Saturday, February 21, 2009

Danny Kaye


Wikipedia says-

"Born David Daniel Kaminsky to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants in Brooklyn, Kaye became one of the world's best-known comedians. He spent his early youth attending Public School 149 in East New York, Brooklyn, before moving to Thomas Jefferson High School, but he never graduated. He learned his trade in his teen years in the Catskills as a tummler in the Borscht Belt.

Danny Kaye made his film debut in a 1935 comedy short entitled Moon Over Manhattan. In 1937 he signed with New York-based Educational Pictures for a series of two-reel comedies. Kaye usually played a manic, dark-haired, fast-talking Russian in these low-budget shorts, opposite young hopefuls June Allyson or Imogene Coca. The Kaye series ended abruptly when the studio shut down permanently in 1938.

Kaye scored a personal triumph in 1941, in the hit Broadway comedy Lady in the Dark. His show-stopping number was "Tchaikovsky", by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, in which he sang the names of a whole string of Russian composers at breakneck speed, seemingly without taking a breath.

His feature film debut was in producer Samuel Goldwyn's Technicolor 1944 comedy Up in Arms, a remake of Goldwyn's Eddie Cantor comedy Whoopee! (1930). Goldwyn agonized over Kaye's ethnic, Borscht-belt looks and ordered him to undergo a nose job. Kaye refused, and Goldwyn found another way to brighten Kaye's dark features by lightening his hair, giving him his trademark redheaded locks. Kaye's rubber face and fast patter were an instant hit, and rival producer Robert M. Savini cashed in almost immediately by compiling three of Kaye's old Educational Pictures shorts into a makeshift feature, The Birth of a Star (1945)."

5 comments:

mel said...

I'm a huge Danny Kaye fan - have been since I was little - and I have an enormous collection of his commercially released recordings. A few have been elusive, however, and two of these that you have posted now will help muchly to fill the gaps. Equally elusive are the two-reeler films that he made for Educational. I had one of them many years ago on 8mm sound (give you an idea how long ago that was) but have never been able to find them since...

Thank you so much for sharing these.

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks mel - glad to be of service. I've wanted to add some Danny Kaye for a while and someone sent me a bunch of MP3's recently with these on it. No info with it so no idea of the dates or origins of these recordings. Can't help you with the films though - sorry. Hope you track them down eventually.

C.J.Duffy said...

I love Danny Kaye, especially Inch Worm!

Asbo said...

When I was very little (a long time ago) my mum used to put on an old 78 of Danny Kaye singing Bleep Bloop, loved it and still makes me laugh even now.

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks C.J. and Asbo. Nice to hear these brought back some nostalgic memories.