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Peggy Lee As The Featured Guest In Other Artists' Radio Shows
This chronologically arranged page covers Peggy Lee's guest appearances in network radio shows (CBS, NBC, NBC Blue, Mutual) and on syndication. Naturally, the discography's primary source of interest lies in her musical appearances, but non-singing guest spots have also been included. Excluded are radio shows hosted by Lee herself and series on which she was a cast member: those receive ample discussion on their own separate pages. Similarly, programs produced by the Armed Forces Radio network have been skipped, because they are itemized on a separate page. (I should clarify, however, that I am referring only to AFRS' own "fresh"programming, not to the network's re-airings of shows from the aforementioned commercial networks, in edited versions. Such re-airings do receive attention herein.) A more questionable exclusion is Lee's handful of guest appearances in episodes of The Chesterfield Supper Club that were hosted by Perry Como and Jo Stafford. Because Lee later joined the Club as a hostess, that handful of appearances is actually covered in the Supper Club page of the present work. An index of guest appearances can be found at the bottom of the page. (Photos above: Peggy Lee with three famous hosts, on whose radio shows she guested: Al Jolson, Paul Whiteman, and Bob Hope.)
This page is currently under construction. Though nearly completed at the time of this writing, its full contents might not be available for viewing until 2017. The sample session below should provide a basic understanding of the projected contents.
Date: Sunday, November 26, 1944
Location: Downey Studios, 12214 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, California
Label: Mutual Network
Show: Music Depreciation
Frank Devol and His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v)
|a.||ExtantGuest Spot (Mutual)||Don't Take Your Love From Me - 3:05(Henry Nemo)|
|b.||ExtantGuest Spot (Mutual)||Sugar (That Sugar Baby Of Mine) - 2:46(Sidney Mitchell, Edna Alexander Pinkard, Maceo Pinkard)|
|Both titles unissued.|
1. Solemn Parodies, Straight Performers, And The Songstress' Participation
In the words of its host, this program was "dedicated to the highest calling of all: to plaster the masters." Music Depreciation aimed at re-casting well-known numbers into new settings: classical music was swung, pop hits were given a sometimes sober, sometimes operatic approach, and so forth. In earlier episodes, the program advertised itself as "your weekly concert of high culture and down-low music." Later episodes modified the description, calling the show "your weekly concert of swing."
All spoken commentary (introductions, descriptions or incidental details) was handled by the show's host. His solemn tone clashed with the heavily mocking substance of the comments. An audience was regularly heard in the host's company. All musical parodies were confined to the show's regulars; guests usually performed their selections in a standard, non-parodic manner.
Neither the guests nor the regular music acts ever uttered any spoken words; they just performed. This lack of spoken exchanges raises the question of whether the performers were present while the host read each script. Their segments might have been pre-recorded.
The scattered data at hand suggests that this show debuted on October 22, 1944 and concluded on April 22, 1945, thus lasting for only one season of about 25 episodes. Peggy Lee guested on the sixth episode; the only vocal guest of note to precede her was Herb Jeffries (third episode).
1. The Guest: Mademoiselle Pegginella Lee
In keeping with the show's satirical bent, the names of all participants were altered. Peggy Lee thus became Mademoiselle Pegginella Lee, touted as "a brilliant diva" who would be performing two arias, the first one a "poem romance cum palpitatto" and the second (Sugar) a "tone poem arranged by the conductor in two lumps and three movements." (Guests in other episodes included Mademoiselle Kayuska Starr and Doctor Mel Meyer Tormé with his Meltone Schneiders.)
2. The Host: Dr. Rubenyi Gaines
This program appears to have been the brainchild of Ruben Gaines, who also served as its host or so-called commentator.
3. The Conductor: Dr. Frankenstein
Frank DeVol And His Orchestra served as the regular accompaniment through the series' full run.
4. The Cast's Star: Professor Leski
One of the show's regular cast members was Les Paul, who performed with his trio.
6. Other Guests In The Present Episode
Mademoiselle Peginella's first performance is preceded by brief commentary about her singing. The host tells listeners that "her vocal delivery is known as of the confidential variety." He adds that "on her last public appearance her delivery was so confidential that the audience went about in ... whispers for the better part of the week." We are also told that the house lights have been dimmed. The mademoiselle's confidential performance is not the reason, however. The lights are just out, "due to [tragic] circumstances involving an electric bill."
For this version of "Sugar," Peggy Lee does the song's verse. Rather than at the beginning, however, Lee sings the verse in the middle of her performance -- as it had been common practice among popular vocalists from previous decades.
The location from which this show was broadcast is routinarily identified at the end of most episodes. But, given the aforementioned lack of interaction between host and performers, it cannot be confidently ascertained that Lee was at Downey Studios when she sang her vocals.
Though never commercially issued, copies of this episode have survived in the hands of Old-Time-Radio collectors.