Radio stars (Sept 1933)

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RADIO STARS Meet the Barn Dancers ( Continued from page 2: Their act? Well, it wasn't niiicli be- side sinpinp and playing the piano, guitar, and nfhndolin. But it had "some- thing" extra. But say ! I want to tell you about this Barn Dance in Chicago. The place where I saw the Barn Dancers was a packed theatre. The Eighth Street Theatre, they called it. You've got to spend six bits to get a seat for the show, but it"s worth it. You go in and sit down in your seat and after a while some people come onto the stage dressed up just like you've seen "em in the Smokys or Cumber- lands, and pretty soon some of them sing. Then comes Hal O'Halloran, and his voice is just as kind and honest in the flesh as it is when it comes through your loudspeaker. I WISH you could see the Arkansas • Woodchopper with your own eyes. The Cumberland Rids^e Runners can sing you almost any sort of tune. There are seven of them, one, a girl named Linda Parker. The others are Carl Davis, "Red" Foley, Hartford Connecticut Tavlor (there's a name), "Slim" Miller, and Hugh Cross. They're all from the Cumhcrlands except Cross, a Smoky mountain man. The one fellow I'll never forget in that outfit was thirteen-year-old George (joebels, Jr. (ieorge wears a cowboy suit and comes onto the stage as bash- ful as mania's precious darling. If you're in Chicago, drop into St. Stephens Church for a service. George is a member of the choir. That quartet you've heard, the Maple City Four, is famous for its nut stunts. They've been singing for WLS for six years, and they can make music ! The Prairie Ramblers are fairly new with the Barn Dancers, but the crowd I was in liked them plenty. One of 'em, Shelby Atchison, is one of the few left- handed fiddlers in captivity. Then 1 saw Tom and Roy add some real slick harmony to the bill. Luia Belle sang some of those barn loft songs. And Malcolm C'lair stormed through a lot of Negro dialogue. From Hal O'Halloran with that blooming bell of his to the least im- portant member of the show, they were up to their eyes in fun. The Don Hall Trio, who broodcasi daily over NBC at 7:30 every dawn. The trio is composed of George Hall, Grace Donaldson and Hor+ense Rose. Little Jack Little's Secret evening sun go dow-ovv-ow-n," he lilted. His voice held no conviction. The door opened. "The boys are here," his wife announced. "How are you. fellows?" he greeted. "Hello, Jack. Listen, I think after we work on the song awhile, we ought to go to the El Fey." Little Jack glanced at his wife. "No. Sorry fellows, I think I'll turn in early. These morning broadca.,ts, you know. . . ." "Ah, cut it out, Jack. Never mind that stuff. We'll get home early enough." The singer chewed his lip reflect- ively. "Well, I don't know. Let's get to work on the song anyhow." The two men followed Jack into ' music room. He sat down at the piano. "Now the way we had it yesterday," Little Jack began, "was like this." He started playing, then stopped. Sounds of laughter filtered through the door. "Visitors," said a collaborator. Jack puzzled for a moment. "Oh, yes. I remember now. I invited Jake and his girl up here tonight." An hour later the rough strain he had first fingered on the piano was be- coming a rounded melody. In this mood, in another hour or so, a new, popular song would be born. The telephone rang harshly against the music. Jack reached for the instrument. (Continued from page 17 ) "Hello ? Oh, hello, Lorraine. —No, I'm working on a song.—No, I really oughtn't—well, all right. Listen, I've got a gang here who are waiting to go places. Shall I bring them along?" COME hours later, the party emerged ^ from the El Fey. "Come on. Jack." one of the women was saying, "we'll go up to the Music Box for awhile." The next morning. Little Jack Little sat at his piano in the studio, awaiting the announcer's signal to start. His head swam and his throat felt dry. The announcer nodded his head. Jack licked his lips and began to sing. What was the matter? Nothing came out right. Every note was a battle. His music became a mass of weaving spots. How- he struggled through the program he didn't know. The announcer shook his head. "Pretty bad, Jack. Better watch your- self. You're slipping " Jack straightened. "Oh, I'm all right. Just a little ofT this morning." "All right," the announcer said. "It's your own funeral." Little Jack felt an answer unneces- sary. He went upstairs and secured his fan mail. Idly he opened the let- ters and glanced through them. Half way through he paused. In his hand lay an envelope addressed in characters as fine as ohl lace. He drew out the letter and began skimming through it-. Then he paused, reading verv care- fully. "Jack." said his wife as he entered the apartment later, "Jake called—" "Tea," he said a little gruffly. "I'm not going out tonight nor any other night unless it's strictly on business," He h.tndcd her a letter from the in- side pocket of his coal. "My dear boy." she read. "Of course you are really not my boy, but I pretend that you are. I hope you'll forgive me, liut you see I once had a little boy named Jack. .\nd somehow when I hear you on the radio, I feel as if you were my boy, grown up. That's why 1 am writing you now. I am wor- ried. Little Jack. There's something in your voice, something in your playing that makes me certain it's not the same lad I used to listen to. If you are sick, if anything has gone wrong, couldn't you tell me and perhaps 1 could help. Oh, 1 know it's too much to expect you to answer this, but if your old self comes back to me through niy radio as I sit in my farm kitchen in Iowa, it will be answer enough to one who likes to make believe she is Your mother." Broadway no longer knows the Lit- tle Jack Little, easy mark for hangers- on. He's ^U\\ a good fellow, but not too good a fellow. That's why he has come back, stronger than ever. 49