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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Category Archives: Musings

Today would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. She was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. At least that’s would we now believe to be true. Ella Fitzgerald left much about her earliest years shrouded in mystery. She was fanatically guarded about her history and her privacy. For example, her birth date […]

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I wrote yesterday of my first Sinatra concert in April of 1980. In truth, It was the only actual “Sinatra Concert” I ever attended although I did see him perform live one more time about four years later in the summer of 1984. Back in those days, Sammy Davis Jr. used to host a Pro-Am […]

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Heartbroken yesterday¬†to learn of the passing of Vinnie Falcone, pianist, arranger, and musical director of some of the greatest interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Mr. Falcone was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. He played in clubs in small combos and large aggregations starting in the 1950s. In the early 1970s he decided […]

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Happy Birthday to one of the most talented men in the history of American entertainment! I love Carl Reiner for numerous reasons and projects that he has given the world. Nevertheless, he could have invented the light bulb and I still wouldn’t have been as grateful for that daily necessity as I am for his […]

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Ron Glass died over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the age of 71. He was best known for his luminous portrayal of Det. Sgt. Ron Harris of the 12th Precinct on the classic 1970s/1980s ABC sitcom, Barney Miller. He was also known for his role in the Sci-fi cult hit Firefly as Shepherd Book. Glass […]

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Facebook just reminded me that today would have been Billy Wilder’s birthday. Billy Wilder was a wonderful screenwriter who turned into one of the greatest and most important film director’s in all of history. Back in the 1980s when I was still in my teens and twenties, I desperately wanted to be seen as more […]

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Here’s an interesting little piece. It comes from an A & E Biography on Arthur Godfrey. It provides a good basic telling of the story surrounding the La Rosa dismissal by Godfrey. It should be noted, however, that as writer Gene Lees brought up with Julius La Rosa during one of their many discussions over […]

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Julius La Rosa is not well-remembered these days and that’s a shame because he was one of the greatest of all the vocal interpreters of The Great American Songbook. Not only that but he was also one of the most knowledgeable vocalists when it came to the history, backgrounds and accomplishments of the great songwriters […]

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That ephemeral something called star quality – if there ever was living proof that it’s real, that proof is Julius La Rosa. Watch La Rosa in a nightclub, singing masterfully, magnificently, and you’ll appreciate star quality. It’s the thing that’s missing. Roy Hemming & David Hajdu, Discovering Great Singers of Classic Pop, 1991 That quote […]

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Don’t ask me how I stumbled upon this today but I’m so glad I did. This is truly classic TV from May of 1974. Don Rickles was 48 years old. This coming Sunday, Mother’s Day 2016, Don Rickles turns 90 years old. If you’ve been watching Don Rickles for 52 years like I have, this […]

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