Posted ByTom Wagner on July 13, 2002 at 21:46:17:
In Reply to: The Sportsmen Quartet posted byJim Hilliker on July 13, 2002 at 21:02:11:
The Sportsmen "officially" joined The Benny show in Sept. 1946. They stayed through (at least) 1963. They made several appearances before becoming regulars. They were Jack's Lawyer's in January 1942 episode of The Frightwig Murder Case. They sang the "Yhtapmys" jingles. They sang "That's for Me" with Larry Stevens on January 6, 1946.
The members when they became regulars were Bill Days (top tenor), Max Smith (2nd tenor), Marty Sperzel (baritone), and Gurney Bell (bass). Contrary to popular stories, John Rarig (baritone) did not sing with the group on the show (when they were regulars). He stopped singing in 1943 and stayed as their arranger. Thurl Ravenscroft was the original bass of the group and left for the war in 1942. He came back in 1948, made a few appearances and ended up being booted from the group. He left with Max Smith and they formed The Mellomen.
According Bill Days, who passed away on May 6, 2002 at 91, Mahlon Merrick was the one who got them into the show. He had worked on some recordings with them and suggested to Jack that they be hired.
They were also featured on The Judy Canova show, Eddie Cantor show, Sealtest Village Store, Ginny Simms show, Blue Ribbon Town with Groucho Marx, Phil Harris/Alice Faye show among others.
I was friends with both Bill Days and Max Smith so if you have any other questions on The Sportsmen let me know. I collect their recordings and radio shows.
I hope this helps...
: Today, I was listening to a syndicated radio show that is heard in my area every Saturday, called "Big Band Jump"...
: During one segment of today's show, they featured The Sportsmen Quartet, and talked about their fame mainly from being featured on the Jack Benny radio program..
: A couple of their recordings were played, and the host said they usually were known for short songs, so that more commericals or comedy could be fit into a radio
: Can someone tell me how long The Sportsmen Quartet was on Jack's radio program, what years that covered, and why they were hired for his show? I know little about them, except for what I heard today and the few Benny radio programs I've heard, which is likely not many, compared to some others in the club.