Phil Spitalny (November 7, 1890, Tetiev, Ukraine (territory of Russian Empire) – October 11, 1970, Miami Beach, Florida) was a musician, music critic, composer and bandleader heard often on radio during the 1930s/40s. He rose to fame after he brought together an orchestra with only female musicians, a novelty at the time.
On radio, Spitalny was introduced as Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra featuring Evelyn and her Magic Violin. The magic violinist was Evelyn Kaye Klein, who used the professional name Evelyn Silverstone. She helped Spitalny find the women he needed to assemble his all-female orchestra. Together, they auditioned more than 1000 musicians in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Spitalny's 22-piece band was known as the Hour of Charm Orchestra during the time it appeared on the radio program, The Hour of Charm, hosted by Arlene Francis. The program aired in various timeslots on CBS and NBC from 1934 to 1948, and sometimes invited famous guests, such as pianists Dana Suesse and Esther Allan.
Spitalny and Evelyn Silverstone married in June 1946.
Films and television
Spitalny appeared in at least ten musical shorts and two features, When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1942) and Here Come the Co-Eds (1945). Between 1951 and 1953, he made three appearances on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town.
In retirement in Miami Beach, Spitalny was a music critic for a local Miami newspaper. He died of cancer in Miami Beach in 1970, aged 79, and is buried in the Tetiever section of Ridge Road Cemetery #2 in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, with other members of his family.
Spitalny has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Phil Spitalny profile, imdb.com; accessed April 25, 2015.
- Swing Shift : “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s
- Sheldon Harris Sheet Music Collection, University of Mississippi Libraries, olemiss.edu; accessed April 25, 2015.
- Tetiever Sections Ridge Road No. 2 Cemetery Cleveland, shtetlinks.jewishgen.org; accessed April 25, 2015.