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The Big Broadcast

Back When $1,000,000 Was a LOT of Money

by Rich Conaty
Herman Becher

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.

Seemingly Related

by Rich Conaty

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.

Blue Heavens

by Rich Conaty

Of the nine people being celebrated on tonight's "Big Broadcast," I have a connection with three. Although, in one case it's by way of an anecdote. Another, an answering machine.

But I did know Arthur Tracy.

Hammock Season

by Rich Conaty

Pete Wendling was born 126 years ago Friday. And I forgot to send a card! He was an acclaimed ragtime pianist, which led to a decade long career "cutting" piano rolls. But he had a longer career as a composer, book ended by "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula," a 1916 faux Hawaiian number introduced by Al Jolson, to "On the Street of Regret" in 1942. Here's a mid-career success, "Swingin' in a Hammock," by Dick Robertson with Bob Haring and his Orchestra in 1930.