The Phantom Dancer, presented by 1920s-1930s singer and band leader, Greg Poppleton, since 1985, is your non-stop two hour mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s – 1960s radio and TV.
Hear this week’s episode online from 16 January for the next four weeks on the website of radio 2SER Sydney.
This week’s Phantom Dancer features two sets of CHILDREN OF PROMISE outstanding talent under 15 years of age already engaged in professional music careers.
In play list order. (You can see this week’s full play list below)…
Born 1937, Toni retired from performing at the age of 29. Learning dance under Maceo Anderson, Harper was cast by the choreographer Nick Castle in Christmas Follies, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in 1945. She later went on to perform on stage with Herb Jeffries, Cab Calloway, and in Japan with Cannonball Adderley. Harper recorded ‘Candy Store Blues’ in 1946, aged 9, and you’ll hear her sing her hit on a live 1948 radio broadcast on this week’s Phantom Dancer. It was a platinum record.
Frankie Lymon was vocal lead for The Teenagers. His song, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” became The Teenagers’ first single in January 1956. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard pop singles chart and topped the Billboard R&B singles chart for five weeks. Six other top ten blues singles followed over the next year: including ‘I Promise to Remember’ which you’ll also hear in a live radio performance on this week’s Phantom Dancer.
Today, The Phantom Dancer plays 15 year old Frank’s first radio appearance on NBC’s ‘Major Bowes Amateur Hour’. Sinatra joked during a Las Vegas Show in the 1960s that the quartet he started in, The Hoboken Four, was so popular on Major Bowes they appeared for weeks after under different names. They then toured the US as part of the Major Bowes theatre troupe, with Sinatra quitting mid-tour. He’d had enough.
SUGAR CHILE ROBINSON
He won a talent show at age three, and by age seven in 1945 was playing guest spots with Lionel Hampton, who was prevented by child protection legislation from taking Robinson on tour with him. However, Robinson performed on radio with Hampton and Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson, and appeared as himself in the Hollywood film No Leave, No Love.
In 1946, he played for President Harry S. Truman at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, shouting out “How’m I Doin’, Mr. President?” – which became his catchphrase – during his performance of ‘Caldonia’. He stopped recording in 1952, “I wanted to go to school…I wanted some school background in me and I asked my Dad if I could stop, and I went to school because I honestly wanted my college diploma.”
You’ll hear 8 year old Joey play drums with Sugar Chile and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra on this week’s Phantom Dancer. On June 27, 1947, a small record company out of Hollywood called Modern Records issued a six-record 78rpm set of ‘America’s Youngest Drumming Sensation: Joey Preston’s Sextette.’ On one of the songs, Preston plays piano. The liner notes were written by Stan Kenton, who calls Preston ‘an amazing talent,’ and that he has seen Preston ‘demonstrate his artistry on numerous occasions.’ Preston also appeared in three Hollywood films 1946-48.
So much as been written about Judy Garland I have nothing more to add here, except the scratchy 1939 radio recording you hear of her on this week’s Phantom Dancer is a brilliant send-up of opera by her.
BABY ROSE MARIE
And as your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week, here’s another child of promise, who started a hugely successful singing career at age 3, later co-starring in the Dick van Dyke show, The Monkees and more. She was the last pre-WWII hit-maker alive.
Here is a link to a column she wrote, July 2017, about standing up to her sexual harasser on set in the 1950s (and losing work because of it) https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dick-van-dyke-star-rose-marie-what-happened-i-publicly-shamed-my-harasser-guest-column-1063597
Rose Marie died just two weeks ago, 28 December 2017, aged 94. Marvel at her extraordinary talent, aged just 5 in this Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone Short from 1929…