Horace Heidt

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Heidt in 1937

Horace Heidt (May 21, 1901 – December 1, 1986) was an American pianist, big band leader, and radio and television personality. His band, Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights, toured vaudeville and performed on radio and television through the 1930s and 1940s.

Early years[edit]

Born in Alameda, California, Heidt attended Culver Academies. At the University of California, Berkeley, he was a guard on the football team. A broken back suffered in a practice session caused him to give up football, leading him to turn his attention to music. He and some classmates formed a band, The Californians.[1]

Career[edit]

From 1932 to 1953, he was one of the more popular radio bandleaders, heard on both NBC and CBS in a variety of different formats over the years. He began on the NBC Blue Network in 1932 with Shell Oil's Ship of Joy and Answers by the Dancers. During the late 1930s on CBS he did Captain Dobbsie's Ship of Joy and Horace Heidt's Alemite Brigadiers before returning to NBC for 1937–39 broadcasts.[2]

Singer Matt Dennis got his start with Heidt's band, and Art Carney was the band's singing comedian. The Heidt band's recordings were highly successful, with "Gone with the Wind" going to No. 1 in 1937 and "Ti-Pi-Tin" to No. 1 in 1938. In 1939, "The Man with the Mandolin" ranked No. 2 on the charts.

His and his band played on the NBC Pot o' Gold radio show (1939–41).[3] The 1941 film of the same title, produced by James Roosevelt (son of the U.S. president) and directed by George Marshall, starred James Stewart and Paulette Goddard, and it featured Heidt portraying himself with his band. Carney can be glimpsed in some of the film's musical numbers. The movie gives a fairly accurate depiction of Heidt's radio show but features staged sequences, such as a scene in which a Minnesota farmer (allegedly phoned at random by Heidt during his radio show) is played by well-known character actor John Qualen.[2]

From 1940 to 1944 he did Tums Treasure Chest, followed by 1943–45 shows on the Blue Network. Lucky Strike sponsored The American Way on CBS in 1953.[2]

On December 7, 1947, NBC launched The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program and accordionist Dick Contino, the first winner of the $5,000 prize, soon had his own show. Heidt's talent search catapulted such performers as Art Carney, Frankie Carle, the King Sisters, Alvino Rey,[3] Gordon MacRae, Frank DeVol, Johnny Standley and Al Hirt. When the program expanded from radio to television in 1950, it was one of the first talent shows on TV. Other winners included the Philharmonics, vocalist Ralph Sigwald, and blind marimbist Pierce Knox.

With fame, Heidt moved into the then-new Brentwood neighborhood of West Los Angeles at 1525 San Vicente Boulevard. He bought the mansion from the widow of a retired dentist; it offered stunning views of Santa Monica Canyon, overlooking the Riviera Country Club and Catalina Island on a clear day. The expansive chateau-style residence, featured in 1927 on the cover of the rotogravure magazine Pictorial California, has long since been razed and the property subdivided.

Death[edit]

Horace Heidt died in 1986 and was interred at Forest Law Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.[4]

Chicago Connection[edit]

In 1936 Horace Heidt conducted an ensemble of eight musicians all of whom played harmonica on Saturday evenings at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.[5]

Legacy[edit]

For his contribution to radio, Heidt has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1631 Vine Street; and a second star for his contribution to television at 6628 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2001, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[6]

His 1941 song, "The Hut-Sut Song", is heard in the movie A Christmas Story.

After his retirement, Heidt built a 160 unit, 10 acre luxury retirement resort community in Sherman Oaks, California.

Horace Heidt, Jr. wrote a book of the life and times of Horace Heidt. Titled, "Horace Heidt: Big Band Starmaker".

Discography[edit]

Billboard Hits[edit]

The songs are listed with the most widely successful first.[7]

  1. I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire 1941 US Billboard 1 - 1941 (13 weeks), Australia 1 for 2 months - Oct 1942, US 1940s 2 - Sep 1941 (11 weeks), DDD 10 of 1941, US invalid BB 17 of 1941
  2. Deep in the Heart of Texas 1942 Australia 1 for 2 months - Dec 1943, US Billboard 7 - 1942 (6 weeks), US 1940s 7 - Mar 1942 (4 weeks)
  3. Ti-Pi-Tin 1938 US Billboard 01 - 1938 (13 weeks), Your Hit Parade 9 of 1938
  4. The Hut Sut Song (A Swedish Serenade) 1941 US Billboard 03 - 1941 (13 weeks), US 1940s 3 - Jun 1941 (6 weeks), DDD 46 of 1941
  5. G'bye Now 1941 US Billboard 02 - 1941 (12 weeks), US 1940s 2 - May 1941 (7 weeks)
  6. Gone With the Wind 1937 US Billboard 01 - 1937 (9 weeks)
  7. This Can't Be Love 1938 US Billboard 06 - 1938 (5 weeks), Jazz Standard 123
  8. Goodbye Dear, I'll Be Back In A Year 1941 US Billboard 03 - 1941 (14 weeks), US 1940s 8 - Jul 1941 (2 weeks)
  9. The Man With The Mandolin 1939 US Billboard 02 - 1939 (10 weeks)
  10. Don't Fence Me In 1945 US Billboard 10 - Feb 1945 (2 weeks), US 1940s 10 - Feb 1945 (2 weeks)
  11. Shepherd's Serenade 1941 US Billboard 07 - 1941 (8 weeks), US 1940s 7 - Dec 1941 (5 weeks)
  12. Once in a While 1937 US Billboard 02 - 1937 (7 weeks)
  13. Lovelight in the Starlight 1938 US Billboard 03 - 1938 (14 weeks)
  14. Sweet as a Song 1938 US Billboard 03 - 1938 (9 weeks)
  15. Little Heaven of the Seven Seas 1937 US Billboard 03 - 1937 (5 weeks)
  16. Vieni Vieni 1937 US Billboard 04 - 1937 (4 weeks)
  17. This Time It's Real 1938 US Billboard 06 - 1938 (10 weeks)
  18. Rosalie 1938 US Billboard 06 - 1938 (4 weeks)
  19. There's a Goldmine in the Sky 1937 US Billboard 05 - Dec 1937 (4 weeks)
  20. Hot Lips 1937 US Billboard 05 - 1937 (4 weeks)
  21. It's The Natural Thing To Do 1937 US Billboard 05 - 1937 (5 weeks)
  22. Little Sir Echo 1939 US Billboard 07 - 1939 (5 weeks)
  23. Tu-Li Tulip Time 1938 US Billboard 07 - 1938 (3 weeks)
  24. Penny Serenade 1939 US Billboard 08 - 1939 (7 weeks)
  25. Shabby Old Cabby 1939 US Billboard 09 - 1939 (3 weeks)
  26. My Marguerita 1938 US Billboard 08 - 1938 (4 weeks)
  27. I Long to Belong to You 1939 US Billboard 12 - 1939 (7 weeks)
  28. Heigh Ho 1938 US Billboard 12 - 1938 (2 weeks)
  29. Sweet Someone 1937 US Billboard 09 - Dec 1937 (9 weeks)
  30. Tomorrow Night 1939 US Billboard 16 - 1939 (1 week)
  31. Dawn of a New Day 1939 US Billboard 17 - 1939 (2 weeks)
  32. When They Played the Polka 1938 US Billboard 14 - 1938 (2 weeks)
  33. That Old Black Magic 1943 US Billboard 11 - 1943 (3 weeks)
  34. The Girl In The Bonnet Of Blue 1938 US Billboard 15 - 1938 (4 weeks)
  35. Let's Stop the Clock 1939 US Billboard 20 - 1939 (1 week)
  36. Oh Marie Oh Marie 1937 US Billboard 12 - 1937 (2 weeks)
  37. Lovely One 1937 US Billboard 12 - 1937 (2 weeks)
  38. This is the Army, Mr Jones 1943 US Billboard 20 - 1943 (1 week)
  39. The Miller's Daughter Marianne 1937 US Billboard 17 - 1937 (2 weeks)
  40. In the Mission by the Sea 1937 US Billboard 17 - Dec 1937 (2 weeks)
  41. Friendly Tavern Polka 1941 US Billboard 08 - 1941 (15 weeks)
  42. Three Little Sisters 1942 US Billboard 18 - 1942 (1 week)
  43. Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep 1942 US Billboard 19 - 1942 (2 weeks)
  44. Pennsylvania Polka 1942 US Billboard 21 - 1942 (1 week)
  45. When You Wish Upon a Star 1940 US Billboard 12 - 1940 (5 weeks)
  46. Carle Meets Mozart (Turkish March) 1942 US Billboard 22 - 1942 (1 week)
  47. B-I-Bi 1941 US Billboard 10 - 1941 (10 weeks)
  48. Make Love with a Guitar 1940 US Billboard 18 - 1940 (2 weeks)
  49. Mama 1941 US Billboard 14 - 1941 (6 weeks)
  50. Stars & Stripes Forever 1940 US Billboard 26 - 1940 (1 week)
"Friendly Tavern Polka" was re-released on 3-25-44. It was US Billboard 24-1944 (1 week). "Pound Your Table Polka" sung by Mary Martin was US Billboard 22-1942 (1 week). "It's in the Book" sung by Johnny Standley was US Billboard 1-1952 (2 weeks) million seller.[7]
  • Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights with Conley Graves at piano
    • 1949-50: Horace Heidt presents Conley Graves and his piano magic (coffret 4 microssillons EP 78™)[8]microssillons EP 78™ Magnolia records - Magnolia MA 504-1 à MA 504-8[9].
    • 1949-50: A1. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart / B1. From The Broadway Show Thumbs Upmicrossillons EP 78™ Magnolia records – Magnolia MA 504-A; mx MM-119-1C.
    • 1949-50: A1. You Took Advantage Of Me. (From The Broadway Show Present Arms) / B1. ?microssillons EP 78™ Magnolia records – Magnolia MA 504-A; mx MM-119-1C.
    • 1949-50: Dark Eyes/ (fox trot) Columbia 78rpm 35918(H139) "Horace Heidt and his musical Knights".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Broken Back Helped Heidt To Success in Show World". Capital Journal. August 6, 1951. p. 17. Retrieved July 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  2. ^ a b c Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  3. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 2, side B.
  4. ^ Horace Heidt at Find a Grave
  5. ^ Photograph of Horace Heidt and eight harmonica musicians performing at the Drake Hotel Chicago in 1936 – Brian G. Bardy
  6. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
  7. ^ a b [1]
  8. ^ See Worlcat note Horace Heidt presents Conley Graves and his piano magic. See 29 May 2013.
  9. ^ Matrices de gravure MM-113-1C--MM-114-1C (matrix), MM-116-1C--MM-119-1C (matrix)

External links[edit]