What with next to nothing being issued and record stocks rapidly diminishing, it is a relief to report that as far as the networks are concerned, swing is in pretty fine fettle. It would be a good idea, however, if before you went to bed tonight, you offered up a prayer that Petrillo doesn't get into another squabble with radio, and yank off all bands again.
The one big trouble is that the programs mentioned below are on sustaining, and the local stations seemed to be terrified of any network program that lacks a sponsor. They'll shove in, instead, something else unsponsored, like "recorded interludes," movie gossip, or E. B. Rideout. If they sell the time, all well and good, but too often a perfectly good program will be shoved off the air at the drop of a whim. It isn't only swing music that suffers, either.
The problem is easily circumvented if you have a fairly good radio. With a little patience and some dial-twisting, you can easily find a nearby station that is carrying the program. Movie-Radio Guide is especially helpful for this sort of thing.
For the first time since the King Cole Trio left the air there is a swing program that doesn't feature a big band. It's devoted to a 19-year old girl named Betty Rand, who sings and plays a fine piano. What is really amazing is that in spite of all the devotees of Hazel Scott, Teddy Wilson, and Frankie Carle, here is actually someone who takes after Fats Waller. Betty hasn't got Waller's power or precision, nor has she any original ideas as yet, but I will gladly swap an hour of Hazel's doodlings for a minute of Betty's barrelhouse beat.
She started originally on the Basin Street Chamber Music show and wowed audiences so thoroughly that the powers that be gave her a program of her own. Not only is this a laudable move on the part of the Blue Network, but it is fortunate for the public, as the Basin Street show completely obscures her talents. Betty's program is on WHDH Saturday evenings at 10:30, though it may not be if the Vice-President in charge of The Public Be Damned Division goes to work again.
Since Goodman left the Hotel New Yorker, the most satisfying band is Muggsy Spanier's, on WNAC Tuesdays at 1:15 A.M., Thursdays and Saturdays at 1:30 A.M. For one of the jazz immortals, Muggsy has less ideas, but more drive than anyone I know. The band is rather sad without him, but the Dean Kincaide arrangements are wonderful listening.
Incidentally, for the more classical-minded, the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Ormandy is playing Beethoven's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies Friday afternoon, 2:30, on WNAC.