The latest entry in the PBS fund raising series My Music is an anthology of what they call "the greatest singers of the 1940's at the dawn of their careers," Big Band Vocalists. Hosted by Nick Clooney and Peter Marshall, the special uses vintage performances from motion pictures and television shows both in black and white and color. This is nostalgic footage that will bring back a lot of fond memories for the grandparents among us and perhaps a raised eyebrow or two on any youngsters accidently tuned in.
The audience for this kind of show must inevitably skew old, and since it couldn't skew much older than me, I must acknowledge that I found watching it a joyful journey back in time. Frank Sinatra is a smooth cheeked young boy with dark wavy hair. Peggy Lee is a fresh faced blond. Their voices and their songs are the sounds of my youth, and what could be more endearing. Singers you haven't thought about in years—Buddy Clark, Dick Haymes—come back to awaken great memories. Fifty years from now, I would imagine a new crop of old timers will feel the same about Adele and Katy Perry.
Featuring twenty or so performances, highlights include Bob Eberle and Helen O'Connell singing "Green Eyes" with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, The Andrews Sisters decked out in WACS uniforms doing their classic "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" with the Harry James band, and Dinah Shore taking an uncharacteristic blues turn with Duke Ellington's Orchestra with "Blues in the Night." Perry Como pokes some fun at his famous laid back image as he fronts the Ted Weems Orchestra in "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now." The younger Crosby boy, Bob, does his "Big Noise From Winnetka" along with a bravura turn by its composer bassist Bob Haggart and drummer Ray Bauduc.