“a fascinating look at the early years of live television…” Radiogram Magazine, June, 2009
A review of The Lucky Strike Papers is featured on Billy Ingram’s website TVparty.com. The review says, in part:
"In the world of books about classic television there aren't a lot of original ideas. Profile some shows and try to provide some fresh insight, that's pretty much the standard.
"But The Lucky Strike Papers is truly unique. It's Andrew Lee Fielding's archeological dig into the career of his mother, Sue Bennett, a popular singer on early TV programs like Your Hit Parade, The Freddie Martin Show, and Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge."
The book, Ingram writes, “would be a terrific book to take on vacation.”
The book focuses on the early television programs on which author Andrew Fielding's late mother, singer Sue Bennett, appeared, including these programs on NBC: Kay Kyser's College of Musical Knowledge (in 1949 and 1950), The Freddy Martin Show (in 1951), John Conte's Little Show (in 1951) and Your Hit Parade (in 1951 and 1952). In 1949, she also starred on a weeknight TV program on the Dumont Network.
The Lucky Strike Papers features conversations with singers, bandleaders, dancers, writers, directors, producers, and others from the shows on which Ms. Bennett sang--including such vocalists as Dorothy Collins, Snooky Lanson, Eileen Wilson, Russell Arms, and Merv Griffin; bandleaders Raymond Scott, Kay Kyser, and Milton DeLugg; comedian and musician Merwyn Bogue (also known as Ish Kabibble), host/singer/actor John Conte; choreographer Tony Charmoli; directors Buzz Kulik and Clark Jones, and producer and director Perry Lafferty; Fred Rogers (later known as Mister Rogers), who in the early 1950s worked as a floor manager on Your Hit Parade; film director Arthur Penn (briefly a floor manager on The Freddy Martin Show), and many others.
Mr. Fielding's writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Providence Journal, The Boston Herald, The Philadelphia Daily News, HorizonMagazine, and other publications. He has also worked as a radio talk show host--in Philadelphia, in suburban Philadelphia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and, most recently, in northern New Jersey, where he currently lives.
Sue Bennett, on the cover of a 1950 issue of the Omaha magazine "TV Showtime."
In August of 2009, Andrew Fielding spoke about The Lucky Strike Papers, and early television, at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, which at the time was held in Aberdeen, Maryland. He took part in a panel discussion, with authors Jim Rosin (whose books include Adventures In Paradise: The Television Series), and Linda Alexander, who discussed her book Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, and Communism." The host of the panel was author Gregory Mank, whose most recent book is Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together).
Here is the web address for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention:
A review of The Lucky Strike Papers was posted in November, 2008, on Michael Coston’s nostalgia-oriented blog, “Master of My Public Domain.” The blog focuses on “Public Domain Movies, TV Shows, and Old Time Radio shows available for free download off the Internet.”
He wrote, in part:
“For anyone curious at all about the early days of live television, and the transition from radio to TV as being the dominant form of home entertainment, this book is a delight... “It makes a worthy addition to anyone's library, and would make a terrific Christmas gift for anyone with a love of nostalgia… “Highly recommended.” http://masterofmypublicdomain.blogspot.com
*********** An April, 2008 review on Blogcritics Magazine (http://blogcritics.org), called The Lucky Strike Papers "an outstanding new book." The book, wrote criticBig Geez, "is a rich history of the early days of TV, complete with lots of pictures and trivia, and a number of delicious inside stories--some that will surprise you, even if you think you might remember a lot about an era when DuMont was both a TV network and a manufacturer of television sets..." He wrote: "Early TV was a fascinating world, and reading about it is the next best thing to having been there."
*********** A January, 2008 review on cashboxmagazine.com gave The Lucky Strike Papers five stars. The review said: "The Lucky Strike Papers is a must read for anyone wanting...insights [into] early American television." **********
Kay Kyser on TeleVision Guide magazine, 1950; Cast of "Your Hit Parade," 1952; Kay Kyser Orchestra record, 1950. (collage by Jenny Lynn)
Are you part of a monthly reading group? If so, and would like to put The Lucky Strike Papers on the group's reading list, multiple discounted copies can be provided. For more information, please contact: email@example.com
Contents of this web site copyright Andrew Lee Fielding, 2007, when not otherwise noted.
In late January, novelist, playwright, and non-fiction writer Jacqueline T. Lynch reviewed The Lucky Strike Paperson "New England Travels," one of her blogs.
She wrote: "It’s a splendid book, sensitively written, that chronicles the phenomenon of live TV, and the musical variety type programs which are no longer with us."
She also wrote: "Mr. Fielding manages to write a very personal memoir about a story that was not his own, and that is something wondrous."
A special offer: The cover price of "The Lucky Strike Papers" is $24.95. For a limited time, you can purchase the book, here, for $19.95 (which includes Media Mail Shipping). Please scroll to the bottom of this page, to learn more about this offer.
To read the blog for The Lucky Strike Papers, please click on this link:
NEW: To hear interviews from Andrew Fielding's "Radio Once More" program, please click on the "Radio Once More" link in the navigation bar, at the left side of this page.
A review of The Lucky Strike Papers appeared on 4/7/10 on the website “Television Obscurities"(www.tvobscurities.com).
The review says, in part:
“I had no expectations prior to starting [the book], and no real idea of who Sue Bennett was, but after finishing it in late March I can say without hyperbole it was one of the best works on early television I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Fielding has done a remarkable job capturing a time period when television was new, broadcasts were live and those working in the medium were learning on their feet."
The review also says: “The Lucky Strike Papers is not a biography of Sue Bennett. At times, her name may not be mentioned for dozens of pages as Fielding delves into the production of Your Hit Parade. While this might seem somewhat curious, recall that the subtitle to Fielding’s work is not 'Journeys Through My Mother’s Past' but 'Journeys Through My Mother’s Television Past.' What he has accomplished with The Lucky Strike Papers is something more than a biography. Fielding has crafted a narrative unlike any other I have read, one that uses his mother’s television career as a focal point for a fascinating examination of the medium, one that relies on first-hand accounts, reviews, photographs and viewings of kinescopes.”
A review of The Lucky Strike Papers, written by Gary Coville, appeared in the August, 2009 issue of Radiogram. Radiogram isthe magazine of the prominent OTR (Old Time Radio) organization SPERDVAC (the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy). The magazine is edited by Dr. Patrick Lucanio.
Please click on image, below, to read the beginning of Gary Coville's review.
An article in the June, 2009 issue of “Radiogram” said this:
"Two recently published books are required reading this summer and deserve places on any OTR and early television bookshelf." One of the books referred to was “The Lucky Strike Papers.”
The book, the magazine said, is “a fascinating look at the early years of live television…” The story said: "Those truly interested in the transition, as it were, from radio to television in the late 1940s and early 1950s will find the work most interesting."
Brief story about "The Lucky Strike Papers" in the May, 2009 issue of Wayne (NJ) Magazine. Story is by Rita Gernant. (Please click on above image to enlarge.)
********** The syndicated radio show “Big Band Jump,” which originates in Atlanta, is heard on a great many stations in the United States and Canada. The show airs weekly, for two hours, and features music from (and music related to) the big band era. The host of the program is broadcast veteran Don Kennedy.
The March-April, 2009 issue of the show’s “Big Band Jump Newsletter”—the first issue in the newsletter’s 21st year of publication—included a brief piece about The Lucky Strike Papers. (While The Lucky Strike Papers is largely about the early years of television, it also concerns a concurrent time: the closing years of the big band era.) The book, the newsletter observed, “takes us inside early TV to let us in on the confusion, uncertainty and thrill of performing ‘live’ in a black and white world before videotape…” To find a radio station in your area which carries “Big Band Jump” (or to find out how to listen on-line), please go to: http://www.bigbandjump.com/. The web site also includes information about subscribing to the “Big Band Jump Newsletter.”The newsletter is published six times a year; the cost of a yearly subscription is $24.95.
*********** Radio Interviews: "The Live Show," on the Internet radio station "Radio Once More," with hosts Neal Ellis and Ken Stockinger (www.radiooncemore.com); "TV Confidential," Internet show, with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte (www.tvconfidential.net, and www.shokusradio.com); "Dave White Presents," Internet variety show (www.ksav.org, and www.audioentertainment.org); "The Jordan Rich Show," WBZ-AM, Boston (www.wbz.com); "The Frank Truatt Morning Show," WTBQ-AM, Warwick, New York; "The Sam Greenfield Show," WVNJ-AM, northern New Jersey; "The Positive Community Hour," with host Theresa Nance, WKMB-AM, Plainfield, NJ; "Charlottesville--Right Now!," WINA-AM, Charlottesville, Virginia; "The Steve Leveille Broadcast" (with guest host Morgan White, Jr.), WBZ-AM, Boston; "1550 Today," with host Sybil Tonkonogy, WNTN-AM, Newton, Mass; "Talk San Antonio," with Ron Aaron (airing on KQXT-FM, and five other San Antonio Clear Channel stations).
*********** David Baer reviewed The Lucky Strike Papers in the “About Books” column of the Bucks County (PA) Herald. In the review, which appeared in the weekly newspaper’s November 20, 2008 issue, Baer wrote: “The author has given us an enlightening view of what early TV was like…" He writes: "Those of us who lived in that time and watched the early TV shows will love the memories this book revives…”
The Fall 2008 issue of "The Voice," the quarterly newsletter of the California-based non-profit organization Society ofSingers, featured a brief, positive review of The Lucky Strike Papers. The review was by Jerry Sharell, who was, at the time, the group's president.
The book, the review said, includes "great stories about Merv Griffin, Kay Kyser, Milton DeLugg, Ish Kabibble and Mister Rogers."
On the cover of "The Voice," there is this motto, about the Society of Singers: "Helping Professional Singers Through Times of Crisis."
The organization provides financial assistance to singers; it also "awards scholarships to students pursuing an education in the vocal arts."
Sue Bennett, Andrew Fielding's late mother, was a supporter of the group. Fielding has also been a member for a number of years.
To support this fine organization, please visit its web site: www.singers.org
Merv Griffin, Sue Bennett, and Murray Arnold singing on NBC-TV's "Freddy Martin Show," 1951. Photo by Jenny Lynn, made from video of kinescope. Image used by permission of NBC Studios, Inc.
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