Al Jolson Home Page|His Works|Radio|11 Dec 47 Kraft Music Hall

Al Jolson's experience with radio began in the dawn of the medium, and continued until the birth of television, and his death. He started the Kraft Music Hall, along with programs for Lifebuoy Soap, Colgate Tooth Powder, and Chevrolet, and died while waiting to go on to Bing Crosby's Chesterfield program. On this page, I will be featuring full length radio programs, in Real Audio format, for your enjoyment.

Yehudi Menuhin and Al Jolson
Violinist Yehudi Menuhin with his wife, and Al Jolson
Photo courtesy of Michael Speed

This is an unusual episode in the Kraft Music Hall. In this week's program, Al's regular partner, Oscar Levant, was off playing a concert in New York. He was replaced for this week's show by violin great, Yehudi Menuhin.

Arnold Stang
Arnold Stang
Taking the regular guest position was Arnold Stang, who was popular on the Henry Morgan radio show, with a character named "Girard." Stang, who passed away on December 20, 2009, continued working in broadcasting for many years, is known to many of us through voice-overs, commercials, and always being around to play that "nerdy" character. If you think you know his voice, you probably are correct!

Having said all of that, listen closely at the beginning of the recording, where you can hear Al Jolson say what sounds like, "I'd like to bite Levant!" Al opened the show with a song he called an oldie that the audience considered a newie, "When The Red, Red, Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along."

Without Levant to fall back on, Jolson took the chance to take some pot shots at his partner. Of course, some of the shots are directed at Jolson, himself. And his age. And his voice. And his money. You know the routine!

Jolson brought an end to the bit with the Irving Berlin classic, "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody," with full Lou Bring accompaniment.

After some cream cheese conversation, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, later Lord Menuhin, violin virtuoso entered the Hall. A few barbs back and forth, after all, Oscar was not there to play with, is followed by Menuhin playing "The Legend."

Feigning boredom over the classical music, Al and Yehudi then enter Jolie's dream world. Jolson then meets Girard, and that really defies description.

After the routine with Stang, Jolson changed the mood saying he's gotta sing, and gave out with a song about what what happening "Back In Your Own Backyard."

After the song, Al Jolson addressed the needy in the world after the World War. The few words by Jolson to change your habits to save lives still apply today. May we all take them to heart.

To close the show, a song from Brigadoon which Jolson had sung some weeks before, and which was repeated by popular request, "Come To Me, Bend To Me."

Listen to this radio program and watch a Video Podcast with an excerpt of the show illustrated with photos of the stars.

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     This is an excerpt of the 11 Dec 1947 broadcast of the Kraft Music Hall, starring Al Jolson. Oscar Levant, Jolson's usual foil, was away on a concert tour, and Yehudi Menuhin stood in for him; Arnold Stang held the guest spot. But to hear their portions you will have to check the program page. Here, enjoy Al Jolson singing "When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin' Along," followed by some banter with Ken Carpenter, and finishing with Al Jolson singing "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody." You'll see Ken Carpenter this week, along with Al, to visualize this broadcast.

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This listing and material Copyright © 1995-2017 Marc I. Leavey, M.D. Baltimore, Maryland
Updated 14 Dec 08
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