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Ghost Singers

Ghost Singers
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Ghost Singers
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

It’s Freiday.

Well, sort of. It is Friday as I start this note to you.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra made two films in 1941 and 1942. Actress Lynn Bari starred in both as “girl singers” of the Miller Orchestra.

Apparently Miss Bari didn’t sing, or didn’t sing well enough, so the studio employed a “ghost singer, Patricia Freiday, professionally known as “Pat Friday.”

Ghost singers were paid for their work but did not receive credit.

Miss Friday and her husband were neighbors of a struggling radio actor/producer who sought to make a career from cop dramas, Jack Webb.

Webb was wildly successful with his radio, then television shows. He created “Joe Friday,” admitting he borrowed the last name from his neighbor.

The show’s theme song is identifiable to anyone who heard “DUM – de – DUM – DUM.”

Pat Friday didn’t have the looks of a Lynn Bari, few women did. She had marginal success as a singer under her own name but found her niche as a ghost singer.

In the film “Sun Valley Serenade,” Miss Friday is heard with Ray Eberle singing the original version of “At Last” which was written for that film and made famous again by Etta James in 1960.

The same song writers penned “I Know Why And So Do You” which featured Miss Friday but not in the 78 rpm recordings of both songs.

If you enjoyed Marni Nixon’s singing, you didn’t know it.

Ms Nixon was another “ghost singer” whose voice was dubbed for Debra Kerr in “The King and I,” Natalie Wood in “Westside Story,” and Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.”

While the actresses were very well paid for their performances, Ms Nixon wasn’t paid enough to buy a used car.

All three of these films were nominated for Academy Awards, and soundtrack recordings added to the pile of cash. It was Ms Nixon’s uncredited voice on the recordings. Nope, not even a used car.

She finally appeared as a voice with a face and a name. She was cast as one of the singing nuns in the film “The Sound of Music.”

Also in that film, it was not Christopher Plummer singing “Edelweiss” but ghost singer, Bill Lee.

Ms Nixon died in New York City in 2016, the same year we lost Patricia Freiday Vinson at age 94 in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Time for another cemetery tour.

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