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These Headliners Actually Graduated


WHEN radio announcers introduce a certain number called Stardust, they still reverently tell the audience that the composer is Hoagy Carmichael. Most song writers usually remain anonymous over the air--while the orchestra gets the credit.

Privately and publicly, Mildred Bailey, the Rocking Chair Lady, who used to sing flaming torches with Paul Whiteman, reverently remembers Hoagy for his Old Rocking Chair. When Al Jolson first went on the air, he relied heavily on Lazy Bones, and that was one of Hoagy's tunes too.

Hoagy himself is an ascetic, sad faced gentleman. Unlike most radio and screen celebrities (who began college) Hoagy actually did get the law degree all the others seemed to start out to get before joining an orchestra and leaving--and Hoagy had an orchestra, too. This is a matter of pride to Kappa Sigma, the fraternity Carmichael joined soon after he entered the University of Indian in 1920. There, in the famous Indiana Book Nook, Hoagy used to make his classmates weep as he played the original Old Rocking Chair, so sad a composition that his publishers made him tone its tragic lyrics down.

WHEN Carmichael finished Indiana in 1926, he had a law degree and a reputation for really making the Jordah River Campus Reviews something. He sadly told his orchestra boys that from now on he was a lawyer. A year later he came back from a Florida law office, reorganized the orchestra, and began to use a melody called Stardust as his signature song. That song was published; and Hoagy left the orchestra to spend all of his time working out the tunes that troubled his sad soul. You know them: Georgia on My Mind, One Morning in May, Moon Country, Snowball, and many other mournful plaints that made music publishers glad. His last song was Judy. Hoagy has many more lachrymose reflections on romance and the Southland which he saw so briefly as a barrister in Florida. You'll hear from him some more.

WHEN NBC wants a professorial touch to its programs, John B. Kennedy becomes the narrator. John B. Kennedy has the positive and sure voice of dignity. He thought so when he was a student at St. Louis University before the Great War. His great opportunity to show it came when he was scheduled to appear on a platform in the college quad with two other students. They were going to tell just why they thought Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Howard Taft should be the next president. In this exercise in civics, John B. was to speak in behalf of President Taft. He walked in gave his speech; then locked the others out of the hall. Taft lost St. Louis, Missouri, and the election. In 1913, the next year, however, John B. was graduated with honors from St. Louis University.

After working on newspapers in St. Louis, Chicago, and Montreal, John B. Kennedy became an associate editor of Collier's magazine. He specialized in writing breezy interviews with stage and screen celebrities. Kennedy was a man of the world and he knew bow to keep out too much breathless adoration of the great.

IN 1924 Collier's decided to buy an hour on NBC John B. Kennedy was the staff orator, and easily got the job of putting on the program. He doesn't write anything anymore except radio lines for himself. You may have heard him with Lawrence Tibbett last year. This winter he is appearing over NBC with a big cast that will dramatize the day's news on the air, John B. Kennedy will be there to comment on the commentators and lend dignity to the whole affair.

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