A jazz-age entertainer who was a fixture of radio, film and early TV programs, Jimmy Durante enjoyed an unsurpassed career in music. He also managed to create some of the only songs that are still sung today by children worldwide.的
The “Jimmy Durante Biography, Songs, & Albums” is a biography of the famous jazz singer and actor. It has information on his life, songs he sang, and albums that he recorded.
Jimmy Durante is the only performer who can legitimately be considered to have carved out his own comedy territory, made a big career out of it over many decades, while totally holding that piece of turf lock, stock, and barrel. There has never been, and is unlikely to ever be, a stylistic school of Durante; the man and his persona are one and the same, deeply imprinted in the national memory. Anyone dumb enough to begin taking any portion of his performance would be quickly labeled a slavish imitator — someone just “doing Durante” — and forever compared to the one and only genuine “Schnozzola,” falling well short of the mark. On the surface, Durante’s great success violated all established show business rules. He should not have been able to put over a song as effectively as he did with his gravelly voice. No one as unattractive as him should have earned as much money as he did off of his looks, much alone parlayed them into a movie career. No one dressed rumpled clothes and a beat-up fedora (to hide his sparse hair), smoked a cheap cigar, and mangled the English language with more elegance and humour than he did. Jimmy Durante did more to win the hearts of his audience by just being himself — a humorous Everyman from the impoverished side of town. He couldn’t sing well, didn’t look well, and had the arrogance to keep bringing it up. He dressed like a bum and couldn’t make a whole phrase without mispronouncing some (or all) of the words. On the surface, Durante didn’t have much of a showbiz resume, but his unmistakable charm stemmed from his status as an ordinary guy who, as one critic put it, “acted like a heckler from an audience who had finally decided he could do a better job himself and, upsetting all conventional show business decorum, had snuck into the spotlight.” Jimmy Durante was not a subtle man; whether he was smashing a piano and throwing the pieces at the audience, singing a song like “I Know Darn Well I Can Do Without Broadway (But Can Broadway Do Without Me?),” or doing a complete 180 and revealing the wistful side of his character, he tapped the deepest of emotions every time and did it at full throttle.
On February 10, 1893, he was born James Francis Durante into an Italian neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, only a few blocks from Chinatown. He exhibited an early proclivity for the piano, and this is, without a doubt, his most underappreciated gift. His parents hoped that he would use his aptitude to join the classical sphere, but even as a little kid, Durante was already forging his own path: “My teacher attempted to compel me to play “Poet and Peasant.” I played “Maple Leaf,” “Popularity,” and “Wild Cherries” since I couldn’t think of anything else at the time, and I still can’t think of anything else now.” Those who heard him in his pre-comedy days of working in Harlem clubs and Coney Island clip joints praised him as the best of his type, a white ragtime piano guy. Ragtime Jimmy, his original stake name, had a stronger African-American sense for the ivories than anybody of his skin color. His left hand was a law unto itself, but his right could unite with it to elevate ragtime to the rank of American art in the early twentieth century. He was that talented. Inside Diamond Tony’s, a typical Coney Island bar, singing waiters (one of them was a young Eddie Cantor) went through their paces, it was the 17-year-old Durante’s responsibility to collect all the modest tips the servers could kick his way. Cantor was known for being able to gather every piece of chump coin that came his way without skipping a beat; he was Coney Island’s greatest nickel kicker.
Durante was working at the Club Alamo in Harlem by early 1916, when he formed a sextet known as “Jimmy Durante’s Original Jazz Novelty Band.” It was a loud little combination, and they had to hold up signs when they performed waltzes and fox trots so their ear-bludgeoned audience knew what to do. During Durante’s time at the Alamo, one of the supporting acts began referring to him as “The Schnozzola,” which would become his most lasting moniker. The act was an instant success, performing at every speakeasy in New York. He wasn’t singing, talking, or making jokes in the performance yet; he was just playing his piano in his exuberant way.
Durante was said to be a quiet guy who was afraid to bring attention to himself because of the cruel abuse he had received as a youngster regarding his appearance. The most of the mocking centered on the size of his nose, which became even bigger when it was broken by a gang of schoolboy bullies and healed wrongly. To break up the show, his pal Eddie Cantor persuaded him to get up while performing and start shouting obscenities at his drummer. He hesitated at first (“I couldn’t do it; I’d be worried people would laugh at me”), but quickly realized that the sound of audience laughing wasn’t that horrible after all. The dice had been rolled. The performance was garnering a lot of attention, but Durante wasn’t making a lot of money off of it. After earning just $100 a week at the Club Nightingale, he was persuaded by a waiter there, pal Frank Nolan, that he could become a billionaire in no time if he opened his own club. Durante moved into a loft above a used-car store in Manhattan and began seeking for business partners. Eddie Jackson, a singing waiter, and his song-and-dance partner Harry Harris were also on board. The four men opened the Club Durant, one of the most renowned and iconic speakeasies of the Prohibition period, with its unusual spelling owing to the partners’ lack of funds for the additional “e” on the neon sign, according to folklore.
Despite Durante’s well-known local following, the club did not take off right away. But one of the frequent customers was Lou Clayton, a soft-shoe dancer who was well-known in vaudeville circles. Clayton recognized promise in the endeavor, particularly as a platform for exposing Durante’s relatively untapped comic ability. The three guys came up with an act that made the audience in the little bar feel like they were in the midst of an extremely violent cartoon or all three acts of a three-ring circus after buying out Harris’ stake and joined forces with Clayton and Durante onstage. As remarked by prominent critic John Fisher, “The astonishing ferocity with which their hilarious performance bounced from one to the other, with Jimmy rushing back and forth, always the focus of attention, established an unsurpassed standard for improvisational cabaret comedy. It would be unfair to claim that they pulled out all the stops, but that was only because the stops in their mad universe were endless.” The trio of “Clayton, Jackson, and Durante” would develop an unbreakable bond that would survive long after they had ceased performing as a unit, in fact, until death did them part.
On any given night, their star-studded crowd may include authors like Damon Runyon, Ed Sullivan, and Walter Winchell, Broadway artists like George Jessel, Al Jolson, and regular George M. Cohan, as well as renowned criminals like Waxey Gordon and Legs Diamond. The group quickly found employment elsewhere once the authorities padlocked the premises in the late 1920s, making successful ventures on Broadway and the nightclub circuit of the day. When Hollywood came knocking, it just wanted Durante. Clayton stayed on as his manager, while Jackson stayed on as one of several “vice presidents,” continuing supplying material to the stage performance, as he began working independently in a no less frenetic way.
Initially, he was paired with fading silent star Buster Keaton as part of his MGM movie contract. Despite reports that the two men disliked working together because they felt the other was restricting their own approaches, they produced a number of excellent pictures together, notably 1932’s Speak Easily. Durante’s arrival in Palooka two years later brought the song “Inka Dinka Doo,” which would become his lasting theme. Hollywood Party, Roadhouse Nights, Student Tour, George White’s Scandals, Cuban Love Song, Music for Millions, It Happened in Brooklyn, and The Milkman are among his other cinematic credits. In addition, the Durante schnozzola made multiple cameo “appearances” in other Walt Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons of the time, establishing himself as a national celebrity and an immediately identifiable comedy symbol.
By the late 1940s, he was hosting his own radio program, and collaborating with artists as diverse as Alan Young and Garry Moore. But it was when television became the new dominating medium that he finally found his (second? third? fourth?) stride. The television remake of Club Durant starring Eddie Jackson introduced Durante to a whole new audience who had never seen him perform in a nightclub before, and it was a huge hit. Even though it was a standard variety program (featuring guests like as Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker, and others), Durante’s wild energy paired with his established persona made for an hour of television unlike any other. For this new audience, many of the previous songs and routines were reproduced, but the largest alteration in Durante’s performance occurred with the show’s conclusion. The new TV conclusion was significantly more solemn than his signature head-waggling, fedora-shaking “hot cha cha” set-closing walk-off. “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are,” Durante said as he walked through consecutive spotlights, each one farther away until he vanished. He turned to both the studio and the invisible television audience and said, “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” Durante was equally adept at wild slapstick and tugging at an audience’s emotions. He was as active as ever in the 1960s, with numerous TV assignments and a lot of nightclub work. His nature remained the same, but in his latter years he was filled with an old man wistfulness that made him even more attractive. In 1963, at the age of 70, his renditions of old favorites, titled September Song and released by Warner Bros., were an unexpected Top 40 album smash. That same year, he appeared in Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World as Smiler Grogan, and his cameo deathbed speech saw him actually kick the bucket.
Throughout the remainder of the 1960s, Durante’s weak health deteriorated. After a stroke in 1970, he was confined to a wheelchair and his acting days were reduced to old film snippets and scrapbooks. Regardless, his network of friends and old buddies persisted with him until his heart stopped beating on January 20, 1980. Jimmy Durante, if any comic can legitimately be described as one-of-a-kind, merits that title and so much more.
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Jimmy Durante was a highly successful American jazz singer, comedian and actor. He is best known for his distinctive voice and for the song “Inka Dinka Doo.” His songs were recorded by numerous artists including Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. Reference: jimmy durante as time goes by.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Jimmy Durantes most famous song?
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Why did Jimmy Durante say good night Mrs. Calabash wherever you are?
A: Jimmy Durante is a famous American jazz singer, actor and comedian from the early 20th century. He was known for his distinctive deep baritone singing voice and comedic improvisational skills in vaudeville.
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