Wowsa! This has been a month of birthdays here on Phantom Empires! Basil Rathbone, William Boyd, Pol Plançon (HERE), Arthur Conan Doyle, Manly Wade Wellman (HERE & HERE)...so many incredible artists! Well, today is also the birthday of another great character, in the form of the amazing actor/singer Cliff Edwards, also known as Ukulele Ike!
Known to film fans primarily for his most famous character, the melodious insect Jiminy Cricket, Edwards was also known worldwide throughout the 1920's & 30's as a jazzy, Ukulele-strumming singer. He recorded charming pop songs prolifically, either as a solo performer or with his "jazz" group, the Hot Combination. His voice was so mellow and comfortable; listening to him is like a favourite uncle telling stories by a warm campfire.
The movie studios apparently saw this charm, and thus cast him in a slew of B-reel movies, primarily westerns. Edwards made a fantastic sidekick. He spent lots of time at the side of Tim Holt in the singing buddy role, but also to such cowboy stalwarts as Richard Dix, Charles Starrett, and Russell Hayden. Some titles include: Pirates of the Prairie, Lawless Plainsmen, Sagebrush Law, Thunder Over the Prairie, Red River Robin Hood, Overland to Deadwood, and many more such titles, evocative of both the classic B-reel wild west, and a bag of popcorn at a Saturday matinee!
Here's the man himself, singing himself a tune for his birthday, in colourful singing cowboy style...but with a western swing twist!
Check out my musical Cliff Edwards birthday post on my music page, HERE
6/18/2014 10:32:35 pm
Nice post, and a really fun little You Tube clip. Man, I've GOT to get a hold of those Tim Holt western sets from Warner Archives...they look like some good old shoot-'em-up fun!
6/19/2014 05:22:06 am
Thanks! Yeah, Cliff Edwards was in a number of the selections on those sets, and if you do the math on the complete run, it's nearly 50 movies! In spite of the regrettable DVR format, getting pristine copies of this stuff is like gold.
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Here is my (ever-growing) list of Mountie movies and serials! Enjoy!
Classic Film & TV Cafe'
RIDING THE HIGH COUNTRY
SHADOWS & SATIN
LAURA'S MISC. MUSINGS
LADY EVE'S REEL LIFE
They Don't Make 'em Like they Used to
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear