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ROMANCE IN THE DARK

Hollywood On 52nd Street

The Nearness Of You is a Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington tunethat was featured in the 1938 film Romance In The Dark. The movie starred John Barrymore and John Boles. Lead actress Gladys Swarthout of the Metropolitan Opera performed the song.

The Story: John Boles, plays an egotistical, preening, successful Hungarian singer named Kovach. Gladys Swarthout, charmingly plays a young singer who wishes to advance herself. Kovach has handed her a first prize medal at her graduation from conservatory, and casually said he would like to hear her sing again and to look him up. He didn’t mean it, but she takes him literally, so she goes and stands by the stage door and he doesn’t notice her, she tries his house and can’t get in, and eventually gets a job as his maid. Having infiltrated his abode, she keeps trying to draw attention to her voice by singing, and he remains obtuse and does not notice. Events transpire in her favor, however, and he ends up appreciating her, then later falling for her. Barrymore gives her a contract, under the false impression that she is a Persian princess, and creates a huge publicity campaign about his new discovery, a Middle Eastern singing sensation. Well, events ensue, and the ending must remain wrapped in satin, although the discerning might well imagine it.

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RHYTHM ROMANCE:SOME LIKE IT HOT

Hollywood On 52nd Street

The Lady’s in Love With You comes from the 1939 film Some Like It Hot starring Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, and was composed by Burton Lane with lyrics by Frank Loesser. It was a major hit for Glenn Miller that year and is a favorite of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and others.

Some Like It Hot is a 1939 comedy film starring Bob Hope, Shirley Ross and Gene Krupa. Based upon the play The Great Magoo but the title of the film is taken from a nursery rhyme, and bears no relation to the Billy Wilder acclaimed 1959 comedy movie Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The movie was reissued for television as Rhythm Romance.

The Story: Nicky Nelson is a fast-talking sideshow barker with a wax-and-alive concession on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. Even with the band of his friend, struggling musician Gene Krupa, playing on the sidewalk to attract the customers, “The Living Corpse” and other low-rent acts aren’t enough to lure the seen-it-all boardwalk strollers, and the landlord closes the show in lieu of never-paid rent. Nicky, always promoting goes to Stephen Hanratty, head of the pier’s Dance Pavilion, to plug Krupa’s band as an attraction, but Hanratty won’t even listen to them. But, while there, he meets singer Lily Racquel, who knows he is a phony but might have the ability to talk a radio-station manager into giving her an audition. She gives him a ring to help finance the project; he promptly loses it in a crap-game.

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BLONDE CRAZY

Hollywood On 52nd Street

When Your Lover Has Gone, composed by Einar Aaron Swan for the 1931 film Blonde Crazy. The films stars were James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Louis Calhern, Ray Milland and Guy Kibbee famous for Cagney’s line, “That dirty, double-crossin’ rat!”

The Story: Bert Harris, works for a hotel as a bellboy. One day he meets Anne Roberts, who signs up as a chambermaid. He takes a fancy to her and lets her in on his racket, conning people out of money.

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NOBLE SISSLE

Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Noble Lee Sissle was born July 10, 1889 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was a pastor, his mother a schoolteacher and juvenile probation officer. As a youth he sang in church choirs and as a soloist with his high school’s glee club in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to attend De Pauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on scholarship, later transferring to Butler University in Indianapolis before turning to music full-time.

In 1918 Sissle joined the New York 369th Infantry Regiment and helped to form the 360th Regiment Band. He played violin and also served as drum major for the 369th, and under James Europe’s leadership is now considered amongst the greatest jazz bands of all time. He sang several vocals on the last disc recorded by the band that was released in March 1919.

Leaving the army after the war he joined Europe’s civilian version of the band. Not long afterwards, a disgruntled band member murdered Europe thus leaving Noble to take temporary charge of the band with the help of his friend Eubie Blake. Years earlier the two had struck up a partnership after meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. They would go on to perform in vaudeville, collaborate on the songs I’m Just Wild About Harry and Love Will Find A Way, and then produce the musical Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies. He is the only Black artist to appear in the Pathe film archives.

In 1923, Sissle made two films for Lee DeForest’s Phonofilm Sound-On-Film process titled Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake featuring their song Affectionate Dan, and Sissle and Blake Sing Snappy Songs featuring Sons of Old Black Joe and My Swanee Home. These films are preserved in the Maurice Zouary film collection at the Library of Congress.

He would also appear in other short films, performed with Walter Donaldson, Nina Mae McKinney, the Nicholas Brothers and Adelaide Hall. In 1954, New York radio station WMGM, owned by the Loew’s Theatre Organization, signed him as a disc jockey. His show featured the music of African-American recording artists. Jazz composer, lyricist, bandleader, singer and playwright Noble Sissle passed away on December 17, 1975 at the age of 86 in Tampa, Florida.


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TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT

Hollywood on 52nd Street

How Little We Know was originally written as a waltz. It was composed by Hoagy Carmichael for Lauren Bacall to sing in the 1942 film To Have and Have Not. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan and Lauren Bacall in her film debut. Although it was nominally based on the novel of the same name written by Ernest Hemingway. The story was extensively altered for the film.

The Story: Harry Morgan and his alcoholic sidekick, Eddie, are based on the island of Martinique and crew a boat available for hire. However, since the second world war is happening around them business is not what it could be and after a customer who owes them a large sum fails to pay they are forced against their better judgment to violate their preferred neutrality and to take a job for the resistance transporting a fugitive on the run from the Nazis to Martinique. Through all this runs the stormy relationship between Morgan and Marie “Slim” Browning, a resistance sympathizer and the sassy singer in the club where Morgan spends most of his days.

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