Vincente Minnelli was an American stage director and film director, famous for directing such classic movie musicals as Meet Me in St. Louis, The Band Wagon, and An American in Paris. In addition to having directed some of the most famous and well-remembered musicals of his time, Minnelli made many comedies and he was married to Judy Garland from 1945 until 1951, they were the parents of Liza Minnelli. His father was conductor of Minnelli Brothers Tent Theater. His Chicago-born mother was of French Canadian descent with a probability of Native American lineage included via her Mackinac Island. The family toured small towns primarily in Ohio and Illinois before settling permanently in Delaware, domenico Minnelli had been Vice-Chancellor of the Gran Corte Civile in Palermo at the time he helped organize the January 12,1848 uprising there. After the Bourbon return to power Vincenzo reportedly hid in the catacombs of Palermo for 18 months before being successfully smuggled onto a New York-bound fruit steamer.
While traveling as a demonstrator for Knabe Pianos, Vincenzo met his future wife Nina Picket during a stop in Delaware. Although there is no confirmation of Vincenzo working at Ohio Wesleyan University, Library of Congress and the Newberry Library in Chicago have Vincenzo Minnelli compositions in their collections. Albert Picket, reportedly once a student of Noah Websters, conducted a school in 1810s Manhattan and was an early member of the New York Historical Society. In 1811 he was an incorporator of The Society of Teachers of the City of New York, with his son John W. Picket he published an educational journal, The Academician, and a number of school books, including The Juvenile Expositor in 1816. In his years he retired to Delaware and died there in 1850, following his high school graduation, Minnelli moved to Chicago, where he lived briefly with his maternal grandmother and an aunt. His first job was at Marshall Fields department store as a window dresser and he worked as a photographer for Paul Stone, who specialized in photographing actors from Chicagos theater district.
His interest in the theater grew and he was interested in art. Minnellis first job in the theater was at the Chicago Theatre where he worked as a costume, owned by Balaban and Katz, the theater chain soon merged with a bigger national chain of Paramount-Publix and Minnelli sometimes found himself assigned to work on shows in New York City. He soon left Chicago and rented a tiny Greenwich Village apartment, the revue was well received and enjoyed a two-year run. Minnelli worked on The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Hooray for What, very Warm for May, and The Show is On. Minnellis reputation grew and he was offered a job at MGM in 1940 by producer Arthur Freed, with his background in theatre, Minnelli was known as an auteur who always brought his stage experience to his films. The first film that he directed, Cabin in the Sky, was influenced by the theater
Harry Clifford Keel, known professionally as Howard Keel was an American actor and singer. He starred in film musicals of the 1950s. He is best known to audiences for his starring role in the CBS television series Dallas from 1981 to 1991, as Clayton Farlow. But to a generation, with his rich bass-baritone singing voice. Harry Clifford Keel was born in Gillespie, Illinois, to Navyman-turned-coalminer Homer Keel and his wife, young Harry spent his childhood in poverty. One of his teachers, Miss Rosa Burke, noticed one day that he had no lunch, from that day forward, Miss Burke would pack two lunches – one for herself and one for Harry. When he became famous and would perform near Gillespie, Burke always received tickets to attend his performances, after his fathers death in 1930, Keel and his mother moved to California, where he graduated from Fallbrook High School at age 17. He worked various odd jobs until settling at Douglas Aircraft Company as a traveling representative, at the age of 20, Keel was overheard singing by his landlady, Mom Rider, and was encouraged to take vocal lessons.
One of his heroes was the great baritone Lawrence Tibbett. Keel remarked that learning that his own voice was a basso cantante was one of the greatest disappointments of his life, his first public performance occurred in the summer of 1941, when he played the role of Samuel the Prophet in Handels oratorio Saul. In 1943 Keel met and married his first wife, actress Rosemary Cooper, in 1945 he briefly understudied for John Raitt in the Broadway hit Carousel before being assigned to Oklahoma. Both written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, while performing in Oklahoma, Keel accomplished a feat that has never been duplicated on Broadway, he once performed the leads in both shows on the same day. Became the first American postwar musical to travel to London, England, on the opening night, April 30, at the Drury Lane Theatre, the capacity audience demanded fourteen encores. Keel was hailed as the great star, becoming the toast of Londons West End. During the London run, his marriage to Rosemary ended in divorce and they married in January 1949, and a year later, Harold celebrated the birth of his daughter, Kaija.
While living in London, Keel made his debut as Harold Keel at the British Lion studio in Elstree, in The Small Voice. He played an escaped convict holding a playwright and his hostage in their English country cottage. Additional Broadway credits include Saratoga, No Strings, and Ambassador and he appeared at The Muny in St. Louis as Adam in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and as General Waverly in White Christmas
Otto Abels Harbach, born Otto Abels Hauerbach was an American lyricist and librettist of about 50 musical comedies. He was Oscar Hammerstein IIs mentor and believed that librettists should integrate songs into the plot and he is considered one of the first great lyricists, and helped raise the status of the lyricist in an age concerned more with music and stars. Some of his more famous lyrics are for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Indian Love Call and Cuddle up a Little Closer, Harbach was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Danish immigrant parents Adolph Christiansen and his wife Sena Olsen. His parents changed their name when they immigrated to the United States, and took the name of the farm they worked on, and their new last name was Hauerbach. He attended the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, transferring to Knox College, in Galesburg, where he was a friend of Carl Sandburg, joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Knox has since named its 599-seat Harbach Theatre in his honor. He obtained his masters degree in English from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, in the early 1900s, complaining of eye difficulties making prolonged reading uncomfortable, he became a newspaper reporter.
He worked at advertising agencies. He worked at a firm, as a copywriter in advertising. He would have to pull out of Columbia when he could not financially support himself, in 1902, he spotted an advertisement with a picture of Fay Templeton for a new Joe Weber and Lew Fields musical. He had not been interested in theatre but more in literary classics, in the same year, he met Karl Hoschna. They wrote an opera together, but no producer would pick it up. Isidore Witmark contacted Hoschna, his employee, and told him he wanted to turn Mary Pachecos play Incog into a musical, Hoschna contacted Harbach, and so began the partnership. The result, with Whitmark and Charles Dickson writing the libretto, was Three Twins and their next collaboration was Madame Sherry in 1910, adapting a 1902 German operetta with Jack Gardner in the lead role. The show featured a song that was not theirs, the Albert von Tilzer and Junie McCree song Put Your Arms Around Me and they would collaborate for four more shows until Hoschna died in 1911, at the age of thirty-four.
After working with Hoschna, his works had given somewhat of a name for himself, arthur Hammerstein asked Harbach in 1912 to write the lyrics to an operetta with Rudolf Friml, called The Firefly. Hammerstein could not find anyone as talented as Herbert, but settled on the unknown Friml because of his classical training, the result was a huge success, and it would spell eleven more musicals, including High Jinks and Katinka. Most of the shows they wrote together ran for over 200 performances, in 1914, he contributed the libretto only to the Percy Wenrich musical The Crinoline Girl. In 1917, he shortened his name from Hauerbach to Harbach to avoid anti-German sentiment caused by World War I and he would work with composer Louis Hirsch during this time, and would score his biggest success so far in 1917 with Going Up
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. A native New Yorker, Kern created dozens of Broadway musicals and his musical innovations, such as 4/4 dance rhythms and the employment of syncopation and jazz progressions, built on, rather than rejected, earlier musical theatre tradition. He and his collaborators employed his melodies to further the action or develop characterization to a greater extent than in the musicals of his day. Although dozens of Kerns musicals and musical films were hits, only Show Boat is now regularly revived, songs from his other shows, are still frequently performed and adapted. Many of Kerns songs have been adapted by jazz musicians to become standard tunes, Kern was born in New York City, on Sutton Place, in what was the citys brewery district. His parents were Henry Kern, a Jewish German immigrant, and Fannie Kern née Kakeles, at the time of Kerns birth, his father ran a stable, he became a successful merchant. Kern grew up on East 56th Street in Manhattan, where he attended public schools and he showed an early aptitude for music and was taught to play the piano and organ by his mother, an accomplished player and teacher.
In 1897, the moved to Newark, New Jersey. He wrote songs for the schools first musical, a show, in 1901. Kern left high school graduation in the spring of his senior year in 1902. In response, Kerns father insisted that his son work with him in business, however, failed miserably in one of his earliest tasks, he was supposed to purchase two pianos for the store, but instead he ordered 200. His father relented, and in 1902, Kern became a student at the New York College of Music, studying the piano under Alexander Lambert and Paolo Gallico and his first published composition, a piano piece, At the Casino, appeared in the same year. Between 1903 and 1905, he continued his training under private tutors in Heidelberg, Germany. For a time, Kern worked as a rehearsal pianist in Broadway theatres, while in London, he secured a contract from the American impresario Charles Frohman to provide songs for interpolation in Broadway versions of London shows. He began to provide these additions in 1904 to British scores for An English Daisy, by Seymour Hicks and Walter Slaughter, in 1905, Kern contributed the song Howd you like to spoon with me.
To Ivan Carylls hit musical The Earl and the Girl when the transferred to Chicago. He contributed to the New York production of The Catch of the Season, The Little Cherub and The Orchid, Kern was much taken with the proprietors daughter, Eva Leale, who was working behind the bar. He wooed her, and they were married at the Anglican church of St. Marys in Walton on October 25,1910, the couple lived at the Swan when Kern was in England
Kathryn Grayson was an American actress and soprano. From the age of twelve, Grayson trained as an opera singer and she was under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by the early 1940s, soon establishing a career principally through her work in musicals. After several supporting roles, she was a performer in such films as Thousands Cheer, Anchors Aweigh with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. When film musical production declined, she worked in theatre, appearing in Camelot, in the decade she performed in several operas, including La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Orpheus in the Underworld and La traviata. She was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Lillian was of Russian-Mongolian, Native American and English descent, and Charles was of German, Russian-Mongolian and Sicilian descent. Graysons sister, Frances Raeburn was an actress and singer and she had two brothers, Clarence Bud E. Hedrick, and Harold. In 1940, an MGM talent scout saw Grayson performing at a music festival, metro hoped to find a replacement for Deanna Durbin, who left the studio for Universal Pictures.
For the next 18 months, Grayson went through voice lessons, drama coaching, diets, within a year, Grayson had her first screen test. In the film, she takes part in three musical numbers, ann Sothern was slated to appear, this fell through as well. The film eventually was made in 1944 as Broadway Rhythm and she appeared in three films in 1942, The Vanishing Virginian, Rio Rita and Seven Sweethearts. In the first, Grayson plays the daughter, Rebecca, of the eccentric Yancey family from Lynchburg. Set in 1913, the film was based on Rebecca Yancey Williamss own family, Grayson co-starred in Rio Rita with Abbott and Costello. Grayson portrayed the character, Rita Winslow. In 1943, Grayson appeared in the film Thousands Cheer, along with Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Powell, June Allyson, the film was intended as a morale booster for American troops and their families. Grayson starred as the daughter of an Army commander. It was announced in 1942 that Grayson would appear in An American Symphony with Judy Garland, Garland was replaced by June Allyson, and the film was retitled as Two Sisters from Boston and released in 1946.
Grayson did not appear in any films for two years, but instead worked at entertaining troops during the war and performing on radio programs. Notably, it is reported that she would perform under the condition that the audience was integrated
New York City
The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2015 population of 8,550,405 distributed over an area of about 302.6 square miles. Located at the tip of the state of New York. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. Situated on one of the worlds largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, the five boroughs – Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. In 2013, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product of nearly US$1.39 trillion, in 2012, the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion. NYCs MSA and CSA GDP are higher than all but 11 and 12 countries, New York City traces its origin to its 1624 founding in Lower Manhattan as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic and was named New Amsterdam in 1626.
The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the countrys largest city since 1790, the Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a symbol of the United States and its democracy. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world, the names of many of the citys bridges, tapered skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Manhattans real estate market is among the most expensive in the world, Manhattans Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive metro systems worldwide, with 472 stations in operation.
Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, during the Wisconsinan glaciation, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth. The ice sheet scraped away large amounts of soil, leaving the bedrock that serves as the foundation for much of New York City today. Later on, movement of the ice sheet would contribute to the separation of what are now Long Island and Staten Island. The first documented visit by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown and he claimed the area for France and named it Nouvelle Angoulême. Heavy ice kept him from further exploration, and he returned to Spain in August and he proceeded to sail up what the Dutch would name the North River, named first by Hudson as the Mauritius after Maurice, Prince of Orange
Carmen Dragon was an American conductor and arranger who in addition to live performances and recording, worked in radio and television. Dragon was born in Antioch, California and he attended Antioch High School and, while a student there, composed a song for the school. Forward, Antioch. was performed acts of a school play on February 28,1930. He was very active in music conducting and composed scores for several films, including At Gunpoint, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night into Tomorrow. With Morris Stoloff, he shared the 1944 Oscar for the popular Gene Kelly/Rita Hayworth musical Cover Girl and he made a popular orchestral arrangement of America the Beautiful and re-arranged it for symphonic band. In his obituary published March 29,1984, the New York Times noted, Dragon conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC in the western U. S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s. The show was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company of California, the program featured a high quality introduction to classical music for young people growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s.
In the summer of 1947, Dragon and Frances Langford had a program on NBC, Langford sang, accompanied by Dragon and his 25-piece orchestra. The show began June 5 and ran for 13 weeks as a replacement for George Burns. Dragon hosted a classical music radio show broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network well into the 1980s. By May 1935, Dragon had his own orchestra, a couple of months later, a Fresno, newspaper contained an advertisement promoting Carmen Dragon, Ace Stanford Band, The Sensation of the Coast. Dragon made a series of light classical albums for Capitol Records during the 1950s with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Some of these recordings have been reissued by EMI on CD, Dragon appeared as himself briefly at the end of the 1979 film The In-Laws, conducting the fictitious Paramus Philharmonic. Dragon has a star in the Radio section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6104 Hollywood Boulevard, it was dedicated September 7,1989. Dragon had a wife, who sang on his Maxwell House series, Carmen Dragon died of cancer, aged 69, in a Santa Monica, California hospital, on March 28,1984
Dorothy Fields was an American librettist and lyricist. She wrote over 400 songs for Broadway musicals and films, along with Ann Ronell, Dana Suesse, Bernice Petkere, and Kay Swift, she was one of the first successful Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood female songwriters. Fields was born in Allenhurst, New Jersey, and grew up in New York City, Fields went to and graduated in 1923 from the Benjamin Franklin School for Girls in New York City. At school, she was outstanding in the subjects of English and her poems were even published in the school’s literary magazine. Her family, was involved in show business. Her father, Lew Fields, was a Jewish immigrant from Poland and they were known as the Weber and Fields vaudeville act. When the duo separated in 1904, Lew Fields went on to further his career in another direction, from 1904 till 1916, he produced about 40 Broadway shows, and was even nicknamed “The King of Musical Comedy” because of his achievements. She had two brothers and Herbert, who became successful on Broadway, Joseph as a writer and producer.
Despite her natural familial connections to the theatre via her father, he disapproved of her choice to pursue acting and this began when he refused to let her take a job with a stock company in Yonkers. Hence Dorothy began working as a teacher and a laboratory assistant, in 1926, Fields met the popular song composer J. Fred Coots, who proposed that the two begin writing songs together. Nothing actually came out of interaction and introduction, however Coots introduced Fields to another composer and song-plugger. Fieldss career as a professional songwriter took off in 1928 when Jimmy McHugh, Fields and McHugh teamed up until 1935. Songs from this period include I Cant Give You Anything But Love, Exactly Like You, during the 1920s, she and McHugh wrote specialty numbers for the various Cotton Club revues, many of which were recorded by Duke Ellington. In the mid 1930s, Fields started to write lyrics for films and collaborated with other composers, with Kern, she worked on the movie version of Roberta, and on their greatest success, Swing Time.
The song The Way You Look Tonight earned the Fields/Kern team an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 and she wrote the lyrics for the 1936 movie The King Steps Out by directed by Josef von Sternberg based on the early years of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Fields returned to New York and worked again on Broadway shows, in the 1940s, she teamed up with her brother Herbert Fields, with whom she wrote the books for three Cole Porter shows, Lets Face It. Something for the Boys, and Mexican Hayride, in 1946, Fields approached Oscar Hammerstein II with her idea for a new musical based on the life of famous female sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Hammerstein liked the idea and agreed to produce the show and Fields were signed on to write the songs in the show
A big, dapper man who spoke with an accent, he was almost always cast as some sort of a Continental gentleman, reported The New York Times. As a soldier in World War II, Kasznar was among the first U. S. Army photographers to film the ruins of Hiroshima, Kurt Kasznar was born Kurt Servischer on August 12,1913, in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. His father left the family when Kurt was very young, after his mother married Hungarian restaurateur Ferdinand Kasznar, Kurt assumed his surname. While working as a waiter at his stepfathers restaurant, Kasznar met director Max Reinhardt. There I learned to act, build sets and live, at age 11 Kasznar appeared in Der Zirkuskönig, the last movie made by Max Linder, which was filmed in Vienna. Kasznar began working on the stage in 1931, in a performance of Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival, in 1936 Kasznar left Austria for the United States, with Max Reinhardts theater company. In 1941 Kasznar produced a two-act Broadway musical revue, Crazy With the Heat, that year he was drafted into the United States Army.
He was trained as a cinematographer and served in the Pacific, assigned to a photographic unit, he filmed landings on New Guinea and in the Philippines, and the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri. Kasznar was one of the first Army photographers to film the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima. While in service, Corporal Kurt S. Kasznar wrote and performed in his play, First Cousins. Kasznars play was one of five that won a contest for soldier-playwrights and were published in the 1943 book The Army Play by Play. The one-act plays were performed on Broadway for the benefit of the Sailors and Soldiers Club, kasznars first major Broadway appearance was in the 1950 production of Samuel A. Taylors play, The Happy Time. He recreated his role, that of Uncle Louie, for the 1952 film version, Kasznar appeared on Broadway as the director in Pirandellos Six Characters in Search of an Author, and he played Pozzo in the original Broadway production of Waiting for Godot. While performing on stage in Noël Cowards Look After Lulu.
in March 1959, co-starring William Shatner as Archie Goodwin and initially slated to air on CBS in September 1959, the Nero Wolfe series was aborted after a pilot and a few episodes were filmed. Kasznar created the role of Max Detweiler in the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music, when that musical had marked its 1, 000th performance, Mr. Kasznar was the only actor who had never missed a show, reported The New York Times. He was discussed as a possibility to re-create his stage role in the version of The Sound of Music. Kasznar created the role of Victor Velasco in Neil Simons Barefoot in the Park and he appeared as Tevye in several productions of Fiddler on the Roof. In 1974–1975 Kasznar, Myrna Loy, Edward Mulhare and Ricardo Montalbán toured nationwide in John Housemans production of George Bernard Shaws Don Juan in Hell, in 1978 he played Mansky in Molnárs The Plays the Thing with enormous authority, wrote New York Times critic Mel Gussow
Richard Bernard Red Skelton was an American entertainer. He was best known for his radio and television acts between 1937 and 1971, and as host of the television program The Red Skelton Show. Skelton began developing his comedic and pantomime skills from the age of 10 and he spent time on a showboat, worked the burlesque circuit, entered into vaudeville in 1934. The Doughnut Dunkers, a sketch of how different people ate doughnuts written by Skelton and his wife launched a career for him in vaudeville, in radio. Skeltons radio career began in 1937 with a guest appearance on The Fleischmanns Yeast Hour which led to his becoming the host of Avalon Time in 1938. He became the host of The Raleigh Cigarette Program in 1941 where many of his characters were created and had a regularly scheduled radio program until 1957. Skelton made his debut in 1938 alongside Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks. He was most eager to work in television, even when the medium was in its infancy, the Red Skelton Show made its television premiere on September 30,1951, on NBC.
By 1954, Skeltons program moved to CBS, where it was expanded to one hour, despite high ratings, his television show was cancelled by CBS in 1970 as the network believed more youth-oriented programs were needed to attract younger viewers and their spending power. Skelton moved his program to NBC, where he completed his last year with a regularly scheduled show in 1971. After he no longer had a program, Skeltons time was spent making up to 125 personal appearances a year. Skeltons artwork of clowns remained a hobby until 1964 when his wife, sales of his originals were successful and Skelton sold prints and lithographs of them, earning $2.5 million yearly on lithograph sales. At the time of his death, his art dealer believed that Skelton had earned money through his paintings than from his television work. Skelton believed his lifes work was to make people laugh, he wanted to be known as a clown because he defined it as being able to do everything and he had a 70-year career as a performer and entertained three generations of Americans during this time.
Born on July 18,1913, in Vincennes, Richard Skelton was the fourth and youngest son of Ida Mae, Joseph, a grocer, died two months before Richard was born, he had once been a clown with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. During Skeltons lifetime there was some dispute about the year of his birth, author Wesley Hyatt suggests that since he began working at such an early age, Skelton may have claimed he was older than he actually was in order to gain employment. Because of the loss of his father, Skelton went to work as early as the age of seven, selling newspapers and doing odd jobs to help his family. He quickly learned the newsboys patter and would keep it up until a prospective buyer bought a copy of the paper just to quiet him, when the man asked Skelton what events were going on in town, Skelton suggested he see the new show in town