Unless you're a Record Head (Shellac Division), or of a certain age (AKA "deceased"), you may know Rudy Vallee only from Preston Stuges' pictures or a TCM showing of "How to Succeed in Business..." But those significant roles were predicated on Vallee's initial fame on the radio. And Rudy was huge! Vallee was the archetypical crooner. He was handsome. And he played the saxophone. His career as a band leader began not long after leaving Yale in 1927. The following year he was working at the "Heigh-Ho Club" in NYC.
"The Big Broadcast" is built around birthdays. It amazes me how many listeners don't realize that. It's a roundabout compliment maybe, since it suggests the salutes don't get in the way of the show. (On the other hand, it worries me that people may miss WFUV is listener-supported.) Typically, there'll be 6-8 salutes, but it runs as high as a dozen per show. Twice a year, around New Year's Eve and now, there are hardly any. Two tonight. But they're good: Buddy Clark and Johnny Hodges. To fill thing out, I play hits.
Among the eight birthdays being observed tonight is Johnny Marvin's. Marvin was born in Butler, Oklahoma (some sources say on a wagon train!) on July 11, 1897. He sang and played the uke. Marvin made his first record in 1924, and was featured in Broadway's "Honeymoon Lane," along with Kate Smith, two years later. He recorded under his own name on Okeh, Edison, Columbia and Victor, and as "Honey Duke" on Harmony. His last were in 1940, and he died four years later from a fever picked up on a USO Tour of the South Pacific.
The featured recording won't be heard on tonight's "Big Broadcast," and hasn't been played on the show since October 17, 2012. Remember? It's up there since it was featured in Paramount's "Big Broadcast of 1937," which aired last night on TCM for the first time in over a decade.