Greg Poppleton

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Your Hit Parade – Phantom Dancer 9 June 2020

Your Hit Parade is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature of the week.

The Phantom Dancer has been produced and presented by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton since 1985. It can be heard online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 9 June at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

The finyl hour is vinyl.

YOUR HIT PARADE

Your Hit Parade wass a US radio and TV music program broadcast 1935 – 1953 on radio and seen on TV between 1950 – 59. During the show’s 24-year run it had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups.

Every Saturday evening, the program offered the most popular and bestselling songs of the week. The earliest format involved a presentation of the top 15 songs. Later, a countdown with fanfares led to the top three finalists, with the number one song for the finale. Occasional performances of standards and other favorite songs from the past were known as ‘Lucky Strike Extras.’

Listeners were informed that the “Your Hit Parade survey checks the best sellers on sheet music and phonograph records, the songs most heard on the air and most played on the automatic coin machines, an accurate, authentic tabulation of America’s taste in popular music.” However, the exact procedure of this ‘authentic tabulation’ remained a secret.

dinah shore your hit parade

ALAN JAY LERNER

Your Hit Parade began on NBC 20 April 1935, as a 60-minute program with 15 songs played in a random format. Initially, the songs were more important than the singers, so a stable of vocalists went uncredited and were paid only $100 per episode, equal to $1900 today. In 1936-37, it was carried on both NBC and CBS. Script continuity in the late 1930s and early 1940s was written by Alan Jay Lerner before he found fame as a lyricist. The first number one song on the first episode was ‘Soon’ by Bing Crosby.

SINATRA

Some years passed before the countdown format was introduced, with the number of songs varying from seven to 15. Vocalists in the 1930s included Buddy Clark, Lanny Ross, Kay Thompson and Bea Wain (1939–1944), who was married to the show’s announcer, French-born André Baruch. Frank Sinatra joined the show in 1943, and was fired for messing up the No. 1 song, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ by interjecting a mumble to the effect that the song had too many words and missing a cue. An AFRS transcription survives of this show. One source says his contract was not renewed due to demanding a raise and the show being moved to the West Coast. He returned to show at a low point in his career (1947-49), when Doris Day was also singing on the show, paying the $2000 (1949 money) weekly studio costs to call in his songs from Los Angeles asthe show was transcribed in New York City.

The first half of a  Your Hit Parade TV show in 1958…

LUCKY DAY

Hugely popular on CBS through the WWII years, Your Hit Parade returned to NBC in 1947. The show’s opening theme, from the musical revue George White’s Scandals of 1926, was ‘This Is Your Lucky Day’.

Orchestra leaders over the years included Al Goodman, Lennie Hayton, Abe Lyman, Leo Reisman, Harry Salter, Ray Sinatra, Harry Sosnik, Axel Stordahl, Peter Van Steeden, Mark Warnow and Raymond Scott (1949–1957). The chorus was led by musical director Lyn Murray.

Dozens of singers appeared on the radio program, including “Wee” Bonnie Baker, Dorothy Collins, Beryl Davis, Gogo DeLys, Joan Edwards (1941–1946), Georgia Gibbs, Dick Haymes, Snooky Lanson, Gisèle MacKenzie, Johnny Mercer, Andy Russell, Dinah Shore, Ginny Simms, Lawrence Tibbett, Martha Tilton, Eileen Wilson, Barry Wood, and occasional guest vocalists. The show featured two tobacco auctioneers, Lee Aubrey “Speed” Riggs of Goldsboro, North Carolina and F.E. Boone of Lexington, Kentucky.

On this week’s Phantom Dancer you’ll hear Tommy Leonetti (singer of ‘My City of Sydney’) singing the Number 1 Song, ‘Dream, Dream, Dream’, on a 1958 Your Hit Parade. (It’s at the end of this clip)

1950s RADIO SERIES

From the summer of 1950 to the start of summer of 1951 (the first year of the Hit Parade television show), the stars of the TV show—Eileen Wilson, Snooky Lanson, and Dorothy Collins—also starred on the Hit Parade radio show. (Wilson had sung on the radio show since 1948.) Beginning in the fall of 1950, the radio show and the TV show both aired on Saturdays; the radio program was heard from 9:00-9:30 p.m., Eastern time, and the TV show was seen from 10:30-11:00 p.m., Eastern time. Both shows featured the Lucky Strike Orchestra, led by Raymond Scott.

In late 1951, the radio show moved to Thursday nights, and its personnel and format were changed. The show, still sponsored by Lucky Strike, now starred Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Vocalists from Lombardo’s orchestra sang on the new version of the radio show, which also featured a guest female vocalist each week; the guest vocalist was called the “Lucky Star of the Week.” Guy Lombardo was host of the show until January 16, 1953, when the Hit Parade radio program aired for the last time.

your hit parde guy lombardo ticket

1950s TV SERIES

André Baruch continued as the announcer when the program arrived on NBC television in summer 1950 (Del Sharbutt succeeded him in the 1957-58 season), written by William H. Nichols, and produced, in its first years, by both Dan Lounsbery and Ted Fetter. Norman Jewison and Clark Jones (nominated for a 1955 Emmy Award) directed with associate director Bill Colleran. Tony Charmoli won a 1956 Emmy for his choreography, and the show’s other dance directors were Tom Hansen (1957–58), Peter Gennaro (1958–59) and Ernie Flatt (uncredited). Paul Barnes won an Emmy in 1957 for his art direction. In 1953, the show won a Peabody Award ‘for consistent good taste, technical perfection and unerring choice of performers.’ Here’s Dorothy Collins receiving her Peabody Award…

The seven top-rated songs of the week were presented in elaborate TV production numbers requiring constant set and costume changes. However, because the top songs sometimes stayed on the charts for many weeks, it was necessary to continually find ways of devising a new and different production number of the same song week after week. After the show was revamped in September 1957, the top songs were reduced to five, while extras were increased.

On the TV series, vocalists Dorothy Collins (1950–1957, 1958–59), Russell Arms (1952–1957), Snooky Lanson (1950–1957) and Gisèle MacKenzie (1953–1957) were top-billed during the show’s peak years. During this time, MacKenzie had her own hit record in 1955 with ‘Hard to Get’ which climbed to the #5 ranking in June 1955 and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. She also starred in her own NBC variety program, The Gisele MacKenzie Show from 1957–1958, a series produced by her mentor, Jack Benny. Russell Arms also enjoyed a hit record during his stint on the show – ‘Cinco Robles (Five Oaks)’.

The line-up of the show’s other singers included Eileen Wilson (1950–1952), Sue Bennett (1951–52), June Valli (1952–53), Alan Copeland (1957–58), Jill Corey (1957–58), Johnny Desmond (1958–59), Virginia Gibson (1957–58), and Tommy Leonetti (1957–58). All were performers of standards, show tunes or big band numbers. Featured prominently were the Hit Parade dancers and the Hit Paraders, the program’s choral singers, who sang the opening commercial jingle (composed by Raymond Scott):

BOB FOSSE

During the 1950-1951 season Bob Fosse – dancer, musical-theatre choreographer, actor and theatre and film director – appeared as a guest dancer on several episodes, with partner Mary Ann Niles. From 1950 until 1957, the orchestra was led by well-known bandleader and musician Raymond Scott (who married Dorothy Collins in 1952); the show’s other music supervisors were Dick Jacobs (1957–58) and Harry Sosnik (1958–59). During the 1957-58 season, sponsor American Tobacco pitched Hit Parade filter cigarettes instead of Lucky Strikes. Alternate sponsors included Avco Manufacturing’s Crosley division (1951–54), Richard Hudnut hair care products (1954–57), and The Toni Company (1957–58).

See Bob Fosse with his wife Mary Ann Niles dance on Your Hit Parade in 1952…

The show faded with the rise of rock and roll when the performance became more important than the song. It is said that big band singer Snooky Lanson’s weekly attempts to perform Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ hit in 1956 hastened the end of the series. The series went from NBC (where it became the first TV show to contain the living color peacock) to CBS in 1958 and expired the following year. While Your Hit Parade was unable to deal with dull, uninspired rock songs, the show’s imaginative production concepts had an obvious influence on the wave of music videos that began in the decade that followed.

Here’s Snooky Lanson on a 1956 ‘Your Hit Parade’ singing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’…

1970s – 80s

CBS also brought it back for a brief summer revival in 1974. That version featured Kelly Garrett, Sheralee and Chuck Woolery. The 1974 version of Your Hit Parade also featured hit songs from a designated week in the 1940s or 1950s. Milton DeLugg conducted the orchestra and Chuck Barris packaged this series.

During the early 1980s, André Baruch and Bea Wain hosted a syndicated radio version of Your Hit Parade, reconstructing the list of hits of selected weeks in the 1940s and playing the original recordings.

The show’s familiar closing theme was ‘So Long for A While’.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

1952 TV. Dorothy Collins, Snooky Lanson, Eileen Wilson, Raymond Scott and the Lucky Strike Orchestra. Aired 1 March 1952. Bob Fosse was a featured dancer. Enjoy!

9 JUNE PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #440

107.3 2SER Tuesday 9 June 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
Your Hit Parade
Open + Stop Beating Around The Mulberry Bush
Al Goodman Orchestra (voc) The Hit Paraders
‘Your Hit Parade’
WABC CBS NY
22 Oct 1938
So In Love
Frank Sinatra (voc) Axel Stordahl Orchestra
‘Your Hit Parade’
KFI NBC Hollywood
20 Apr 1949
Moonlight Becomes You + Love Me Or Leave Me
Mark Warnow Orchestra (voc) Barry Wood
‘Your Hit Parade’
AFRS Re-broadcast
23 Jan 1943
Set 2
Jazz Moderne from live 1952 – 1960 Radio
Open + Route 66
Bobby Troup (voc) Trio
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
The Cameo
WRCA NBC NY
1956
Without A Song
Wild Bill Davis Trio
‘Stars in Jazz’
Birdland
WNBC NBC NY
1952
Sleep + Close
Chico Hamilton Quintet
‘Jazz International’
AFRTS Hollywood
16 Jan 1960
Set 3
The Supper Club broadcasting from a Plane over New York
All Through The Day
Art van Damme Quintet
‘The Supper Club’
TWA Constellation 24,000′ over New York City
NBC/AFRS
4 Apr 1946
Blue Skies + Got Me A Seat Upon The California Sunbeam + Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief + Temptation
Perry Como and the Satisfiers (voc) Ray Bloch Orchestra
‘The Supper Club’
TWA Constellation 24,000′ over New York City
NBC/AFRS
4 Apr 1946
Sweet Georgia Brown + I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Art van Damme Quintet
‘The Supper Club’
TWA Constellation 24,000′ over New York City
NBC/AFRS
4 Apr 1946
Set 4
1930s Swing on the Radio
Bumpy Weather Over Newark
Raymond Scott Quintette
Comm Rec
New York
Apr 1939
There’s a Lull in My Life
Benny Goodman Trio
‘Saturday Night Swing Club’
from Pittsburgh
WABC CBS NY
12 Jun 1937
Stay in My Arms, Cinderella
Bob Chester Orchestra (voc) Stu Bradon
Mayfair Restaurant
Hotel van Cleve
Dayton OH
21 Sep 1939
Set 5
Swinging 1944 Radio
Blue Lou
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln
WABC CBS NY
21 Apr 1944
Hawaiian War Chant
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Casino Gardens
Ocean Park Ca
KFI NBC LA
Oct 1944
Oh So Good
Glenn Miller Orchestra
ABSIE (American Broadcasting Station in Europe)
London
12 Oct 1944
Keep The Home Fires Burning
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
‘For The Record’
WEAF NBC Red NY
11 Sep 1944
Set 6
Shuffle Rhythm Live on 1935-45 Radio
Futuristic Shuffle
Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters
Radio Transcripotion
New York
22 Jul 1938
Instrumental
Henry Busse Orchestra
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
CBS San Francisco
28 Dec 1944
Quaker City Jazz
Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters
Arcadia Restaurant
KYW NBC Red Philadelphia
2 Dec 1938
Sidewalks of Cuba + When Day Is Done (theme)
Henry Busse Orchestra
Radio Transcription
Chicago
1935
Set 7
The Dixie Revival on the Air
Winnin’ Boy
Jelly Roll Morton
‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
WJZ NBC Blue NY
14 Jul 1940
Big Butter and Egg Man
Miff Mole and his Nixieland Six
Aircheck
30 Oct 1944
Yesterdays
Eddie Condon Group
‘Eddie Condon Jazz Concert’
Town Hall NY
WJZ Blue Network
21 Oct 1944
Ride Red Ride + Close
Red Allen Dixielanders
‘Doctor Jazz’
WMGM NY
1950
Set 8
Progressive Jazz Live on the Air, Daddy-o!
Perfume Counter
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Birdland
WJZ ABC NY
Dec 1953
Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid (theme) Perdido
Howard McGee
Birdland
WMCA NY
Sep 1951
Little Girl Blue
Stan Getz Quartet
Basin Street
WCBS CBS NY
1956
Smoke Signals + The Gentle Art of Love
Oscar Pettiford Band
Birdland
WRCA NBC NY
26 May 1957

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