Posted ByJim Hilliker on July 14, 2002 at 00:27:57:
In Reply to: Re: The Sportsmen Quartet posted byTom Wagner on July 13, 2002 at 21:46:17:
: 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...
Excellent! I'm so happy to get all this history behind the Benny show and The Sportsmen Quartet....It's always a treat to get such in-depth and accurate information from a person who has close ties to members of such a group of singers and/or performers on a show...I thank you so much for taking the time to give such a complete and accurate answer to my question.
I met Thurl Ravenscroft once at a radio station I worked at in Santa Ana, CA around 1984...I knew his Mellomen connection and doing things for various Disneyland attractions over the years, commercials, TV shows, etc...I think he also sang on the "Old Fashioned Revival Hour" over Mutual and ABC with Charles Fuller in the '40s and '50s...
Anyway, again, Tom, I thank you for answering my
question about the Sportsmen! Now, I know the rest of the story!