Saturday, January 29, 2011

Remembering... Jimmy Durante

For more than fifty years, Jimmy Durante was as durable a brand as pop culture had to offer - with a voice and a profile as distinctive as his patter...

PhotobucketBorn in February 1893 - seasoned by years in vaudeville, on Broadway, lighting up both movie and television screens and over the radio waves - by the time he took his final bow on this day in 1980, Durante had entertained untold millions with his jazz piano stylings, his raucous malapropisms, and occasionally even his poignancy - typically ending a performance with his signature song Inka Dinka Doo followed by a tip of the hat and the immortal line: 'Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.' The secret of her identity, which he took with him to his grave, is one of the greatest mysteries in pop culture.

My first exposure to Durante came as a result of a CD I once bought - now practically a sacred relic in the collection of the Pop Culture Institute, so long ago did I buy it - in which Durante made his usual uproar with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Arthur Treacher during World War II on the Armed Forces Radio Network. In sharing the microphone with the most popular stars in the world at the time, Durante proved himself one of their number - garnering laughs, applause, and huzzahs which were the equal of his peers while boosting morale in the process.
share on: facebook

No comments: