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Eight on the Seventh

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There are eight birthday tributes on tonight's "Big Broadcast." And it wasn't a stretch to include any of them. They're all solid: a singing songwriter (Pinky Tomlin), composing band leader (Gus Arnheim), and the lyricists who gave us "Singin' in the Rain" and "Dancing in the Dark." The other four aren't shabby, either.

Harry Tobias had fewer hits than his younger brother, Charles, but many more than his other younger brother, Henry. They had one joint success, "Miss You," which will be played tonight. "It's a Lonesome Old Town (When You're Not Around)" was written by Harry and composer Charles Kisco. It was the theme song of band leader Ben Bernie. Other artists usually avoided recording themes, but this was one of over a half dozen made during late 1930 and early 1931.

As the show unfolds, you may notice the connections among the celebrants. Harry Tobias wrote with band leader Arnheim and singer Tomlin. Arthur Freed, whose greatest success was writing movie songs at MGM, had an early hit with Arnheim, "I Cried for You." Lyricist Howard Dietz, who had a forty plus year partnership with Arthur Schwartz, never gave up his day job. He was MGM's Director of Publicity, and said to have come up with the studio's signature, "Leo the Lion."