Danny Kaye from Brownsville

Actor/comedian Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kaminsky), a marvelous song-and-dance-and-everything man, died on this date in 1987. Kaye was born in 1911 in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY, to Ukrainian immigrant parents who called him “Duvidelleh.” After getting his start as a Borscht Belt entertainer, he would go on to star in seventeen movies, including The Secret […]

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Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales (Milton Supman) was born on this date in 1926 in Franklinton, North Carolina. His parents were dry goods merchants (the local Ku Klux Klan, Soupy joked, bought their sheets from his folks) who nicknamed their sons ‘Hambone,’ ‘Chicken Bone’ and ‘Soup Bone.’ Milton shortened his nickname to Soupy and turned his family’s bent […]

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July 10: Jerry Herman on Broadway

Composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, who wrote the scores for Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles, among other hit productions, was born in Jersey City on this date in 1931. Herman immersed himself in musical theater at the University of Miami, then burst upon the Broadway scene in 1961, writing music and lyrics […]

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November 22: Integrating Jazz

Norman Granz, the founder of five jazz record labels who was a significant activist for racial integration in public performances during the 1940s and ’50s, died in Geneva, Switzerland on this date in 2001. Granz organized (on borrowed money) the famous “Jazz at the Philharmonic” jam session series in L.A. in 1944 and ’45, which […]

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O My America: Congo Square

by Lawrence Bush I’m at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, here on a short break to allow the healing power of music work its wonders on me. Yesterday I visited Congo Square, in Louis Armstrong Park, where slaves here in the deep Plantation South were permitted, over the decades, to gather and drum and dance […]

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August 9: Boop Boop Be Doop

Betty Boop made her debut on this date in 1930 in the animated film “Dizzy Dishes.” She was the creation of Max Fleischer (1883-1972), a Galitzianer immigrant whose pioneering animations brought Koko the Clown, Popeye, and Superman to the screen, among many other characters. He and his brother Dave patented the Rotoscope in 1915, a […]

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January 8: Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales (Milton Supman) was born on this day in 1926 in Franklinton, North Carolina. His parents were dry goods merchants (the local Ku Klux Klan, Soupy joked, bought their sheets from his folks) who nicknamed their sons ‘Hambone,’ ‘Chicken Bone’ and ‘Soup Bone.’ Milton shortened his nickname to Soupy and turned his family’s bent […]

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