A cornucopia of fall potpourri

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015

By Frank Roberts

Today, let’s have a little fall potpourri. We’ve got a veritable cornucopia of nuggets for your entertainment.

Music history

  • The first female recording artist was a Brit named Ada Jones. Thomas Edison discovered her, and if you don’t mind scratch-scratch, you will find it a lot of fun.

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Her first release was in 1909, and you will find a lot of familiar pieces. The unfamiliar have such saucy titles as, “All She Gets From the Iceman Is Ice,” “A Nice Little Girl Is the Right Girl For Me,” and “Bedtime At the Zoo.”

You can get it at freemusic.com, the largest independently owned such site on the web. It features tons of great music, old movies, old radio shows and old TV shows. Jim Berkey is the proprietor.

Oh, and there are columns by yours truly. The preceding was a shameless plug.

  • “Rock ‘n roll is just a passing fad.” That was Mitch Miller. And, dig this from Frank Sinatra: “Rock ‘n roll: The most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.”

Hey, Ole Blue Eyes was a toughie so, who’s to argue?

  • When George Lucas was mixing the “American Graffiti” soundtrack, he indexed the reels of film starting with an “R” and indexed the dialog starting with a “D.”

Sound designer, Walter Murch asked Lucas for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying “R2D2.” Lucas liked the way that sounded so much that he integrated it into another project he was working on. You can take it from there.

  • Speaking of the “Graffiti” flick, one of its stars, upon retirement, lived about five miles from my house. I had the pleasure of visiting Wolfman Jack several times.

Sometime in the future I will write more about the affable deejay.

  • Irving Berlin’s favorite female singer was Alice Faye. She had 23 songs on the old “Hit Parade” program, a record for female movie stars.

And now for a brief look at showbiz history:

  • The first “What’s My Line” television program was telecast way back in 1950. A very young John Daly was the host.

Three of the panelists were a boring psychiatrist, a boring former New Jersey governor and a boring poet. The other was Dorothy Kilgallen, who stayed on for eons. The first celebrity to be guessed was New York Yankee ballplayer, Phil Rizzuto.

For every wrong guess the guest was given a hefty five bucks. Except for Ms. K, the panelists were canned.

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.