Danny Kaye Volume 2: For Children

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'For Kids' Original 1947-1955 Recordings

I became an entertainer not because I wanted to but because I was meant to. - Danny Kaye

Whether it's the comical mimicry of his variousTubby The Tuba guises, or the sham horror of'Manic Depressive Presents' that we rememberbest, showman Danny Kaye still looms large onthe mental backburners of the generations forwhom he was once a Family Favourite. Therewas in the delivery of this seemingly indefatigablechildren's entertainer supreme somethingirrepressibly, uniquely zany which logged easilyinto the impressionable minds of the young.

Think of Danny on records and the sad tale ofThe Ugly Duckling will come instantly tomind, but young and old alike were alsocaptivated by his madcap antics and highlyindividual, incisive way with tongue-twisters ofthe \Frim Fram Sauce" or "Bloop-Bleep" variety.

Singing-actor, dancer, comedian, writer andall-round entertainer David Daniel Kaminskywas born in Brooklyn,NY, on 18 January 1913.

His Ukrainian Jewish immigrant parents hadambitions for their son to join the medicalprofession, but an innate talent for buffooneryand the quick-fire retort apparent from David'searliest years prevailed until, more inclined tothe stage, he dropped out of high school and in1929 hit the road to Florida with his stage-partnerLouis Eilson. Returning to New York the duo,now dubbed Red & Blackie, performed at selectevening functions whilst maintaining their 'dayjobs':Danny worked variously as barman,waiter and inspector for a motor insurancecompany. Later, the duo worked summer seasonsat holiday camps on the 'Borscht Circuit' in theCatskill Mountains, until 1933, when Dannyjoined vaudeville dancers David Harvey andKathleen Young, to form The Three Terpsichoreans.

After a five-month US tour the trio sailedfor the Far East, and there Kaye truly learned histrade, performing to non-English-speakingChinese, Japanese and Malayan audiences.

Returning to the USA in 1936, Dannyteamed with Nick Long Jr and toured with AbeLyman and his band and made some 'unpromisingtwo-reelers'. His first London appearance, at theDorchester Hotel in 1938,was a virtual failure.

How curious that this then unknown,would adecade later enjoy lasting popularity in Britain.

In 1940 he married a girl from his nativeBrooklyn, the pianist-composer Sylvia Fine(1913-1991), who coached and promoted him('I am a wife-made man', he would quip in lateryears) and furnished him with the first of a longsuccession of tailor-made novelty showstoppers,which he interpolated into Straw Hat Revue.

By the following year an established figure onBroadway, Danny next appeared to unequivocalcritical acclaim (alongside Victor Mature, BertLytell and Gertrude Lawrence) in the KurtWeill-Ira Gershwin musical Lady In The Dark.

During 1941 he also made his first recordings(for Columbia), in addition to further appearanceson Broadway, in Cole Porter's Let's Face It. Hisreal breakthough, however, came in 1944 via thesilver screen and a five-year contract from SamGoldwyn, which incorporated the famous'blond-rinse' clause.

The period of Danny Kaye's greatestpopularity was bolstered considerably by hisdebut in Up In Arms (1944) and, launched upona prestigious film career, he went on to make(also for Goldwyn) Wonder Man (1945), thequasi-autobiographical Kid From Brooklyn(1946) and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty(scored by David Raksin and including SylviaFine's "The Little Fiddle" (subtitled 'Symphonyfor unstrung tongue')). The latter was one ofDanny's most endearing and enduringcharacterisations as the reticent daydreamer, andproved his first major screen milestone.

Between 1945 and 1946 his own CBS radioshow, featuring Harry James and Danny'ssometime lover Eve Arden, became an eagerlyawaitedweekly attraction. In 1948 he scored ahit with a season at the London Palladium andremained ever after a favourite with Britishaudiences, returning in 1949 for the first ofmany Royal Command Performances and in1952 for a provincial tour. In Canada, in 1950,he gave 14 consecutive shows at the 24,000-seatNational Exhibition Stadium which were all selloutsand in 1951 he made the first of manyappearances as a 'send-up' conductor with theNew York Philharmonic. Among his later films(made freelance for Warners, Paramount andColumbia) best remembered are On The Riviera(1951), the 'controversial' children's epic HansChristian Andersen (a 1952 money-spinner, this,with a No.1 bestselling soundtrack album),Knock On Wood (1953, reputedly Kaye's ownfavourite) and, for TV, Peter Pan (1975) andPinocchio (1976), Merry Andrew (1958), TheFive Pennies (1959) and On The Double (1961).

Danny Kaye had his own American TV showfrom 1963 to 1967 and his work in that genreand on screen continued until the late 1970s. Inall he appeared in more than twenty films. In1970 he returned to Broadway as Noah in theill-fated Richard Rodgers-Martin Charninmusical collaboration Two By Two and duringthe next two decades he carved himself a newniche as a classical orchestral conductor andpresented such TV shows as Peter Pan,Pinocchio and Danny Kaye's Look At TheMetropolitan Opera. As a kind of ambassadorfor UNICEF from the mid-1950s onwards hetravelled far and wide around the world,working tirelessly on behalf of children'scharities, often piloting his own jet for the sakeof convenience. Awarded a Special AcademyAward in 1954 'for his unique talents, his serviceto the Industry and the American people' andvarious Tonies for his stage work, he was alsodecorated with the Croix de la Legiond'Honneur, the Jean Hersholt HumanitarianAward and the Danish Knight's Cross of theOrder of Danneborg.

Danny Kaye died in Los Angeles, California,on 3 March 1987.

Peter Dempsey, 2006"
Disc: 1
The Court Jester
1 There’s A Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea
2 The Little White Duck
3 I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat
4 Tubby The Tuba
5 The Tubby The Tuba Song
6 I’m Late
7 The Walrus And The Carpenter
8 Popo The Puppet
9 Tubby The Tuba At The Circus
10 Uncle Pockets
11 (All I Want For Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth
12 Santa Claus Looks Like My Daddy
13 The Ugly Duckling
14 The King’s New Clothes
15 The Court Jester
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