Durante, Jimmy

The legendary “Schnozzola” thanks a Canadian fan for a joke line

Price: $95.00

Description:
(1893-1980) “Schnozzola", American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s-70s. He left school in 8th grade to become a full-time ragtime pianist and became a vaudeville star and radio personality by the mid-1920s with the Clayton, Jackson and Durante trio. Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson, Durante's closest friends, often reunited professionally. Jackson & Durante appeared in the 1930 Cole Porter musical “The New Yorkers”, the year the team appeared in the film “Roadhouse Nights.” By 1934, he had a major record hit with his own novelty composition, "Inka Dinka Doo," his theme song for the rest of his life. In 1935, he starred on Broadway in the Billy Rose musical “Jumbo”, and also appeared on Broadway in “Show Girl” (1929), “Strike Me Pink” (1934) and “Red, Hot and Blue” (1936). He began appearing in motion pictures with silent film legend Buster Keaton and continuing with “The Wet Parade” (1932), “Broadway to Hollywood” (1933), “The Man Who Came to Dinner” (1942, playing "Banjo", a character based on Harpo Marx), “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), “Billy Rose's Jumbo” (1962, based on the 1935 musical) and “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963). In 1933, Durante appeared on Eddie Cantor's “The Chase and Sanborn Hour”, and when Cantor departed in 1934, Durante took over the NBC show as its star, moving on to The Jumbo Fire Chief Program (1935–36). He teamed with Garry Moore for The Durante-Moore Show in 1943. Moore left in mid-1947, and the program returned as The Jimmy Durante Show, and worked in radio for 3 more years. Durante made his television debut in 1950, though he stayed in radio as a frequent guest on Tallulah Bankhead's two-year, NBC comedy-variety show, The Big Show. He was one of 4 alternating hosts on NBC's comedy-variety series, "4 Star Revue" 1950-51, and appeared on NBC's 1957-58 “Club Oasis”, another comedy/variety show. Durante's radio show was bracketed with 2 trademarks: "Inka Dinka Doo" as his opening theme, and the signoff that became another familiar catchphrase: "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are," which he revealed in 1966 was a tribute to his wife, Jeanne Olson (d. 1943). His love for children continued through the Fraternal Order of Eagles which raised money for disabled and abused children They changed the name of their Children's Fund to the Jimmy Durante Children's Fund, and in his memory raised $20M+ to help children. Durante narrated the 1969 animated Christmas special “Frosty the Snowman”, re-run for many years. In 1963, he recorded a best-selling album of pop standards, “September Song”. His version of "As Time Goes By" accompanies the opening credits of “Sleepless in Seattle,” while his "Make Someone Happy" launched the closing credits. Durante sent such catchphrases as "Everybody wants ta get inta the act!," "Ha-cha-cha-chaaaaaaa!," "I got a million of 'em," and others into the vernacular. TLS on 11 x 8 ½ plain paper, Hollywood, January 8 1952, to F. J. Howland, Malabar Limited Theatrical Costumes, Toronto. Durante apologizes for being late in answering him but says “thanks a million for the joke line”, Durante really got a kick out of it.

Condition: Very good, folds, slight creasing
Type:Letter






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