Baths owner, Steve Ostrow, who with, Bette Midler, found him unconscious one day on a Long Island beach.

You’ll hear Frances live from a NYC nightclub over NBC in 1956 on this week’s Phantom Dancer. And she’s your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week in a 1979 performance live on Sydney’s midday weekly variety TV show, ‘The Mike Walsh Show’. (Missed this one, I was either at a Chemical Engineering lecture at uni or on a bus working as a conductor. ‘The Mike Walsh Show’ audience were famously all bussed in ‘little old ladies’.)

frances faye 1950s

The Phantom Dancer is your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week. Presented and produced by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton, The Phantom Dancer’s been on-air over 107.3 2SER Sydney since 1985.

Hear The Phantom Dancer online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 4 August at where you can also hear two years of archived shows.

As always, the finyl hour is vinyl.


Frances Faye was a second cousin of actor Danny Kaye, whose TV show I used to watch, laughing my head off, as a toddler in the mid-1960s.
She entered showbiz at age 15 in nightclubs.

She made her solo recording debut in 1936 and appeared in the 1937 Bing Crosby movie, ‘Double or Nothing’ in which she sang ‘After You’. She wrote the song ‘Well All Right’ recorded by the Andrews Sisters.

Her act became famous for including double entendres and references to homosexuality. Faye herself was bisexual and hinted at this frequently in her act, playfully altering pronouns in love songs or weave her girlfriend’s name into lyrics of songs.

She recorded albums for Capitol Records, Imperial Records and the jazz labels Verve and Bethlehem Records.

frances faye 1940s


Faye was married twice in the 1940s. In the late 1950s, a woman named Teri Shepherd became her manager and lifelong partner. Shepherd discussed her relationship with Faye in Bruce Weber’s 2001 film Chop Suey.

She was arrested in 1955 on a narcotics charge in Los Angeles. Police alleged she and three men arrested at the same time possessed marijuana.

During the 1960s, Faye suffered a number of health related problems brought on by a hip accident in 1958. She nevertheless continued to tour into the early 1980s. Peter Allen credited her as a major influence.

She returned to film in 1978, playing an elderly cocaine-sniffing madam in the Louis Malle film Pretty Baby. She retired shortly afterwards. At the time of her death in 1991, aged 79, she was living with Shepherd.


And every week, right here, I find the jazzy or the quirky or both combined from YouTube, just for you, as your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week. This week it’s Francis Faye (she’s in today’s Phantom Dancer mix on NBC radio in 1956) live on Sydney TV (The Mike Walsh Show) in 1979 – singing, playing the piano, and being interviewed. Enjoy!


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #448

107.3 2SER Tuesday 4 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
Jubilee Show AFRS Radio 1945-46
Open + Instrumental
Cliff Lang
AFRS Hollywood
7 Oct 1946
Sentimental Journey
Alvino Rey (steel guitar) and The Armed Forces Radio Service Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood
Aug 1945
Honeysuckle Rose + One O’Clock Jump (theme)
International Sweethearts of Rhythm
AFRS Hollywood
17 Jul 1945
Set 2
Live Exotica on 1950s Radio
Frances Faye (voc and piano) with double bass and bongos
‘All Star Parade of Bands’
The Cameo
5 Mar 1956
Mocambo Mambo + Quiet Village (close)
Martin Denny
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
Night Must Fall + Nightingale + My Shawl (close)
Xavier Cugat Orchestra
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
The Last Frontier
NBC Las Vegas
30 Nov 1953
Set 3
Radio Band Leaders Who Made Lounge Records in the 1950s
Open + The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
Enoch Light and his Light Brigade
‘One Night Stand’
New Park Casino
Palisades Park NJ
AFRS Re-broadcast
Contrasts (theme) + Georgia On My Mind
Jimmy Dorsey Dorseyland Band
‘Marine Corp Show’
Radio Transcription
It’s Delovely + Theme
Sammy Kaye Orchestra (voc) Tony Alamo and Barbara Benson
Astor Roof
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
Set 4
Early 1930s Radio
Arthur Rosebery and his Kit-Kat Dance Band (voc) Len Lees
Comm Rec
Dec 1929
Open + It’s The Girl
Freddy Rich and the Friendly Five Orchestra (voc) Freddy Rich
‘Friendly Five Footnotes’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Be Cafeful + Close
Billy Jones and Ernie Hare with the De Marco Sisters
‘Tastee Loafers’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Set 5
Trad Jazz on 1940s – 50s Radio
Jimmy Dorsey’s Dorseyland Band
‘Marine Corp Show’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Back and Blue
Muggsy Spanier
‘This Is Jazz’
WOR Mutual NY
22 Mar 1947
Relaxin’ at the Touro
Muggsy Spanier and Eddie Condon Group incl. Gene Krupa (drums)
‘Eddie Condon Jazz Concert’
Town Hall, New York City
23 Sep 1944
Canal Street Blues + Bay City (close)
Turk Murphy’s San Francisco Jazz Band
Easy Street
KCBS San Francisco
7 Nov 1958
Set 6
1930s Dance Bands on the Wireless
Hurry Home
Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters (voc) Carlotta Dale
Comm Rec
New York City
21 Oct 1938
Old Stamping Ground
Artie Shaw Orchestra (voc) Tony Pastor
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln
30 Dec 1938
Back To Back
Teddy Wilson Orchestra (voc) Thelma Carpenter
‘America Dances’
WABC CBS NY and BBC London
In A Mist
Bunny Berrigan Orchestra
19 Nov 1938
Set 7
Guy Lombardo at the 1964 New York World Fair
Band Remote
Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians
Tiparillo Pavilion
New York World Fair
Set 8
Bebop Sounds on 1950s Radio
Shaw Nuff
Dizzy Gillespie Rebop Six
Comm Rec
Dec 1945
Night in Tunisia
Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra
Jul 1956
A Groovy Little Ditty
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Statler
April 1956
Slim Gaillard Quintet (voc) Slim Gaillard
‘Symphony Sid Show’
2 Jun 1951

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