Ferry-Boat Serenade (Bluebird, 1940)
Gray Gordon and His Tic-Toc Rhythm band first recorded Ferry Boat Serenade with the B-side being I Could Make You Care.
No Orchids for Miss Blandish was a British gangster film adapted from the 1939 novel by James Hadley Chase and received (and continues to receive) horrible critical reception. This was due to the film’s high level of sexual and violent content (especially for the time) and because of the attempt of the film to portray Americans by using a largely British cast that was seen as “unconvincing.” It starred Jack La Rue, Hugh McDermott and Linden Travers. The plot? A wealthy heiress is robbed for $100,000 worth of jewelry before her wedding.
The Shop Around the Corner was adapted from the Hungarian play by Nikolaus (Miklos) Laszlo. Budapest gift shop clerk Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and newly hired shop girl Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) hate each other at first sight. Both Kralik and Novak are each corresponding with pen pals that they have yet to meet. Guess who each other’s pen pals actually are?
1940s, board game, Eleanor Abbott, GumDrop Mountain, Ice Cream Floats, Milton Bradley, Molasses Swamp, National Toy Hall of Fame, Pepperstick Forest, polio, preschoolers, rainbow trail, recuperate, Toys
In the early 1940s polio had incapacitated thousands of Americans. A victim of said disease wanted to invent a past time for children who were recuperating. Her most successful idea was the board game Candy Land.
On the advice of her friends, Eleanor Abbott, sent the game to Milton Bradley who had the game on store shelves by 1949. The board game was designed for preschoolers age three to six, The game is simple: You travel along the rainbow-colored trail passing the Peppermint Stick Forest and Gumdrop Mountain, navigating past the impediments of the Molasses Swamp and Ice Cream Floats. You draw a simple color card and advance to squares of the same color. The winner is the first to reach Candy Land. Candy Land was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005.
Published in 1946, The House of Blue Lights was written by Don Raye and Freddie Slack. Slack recorded the song with Ella Mae Morse and took the song to #8. The Andrew Sisters also recorded a version and took it to #15. The House of Blue Lights was notable for the time for using a hipster-style spoken introduction. Singer Little Richard referenced The House of Blue Lights in his 1958 hit song Good Golly, Miss Molly.
Sculptor Peter Ganine created a duck sculpture in the 1940s, patented it and reproduced it as a floating rubber duck. In the 1970s, Ernie from Sesame Street super popularized rubber duckies with
his song, Rubber Duckie and later Duckie. C.W. McCall helped to popularize rubber ducks with his hit Convoy. So today, rubber ducks are synonymous with bathing. Love Ducks refers to any rubber duck with hearts on it or any pair of rubber ducks about to kiss. Hands down the world’s biggest rubber duck fan has to be Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. He has created numerous ducks, the biggest being one that weighed 1,323 pounds (600 kg). His ducks have been on display in Australia, Amsterdam, Belgium, Osaka, Sao Paula, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Seoul.
Actress Jane Russell was the first to popularize
this new style. Also known as bullet bras, these undergarments remained popular into the mid-1960s. They were so popular in the 40s and 50s that a lot of dresses had bust “darts” in the “wrong” place — this was to accommodate the conical bra most women were wearing. (If you can find one of these dresses, get yourself a conical bra and check out the difference. The misplaced darts will make sense.) Conical bras don’t look great under tight fitting clothing.
Conical bras received a bit of a resurgence in the late 1980s thanks to fashion chameleon Madonna, who sported such a bra in her video for Open Your Heart and while on tour. Today, conical bras have come back into fashion thanks to the AMC show, Mad Men, a show set in the 1960s.
William Robert “Billy” Laughlin was born in San Gabriel, California and starred as Froggy in the Our Gang short films of the early 1940s. Froggy had a strange, guttural voice (that sounded like a frog’s croak) that Laughlin produced without dubbing. According to his Our Gang costars, Laughlin was a dearly loved, sweet, gentle soul. When Our Gang wrapped in 1944, Laughlin appeared in the 1944 romcom Johnny Doesn’t Live Here Any More. By this time at age 12, Laughlin moved away from show business to have a “normal” teen life.
On August 31, 1948, Laughlin and a friend were delivering newspapers near Laughlin’s La Puente, California home. A speeding truck hit their scooter. Laughlin’s friend, John Wilbrand received minor injuries while Laughlin died at the hospital. He was only 16 years old.
The Cats and the Fiddle were an African American singing group formed in Chicago in 1937. Until they broke up in 1951, they released over 30 songs. The original (they experienced numerous line-up changes over the years; they’ve had 14 members) line-up was Jimmy Henderson, Ernie Price, Chuck Barksdale and Austin Powell. They were discovered by Lester Melrose, a rep for Victor Records. Signed by Bluebird Records, their debut single was Nuts to You.
In 1940, Henderson penned the mid-tempo ballad I Miss You So. (The Orioles later covered the song at a slower tempo.) Soon after, Henderson died from meningitis. In 1941, Barksdale also died. (And the revolving door in the Cats and the Fiddle began.)
Jolson Sings Again is the sequel to The Jolson Story. Both films chronicled the life of singer Al Jolson.
Jolson Sings Again tells the story of Jolson’s return to the stage after his premature retirement. But his wife has left him and the appeal of the spotlight is not what it used to be. This time Jolson (Larry Parks) trades in the stage for life in the fast lane. His father becomes increasingly concerned about his frivolous lifestyle. His mother (Tamara Shayne) died and World War
Jolson Sings Again brought in about $5 million.