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Danny Kaye


Call Me a Cab
Earlier today I went to see a musical based on Danny Kaye's life. One of the highlights was his struggle between his wife Sylvia, and her controlling personality that didn't give Danny much control of his own gigs and material. Brian Childers' portrayal of him was very impressive and I haven't really dwelled much into Danny Kaye's work or life but nonetheless he was Danny Kaye.

So I wanted to see how much is known about Danny Kaye here and what work you have seen and heard from him. Not just motion pictures but stage performances, recordings, and any other information you just know about him.

By the way, I made a
post in the events section to help the production, so if you're in the Los Angeles area, check it out.

Miss Crisplock

A-List Customer
Long Beach, CA
Rumor Only:

Danny Kaye was at one time an intimate of the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson, later the Duke and Duchess of York. He was a bit too familiar with the Prince.

End of Friendship.


Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
One of the best patter comics ever -- he might have been dependent on others for his material, but his *delivery* of that material was entirely his own.

He did, though, seem to have a tendency to place his fate in the hands of others. In addition to his wife, he was extremely dependent on his producer, Samuel Goldwyn, who basically tried to turn him into a new and thoroughly anglicized Eddie Cantor thru the sort of productions Goldwyn put him into during the '40s. When he finally left Goldwyn, he was nowhere near as successful, suggesting that perhaps he really needed that sort of firm guidance for his career to stay on track.


I'll Lock Up
Da Bronx, NY, USA
There's a comment from my esteemed colleague Fletch in another thread where he expressed the opinion that Kaye was excessively sentimental. That may be true, but when I was a little kid I LOVED Danny Kaye! You should have seen my rendition of "The Once Was an Ugly Duckling", when I was about 6 years old!
My in-laws were good friends with Danny Kaye, and told me plenty of stories about him. He was a brilliant man with amazingly varied talents. His variety show in the early 60 was terrific. But some of his best stuff is pretty outdated now, and I can see how some people who don't remember him from his hey day might not understand why he was so big.
I saw a clip of him with a large crowd of childern, when he was touring for Unicef. He had that gang of little kids, none of whom even spoke English, rolling in the aisles with laughter.
His relationship with his wife was VERY odd. According to my mother in law she was just very strange. Very nice, but quite odd.
Anyhow, count me in the camp of die hard Danny Kaye fans.


Call Me a Cab
I love Danny Kaye too. Wonder Man and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are my favorites but he was great playing it straight in Skokie too.

There's a nice passage about him in Ruth Riechl's book Comfort Me With Apples. She says that Kaye was such a good cook that many of the major chefs in LA considered Danny Kaye's house the best restaurant in town.

I've also heard rumors that he had a fling with Laurence Olivier, but who knows?

PS There's a hysterical but rather raw sendup of Danny Kaye's White Christmas for anyone who may be interested. Don't click if you're easily offended.


One of the Regulars
united kingdom
i love Danny Kaye movies...but never knew anything about him...ive often wondered what happened to him ,he just seemed to disappear..yet in most of my "film Review" albums from the late 1940s and early 1950s he is a very prominent Artist!!
Thanx for starting this thread...its made me want to find out more!:eusa_clap

Jack Armstrong

Familiar Face
Central Pennsylvania
At his best, Danny Kaye could be brilliant. The Court Jester, White Christmas and On the Riviera, just to name a few, showcase his many talents at their very best. I've watched all of them many times.

At his worst, he could be way too hysterical and motormouthed for my tastes. Maybe the differences are in the directors under whom he was working at the time.


New in Town
Lincolnshire, Illinois

Kaye was one of dozens performers incubated in the Catskill Mountains between the 30s and 60s.

Billy Crystal tried to capture some of the flavor of that entertainment culture in "Mr. Saturday Night". Any book on the subject will certainly mention Danny Kaye.


One Too Many
Melbourne, Australia
There's a story about Danny Kaye and Charlie Barnet...

No, it's not what you think!

Charlie Barnet recorded "The Wrong Idea" as a parody of the Sammy Kaye Orchestra; there's a line in the song that goes "...so swing and sweat with Charlie Barnet...." A direct reference to "Swing And Sway With Danny Kaye". The song is essentially Charlie Barnet ripping on Sammy. Too funny.

Danny Kaye was apparently furious with Barnet, and told him so. Barnet, being who he was, couldn't care less.

It's an uproariously funny song, and I love it. I will play it on my show when I finish with February (Black History Month).


I'll Lock Up
Da Bronx, NY, USA
If he felt he was being "outed", I could easily understand Danny Kaye's reaction. Being "outed" in that day and age could instantaneously destroy a career.

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