Bandleader Louis Prima was the walking definition of entertainment. While other swing and jazz musicians focused on the art of their craft, Prima's mantra was "play it pretty for the people." He was serious about his songwriting, but when it came time to perform, Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera, and the rest of their band came alive with a frivolity and joyfulness matched by few, if any. And this is what set them apart. Known for his charisma, Louis Prima had an "active personal life" as well, with five marriages, plus other relationships. Probably best known today for his role as "King Louie" in Disney's original animated classic "The Jungle Book," there has been a resurgence in interest in Prima's music since Brian Setzer and others revived swing music in the late 90's. Today, Louis Prima stands with the other musical greats of his time.
On this week's episode, we discuss the life and times of Louis Prima with author Tom Clavin, who wrote "That Old Black Magic." We cover Prima's early career on into his "second act" as a trailblazing Las Vegas lounge act, as well as his final years. Remember to download, enjoy, and share!
Former Alabama Governor George Wallace is one of the most polarizing political figures in U.S. history. A true populist that played to his base of supporters, Wallace was loved by many and hated by many at the same time. Originally, he held a moderate view of race relations, but when he lost a campaign for governor of Alabama to a hard-line segregationist, Wallace changed his stance. "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" is one of his most famous quotes. He was shot during a U.S. presidential campaign stop, which physically disabled him. This began the change in his views, and later in life, he altered his views and he became a proponent of civil rights for African-Americans. Some questioned his change, but he held to his new viewpoint to the end of his life, proving that people can change.
For this episode, I spoke with author Mary Palmer about her book, "George Wallace: An Enigma - The Complex Life of Alabama's Most Divisive and Controversial Governor." We talk about his formative years, his time as governor, his presidential campaigns, the assassination attempt, his change of heart, and his last years. Remember to download, enjoy, and share!
Dorothy Kilgallen was a true media dynamo whose column was read by millions every day, appeared on a popular TV show each week, and was featured on the radio as well. "Breaking glass ceilings" is being talked about today, but Kilgallen was blazing a trail for women decades ago. Her "Voice of Broadway" column was syndicated in nearly 200 newspapers on a daily basis. She appeared each Sunday on the mega-popular TV show, "What's My Line?" But it was her passion for investigative journalism that really drove her. Kilgallen helped get Dr. Sam Sheppard, whose life was the basis for the film "The Fugitive" starring Harrison Ford, released from prison. When she began to dig into the JFK assassination, she may have simply gotten too close. She died soon after claiming she was ready to break the case wide open with her passing being attributed to an overdose on a mix of drugs and alcohol. But questions remain. Why was she found in a bed she didn't sleep in? Why was there no real investigation performed? And most importantly, what really happened to her?
We discuss the life and death of Dorothy Kilgallen with author Mark Shaw, who recently released "The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What's My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen." It's a fascinating discussion on a true pioneer who died too soon.
Download, enjoy, and share!
It's part II of our series on the missing persons case of Judge Joseph Crater, and joining us for this week's episode is Marissa Jones, the host of the very popular true crime podcast, "The Vanished." Marissa dove into the theories surrounding Crater's disappearance, which vary wildly. Did he simply walk away, tired of the pressures of his job and his involvement with the underworld? Was he murdered by the mob? Did he die inside a bordello? And what of the post-mortem confession of a NYC cop?
We discuss all these theories and more, as Marissa puts her investigative skills to the test. Tell us what you think happened to Judge Crater...tweet me @HistoryMile, and tweet Marissa @TheVanishedPod. Don't forget to download, enjoy, and share!
Judge Joseph Force Crater was a New York State Supreme Court Justice who went missing on August 6, 1930, and has not been seen since. He had gone out to dinner with a lawyer friend and a showgirl, paid the check, then got into a cab, and was never seen again. What happened to him?
In the first of a two-part series of episodes, we chat with author Dick Tofel, who wrote, "Vanishing Point: The Disappearance of Judge Crater and the New York He Left Behind." We discuss the circumstances surrounding Crater's disappearance, and touch upon what might have happened to him. There are so many questions still unanswered. Why did he pull out large amounts of cash right before he went missing? Crater had a ticket for a theater show that night...and someone used the ticket, but no one remembers seeing the judge there...how can that be? Why did it take several weeks for the police to get involved? Don't miss this intriguing chat on one of the most notorious missing persons cases of the 20th Century.
Don't forget to download, enjoy, and share!