Variety (December 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.

WV-dneeday, Peceinihcr. 10, 1952 psmm HOUSE REVIEWS 61. Music H*U, N. Y. oriie Nativity” with Marjorie rnrdon, Norman Wyatt , Choral Ensemble, Symph Orc^j tomond Paiae, director), produced by leon Lconidorff; “Season’s Greet- i»ns ” with Edmund Dorsay, Peter riadke, Corps de Ballet tchoreog- Sr Margaret Sande ), Jack Drummond, Patricia Rayney Chor- al Ensemble, Al Jansley’s French Poodles, Rockettes, Nip ^Nelson, produced by Russell Markert; "Million Dollar Mermaid (M-G), reTwed in Variety Nov. 3, '52. « There is a big share of the Music Hall's usual splash and color to its current Christmas show, but the entertainment is not up to the usual par of such annual presenta- tions. The pageantry that goes with Leon Leonidoff’s production of “The Nativity,” the Hall's an- nual Yuletide religious spectacle is still very much in evidence, but this by now is standard entertain- ment. It can’t hold up the rest of the show, though on its own it re- mains colorful and impressive. Following “The Nativity,” “Sea- son’s Greetings” in the. production on display with a potpourri that is indigenous to the season. “Greet- ings” is divided into six segments, the first of which is called “Snow- flakes” and features a Santa Claus who introes a ballet sequence in which Jack Frost and “snowflakes” are dominant. Peter Gladke plays Jack Frost, with the ballet unit characterizing the snowflakes in a number notable for its beautifullly colored background of deep red against which the white costumes glint impressively. The choreog- raphy here (devised by Margaret Sande) equally nifty and imagin- ative. Jack Drummond and Patricia Bayney lend their voices in pacing the “Home for the Holidays’’ choral piece, a stylized item. A1 Jansley’s French Poodles are great kid-ap- pealers as the dogs go through such stunts as catching thrown ob- jects, racing along a ramp, all mixed with cute canine comedy “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” shows off the Rockettes with their usual precision stuff, while Nip Nelson gives vocal impressions of such items as Luckies commercials. Perry Como and the like for mild results. The concluding number, embracing the entire company, is an elaborate Christmas production salute. Kahn. Metrojiole, Glasgow Glasgow, Dec. 3. Jack Radcliffe, with Helen Nor- man, Roy Allan, Billy Dick, Jacky Fuller; The Internationals (5), Aitken & Gordon, Evelyn Mack, Ann Dyet, Joyce & Elaine, Alan MacRitchie, Bob Gandy’s Sheep, Caledonian Ladies Pipe Band, Danny Regan, Moxon Ladies (8), Jack Masterton Orch, ty fits in well to a show of Auld Lang Syne character, and might be cultivated elsewhere. MacRitchie also garners mitting with his Scot number, “The Brig o’ Balgownle.” The Internationals (two gals, three men) are a bouncing tram- poline act with talent. They spring and somersault on the trampoline to solid effect, one male member, with red-nose makeup, raising laffs with comedy business. Act is dis- ciplined and skilled. Chirping of kilted husband-and- wife duo, Bill Aitken & Kay Gor- don, is of good standard, as is terping and comedy work of youth- ful Danny Regan, Irish actor- dancer. Billy Dick (formerly With Scot comic Alec Finlay) proves a brisk foil in sketches, along with Roy Allan & Helen Norman, Rad- cliffe’s long-standing comedy part- ners. Gord. Castuo, Toronto Toronto, Dec. 5. Four Aces, Leon Fields, Gilbert & Russell, Otto Erson, Ferdinand & Jerry, Archie Stone House Orch; “Laugh Your Blues Away” (Col). Palace, N. Y. Russ & Joy Sobey, Dolly Barr, The Cheerleaders (5), Le Roy Bros. (2), George Kirby, The Barry s (2), Harry Savoy, 5 Amandis; Jo Lombardo House Orch;. “Flat Top” (AA) reviewed in Variety Nov. 19, '52. Vaude season here is suitably tartaned and embellished with tra- ditional Auld Lang Syne gimmicks like bagpipes, the kilt and moun- tain scenery. Scot songs are much in the fore throughout, show clos- ing to a grand • finale walkdown with five real sheep in a glen set- ting and the clans gathering to skirling pipe music. Chief funster is Jack Radcliffe, w.k. in southern England as well as on his native heath, but this Christmas spending the festive stint at home with his ain folk. He sets a brisk comedy pace, being standout as a Glasgow drunk cop- ing with a polite English laird in a “Tribute to Rabbie Burns.” Com- edy sketches are mostly good, though familiar here and there to seasoned vaude-goers. Radcliffe has unusual knack of ringing changes between tender pathos and roistering comedy, being espe- cially skillful in old man char- acterizations, as in “Fifty Years Today." One sketch poses an imaginary character present, calling ior much use of mime and rousing solid J’^cks from happy stubholders. Atmosphere of this historic vaud- cry (where the great Sir Harry Lauder made his first pro appear- ance over 60 years ago) is con- ducive to the true music-hall at- mosphere, being both cozy and vaude-genic. . Joyce & Elaine are a hard-work- wg terping twain, entertaining neatly in Highland dance, but their vocalizing is behind their hoofing. Duo have a bright “Try, Again” number with male Many months since the jeans set turned out in full force to greet a favorite here, but the distaff juves are in heavy majority to welcome the Four Aces and jam- ming the stagedoor alley after all performances. It had been thought that the squealing squad era had ended, but not for this vocal quar- tet who are packing the house with plenty of young repeaters. In there with power, and fine fettle, plus the concerto calis- thenics, the Aces waste no time whamming into a bouncy “Brazil,” their resonant “Heart and Soul” and a further change of pace to “Should I?,” all to terrific ova- tions leading up to shrieked re- quests for “Tejl Me Why” and a sock finale of “My Hero.” Their stint also went over big with the more mature customers to all- round begoff response. Whole stage layout is brisk and diversified on novelty, with every act scoring. Otto Erson leads off the proceedings with his tap rou tines on roller skates and their dance finale to top returns. Ferdi- nand & Jerry do table acrobatics and balancing, with dangerous lifts while mounted on a teeter- board laid on a rolling cylinder on a high platform. Youthful tap terp- ing of Gilbert & Russell is refresh- ing and expert in the duos and challenges. Joey Gilbert offers clicko Latin-American heel stint atop a big drum. Leon Fields boisterously whips up the proceedings as m.c. and is an integral part of the bill with his showmanly patter, impressions of Hollywood stars, a fine satire on Ted Lewis, plus general zany behavior. Archie Stone’s house orch gives sterling backing to every act, McStay. Chicago, Chi Chicago, Dec. 5. Robert Alda , Basil- Rathbone, Polly Bergen, Tommy Wells, Al & Connie Fanton, Brian Farnon House Orch, “The Thief ” (UA). Although this is packed with nam£ values, this bill has little to offer as a show. Package lacks pro- duction and moves, awkwardly for the most part. Reprisal of the slap- stick quickie on picture-making which Robert Alda did with Jack Carson here several seasons ago, never jells. All in all, this hour segment needs lots of tightening. Alda, however, has gained some smoothness as an emcee, and does several bits with Tommy Wells as stooge, the latter a perfect straight. There is an overlong card trick routine that can be dropped. Alda also does two tunes, the better of which is “Lady Luck” from “Guys and Dolls” in which he played the lead for two years. Basil Rathbone is lost within the confines of this huge house—3,900 seats—with his excellent readings of an airman’s creed and the "How Do I Love Thee” sonnet by Eliza- The current Palace layout con- stitutes one of its better efforts. Virtually all the acts here are old [hands in this house and there’s a youthful touch to most of the turns that helps increase the impact on audiences. Top reception was obtained at show caught by George Kirby, Ne- gro impressionist, who has a well- written act coupled with a delivery that shows talent in this direction. Kirby has some good takeoffs with the impression of the Arthur God- frey “Talent Scouts” show insur- ing a hearty palming at his exit. Another in the more appreciated turns is the Le Roy Bros. (2), who work puppets. They are skilled in this medium and act shows fine overall values. However, they still get over lachrymose in their clown sequence which spoils an other wise pleasing impression momen- tarily. The Barrys (Fred & Sally) has the male showing a comparatively hew partner. It’s a virtual carbon of his work with previous girls, but allowing for the new femme’s individual characteristics. It's es- sentially the same turn that has made, good in top cafe and vaude situations, and their ballroomology goes over similarly well here. Also in the vet class is Harry Savoy who works hard at his com- edy. His unfinished-sentence, rou- tine goes over nicely and his lines are sufficiently good to merit laughs from this house. Dolly Barr, shows expertness on roller skates as well as acrobatics and baton twirling. Routines are well designed and integrates all branches of her work? nicely. She takes several earned bows. The Five Amandis, a Scandi- navian teeterboard group, display a terrific trick lineup. These boys show everything from triple som- ersaults to elevated chair to three-high. They give the show a solid curtain. Under New Acts are The Cheer- leaders (5) and Russ & Joy Sobey. The Jo Lombardi orch helps the acts with expert backing, and Dave Bines’ staging also aids consider- ably. Jose. ooks and. style, and give their erping a comic pantomime touch hat delights. There’s animation and technique in each of their four numbers, with some interesting novelty tossed in. Best bet is a smooth softshoe, though an up- dated Bunny Hug, garners most aughs and mitt action. Comic Danny Crystal has a new approach and a bright personality to add zest to the comedy slot, al- ways* the toughest spot here. By dint of an ingratiating manner and an appealing, colloquial approach rather than top material, he man- ages to hit from the start. He ribs off color gags, then proceeds to weave a few into his routine. Has a deft way of slipping short gags into his main theme, and scores consistently. Works up to his take- offs, which in themselves have novelty and plenty laughs. Crystal sings “I Don’t Know Why Love You Like I Do” in several familiar styles, and also imitates instruments of orch. Best are double takeoffs on name singers— Rudy Vallee, Rose Murphy, Billy Eckstine, Ink! Spots—first, as they are, and then as they would sing familiar radio commercials. All of this delights the mob. It’s hard to tell exactly why Crystal, in his debut here, scored so much stronger than better-known comics. Perhaps appeal lies in fact that he seems to be ribbing himself rather than the customers. Don Cherry rounds out this Iiep bill with a series of romantic tunes and a pleasing southern accent. Warms up galleries with such, sure- fire tunes as “Why. Don’t You Be- lieve Me,” “Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes” and Mel Torme’s “Christmas Song.” Makes a pleasant and appropriate curtain raiser and garners fine returns. Lowe. Roller Review Continued from pa*e 59 Apollo, k. v. Billie Holiday, Johnpy Hodges Orch (II), The Checkers (4), Salt fc Pepper (2), Lady Terry; “Mask of the Avenger” (Col). Trv fianocr Danny Regan, this being song titled “Bruce and V Spider” which looks like it’s 8 ( >mg places. ■ ’ hf the Highlands is well URhl by tenor Alan MacRitchie »V 10 n SmKS Pcurt-a-beul or Gaelic mouth-music, this being a rhyth- ser ,n CS of sounds of strong ap- fhe eight Moxon chorines ter l )in 8 chores to this unusual ^companiment. This • is mouth-: * a 5 sun 8 years.back in the remote Scottish Highland^ JNdVbH beth Barrett Browning. Both are fine fare for more intimate and mature surroundings, but not toi t j ie £ enn y Goodman days, and Capitol, Wash. Washington, Dec. 7. Peggy Lee (4), Ryan & Mac- Donald, Danny Crystal Don Cher- ry; “Horizons West” (U). The Capitol faithful are getting their money’s worth this session, and are expressing appreciation at the boxoffice with best take in weeks. It’s headliner Peggy Lee who’s luring them through the wickets, but entire layout is solid, well paced and with good show- manship. Miss Lee gives a vivid exhibition of what it takes to climb to the top of the music heap. Certainly, there’s nothing startling about chantoosey’s pipes, if one uses strictly musical standards. By every yardstick of showmanship, style and know-how, however, Miss Lee is top-drawer and performs with the poise and assurance that come from knowing it. Backed by an in- strumental trio of piano, drums and traps, and bass fiddle, she uses her peculiar type of huskiness and her tall, rangy blondeness for sock effects. She comes presold by many recordings, and she lives up to her fans’ high hopes. Miss Lee tees off with “From This Moment On.” then essays “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I.” Latter, sung strictly for adults and not for school mop- pets, with singer’s own sultry shad- ing, is somehow her least success- ful number with galleries, though the shading is subtle and the treat- ment is unusual. Customers start hitting the rafters with “Why Don’t You Do Right,” her initial hit from a this trade. Polly Bergen, Hollywood actress and songstress, has a bright open- ing in intro, “I’m Never Too Busy to Say Hello,” but seldom modu- lates her full voice. More shading would make her songs more effec- tive, and she can do it as she demonstrates in a duo with Alda, “No Two People,” which gets the briskest mitt of show. Al & Connie Fanton start the proceedings with a little ^offbeat twist to their tapping. Duo juggle tennis balls as they tap out a rhumba and samba. Male gets off some fast steps in a solo offering and then femme returns for some good control work before they team up again for a strong jivey ending. Brian Farnon conducts the house orch this session and does an excel- lent job. Zabi. keep up pitch of enthusiasm throughout “Manana,” “Louisville Lou,” “You Belong to Me” and, finally, “Lover.” Miss Lee ties her numbers to- gether with some throaty gab, and lends interest with bits of costum- ing, some hip-wiggling and a few steps. She moves around stage in her slow r , sultry style, and socks her tunes across with almost no visible effort. This is an act which deserves the almost hysterical re- sponse It gets from the Lee de- votees. Peggy Ryan & Ray MacDonald, who have been getting some well- deserved attention in Hollywood, make up the freshest, brightest terp act since debut i>f the Cham- pions (Marge & Gower). Mr. & JiMTSr team *1* youngpert) -ia After an absence of about a year, Billie Holiday has jreturned to head the current layout at this Harlem vaude showcase. Chirper, at one time one of the foremost delineators of the blues genre, is slow in warming up the pewhold- ers. Once she breaks through the barrier, however, she clicks solidly For her opening pair, “Water front” and “Moonglow,” Miss Holi- day appears uninterested with going-through-the-nlotions manner and her impact suffers as a re- sult. It’s not until she tackles Lover Man” that her true talent is evident. She really hits her stride with the closing tandem of “Miss Brown” and “My Man.” After a rousing “Bean Bag Boogie,” by the Johnny Hodges crew (four reed, four brass, three rhythm), sesh gets underway with an effervescent pair of terpers Salt & Pepper. Gals have friendly, lively style that per- meates easily into the stalls. Their tap routines aren't complicated, but they display the footwork in a gay, relaxed manner which puts the aud solidly In their corner. The Checkers, four lads who record for King, show nothing ex- traordinary to distinguish them from many other quartets who have graced the Apollo stage. They reveal a nice sense of rhythm in their bouncy selections, but ap- pear imitative in a “talky” num- ber. On occasion lads pour it on too heavily in attempts for visual effects-. Hodges’ aggregation hogs the spotlight for four successive ren- ditions. Although the lads click musically, aud attention appears to wane, a negative that could have been eliminated by spotting the orch’s numbers throughout the show. Lady Terry, in next to closing, is a routine terper in the derriere- wiggling style. Even the epidermis displays, covered by brief bra and tasslc-fronted tights, fails to arouse stubholders’ enthusiasm. This week’s comedy scene, featur- ing an unbilled hefty gal opposite a bony gent in a farclal boxing bout, hits a new low for no laughs. Holl, O & tV-Skaiing Vanities comedians and their special brand of boisterous, shooting fun. The combo evidently is paying off, since the show had Its biggest opening, here in seven years and otherwise is holding up well since it began its tour last fall. In established fashion, show gets going with a production spectacle, “Dude Ranch Round-Up,” which has all the Vanities troupe on the floor in a roundup up rhythm and maneuvers and special aero adagio work by grouping of Peggy Wal- lace with Lon Hall and Nancy Lee Parker with Lothar Mueller plus speed aero work by Caroline Bu- chanan and Tony Mirelli. O&J take over in the second spot for the first of several “inter- ludes,’ ’this one called “Jerkz- bezerk,” and has them all over the arena and floor, never more ener- getic running off some of their ried and true gags and some new ones and displaying their usual carload of props and gunfire. Pat- tern prevails throughout .with O&J integrating between Vanities pro- ductions, and possibly both' are leightened by the distinct change of jpace and vivid contrast. In later sequences O&J and gang lampoon jurisprudence, Houdini, barbershops; work their audience participation, “name - it.-. and - you - can-have-it,” m.c. a session where, showgirls dance with the cus- tomers, and generally maintain a racy comedy pace. The Norma Milier troupe of col- ored dancers also are integrated into the show for a pair of fren- zied, exotic dance sequences, the likes of which have rarely been seen in these parts. Their South African tempos, breakneck speed, and absolute abandon to their form of the dance stamps them as both unusual and accomplished. For .sheer frenzied rhythm and these dancers must be near the acme of speed and energy. They pull a rousing hand for both num- bers. Now'here are the roller skaters to be outdone, however, “Streets of Paris” midway in the first act being a tour de force of precision with the entire company on bi- cycles and Miss Wallace featured In a frilly skating specialty. Clos- ing the first act, “Winterland Won- derland” again is a large capsule of the company’s varied talents, with jumpers Lon Hall and Tony Mirelli, the line doing its sleigh- bell ringing musical sequence, Nancy Lee Parker giving a pol- ished demonstration of skating grace and finesse solo, and wind- ing the number with entire outfit on floor in a snowstorm mounted by lighting effects. Second act is opened with “Bo- lero” as a production. based on Latin rhythms and featuring Miss Wallace and the Miller, dancers. Midway the Roulettes. (Caroline Buchanan. Tony Mirelli, .Terry No- lan and Bob Ritz) jirove to have particular adeptness at aero work, and finale Is a George M. Cohan tribute rounding up the whole cast. Quinn. New Acts Continued, from page 59 and interpretation true and intri- cate. She gives full meaning to her predominantly Spanish repertoire of love, vitality and sadness. Well heard are \l‘Gitana,” “Maria Dolores” and “Malaguerra.” She has top presence and possesses a big voice, eschewing mike in this small robm. She can sing soft and caressing or belt over a dramatic item. In short, she looks like a fine bet for the high-toned state- side clubs or TV. She is definitely in the solo personality class. Though best heard in her native tongue, she also does French ditties. Mosk. Bollards to 'Cycles' Pittsburgh, Dec. 9. Bob and June Ballard, husband- wife adagio skaters featured for the last couple of months in George Arnold’s ice revue at the Ankara, are leaving the nitery tank unit this week to join “Ice Cycles” in Port- land,. Ore., right after Christmas. Ballards will take over spot being vacated by Trixie, skating juggler, who is retiring for motherhood. . Trixie’s husband, comedian Esco LaRue, stays .with “Cycles,” how- ever, for remainder of the tour. Mae Ross will- replace the Ballards in Ankara lineup Monday. (15)* »■>. PEPITA FERNANDEZ Son/rs 15 Mins. Theatre De L’Etoile, Paris Tiny, thin, saucy-faced Spanish singer puts over her carioca songs in a small but firm voice. Deft movements and plaintive as well as rowdy qualities make her an asset for any Latin-type show. Toppers for sock mitting are her rendition of “Buy My Violets,” “The Black Angel” and “Zambra.” Mosk . Tormo's Dixie Two Dallas, Dec. 9. Mel Toftne will play the Colony Club Jan. 20. Singer was originally skedded. here for Jan> 12, but will appear at the Stork Club, Shreveport, that week. / I •