Sunday, November 18, 2007

A-Dora-Hall-Able

In his comment on last night's post (appropriately #666 in case you're counting) featuring Mitzi Gaynor, Bryce Digdug referenced the famed Dora Hall. Dora is an entertainer I never saw in her lifetime but have heard Bryce mention many time. The wife of Solo Cup founder Leo Hulseman, Ms. Hall fancied herself a great performer. Judge for yourself on this rare clip of her singing Hang on Sloopy as to her actual talents. Today that song may seem about as old as the Great Wall of China, but Ms. Hall was born in 1900, about half a century before those for whom the song was intended.

Legend has it, according to Bryce, that in order to promote Dora's career, Mr. Hulseman would run free record promotions on Solo products. You could check a box of records you wanted, usually a list that included contemporary hits of the time by the Beatles, Petula Clark, the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, etc. Solo would then mail you an album with a note on the order of "Thank you for your support of Solo products and participation in our free music promotion. Due to popular demand, The Rolling Stones Beggars' Banquet is currently unavailable. We are pleased to send you instead a copy of Dora Hall's Down at Papa Joe's.

Official information on Dora is hard to come by these days, and a clip of her on I've Got a Secret was yanked from YouTube. Since she was so inescapable in her day, this is a bit surprising. I wonder if the same will be true of Paris Hilton in 2037? In the meantime, you might enjoy this unofficial web tribute to the mysterious career of Ms. Hall. Sadly, she never covered You're So Vain.

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5 Comments:

At 12:11 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

You know, there's a guy who has a blog called "Shari Cherry's Valu-Best Troupe Adores" that started out as this tribute of sorts to the oeuvre of Shari Lewis, but turned into so, so very much more. I think you would enjoy it:
www.rasras-john.blogspot.com

Unfortunately, it seems to have been hijacked by some sort of spambot in late August, and he hasn't written since. But that clip of 'Sloopy' reminds me strongly of th' Troupe Adores (tm).

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Ah nothing better than the 365 day project.

I get my entire playlist from there.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - Well, you know Bryce Digdug was outed by Sheri's Lambchop, but I still love that site. Thanks for introducing it.

Gavin - 365 days project? Sorry, did I miss something in my own post?

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger marxsny said...

I thought she looked a bit like Elaine Stritch in that picture but her voice is nowhere near as harsh as La Stritch.

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger thombeau said...

OMG I totally remember Dora Hall! That worries me.

 

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