Radio stars (July 1933)

Record Details:

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RADIO STARS Lee Wiley broad- cast with the First Lady LEE WILEY is one of those rare persons on whose door a opportunity knocked once . . . and then walked right into her parlor. It happened in New York during a visit. She was making the night cluh rounds, a wild-haired stripling of a girl just off the plains of Oklahoma. With a voice that had the wind and the throb of tom-toms in it. Leo Reisman was the hand leader at the Central Park Casino, ritziest of Manhattan's gay spots. Friends of his and Lee's asked her to sing with his orchestra. Friends led her to the floor and left her in the glare of a baby spot. She sang. It was a lark, a schoolgirl's night out. A career was the last thing in her thoughts. She sang be- cause she was full of song and restless vitality. Leo Reisman and all the others in that night club listened spellbound. The result? Lee was invited to be- come a member of the Pond's broadcast. It was that job which led her to the same stage from which came those messages of Mrs. Frank- lin Delano Roosevelt's. There was criticism of a sort, you remember, that the wife of a man soon to become President should sponsor a commercial product. Lee Wiley was one of the First Lady's most outspoken defenders. Lee knew, as most folks did not, that none of the money Mrs. Roosevelt earned went into her own account. Instead, unem- ployed relief funds and Mrs. Roosevelt's own per- sonal charities received every penny of it. She knew, too, that Mrs. Roosevelt definitely want- ed to say things to the women of America. This was her opportunity, one she had sought too long to let prece- dent side-track her. A curious circumstance, this broadcast period that brought her together with our country's First Lady. She, a direct descendant of America's first inhabitants—she's part Cherokee Indian, you know. Her background ? It includes cow ponies and tepees and Indian school. Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma, was her home until her parents moved to Tulsa. Her father and mother were school teachers. She was a student at Oklahoma University until a nervous breakdown made her an in- valid for a year. That whole year, she spent indoors. The piano was her only recreation. To pass the time, she wrote tunes based on the negro chants she had heard as a girl. One of those tunes was the song we know as "Got the South in My Soul." It was published after she became a radio star. 29