Variety (October 1952)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

70 PSs&iEfr Wednesday, October 29, 1952 Presidential Songs ■v —— Continued from page 1 part of Bryan’s ’‘Cross of Gold” effort and promises that when the orator becomes President, express wagons will deliver loads of free silver to every home. The Spanish-American War re- sulted ' in the near-deification of Admiral George Dewey and the recording of such songs as “What Did Dewey Do to Them?” and “When Dewey Comes’ Sailing Home.” There was ‘sentiment in favor of the Admiral running for President, but 1900 doesn’t seem to have been a year of recorded campaign songs. McKinley We come next to 1901, the year in which McKinley was assassinat- ed. And now a digression. An ar- ticle in the Oct. 1 issue, telling of recordings of “McKinley’s Last Speech” being made by phono art- ists, notably Len Spencer and not by the President himself, has brought a letter of protest from a reader who says he paid $25 for a Columbia record of “Address By the Late Preside^ McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition” and wants to believe he got his money’s worth. He demands further proof that the disk wasn’t made by Mc- Kinley. Here it is: The first recording of the so- called McKinley speech, called “President McKinley’s Last Speech (Delivered at Baffalo, Sept. ‘5, 1901),” was included in the Novem- . ber, 1901, record list of the Edison company, which was really on the ball to get it out so soon. This was a wax cylinder and, although the artist’s name is not given on the record, it is contained in the cata- log as Frank C. Stanley. Some time " later Len’Spencer 'remade it. (Cyl- inders were made over frequently' in those days.) Columbia wasn’t as quick. Its first McKinley offering was “Fune- ral Service Over President McKin- ley,” which many collectors prob- ably have picked up in the belief it is an on-the-scene waxing of the actual service—a foolish idea, of course, since the record runs only 2V£ minutes. It is a studio job, with the Columbia Male Quartet singing McKinley’s favorite hymns, “Lead, Kindly Light” and “Nearer, My • God, to Thee,” and Len Spencer repeating a bit of the prayer which had been offered by the minister. The Funeral Service was No. 451. Next came 639, “McKinley Memo- rial,” which introduced a snatch of that famous “Last Speech” and a brass quartet playing “Lead, Kindly Light.” Having gradually paved the way for a full-dress performance of the speech (not of course the full speech as delivered by McKinley, but excerpts from’ it), Columbia finally came through with No. 833, the Address which is prized by so Inany collectors. This was not re- corded by Spencer until after Mc- Kinley had been dead several months. On record is the written statement by a former Columbia official that the record was by Spencer and no one else. An Edison official has written to the same ef- fect, saying McKinley’s voice was • never recorded by that company. As for Victor, its disk of the speech bore the artist’s name as Leonard G. Spencer. „ But the clincher in the argu- ment over the Columbia record is this: McKinley died in September, 1901, but Columbia didn’t even go into the disk record business until well into 1902. Its record No. 833 wasn't made until late that year or early in 1903. Oddly—enough, -MeKinley’s—pho- nograph career wasn't yet ended. In the southern hills there sprang up a typically mournful ballad about the president’s assassination, and this was recorded by the late Riley Puckett, a one-time top fa- vorite among hillbilly recorders for Columbia back in 1929. It was called simply “McKinley.” Moving up to 1904, there were at least two recorded campaign J songs—“We Want You, Teddy, for Four Years More,” and its Demo- cratic opposition, “Goodbye, Ted- dy, You Must March, March, • March,” both of which Billy Mur- ray, playing no favorites sang for Columbia. Teddy Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt, who had be- come president, succeeding Mc- Kihley, defeated Alton B. Parker. Within the next few months, Cal Stewart, the “Punkin Center” spe- cialist, made records of “Uncle Josh at the White House” for the various companies. In July, 1905, ; the unfailingly versatile and in- genious Spencer was in the Col* umbia list with “Roosevelt’s In- augural Parade.” To quote the de- scription: “‘Roosevelt’s Inaugural Parade’ will long be remembered as one of the best descriptive records ever made. The material for this thrill- ing historical record was obtained by Mr. Len Spencer, who visited Washington for the inauguration, for this special purpose, at the re- quest of the Columbia Phono- graph Co. The Rough Riders, who were the President’s escort, lead the procession, followed by the gallant ‘Teddy,’ who, in passing, acknowledges the cheers and greet- ings of the thousands assembled to do honor to the nation’s Chief Executive. In quick succession fol- low the governors of the states with military escorts, the bands playing airs appropriate to each section represented. The tunes of ‘Maryland, My Maryland,’ ‘Swanee River’ and ‘Dixie’ invoke the plau- dits of the onlookers. The aged Indian chieftain Geronimo is rec- ognized, attended by a band of his swarthy warriors. The ‘Black Ninth’ Cavalry, the West Point Cadets and the Harvard College boys ‘are also prominent features, and are loudly cheered as they pass, marching to the strains of their bands. The record is a master- piece, and every owner of a talk- ing machine should have it in his collection.” Around this same time,'Vincent Bryan and Gus Edwards wrote “Tammany,” which was widely re- corded and became an unofficial anthem of the N. Y. City Demo- cratic' 'Organisation.-' -A--couple... .of. years later they proved they pould work both sides of the street by coming through with “G. O. P.,” a comic ditty that praised the Re- publicans but also touched them up with bits of satire. The Panama Canal was -a controversial subject, and one line kidded Roosevelt’s big teeth by saying, “Let -our Teddy dig the Isthmus—he can bite it through by Christmas.” Campaign songs seem lacking in 1908, although the Republican can- didate, William Howard Taft, and the Democrats’ William Jennings Bryan, made a series of spoken records, outlining their policies— the first time such records had been made. Shortly .after the elec- tion, Junie McCree and A1 Von Tilzer wrote “Did He Run?,” which satirically described the re- cent campaign and predicted, wrongly, that in another four years Bryan would run again. Nat M. Wills, “The Happy Tramp,” recorded a parody on “Are You Sincere?” in which he remarked that the cw’y thihg Bryan was running for was “the end book.” Wilson, T. R. and Taft In' 1912 there were recorded talks by Woodrow Wilson, Roose- velt and Taft, running as E|emo- crat, Progressive and Republican, respectively, but the big campaign song was one that didn’t directly mention politics. It was “The Mis- souri Houn’ Dawg Song,” whose correct title was “They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dawg Aroun’,” and it was sung by partisans of the speak- er of the House, Champ Clark, who felt that their man had been given a raw deal in the Democratic con- vention. Since Byron G. Harlan was the foremost exponent of vo- cal “rube” comedy, he made the records. Neither Wilson nor his GOP opponent, Charles Evans Hughes, -appear-s-4o- -Lave ..19JL6,. but there were a few political songs. Wilson appears to have struck the, tunesmiths’ fancy more than Hughes, for they turned out “We Take Our Hats Off to You, Mr. Wilson” and “I Think We’ve Got Another Washington (Wilson is His Name.”) These were written on the assumption that- Wilson would keep the country out of war. There was also a vote for women plea, “She’s Good Enough to be Your Baby’s Mother.” This con- tained the assertion that if a wom- an was good enough to be the mother of Woodrow Wilson, then women were good enough to cast the ballot. No campaign songs were re- corded in 1920, but Columbia is- sued a Nation’s Forum series of speeches by the leading statesmen and politicians of the day. It was announced that President Wilson would make one, but his grave ill- ness must have prevented. Repub- lican speakers included Senator Warren G. Harding (who was nominated and elected president). Senator Henry Csfbot Lodge, Ma- jor General Leonard Wood, Gov- ernor Calvin Coolidge, Nicholas Murray Butler, Will Hays and Corinne Roosevelt Robinson — “Teddy’s” sister. He had died the year before. The Democrats were represented by William Gibbs McAdoo, A. Mitchell Palmer, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Bainbridge Colby, James W. Gerard, Champ Clark, Homer Cummings, Senator Robert Owen, James M. Cox (the party’s presi- dential nominee) and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ran unsuccess- fully for vice president but was heard from again a few years later. * Coolidge-Davis, Hoover-Smith About the only recorded sou- venir of the 1924 campaign be- tween Coolidge and John W. Davis is “The Teapot Dome Blues,” re- ferring to the oil lease scandals which were a * campaign issue. There was more action in 1928 when Herbert Hoover, Republican, defeated Alfred E. Smith, Demo- crat. Lew Brown and.Al Von Til- zer came through with a strictly partisan “He’s Our Al.” recorded by such names of the time as Jack Kaufman and Billy Jones & Ernest Hare. Jones & Hare also made the rounds of the record companies, waxing a clever number on the “Gallagher & Shean” order, “Mr. Hoover and Mr. Smith.” The writ- ers, Herb Magidson and Robert King“ (Kaiser) (also known as “Mary Earle”) must have had a hunch Hoover would win because Hoover invariably topped Smith’s wisecracks in the song. Amos ’n’ Andy also got into the act. They recorded a “Presidential Cam- paign” skit for Victor. The boys, too, must have had a pretty good idea of who was going to win be- cause the platter ended with one -saying • he .. dreamed he saw . Al. Smith going into the White House. Then he explained: “Herbert Hoover sent for him.” Aside f rom Roosevelt’s campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again,” which had been written about three years before. 1932 was not a musical political year. Some campaign songs were writ- ten but were not popular enough to be recorded. The story was similar in 1936. Four years later, however. Roosevelt supporters came through with “Vote for Roosevelt,” r ecorded by “Music City Recording” in Hollywood. The song was written by Celia Sat- tinger and Alfred P. Chamie. Sprague-Coleman, of New York, turned out a “G.O.P. Willkie Song” titled “Thank God We’ve Found the Man!” It was written and sung by Robert Crawford. Since then, there has been vir- tually no political propagandizing .by means of recorded popular songs. This year has seen a num- ber of “Ike” tunes turned out, and a smaller number espousing the Democratic side, but they have got nowhere with the platter pur- veyors. In fact, the topical song which delighted our forebears seems virtually extinct. In many ways that’s a pity. And it’s late to be pointing it out, but the Republicans probably have missed a bet by not reviving and revising a 1919 ditty called “All Those in Favor Say ‘Aye!’ ” The number, written by Sam Downing and Tom Kennedy, provides an ideal framework for joshing the opposition. And with the title al- tered to “All Those in Favor Say ‘Ike!’ ”-r-well, it has possibilities! Mitch Miller Continued from page 45 formula of simplicity plus’ sincer- ity, and because they are ready to accept constructive criticism from the recording director.” Songwriter-publisher Irving Cae- sar, on the other hand, blames the plight of the ASCAP writer on the BMI-broadcasters hookup. “It is depressing and somewhat discour- aging,” Caesar says, “that a group of songwriters should in the past few days be discussing and, as a matter of fact, put into operation a committee to raise funds in order to bring a monopoly suit against BMI. It is depressing and discour- aging because I should have thought that the Department of Justice would long before this on its own initiative taken the proper steps to remedy the situation.” ‘Preferential Treatment’ Pointing out that “BMI is owned by most of the radio stations and networks with whom we have to traffic and on whom we are de- pendent for the popularization of our music,” Caesar asks: “Does It seem unreasonable to suppose that they would not be giving them- selves preferential treatment in popularizing their (BMI) catalog?” On the other hand, feeling among some indie publishers and younger writers in behalf of BMI is ex- pressed by one Tin Pan Alleyite, Joe Davis, as follows: “BMI en- courages and helps new writers and publishers. ASCAP never did. BMI makes. it possible for a writer to enjoy the fruits of his work while he is living and not when he is dead. ASCAP has not progressed with the times. “In the offi days ASCAP publish- ers signed up (as a writer with a tremendous advance and drawing) every leader or singer who was on the air or who made records. If a publisher didn’t have that big money bag he was out of luck. To- day it’s a singer’s world. The hits are being made by vocalists and the big hits are being recorded by artists that write and record. This time BMI controls most of them. BMI publishers are looking for new songs all the time and en- courage new writers. Nine out of 10 ASCAP publishers won’t even give a new writer a chance to take his song out of the envelope to show.” Starr Continued froin page 45 say that these hot pops create the traffic into the musO stores, and thus maybe also ASCAP standards, albums, ’etc., benefit. But the whole picture of the music business has changed. I’m not saying that a hill- billy or a country or western tune can’t be quality,’ because ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ and 'The Last Round- up' are in that idiom, and they are .now classics, Blit* the .music busi- ness is everything, and dominant- ly it’s ASCAP income. This is the prime source of revenue, and not the by-product as when Nathan Burkan helped found the Society. Then we had million-copy sheet sales, and records were secondary. An ll-15c net profit per sheet on 1,000,000 copies is much different than the penny, or less, the pub- lisher gets tdclay from 1,000.000 records. “And where there were 165 pub- lishers we now have 800, of which 450-500 are in ASCAP, so the thin- ner soread is also obvious there as everybody’s in there scratching and pitching for that hit.” Starr, of course is reiterating that “without ASCAP income we’d have to close our doors,” but this doesn’t satisfy the average music publisher who wants that current pop hit to replenish his catalog for the future. V* tei e™°ny, particular- ly during the time when she is on- nomted with holy oil. Although all aspects of the cere mony will be filmed by newsreel likely there may be palace guidance in cameras, it is some official the editing. Associated British-Pathe also has come up with plans for a color film of the Coronation which is also slated for world-wide release within a few days of the event It will be produced by Howard Thomas, chief of production at Pathe. Company will also have a newsreel flash of the coronation on the night of the event which will be followed by a double- length reel. MARRIAGES Jacqueline Laughery to Guv Mitchell, Los Angeles, Oct. 26. She’s a screen actress; he’s a singer. Lillian K. Mumme to Curtis Peavy, San Antonio, recently. Bride is Interstate circuit staffer there. Gloria Akst to Pfc James Baker Harris, Oct. 24, New York. She is actress-musician-daughter of song- writer Harry Akst; groom is with MPTV, video outfit, of which his father, film man Joe Harris, is an executive. Corinne Richard to Ed Norton, Oct. 18. Groom is board chairman of WAPI (CBS) and WAFM-TV, Birmingham, and former member of Federal Reserve Board in Wash- ington. Mary Lee to Jack Milroy, Aber- deen, Scotland, Oct. 22. Bride is orch and vaudery thrush and part- ner in his comedy act. Matilda Jones to Wayne Varga- son, Pittsburgh, Oct. 18. Groom is former bandleader. Betty Wilson to Jerry Thomas, Los Angeles, Oct. 19. She’s an actress; he’s a producer. Gloria Gertrude Kohler to Ralph Eugene Donnelly, Bellmore. N.Y.,’ ’ Oct. 26. Groom is amusement edi- tor of the Nassau Daily Review- Star, Rockville Center, L.I., and formerly with Variety. ' Shirley Rich to Lewis Krohn, Oct. 26, N. Y. Bride is in Metro's eastern talent department. BIRTHS Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mimmo, son, N. Y., Oct. 18. Father is panto- mime comedian. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Shannon, son, Pittsburgh, Oct. 22. Father is an- nouncer at KDKA. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wilson, twin daughters, Beaver Falls, Pa., Oct. 18. Father is program director and disk jockey for WBVP. Mr. and Mrs. Dick Alan, daugh- ter, Pittsburgh, Oct. 19. Father is with Artie Arnell orch. Mr. and Mrs. James Laux, son, Pittsburgh, Oct. 20. Father man- ages Hollywood Theatre in Pitt for ik New Canaries Continued from page 45 Kay Armen on tele’s “Stop the Music” show. Paucity of femmes available is attributed to the high cost of prep- ping a canary. While a young male vocalist can rough it while waiting for the bigtime break and play his minor league singing engagements with a one-suit wardrobe, the gals need a hefty garbing outlay and plenty of chaperoning while break- ing in on the smalltime circuit. Angels interested in backing sing- ers, therefore, have been brushing the gals in favor of a promising crooner. Latest femme vocalist to be signed by a majpr company is Cal- ifornia thrush Felicia Sanders. Miss Sanders, who has been sing- ing * - m—HoHywood clubs— but - has never recorded before, was inked by Mitch Miller, Col’s artists and repertoire chief, during his recent trip to .the Coast. Diskery is prep- ping early release on her initial two sides. L Feature Tinier Continued from page 2 M ¥1 , production has been facilitated by the expansion of processing facil- ities in this country. There has been disappointment at the decision to bar TV cameras from telecasting the crowning cere- mony but the British Broadcasting Corp. will be given access to the films Of the event which will be lensed in the Abbey. Although no official reason has been given, it is believed that the decision was made by palace authorities to pro- tect the Queen from the public WB. Mr. and Mrs. Homer Linnert, daughter, Pittsburgh, Oct. 18. Father is an engineer at WJAS. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ephron, daughter, Santa Monica, Cal., Oct. 21. Ephron and his wife, Phoebe, playwrights, are a writing team at Paramount. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Blasco, son, Oct. 12, Kansas City. Mother is Betty Peterson, lyricist; father is prexy of Blasco Music, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, daughter, Hollywood, Oct. 21. Par- ents (she’s Nancy Davis) are screen players. Mr. and Mrs. Stephen R. Calla- han, daughter, Los Angeles, Oct. 18. Father is assistant chief of the programming branch of Armed Forces Radio Service. Mr. and Mrs. Dick Brown, son, Hollywood, Oct. 18. Mother is Margaret Kerry, video actress; father is a TV producer-director. Mr. and Mrs. Nat Debin, daugh- ter, New York, Oct. 10. Father is with. Lew.. & Leslie_Grade Agency, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Skelton, son, Oakland, October 15. Mother (Phyllis Skelton) is radio-TV ac- tress, conducts “School Days” show on KRON, San Francisco. Mr. and Mrs. J. Herman Sollock, daughter, San Antonio, recently. Father is manager of the Arts ThP/ifrf 4 thprp Mr. and Mrs. William Froug, daughter, Hollywood, Oct. 23. Father is network program super- visor for CBS Radio in Hollywood. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Harris, daughter, Pittsburgh, Oct. 26 Mother is Donna Atwood, erst- while star of “Ice Capades,” Lather is theatre owner and producer ot “Capades.” Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Moses, son, Amsterdam, Holland, 9*, L Father is Metro manager in thai\ country. Mr. and Mrs. Rudd Lawrence, son, Oct. 25, Bronxville, N.Y. Fa- ther is NBC director of promotion, planning and development. y