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Novelties

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"The Big Broadcast," the radio show too insecure to repeat itself, has an all new edition tonight at 8. It's one of those frustrating situations where there are too few birthday salutes. It's a quirk of the calendar; next week there are eight celebrants. Fortunately, tonight's trio is solid, and fortified with relevant requests and a few supplements from yours truly.

Billy Rose, portrayed by James Caan in the sequel to "Funny Girl," was a lyricist, producer, "showman," and husband of Fanny Brice and Olympic swimmer Eleanor Holm. He's credited with some lovely songs, like "The Night is Young and You're So Beautiful" and "It's Only a Paper Moon." But his career was founded on "novelty songs," comic, frequently topical tunes, like "Barney Google" and "Since Ma is Playing Mah Jong." Tonight you'll hear "Google" and "I Wish't I Was in Peoria." The latter is surprising hot, with jazz violinist Joe Venuti featured.

Similarly, L. Wolfe Gilbert wrote such novelties as "I Miss My Swiss (My Swiss Miss Misses Me), "Olaf (You Oughta Hear Olaf Laff)" and "I'm on a Diet of Love." Tonight's band leader, Sam Lanin, had an amazing 10+ year run on record under all sorts of pseudonyms, and as director of radio's "Ipana Troubadors."

So stay up until midnight for all the "Big Broadcast." You're off tomorrow.