LIZ TILTON and BOB DAVIS with JAN GARBER and HIS ORCHESTRA: "The Idol Of The Airwaves," Jan Garber led a “sweet” big band in the 1930s that briefly flirted with “swing” in the mid-1940s. His reed section's quavering saxophones (overflowing with emotion that bordered on sarcasm) was the band's trademark and, when it came to dishing the corn, few could compete with Garber. With the rise of the Depression, Garber's ensemble was struggling; after hearing the very commercial Freddie Large Orchestra in 1933, Garber arranged to take over the band and adopted a sweet sound in the tradition of Guy Lombardo. His orchestra recorded for Victor up to 1935 and then for Decca during the next seven years. In 1942, Jan Garber surprised fans by reorganizing his orchestra into a swing band; he was apparently persuaded by his 12-year old daughter! Gray Rains' arrangements transformed the sound and Bob Davis (a regular male vocalist for Garber) and Liz Tilton (lovely and talented sister of Martha Tilton, Benny Goodman’s long-time vocalist) offered pleasing vocals but the recording ban of 1942-44 kept the band from recording much and by 1945 Garber had returned to his former sweet sound. The instrumental and vocal recordings here are from the band’s swing flirtation.
RALPH FLANAGAN and HIS ORCHESTRA: Composer, band leader and pianist, Ralph Flanagan was a successful bandleader and arranger from the 1950s due to his jazz connections. He arranged for Sammy Kaye, Hal McIntyre, Charlie Barnet and Alvino Rey before he began touring with his own band in 1950. These recordings are from the One Night Stand radio program.
JEFF CHANDLER: Jeff Chandler was a popular American film actor in the 1950s, born Ira Grossel in Brooklyn, New York. After being discharged from the military, he was a busy radio actor both in drama and comedy. His first film appearance was in Johnny O'Clock (1947). In the 1950s, Chandler became a star in western and action movies. His first important role was in Sword in the Desert (1948). He was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950), the first of three screen appearances as the Apache chief, followed by The Battle of Apache Pass (1952) and Taza, Son of Cochise (1954). During the latter part of the that decade, Chandler turned into a top leading man. His sex appeal, curiously heightened by his prematurely gray hair and tanned features, put him into drama and costume movies. His leading ladies would include June Allyson, Joan Crawford, Rhonda Fleming, Susan Hayward (a friend from Brooklyn), Maureen O'Hara, Jane Russell and Esther Williams. Here he is heard singing on the Stand By For Music radio program.
THE BELL SISTERS: The Bell Sisters (Cynthia Strother, 16, and Kay Strother, 11) were discovered Halloween night, October 31, 1951, singing "Bermuda" on an L.A. TV show called "Peter Potter's Search for a Song." The song, which Cynthia wrote, was picked up that night by a music publisher who was a judge of the evening's amateur compositions. Within a week, the duo cut a demo in Hollywood for Henri Rene of RCA Records. Mr. Rene liked the girls' self-arranged harmonies so much, he decided they should record the tune for RCA. The girls hurried back to the studio and on November 12 recorded "Bermuda" (with arrangement by Henri Rene). By March 1952, "Bermuda" reached #7 on the Billboard charts and eventually sold over 1,000,000 copies. Adopting their mother's maiden name of Bell for their act, Cynthia and Kay enjoyed a rollercoaster ride of success, eventually releasing eleven records (22 songs) for RCA and hitting the charts with "Wheel of Fortune" (#10) and "Hambone" (with Phil Harris and charting at #19). They appeared on radio and television programs including the Johnny Carson Show, the Colgate Comedy Hour, the Frank Sinatra Show, the Perry Como Show and the Dinah Shore Show. Here they are heard singing on the Stand By for Music radio program; more of their recordings are available for download from “Bell Sisters: Rarities,” also by Lowlights Publishing.