Category Archives: 1940s

“Louis Armstrong – A Kiss To Build A Dream On [1962] Live”


“A Kiss to Build a Dream On” is a song composed by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1935.[1] It was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1951.[1] It was also performed by Armstrong as well as by Mickey Rooney with William Demarest, by Sally Forrest, and by Kay Brown (virtually the entire cast performed part or all of the song) in the 1951 film “The Strip,” and was a sort of recurring theme in the film. Another popular recording was made by one of the movies guest-stars, Monica Lewis, and in early 1952, the version by Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra, with vocalist Johnny Parker, made it to the Pop 20 chart in the United States.

Sung by Richard Chamberlain, the song gained considerable exposure due to its being on the ‘B’ side of his 1962 hit: “Theme from Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)”.

Rod Stewart covered the song in his 2004 album, Stardust: the Great American Songbook 3.

Deana Martin recorded A Kiss to Build a Dream On in 2009. The song was released on her album, Volare, in 2009 by Big Fish Records.



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The world keeps alive America’s Little sweethearts by reproducing the little rascal characters, themes and plots, over and over again.



The Little Rascals Christmas Special is an animated Christmas special based on the Our Gang comedies of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s.


Spanky (Philip Tanzini) and Porky (Robby Kiger)’s mother (Darla Hood) is a single mother during the Depression. Money is tight with very little left over to buy anything nice. When the boys overhear Mom talking on the phone about a Blue Comet, they think she is ordering for them the Blue Comet train set for the holidays. However, Mom wasn’t talking about the train, but rather a vacuum cleaner. Realizing that she confused her sons, she exchanges a coat she had ordered for the train. When she gets sick and the boys realize the truth, they enlist the help of the gang to raise the money to get the coat back. Meanwhile, two neighborhood bullies steal the train set so now there are no gifts for the boys or their mom. A grouchy Salvation Army Santa (Jack Somack) arrives to spread cheer.

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“Kathy Young & The Innocents – A Thousand Stars – 1960”

“Kathy Young & The Innocents – A Thousand Stars – 1960”

Kathy Young (born October 21, 1945) is an American musician; she was a teen pop singer during the early 1960s, whose rendition of “A Thousand Stars”, at age 15, rose to No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100.

A native of Southern California, Young was born in the Orange County seat, Santa Ana. She rose to stardom in 1960, when producer Jim Lee of Indigo Records chose a Sun Valley-based band, The Innocents, to sing back-up vocals for her on a cover version of The Rivileers’ 1954 recording of “A Thousand Stars”. Two years earlier Lee had organized The Innocents for an appearance on Wink Martindale’s pop music TV show.

In December 1960, two months after her 15th birthday, Kathy Young and The Innocents peaked at No. 6 on the R&B Singles chart, and at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1][2][3][4] Young’s follow-up, “Happy Birthday Blues”, peaked at No. 30 on the Hot 100 in 1961.[1] Subsequent singles, such as “Magic Is the Night” and “The Great Pretender”, failed to chart in the Top 40.

In July 1961 she appeared on DJ Alan Freed’s highly publicized American road show.[5]

In 1962 she followed Jim Lee to Monogram Records, recording solo and with Chicano rock singer Chris Montez. Still a teenager, she saw her promising career slowing to a standstill and, in 1964, traveled to London. There she married American singer-songwriter John Maus, aka John Walker, founder of The Walker Brothers. Her marriage to Maus lasted from 1965 to 1968.[6]

Kathy returned to the US in 1969, remarrying two years later. Over the next 20 years she raised children and helped manage the family citrus ranch in Central California. Following a move back to Los Angeles in 1994, she began working for a major international company, while also returning to her original passion, music.

In the 2000s she performed at numerous rock shows at venues such as the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and New Jersey’s Izod Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.[7][8]

Kathy Young was inducted into the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame, presided over by Harvey Robbins. on October 12, 2014. at the North Shore Music Theater, in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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The 5-4 Ballroom A Legacy Lost, But Not Forgotten (part one)

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If His Dream Comes True, Blues Will Be Back in the 5-4 Ballroom : ‘It’s a disgrace the way we gave all this music to the world and let it be taken away.’

EDWARD J. BOYER (L.A. Times archives)

The spirit was moving through the old 5-4 Ballroom at 54th Street and Broadway, the crowd was on its feet and soul singer “Wicked” Wilson Pickett was preaching between tunes with an assist from Los Angeles disc jockey Magnificent Montague.

“I got to sing this song,” Pickett cries out in the plaintive, melodic pulpit style of the Holiness church. “Why you got to sing it?” Montague sings back with equal feeling.

Pickett answers in classic call and response: “You made it possible for me to sing it. You told the sooooooul sisters. You told the sooooooul brothers. They got to wait . . . ”

Montague: “They got to wait. . . .”

Pickett: “They got to waaaaiiiiiiittttttt. . . .”

Anticipation of Pickett’s signature tune reaches a fever pitch, and the crowd explodes when the band hits the familiar intro to his “Midnight Hour.”

That night in 1965 was a defining moment at the 5-4, the kind of spontaneous release of raw musical energy that made crowds line up around the block hoping to catch James Brown, Fats Domino, Jackie Wilson, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, the Temptations. (See More 5-4 talents the end of this article)

Jackie Wilson an Sam Cooke

The music at the 5-4 ended three years later, and the grand old showplace became just another anonymous monument to urban decay for many Angelenos oblivious to its former splendor. But Cal State Dominguez Hills political science professor Oliver Wilson–who moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s–wants to recapture those moments. He bought the building in 1980 and estimates that he has sunk $1.8 million into his obsession of restoring the 5-4.

En route to earning a Ph.D in political science at the Claremont Graduate Schools, Wilson made stops as a waiter, journeyman carpenter, high school principal in his native Louisiana, contractor and owner of a data processing firm. Those experiences would appear to enable a man to balance an appreciation for ideals with an abiding sense of the practical.

So why is Wilson so steadfastly pursuing what even some of his supporters call an impossible dream? And without ever having set foot inside the ballroom in its heyday?

Billy Eckstein

“The 5-4 was the talk of the town when I moved here,” he said. “James Brown was here. Billy Eckstein. I kept up with who would be here. I always wanted to come, but I don’t like crowds.”

Still, his sense of history drove him to buy the building. “I had to have it because I wanted to try to preserve the history.”

Old-timers remember when Guitar Slim played a “stomp down” blues solo while riding through the 5-4’s audience on the shoulders of his fans. And there was also the musicians union rep who tried to collect more than one bandleader thought he should get. The union man wound up with a bullet in his foot for his efforts.

“This was the spot, man,” said former bandleader Billy Diamond, whose group once included Fats Domino. “We’d drive all the way from New Orleans to play at the 5-4 Ballroom.”

Margie Evans and Philipp Fankhauser image source

Blues singer Margie Evans also remembers the 5-4’s heyday, but she, like Wilson, saw it from the outside. “I was a church woman,” she recalled, laughing. “All of the risque joints were on Broadway back then. We used to call those people ‘nothing but devils.'”

Johnny Otis

image source

Bandleader Johnny Otis was one of those devils, and he remembers the 5-4 as a place where he had a chance to come in from the road and see his peers perform. “Our audiences were almost exclusively African American,” he said. “We never appreciated fully then how wonderful it was to play for . . . folks who understood the music and where the blues came from.”

Otis later converted Evans, a former schoolteacher, into a blues singer, and she now calls herself a blues ambassador.

“It’s a disgrace the way we gave all this music to the world and let it be taken away,” she said.

Evans and Diamond have joined forces with Wilson, helping to put together shows to raise money for the restoration. The ballroom reopened its first-floor “Bluesroom” in October, and events there have included a New Year’s Eve show that featured blues diva Linda Hopkins, Charles (“Merry Christmas, Baby”) Brown and Evans.

Charles Brown

The benefits have reintroduced entertainers, elected officials and blues fans to the ballroom, helping to build what Wilson hopes will be enough momentum to finish construction on the ballroom upstairs.

As Wilson’s construction crews did work restoring the ballroom in 1990, one of the workmen found an old admission ticket.

“It said: ‘No Negroes,’ ” Wilson said.

When the ballroom opened in 1922, the street that was later to be called Broadway was named Moneta. The whites-only policy ended in the late 1940s when blacks began moving into the area in large numbers.

In 1980, Wilson stopped by his brother’s new garment-cutting shop on Broadway with no idea that it was in the historic ballroom building. “I didn’t believe it was the 5-4 until my brother took me upstairs,” he said.

“When I saw the suspended ceiling, that was too much for me. I had to buy it. I told my brother I was going to.” He sold a residential property in Long Beach to come up with the down payment.
In the 15 years since, he has joined that stubborn league of determined individuals who have taken on other, seemingly impossible tasks in South-Central–Dolores Blunt at her Sheenway School, Marla Gibbs at her Vision Complex, and Lula Washington and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Theater.

Wilson said he tried to attract investors, but failed. But he continued to spend all the money he could borrow on the building. His vision has begun to take shape on the 12,500-square-foot second floor. Some walls have been stripped back to the original red brick, custom-built French windows enclose what would be a restaurant serving Creole food, a new kitchen has been designed, the stage has been expanded, and a rooftop terrace is in the works.

Wilson is so close to realizing his dream he can almost taste it, but the money has run out. “I can complete the remaining work in six to eight weeks,” he said, “but . . . I don’t know when I’m going to get some money.”

He recognizes the irony enveloping theaters, restaurants, clubs and hotels across the country that once were landmarks in a city’s African American community–most of them owed their prominence to racial segregation. Once racial barriers came down at facilities in white communities, the legendary places in black communities were largely abandoned.

“I thought about that,” Wilson said quietly, clearly reflecting on one of the most challenging dimensions of his dream. “But I firmly believe that notwithstanding this predisposition–this tendency on the part of black people to prefer what’s in the white areas–good music and good food will draw people regardless of race.”


The Ike and Tina Turner Review

A Getty Image

Etta James


Billie Holiday and Nate King Cole


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The Cotton Club Revisited

“History of the Cotton Club. In 1920, Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened the Club Deluxe on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the center of Harlem. Owney Madden, a white gangster, took over operations in 1923, and renamed the venue the Cotton Club.

Dorothy Dandridge image source

American Arts & Culture of the 1920s & the Harlem Renaissance

The Cotton Club was an essential part of the Harlem nightlife in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. In this lesson, we will discuss the rich history of the club and learn about many famous musicians whose careers were launched there.

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What Is the Cotton Club?
Duke Ellington. . . Cab Calloway. . . Ethel Waters. . . Louis Armstrong. . . Lena Horne. Where could you go to hear all of these musicians, and many others, perform live? If you were around in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in the 1920s, the hot-spot was the Cotton Club.

History of the Cotton Club

In 1920, Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened the Club Deluxe on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the center of Harlem. Owney Madden, a white gangster, took over operations in 1923, and renamed the venue the Cotton Club. Madden expanded the former 400-seat nightclub to 700 seats, and updated the decorations to reflect a stylish ‘plantation environment’ to cater to the upper-class white patrons who came to enjoy the performances of the best jazz musicians of the day. It quickly became the most popular cabaret in Harlem.

The Cotton Club was also an active speakeasy, an illegal drinking spot, during Prohibition and was forced to close several times. Prohibition lasted from 1919 through 1933, and during this time, the manufacturing, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal. Although the Cotton Club was forced to close for serving alcohol, especially Madden’s own blend called ‘Madden’s Number One,’ his political connections enabled him to reopen the club.

The Cotton Club (1923-1935) – Clio

Cab Calloway and dancers at The Cotton Club in 1937

Shows at the Cotton Club typically included musical revues with singers, dancers, comedians, variety acts, and a house band. African-American jazz musicians used the notoriety of performing at the Cotton Club to help launch their careers.

However, it must be noted that cultural stereotypes were initially forced upon them. The primitive decorations in the club, as well as the music, included elements that created a jungle atmosphere. The African-American employees were forced to act as though they lived on plantations or were savages.

On March 19, 1935, the Harlem Race Riot broke out in Harlem due to police brutality and an extended unemployment crisis. Damage to property from the riot totaled over 200 million dollars; 75 people were arrested, three African-Americans were killed, and over 60 more were injured. The Cotton Club’s white patrons felt the neighborhood was unsafe and the nightclub was forced to close. It reopened the end of 1936 in a new location at Broadway and 48th Street, but after failing to regain its former popularity, closed in 1940. article source


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“Cigar Cigarettes! Cigar Cigarettes!” – The History of the Cigarette Girls

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Roaring 20’s and on into the post-prohibition days of the 1930s, cigar girls were a common site roaming nightclubs and bard

Our History of the Cigar Girl begins in pre-war America, during the Roaring Twenties. It was an Era during which America enjoyed considerable prosperity, particularly in her urban centers.

Fueled by this newfound wealth, entrepreneurial restaurateurs began to expand their establishments from pure eateries to “supper clubs,” a destination where patrons could spend an entire evening eating, drinking (despite the prohibition of alcohol), socializing, and listening to live music.

The cigar girl was a common fixture at such clubs. She was an invariably pretty, young girl who wore a bright (often red trimmed in black), short saloon-style dress and sported a pillbox hat. Around her neck, she holstered a tray with a considerable selection of cigars, cigarettes, and various other tobacco products and sundries. Depending on the venue or the wishes of its owner, she might also carry candy, snacks, drinks, chewing gum, flowers, or novelty items.

Her job was more than just selling tobacco products; she became part of the ambiance, mixing among the patrons while adding a touch of class and full-service. The cigar girl relied on her charm, quick wit, and a flirtatious manner to catch the attentions of businessmen, who would tip graciously for the pleasure of speaking with such a beautiful young woman. She is often described as having been the “life of the party,” and thus while her refrain of “cigars, cigarettes?” certainly enticed tobacco buyers, most customers were paying as much for her company as they were for her wares.

She is depicted in many films, with a notable early example from 1924 in the Soviet silent comedy “The Cigarette Girl from Mosselprom” (Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma) in which a man frequently purchases tobacco from a girl he’s become infatuated with, despite not being a smoker. Within a few years the cigar girl archetype was well-established by Hollywood, and when the Eighteenth Amendment was finally repealed in 1933, she had caught on as a cultural icon: she could be found in restaurants, social clubs, bars, casinos, and even airports. Her popularity continued to soar through the postwar era into the 1950s, when she could be seen at sporting events and in the lobbies of theaters and music halls during intermissions.

Companies like Hollywood Cigarette Girls will send their ladies to your event to distribute cigars, cigarettes and other items to add a touch of old-school class to your party.

But she was ultimately no match for modernity. The mid-1950s brought automated vending machines which worked for free, and could earn the venue-owner a tidy profit besides. Changing attitudes about smoking notwithstanding, she was increasingly seen as a relic of the past.

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These days, you are more likely to see a cigar girl at a Halloween costume party than you are inside NYC’s Algonquin Hotel. But even though she has been largely relegated to a romantic yesteryear curiosity, there is still a demand for her services. A simple internet search reveals numerous companies like Peachy Puffs and Hollywood Cigarette Girls that specialize in hiring out models for private parties and corporate events whose organizers are looking to add a touch of old-school sophistication to their event. Many of these companies even offer cigars and cigarettes on their trays. Who knows? Maybe the cigar girl will make a full-fledged comeback toting some great Acid Cigars and other premium smokes.


You’ve come a long, long way”

Virginia Slims (excerpt)

“We make Virginia Slims expecially for women because they are biologically superior to men”, 1971, via

Virginia Slims were introduced by Philip Morris in 1968 and “marketed as a female-oriented spinoff to their Benson and Hedges brand”. The slogans “You’ve come a long way” and later “It’s a woman thing” and “Find your voice” were supposed to link smoking with “women’s freedom, emancipation, and empowerment” (via). It was not the first product to speak to women “in the language of liberation” but it was the first one that interpreted feminism as something that could sell (Zeisler, 2008).

“Rosemary for president. Someday. Meanwhile you’ve got Virginia Slims. The taste for today’s woman.”, via; 1968, via

Philip Morris continued this strategy and in 2008 launched a campaign targeting women and girls. The “purse pack” – repackaged, compact, pink Virginia Slims – implies that smoking is both feminine and fashionable. “Super slim” communicates the association between smoking and weight loss (via). John T. Landry, former Philip Morris marketing chief: “I knew thinness was a quality worth talking about. It’s an American obsession.” (via).

This gender marketing strategy changed statistics encouraging girls to start smoking. “Six years after the introduction of Virginia Slims, the rate of smoking initiation for 12-year-old girls had increased 110 percent.” (via). In fact, apart from social factors, marketing strategies are considered to be one reason for the rise of smoking among women. Smoking as a symbol of emancipation was the core of the campaign. In 1991, an internal industry document describes the strategy targeting only women as follows: “To convince fashionable, modern, independent and self-confident women aged 20-34 that by smoking VSLM, they are making better/more complete expression of their independence.” (Hitchman & Fong, 2011). The market share grew from 0.24% bo 3.16% (Toll & Ling, 2005).

In the 1980s, the number of cigarettes sold declined dramatically. Women were “a saving grace” who just had to be convinced that a woman “needs her very own cigarette as absolutely as she needs ther own underwear” (via). To women, smoking Virginia Slims meant “independence, slimness, glamour, and liberation”. Despite the equality progresses the commercials showed since the early twentieth century, “the only equality this campaign ended up supporting involved lung cancer. Today, women and men die at similar rates from the diseases.” (via).

The campaign was developed by the Leo Burnett Agency and was launched on 22 July 1968. It was a huge success and the slogan more or less became “a national catch-phrase”. According to a 1986 corporate study, the so-called brand personality was the key to its success (via).

Slogan, catch-phrase and song:

– Virginia Slims commercial from 1970s watch

In 1978, the US-American country music singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn was in the charts with the song “We’ve come a long way, baby”. “The title song was a top ten hit for Lynn, playing on the famous Virginia Slims slogan of the day, You’ve Come a Long Way Baby” (via).
– Loretta Lynn We’ve come a long way, baby watch

Hitchman, S. C. & Fong, T. G. (2011) Gender empowerment and female-to-male smoking prevalence ratios. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; via
New York Times (1986) Why They Stretched The Slims via
Toll, B. A. & Ling, P. M. (2005) The Virginia Slims identity crisis: an inside look at tobacco industry marketing to women. Tobacco Control, 14, 172-180
Zeislere, A. (2008) Feminism and Pop Culture. Berkeley: Seal Press
M. Laura Moazedi



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History of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet

By Garland Pollard

NEW YORK – There is something great about a brand that has not only survived a long time, but is still owned by the original company. Such is the case with Cashmere Bouquet, a soap that dates to 1872, and for the whole time, has been made by another Uber-brand, Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL).

According to the website, Cashmere Bouquet Toilet Water was but one product in a long line of “Cashmere Bouquet” products sold in the late 19th century. Colgate was founded in 1806; Cashmere Bouquet was introduced six years after Colgate first introduced perfumed soap. The website points out that even then, Colgate was adept at brand extensions.

In fact, perhaps the Cashmere Bouquet brand, while dated, could be revived and re-extended rather like Keihl’s or Caswell-Massey?

The 1872 introduction of Cashmere Bouquet marked the first milled perfumed toilet soap, and that year it was registered as a Colgate trademark. Then, the product was seen more as a fashion and luxury item. Today, it is a hotel soap brand, as well as sold at discount closeout stores.

Buy a bar today, and you can still smell that familiar smell. The main ingredients for Cashmere Bouquet are pretty good by the way, including sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, glycerin, fragrance and other materials. Cashmere Bouquet is a most wonderful museum piece; It’s nice to see something still made the old way, with animal fat and lye. And it is Made in the U.S.A.

Today, Colgate still sells the product, along with other soaps that include Irish Spring and Palmolive. In the U.S., the bar soap brand of Palmolive is not emphasized, as the product as seen as a dish detergent. However, in Europe, the U.K., and Australia, Palmolive is seen as more of a special scented natural soap.

Apparently, Colgate actually made the soap until 2005, when a century old factory in Kansas City was closed down and the company turned manufacturing over to a third party.

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