BIG BAND BROADCAST
THE CELEBRITY GUESTS
JUST ABOUT Every star to come out of this
golden era has been a guest on the show
All celebrity interviews mentioned below have been professionally
produced detailing their life stories by the artists themselves with
all of their hit records featured throughout. They were all recorded on
compact disc, and selected sound bites of these programs may be made
available in the near future. So please check back periodically, thanks.
Les Brown and Doris Day
Reunited For The First Time
LES BROWN & DORIS DAY
‘Les Browns 85th Birthday’ ran a full 80 minutes commercial free. It featured Les commenting on his 63 year career and showcased all of his hit records.
Also featured on the program was Steve Allen who had worked with Les for The Steve Allen Show, circa 1962. Also on the show was Butch Stone, a vocalist and musician for the band who joined Les in 1941, and is still with the band today.
And of course Doris Day, who loved talking about the road trips and her records with the band that included ‘Sentimental Journey’ and ‘My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time,’ to name a few.
"Les is a very sweet man whom I love very much, he is like a father to me. I am very glad to be doing this for him," said Day on the program. She also talked extensively about her movie career that followed.
Long Island Newsday Article
March 11, 1997
‘Doris Day’ Strike Up The Band!
She very seldom gives interviews, but Doris Day made an exception when she was contacted by Chris Valenti, the DJ who plays Big Band music from the past on Long Island’s WHPC 90.3 FM. Valenti held out a musical carrot to get Day to sit still for a talk.
He’s doing a special program on Les Brown at 10 Saturday night, the day after the famed bandleaders 85th birthday. Day’s first singing job was with Les Brown and his Band of Renown in the 40’s, and the songs she recorded with Brown made her a major star. "Miss Day said it was such a wonderful time in her life and she wouldn’t miss talking about Les," says Valenti.
FOR DORIS DAY
CLICK HERE FOR BIO
Les also enjoyed talking about his Band of Renown which is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the longest working band. Les Brown passed away at the age of 88 on Friday, January 5, 2001.
CLICK HERE FOR BIO
The great Artie Shaw made a visit. He spent about an hour reliving his times as ‘The King of The Clarinet’ and discussed the history of all hit records, 'Begin The Beguine" and 'Stardust' to name a few.
Jo Stafford dropped by and enlightened us on her days with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, all her hits with The Pied Pipers, plus her solo career which include the great standards ‘You Belong To Me’ and 'I’ll Be Seeing You.’
WITH GLENN MILLER DURING ONE
OF THE CHESTERFIELD BROADCASTS
CLICK HERE FOR BIO & MORE PHOTOS
The sole survivor of The Andrews Sisters, Patty Andrews, stopped by and reminisced about all the movies she and her sisters made. She also spoke of how great it was working with people like Bing Crosby and Abbott and Costello. Plus stories of all their hit records made for a great show.
Frances Langford, icon of the silver screen, stopped by and spoke of all her movies, records, and how she was discovered by Rudy Valle in 1933. She also spoke of her touring through Europe with The Glenn Miller Orchestra during the war. Also discussed was her television program, The Bickersons, with Don Ameche in the 50‘s.
Singing sensation Martha Tilton stopped by and shared many stories about her days with The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1938/39', and talked about all her hit records which include the classic, ‘And The Angels Sing.’
With Don Cornell at The Concord March 1992The great and powerful vocalist, hailing from the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, Don Cornell paid a visit. Don is still knocking them dead to standing ovations singing his great hits, ‘It Isn’t Fair’ and ‘I’m Yours’ to name a few. Don was was a very great friend for many years and appeared many times as a regular guest on the show. You can visit Don by going to Don Cornell.com and saying hello! Tell him Chris Valenti sent you!
Eddie Bracken in 1945
Eddie Bracken Bio
With Eddie Bracken (age 87) on May 16th 2002
CLICK HERE FOR BIO
Rosemary Clooney paid a visit and covered everything from her early days with The Tony Pastor Orchestra to her movies and solo career.
Bea Wain, who was voted 'Most Popular Female Vocalist of 1938,' stopped by and shared many stories about her days with the Larry Clinton Orchestra, and all of her hit records which include ‘My Reverie,’ ‘Deep Purple’ and 'You Go To My Head,' to name a few. Bea is a founding member of a very worthwhile non profit organization which is dedicated to helping professional singers get their feet back on the ground. They just recently acquired the building where these retired vocalists can retire. Unlike musicians and actors who have their unions to watch out and protect them, the singers and vocalists of the day never had such a luxury, and many were shortchanged. If you would like more information and/or would like to write Bea, send correspondence to: Bea Wain, c/o The Society of Singers, 8242 West 3rd St. Suite 250, Los Angelas, CA 90048.
STEVE ALLEN AS GOODMAN IN
THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY
Steve Allen enjoyed speaking about his lead role in The Benny Goodman Story with Donna Reed, when he portrayed The King Of Swing himself. Also spoke about his relationship with Les Brown and the development of The Tonight Show. We lost Steve on Oct. 30, 2000.
Helen Forrest spoke highly of Harry James. Unfortunately this turned out to be her last interview before her passing. You can hear this interview or read the transcript by CLICKING HERE or by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
WITH CONNIE AT HER BOOK SIGNING 9/27/2000 IN STONYBROOK, NY
Connie Haines visited the show and spoke of her days with Harry James in '39 and the time she spent with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. She also discussed all the records she made with Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers and all the times she was invited to the White House from Harry Truman to JFK and Ronald Reagan.
Kitty Kallen enthralled us with all her stories regarding the many bands she sang with. Probably more than anyone else. Jack Teagarden, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey and Harry James. Plus her successful solo career in the 50's.
CLICK HERE FOR BIO
Tex Beneke stopped by and shared many stories of his time with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, including how he became the vocalist on the first record that ever sold a million copies, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo.’ Tex Beneke passed away May 2000.
Alvino Rey at his famous steel guitar with The King Sisters
Alvino Rey talked about his hit records which include 'I Surrender Dear' and 'Deep In The Heart Of Texas' and also reminisced about The King Sisters and The King Family TV show which he played a major role.
ORRIN WITH WEE BONNIE
BAKER IN THE 1940 MOTION
PICTURE 'YOU'RE THE ONE'
CLICK HERE FOR BIO
Orrin Tucker filled us in on how his mega hit 'Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny' made him a star and brought him to The White House to perform for FDR. He also spoke about his famous female vocalist Wee Bonnie Baker who sang lead on the famous recording. Orrin made a return visit to celebrate his 90th birthday in March, 2001.
The great pianist bandleader Frankie Carle spoke of his hit records which include the classic 'Oh What It Seemed To Be' sang by his daughter Marjorie Hughes. He also spoke of his theme song 'Sunrise Serenade' which he had written in 1933 and didn't become a hit until later on when Glenn Miller recorded it. Frankie mentioned that his first paying job was in 1915 playing the piano in a silent movie theater and also remembered playing for the boys coming home from WWI in 1918. Frankie was 94 years old when he visited the show and passed away at the age of 98 in March, 2001.
OTHER BANDLEADERS WHO HAVE VISITED THE
PROGRAM WERE RAY ANTHONY AND BILLY MAY.
Two programs that seem to have stood above the rest was ‘The Harry James Reunion’ and ‘Les Browns 85th Birthday.’
Chris had produced a program entitled, ‘An Historic Gathering, A James Reunion,’ where he had interviewed just about every known vocalist Harry James had with his orchestra from 1939 to 1952. All except Dick Haymes and Sinatra of course. Also featured were excerpts of an interview Chris had with Harry James himself in 1981, just before Mr. James had left us.
A compact disc was made of this program and debuted in London, England at The Harry James Society, where Chris was invited to speak. He spoke and fielded questions for two hours from a very enthusiastic crowd of James admirers. You can write the Harry James Appreciation Society at: HJAS c/o Jim Cutler, 3 Henry's Ave., Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 9RB
CHRIS SIGNING HIS CD IN LONDON IN 1998
New York Daily News Article
February 14, 1998By David Hinckley
HARRY JAMES REUNION:
Over the past two years, Chris Valenti of WHPC (90.3 FM) has talked with everyone who had sang with the Harry James band. Tonight at 10, he plays the music and the interviews with Helen Forrest, Kitty Kallen, Connie Haines, Buddy DiVito, Buddy Moreno and Marion Morgan. He also plays excerpts from a 1981 interview he had with Harry James, recorded shortly before the bandleader died.
Every guest previously mentioned had given their own personalized pre-recorded announcements, reminding the listeners what program they are listening to. They are heard regularly, and will always be a special part of the program.
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