PEGGY KING recorded a few LPs during the '50s (for Columbia and Candlelite), but was a popular face on television and remained a steadfast interpreter of standards for decades after.
King was known best for her 1954 spots for The George Gobel Show on television, which earned her the nickname "Pretty Perky Peggy King."
Born in 1930 in Greensburg, PA, King began singing at an early age. After her family moved to Ravenna, OH, she attended high school and business college, meanwhile singing at clubs around the Cleveland area. She made the move to radio and a hotel band as well, then joined the big-time when she began touring with the orchestras of Charlie Spivak, Ray Anthony, and Ralph Flanagan.
Sparked by the national popularity of Flanagan's band, King moved to Hollywood, where she took singing and dancing lessons. Her television debut came on Mel Torme's show, but her big break came under inauspicious circumstances.
Columbia A&R head Mitch Miller heard her singing a radio jingle for Hunt's Tomato Sauce while driving in his car, and she soon began recording for Columbia.
Her breakout year was 1954, during which she was featured both on The George Gobel Show and Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. Her single "Make Yourself Comfortable" reached the Hit Parade early in 1955, and she recorded a pair of solid LPs that year, Girl Meets Boy and Wish Upon a Star. The work earned her an Emmy nomination, and Down Beat magazine named her the Best New Singer of 1956.
Though her recording schedule grew less busy, King made appearances on television during the late '50s and early '60s. King performed with the acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra, and co-wrote (and performed) the NFL's "The Men Who Played the Game."
ROSITA SERRANO (1914–1997) hoped to make her debut at Berlin's prestigious Wintergarten wearing a bikini and carrying a parasol, but her mother, opera singer and wife of a Chilean diplomat, nixed the idea.
Billed as "the Chilean nightingale," Serrano was as daring in her music as she was feisty in her behavior, which included bashing a bandleader over the head with her guitar.
Breathtaking in her multi-octave virtuosity and mind-boggling in her eclecticism, the glamorous singer-actress might have been remembered in league with Edith Piaf and Sarah Vaughan, had her early career not been closely linked to Nazi Germany.
Recording between 1937 and 1952, Rosita's recordings include flamenco, tango, rumba, mambo, and pop songs, mostly in German and Spanish. Serrano could also sing operatic coloratura in a soaring soprano, dropping register for some growling scat that's indebted to African American blues diva Ethel Waters, and topping it off with pitch-perfect whistling worthy of Bing Crosby.
MICHAEL RASHKOW/TMC: These five circa 1974-1982 New Jersey radio spots spring from the forehead of adman Michael Rashkow, who was also a 1960s songwriter ("Mary in the Morning," recorded by Elvis and Glen Campbell) and music producer.
From the agency he founded, originally named Two Minute Communications which morphed into T:MC and ultimately became The Michael Rashkow Group/TMC, these Monmouth County spots ran essentially there and in the adjacent county of Ocean.
Some of the spots were done while Rashkow wored at a small radio station which was always called 11/7 Radio--call letters, WHLW. Others were made at Rashkow's my agency and also one of his employers, Apple Advertising.
"Most of the funny ones came from the radio station period because agency clients were bigger fish and more conservative," recalled Rashkow.