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Hildegarde’s Radio Room - AFRS Pgm 26 - Oct 16, 1945

April 25th, 2008

In this post, "Hildegarde's Radio Room", AFRS Pgm 26 in the series, originally broadcast on NBC, October 16, 1945 as "The Raleigh Room". The guests include Jackie Keck of "The Aldrich Family", Ned Sparks, Hank Greenburg, and Paul McGrath, the host of "Inner Sanctum"; the music is by Harry Sosnick and his Orchestra.

Hildegarde got her start in vaudeville and first gained fame in Europe, signing a contract with the BBC in the 1930s. She returned to the US in the late 1930s and gained a Time magazine cover and even had a lipstick and nail polish color named after her. Walter Winchell dubbed her "The Incomparable Hildegarde". Her signature song was "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup", written by her manager and companion of twenty years, Anna Sosenko. Sosenko's NY Times obituary noted,

"No one knows why she and Hildegarde parted in the mid-1950's, but they eventually made up. Two days after she turned 85, Hildegarde was performing at the Russian Tea Room in 1991 and, of course, offered a rendition of her 1934 signature song, ''Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.'' She observed that it was a song she never grew tired of singing. Ms. Sosenko, who had composed it and was one of many friends and well-wishers in the audience, brought down the house when she countered, ''But I'm tired of it.''"

By the late 1940s, Hildegarde was the highest paid caberet singer in the world, released dozens of LPs in the 50s and 60s and sold out Carnegie Hall on her eightieth birthday. The Wisconsin Historical Museum has a photo of Hildegarde appearing on her radio show, circa 1945, on this page. There's also info on a record Hildegarde made to promote her home state that included the song "My Milwaukee".

Hildegarde has a wonderful singing voice, but the constant smiling and upbeat tone and that little laugh can get a bit grating sometimes, at least to me.

Post updated with corrected date of Oct 16th. - 28 April 2008

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