Peggy Lee's Bio-Discography:
The Summer Electric Hour
(On The Radio, Part II)
by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Feb 16, 2017



The Summer Electric Hour

During the 1940s and 1950s, Peggy Lee's voice was frequently heard over the airwaves. She guest-starred in a wide variety of radio programming, most of it naturally falling within the musical variety genre -- from network shows such as Songs By Sinatra, Kraft Music Hall Starring Al Jolson, and The Ford Show With Dinah Shore to various original series created by the American Forces, including the well-known Jubilee, Command Performance, Let's Go To Town, and Guest Star shows. Lee also served as the girl singer on two programs hosted by very popular radio personalities (Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante), and she herself (co-)hosted at least four radio series. The first two of those hosting gigs took place in the summer of 1947, and both would be more accurately described as co-hosting jobs. One of them, Rhapsody In Rhythm, receives attention in another discographical page; this page concentrates on the second gig.

The Electric Hour aired on the CBS radio network from 1944 to 1946, with operetta singer and actor Nelson Eddy as co-hosts. The start of each episode identified the program's sponsor(s) as "America's business-managed electric power companies."

The Summer Electric Hour was, as indicated by its name, the summer edition of The Electric Hour. It aired from July through late August or early September of 1945, 1946, and 1947. For the first two summers, the producers and sponsors remained true to the 'operatic' slant of the main show: those hired as summer hosts were also sopranos and light tenors or baritones (1945: Felix Knight and Francia White; 1946: Bob Stanney and Anne Jamison).

By 1947, the main show (i.e., The Electric Hour) had ceased to air, but its summer edition carried on for a third and final installment. Also ongoing was another long-in-existence show sponsored by General Electric, The Hour Of Charm (aka The General Electric Hour of Charm), with Phil Spitalny and The All-Girl Orchestra, which CBS had aired on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. during the 1946-1947 season. This slot was taken oven by The Summer Electric Hour from July 13 to August 31, 1947.

Shying away from the previous formula, and courting a younger audience, the producers did not hire opera or operetta singers this third time around. Contracts went instead to two artists from the field of popular music: singer-songwriter Peggy Lee and singing clarinetist Woody Herman. Dave Barbour And His Orchestra also received top billing. ("Starring Peggy Lee, Woody Herman, with Dave Barbour And His Orchestra, and today's guest," the program's announcer would let us at the beginning of the episodes.) Magazines from the period mention the other musicians that are listed under the broadcast to be discussed below, and add that Woody Herman occasionally played clarinet as well, "just to liven things up." Richard Dunn served as director and Martin Gosch as scriptwriter for the 30-minute program.

Of the 8 resulting episodes, two are known to be extant almost in their entirety. Songs from the other six episodes have survived as well. In total, 14 Peggy Lee performances have been preserved. Two additional vocals are listed below, under August 3, 1947, but those are not known to have survived. (Since logs for this show do not appear to exist, little is known about the non-extant vocals. Taking into consideration that Lee did four songs in the only complete show listed below, her total number of vocal performances on this series might pass the 30 mark.)

Photos. Above: A trio of publicity shots for The Summer Electric Hour, taken during the same photo session. More shots from this session will be found throughout -- most notably, at the very bottom of the page. Below: The show's three leads, each next to the instrument that they were known to play. In Peggy Lee's case, there is more than one featured "instrument." We see her not only standing by the microphone but also sitting at the drums. (She would actually play drums for posterity on October 13, 1947, at a Capitol session dedicated to novelty instrumental tunes, and featuring various artists. The singer probably picked up percussion tips just for that particular recording session. She also had a basic, non-trained understanding of piano playing.)





Date: July 13, 1947
Location: Studio B, Columbia Square Playhouse, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Dave Barbour (g), Woody Herman, Peggy Lee (v)

According to radio engineer J. David Goldin, the season's debut episode is extant almost in its entirety. Only five of its thirty minutes are missing, adds Goldin. Actress Diana Lynn served as guest. Songs and all other details remain unknown to me. (Also unknown to me: most details about the episode which followed, on July 20, 1947. One known detail: Donald O'Connor was scheduled as its guest.)


Photos

A couple of similar shots from the same photo session mentioned in the introduction to this page. The first was selected by the magazine Radio Life as the front cover of its July 13, 1947 issue.




Date: July 27, 1947
Location: Studio B, Columbia Square Playhouse, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (cl), Dave Barbour (g), Phil Stephens (b), Edwin "Buddy" Cole (p), Unknown (d), Woody Herman, Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) The Lady From 29 Palms - 2:19(Allie Wrubel)
Artistic CS/LP(United Kingdom) Cart/Art 005 — Easy Listening    (1984)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Radiola/Sandy Hook Collectors' Label CS/LPCsh/Sh 2109 — Peggy Lee On Radio   (1987)
Magic/Submarine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dawe 102 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 1943-1947   (2001)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 3280 2 — Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (2004)
b. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) I Can't Give You Anything But Love - 3:27(Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh, possibly Andy Razaf, possibly Thomas 'Fats' Waller)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Direct Source Licensed CS/CD(Canada) 14652 — Peggy Lee ("Star Power" Series)   (2001)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 3279 — Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (2004)
Forever Gold/Solo/Pacific Entertainment Public Domain CD(Netherlands) Fg 262 — Peggy Lee    (2007)
[unknown label] CDunknown — Blonde Ambitions {Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe}   
c. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) Ask Anyone Who Knows - 4:02(Alvin Kaufman, Sol Marcus, Eddie Seiler)
Direct Source Licensed CS/CD(Canada) 14652 — Peggy Lee ("Star Power" Series)   (2001)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 3279 — Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (2004)
Forever Gold/Solo/Pacific Entertainment Public Domain CD(Netherlands) Fg 262 — Peggy Lee    (2007)
[unknown label] CDunknown — Blonde Ambitions {Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe}   
d. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) Cecilia - 3:03(Dave Dreyer, Herman Ruby)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 3279 — Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (2004)
All titles on: Jazz Band/Flyright Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Ebdcd 2115 2 — LIVE, 1947 & 1952   (1993)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 34572 — Peggy Lee, Volumes 1 & 2 [Volumes also sold separately]   (2005)

Personnel

1. Woody Herman
"The Lady From 29 Palms" and "Cecilia" are vocal duets, both of them featuring Peggy Lee with Woody Herman.

2. Guest
Pianist Andre Previn was the episode's guest. For his solo spot, he played "Back Home Again In Indiana."


Photos

Another undated publicity shot, this one spotlighting the Barbour-lee partnership, and a photo for which all three leads of The Summer Electric Show posed at the stage where the program was performed. Notice the apparent presence of an audience, visible near the left corner. This second photograph bears a July 29, 1947 date. (The 29th was a Tuesday. Since the show was broadcast on Sundays, that date falls between the episodes that aired on July 27 and August 3, 1947.)




Date: August 3, 1947
Location: Studio B, Columbia Square Playhouse, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (cl), Dave Barbour (g), Phil Stephens (b), Edwin "Buddy" Cole (p), Unknown (d), Woody Herman, Peggy Lee (v)

a. Not Extant?Peggy Lee Shows (CBS) Just An Old Love Of Mine(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour)
b. Not Extant?Peggy Lee Shows (CBS) The Lady From 29 Palms(Allie Wrubel)
Both titles unissued.

Sources

1. Availability
My only source for this particular episode was a newspaper clip, dating from the same period as the broadcast. If the episode is extant, I have yet to come upon any hints. Note also that the newspaper probably listed just a few of the show's performances; Lee is likely to have sung more numbers.


Personnel

1. Woody Herman
"The Lady From 29 Palms" is a vocal duet, featuring Woody Herman with Peggy Lee. Furthermore, it might have been billed as an audience request; the pair had sung the number in the previous episode.

2. Guest
Deemed a rising comedy star back then, Jack Paar guested on this August 3 installment of the show.


Performances

1. Songs By Other Performers
During this episode, Woody Herman did a solo version of "Am I Blue?"


Photos

Peggy Lee with Woody Herman. The photo in the middle captures them at the play-off of the Pacific Coast Hockey League finals, where the pair was on hand to award the championship trophy to the Los Angeles Monarchs. Dating from April of 1947, this photo predates The Summer Electric Hour. By that time, however, both artists had already signed to co-host the program. (According to Variety, the deal for the program had been "set" on March 18.) Mention of the program as ) Their appearance at this sports event thus served as promotion for the then-upcoming radio show. Undated, the two other photographs show Herman and Lee in action at The Summer Electric Hour, during either a rehearsal or an actual broadcast. The third photo is actually a candid, taken while the pair was in the very act of hosting. Partially seen in the background are a bassist, a guitarist (most likely, Dave Barbour), and an audience member, as well as a man walking by.





Date: Between July 13 And August 31, 1947 (Except July 20)
Location: Studio B, Columbia Square Playhouse, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (cl), Dave Barbour (g), Phil Stephens (b), Edwin "Buddy" Cole (p), Unknown (d), Woody Herman, Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) Somebody Loves Me - 3:30(Buddy G. DeSylva, George Gershwin, Ballard MacDonald)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/CD(Italy/United Kingdom) Dvremc/Dvrecd 57 — The Peggy Lee Story; 24 Phonographic Memories    (1991)
b. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) As Long As I'm Dreaming - 3:05(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
c. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along - 3:25(Harry Woods)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 3280 2 — Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (2004)
Prism Leisure Platinum Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 34572 — Peggy Lee, Volumes 1 & 2 [Volumes also sold separately]   (2005)
d. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) Aintcha Ever Comin' Back? - 2:29(Axel Stordahl, Irving Taylor, Paul Weston)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
e. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) It Takes A Long, Long Train With A Red Caboose - 3:20(Dick Charles, Lawrence W. Markes, Jr.)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Hughes Leisure Group Public Domain CD(Australia/New Zealand) Stb 8849 — Peggy Lee ("20 Golden Greats / Starburst" Series)    (1994)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
f. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) I Don't Know Enough About You - 2:33(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/CD(Italy/United Kingdom) Dvremc/Dvrecd 57 — The Peggy Lee Story; 24 Phonographic Memories    (1991)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
g. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) (You And I) Passing By - 1:55(Laurent Hess, Jack Lawrence, Charles Trenet)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
h. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) On The Sunny Side Of The Street - 2:21(Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh, possibly Andy Razaf, possibly Thomas 'Fats' Waller)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/CD(Italy/United Kingdom) Dvremc/Dvrecd 57 — The Peggy Lee Story; 24 Phonographic Memories    (1991)
i. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) It's A Good Day - 2:38(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee)
President Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Plcd 550 — Listen To The Magic    (1996)
Signature Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Signcd 2132 — Peggy Lee ("Idols" Box)   (2002)
Tgg Direct Public Domain CD011891 60252 5 — Best Of Peggy Lee   (2011)
j. ExtantPeggy Lee Shows (CBS) Lazy River - 2:21(Sidney Arodin, Hoagy Carmichael)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/LP(Italy) Dvmc/Dvlp 2021 — The Peggy Lee Collection; 20 Golden Greats   (1985)
Audio Fidelity Collectors' Label cassetteGas 789 — Peggy Lee   (1986)
Deja Vu/Retro Public Domain CS/CD(Italy/United Kingdom) Dvremc/Dvrecd 57 — The Peggy Lee Story; 24 Phonographic Memories    (1991)
All titles on: Artistic CS/LP(United Kingdom) Cart/Art 005 — Easy Listening    (1984)
Radiola/Sandy Hook Collectors' Label CS/LPCsh/Sh 2109 — Peggy Lee On Radio   (1987)
Magic/Submarine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dawe 102 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 1943-1947   (2001)

Personnel

1. Woody Herman
Peggy Lee duets with Woody Herman on "When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along," "On The Sunny Side Of The Street," and "Up A Lazy River."

2. Guests
Each episode of The Summer Electric Hour featured a guest. Comedian Eddie Bracken is known to have guested on one of the episodes. Diane Lynn, Jack Paar, and Andre Previn have already been mentioned. The identities of the summer's other four guests remain unknown to me.

3. Numbers By Other Acts
Also from these same episodes, two non-Lee performances have been commercially released: "Pancho Maximillian Hernandez" (sung by Woody Herman) and "Go Away!" (comedy routine by Eddie Bracken, with some interjections from Herman and Lee).


Performances And Issues

1. "I Don't Know Enough About You"
Peggy Lee discographer Ron Towe contended that the above-listed version of "I Don't Know Enough About You" was the exact same one which is identified in the Fonit Cetra LP Le Voci Indimenticabili, Volume 1 as originating in a V-Disc. "Not only is the verse, heard on no other known recording of the song, intact," Towe asserts, "Peggy's vocal performance, the instrumental arrangement behind her, the guitar figures and riffs, are exactly the same from beginning to end." I will be evaluating the validity of Towe's claim when I work on completing this discography's page for War And Government Shows. (As can already be seen in that unfinished page, one major difference between this session's version and the V-Disc version is the credited accompaniment: the Les Paul Trio on the V-Disc, Dave Barbour And His Orchestra herein.)


Photos

Two of the pictures that were featured with an accompanying article in the aforementioned July 13, 1947 issue of Radio Life magazine. The caption under the first photo reads as follows: "Woody, Peggy and Dave make plans for their appearance on the summer Electric Hour under the row of star portraits at CBS. Scheduled to join that row of stars -- Woody, Peggy and Dave." And here is the text from the caption under the second photo: "Employees only says the sign that blocks this corridor at CBS from trespassing by spectators. Here three famous employees, Woody Herman, Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour, stroll toward rehearsal."





Sessions Reported: 3

Performances Reported: 16

Unique Songs Reported: 15

Unique Issues Reported: 37