Radio stars (June 1933)

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RADIO SOB STORY It takes more than talent to sing sad songs the way Ruth Etting does. It takes bitter experience and real suffering By PEGGY WELLS DO you know the mystery behind Ruth Etting's sad singing? I think not, for Ruth has guarded her secret. Only her intimates have understood, during the sensationally successful weeks of her Chesterfield contract, the reasons be-* hind the sob in her voice. Just the other day, Ruth told me her secret. And I am going to tell you. It is a sob story, and a real one. A wise man has said, hasn't he, that real art is a consequence of deep suffering? Let that be a warning to every boy or girl who wants to become a radio star. Let each one who hears Ruth sing and thinks that he could do as well take this story to heart. For her place in the top flight of celebrities is not by chance. Ruth left David City, Nebraska, to study art in Chicago. Imagine the child in her teens, pink of cheek, with honey-colored curls, athrill to the tempo of the big city. For her, each day was a dance of excitement ; each night was a glittering and pompous pageant. Watching it from the window of the modest bedroom she rented for herself, or from the street-car she rode homeward from the art school, she longed to become a part of it. So many of us have that longing. It comes with youth, of course; and, with most of us, vanishes under the rising tides of marriage and children and household duties. In Ruth, though, there burned a brighter flame. WHEN the opportunity came to be a part of that gaiety, she seized it with all her slim, young strength. She was so eager, you see; so hungry for the resplendent life in which books and magazines had taught her to believe. You've seen that eagerness, haven't you? It is a terrible vet glorious sort of thing. Look about and you find boys and girls whose faces glow with it. And like moths flying into a flame, those same boys and girls rush pellmell into a morass of poverty and (Continued on page 46) 20 It is no wonder that Ruth knows sadness. The insults she went through as part of her job in Chicago night clubs would have conquered ambition in a person less determined. (Below) on her farm.