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Jimmy Durante – Radio Stars of America

Jimmy Durante with Special Guests Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes, Bob Hope, Tallulah Bankhead, Eddie Jackson, Rose Marie, Eddie Cantor, Arthur Treacher, Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra
Extended excerpts from the Jimmy Durante Show and other radio broadcast programmes 1946-51
ASV LIVING ERA CD AJA 5591 [75.28]



Crotchet Budget price

Whatever Happened to Vaudeville/Chidabee, Chidabee, Chidabee,
Three Musketeers
Boys with the Proboscis
Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home?
Lady Durante Impersonator/Mad for that Man
Broadway Melodies
British Take Over The Show
Date with Lucille Ball
Any State in the 48 is Great
I’ll Do The Strutaway in My Cutaway/Who Will Be With You When I’m Far Away?



Living Era has already given us a Best Of Durante disc, naturally entitled The Great Schnozzle, and now follows up with live radio broadcasts from the years 1947 to 1951. The majority derive from Durante’s own show but he’s also heard guesting on Sinatra’s show and with Bob Hope (undated) as well as joining equally big stars on The Philco Radio Time and The Big Show. These were the years of Durante’s great radio breakthrough; he’d been teamed with the younger Garry Moore in 1943 and the duo worked well off each other and when Moore left Durante carried on with sidekick pals such as Arthur Treacher, Alan Young and Don Ameche.

Sound quality on these extended excerpts is for the most part pretty good and we get to hear a considerable amount of the Ron Bargy directed band supporting Durante’s extravagant self at the microphone. There are a number of his co-compositions and a plethora of mispronunciations and plenty of ad-lib banter and corpsing with co-stars. One of the funniest sequences is the meeting of Durante and the two crooning stars Crosby and Dick Haymes. To hear the latter crack up on air is a treat, goaded as he is by Durante’s irresistible and infectious personality. Alan Young proves a match in a slightly later show, doing Romberg with gusto and trading ad-libs with the Master. The Big Show was hosted by Tallulah Bankhead and her eyebrow cocking sensuality and aristocratic Southern wit is duly preserved in this extract.

Rose Marie – yes, that Rose Marie – comes on with a creditable Durante impersonation from the days when they weren’t quite as ubiquitous as they were to become and we get more than a mere whiff of Broadway and screen when Eddie Cantor blows into town for a series of melodies which he and the host dust down with panache and vigour. Englishman Arthur Treacher was a well-known figure and his silly ass persona usually works - though his Old-Chap-Old-Fruit-Old-Bean act doesn’t survive the years so well. He was much better at side-of-the-mouth repartee. As a sign of the Times Already Arrived we have Durante guesting with Sinatra, the younger man plainly having a fair degree of fun.

And that applies to this disc as well – well compiled, nicely annotated and with a good range of material.

Jonathan Woolf


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