Swing Hostess (September 8, 1944)
Released June September 8, 1944: Martha Tilton was the lead singer for Benny Goodman, and in this swing time drama she is a singer that gets discovered by a famous band leader.
Produced by Sigmund Neufeld
Directed by Sam Newfield
Written by Louise Rousseau and Gail Davenport
The Actors: Martha Tilton (Judy Alvin), Iris Adrian (Marge O'Day), Charles Collins (Benny Jackson), Cliff Nazarro (Bobo), Harry Holman (Fralick, President of United Recording Company), Emmett Lynn (Blodgett), Betty Brodel (Phoebe Forbes), Claire Rochelle (Fralick's secretary Miss Smith), Paul Porcasi (Spumoni, owner of the Tropics Nightclub), Terry Frost (Hank, recording engineer), Philip Van Zandt (Merlini the magician), Earle Bruce (Joe Sweeney), Bob Gooding (first Butch, specialty act), Walter Pietila (second Butch, specialty act), Gene Windson (third Butch, specialty act), Dave White (Chick, Chick and Chuck dance team), John Evans (Chuck, Chick and Chuck dance team)
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Martha Tilton was the famous female singer for the more famous Benny Goodman big band. The Benny Goodman big band created the 'swing' era at a concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1935 when they noticed that teenagers got out of their theater seats during a concert and started to spontaneously 'swing' to the beat in the aisles, creating a new dance craze, and a new music genre. Martha Tilton was advertised as the 'Liltin' Martha Tilton,' with the voice of an angel. In the 1940's, during the second world war, big band 'swing' music was all the rage. I wasn't alive then, but big band swing is my favorite form of music, because for me at least, it is impossible to either frown or keep my feet still while listening to it. I cannot stay in a bad mood while an upbeat swing song is being played. In this movie, Martha Tilton plays a struggling young girl trying to make it big in New York City in this rags to riches tale of music and show business in 1944.
Judy and Phoebe both live in a rooming house in New York City that is filled with aspiring actors, musicians and a magician looking for fame and fortune in the big city. Judy is a sweet blonde with a voice from heaven, and Phoebe is a blonde with a really bad Southern accent, and a singing voice to match. They are both seeking a career, and both show up for an audition for a new show at the Tropics. They both audition, and Phoebe is dismissed as a gal with a really bad voice, but when Judy sings, because of a crisis in the office, no one hears the wonderful voice of Judy. The fellow helping with the audition likes Judy's voice, though, and he gets her into a recording studio to make a free audition record. But this won't be her step to the stars, because just as she ends her recording, the chubby owner of the studio comes in quickly with ditzy Phoebe - he knows she has a bad voice, but he wants to woo her and make her think that she is 'special' - so he sets her up for an audition record. Of course, he knows that her voice is terrible, so when he sees the recording techs putting Judy's record aside to put a new one on for Phoebe, the owner says not to bother with a new record, just add Phoebe's song to the end of Judy's record, so he doesn't have to waste a disk on her.
So now we have a record with Judy's wonderful voice, and Phoebe's not-ready-for-even-the-shower voice on it, and of course, when the big boys put the record on and hear Judy's voice, they believe that it is Phoebe's voice, and sign her to a big contract. Meanwhile, Judy and her friend/agent meet the big producer of the show in a small restaurant and the big producer/band leader falls for Judy, not knowing that she has the voice that he wants. As we munch our hot buttered popcorn this musical tale of rags to riches moves down the track looking like Judy and the band leader will never get together, and Judy will not get her chance at the big time in show business. But of course, in 1944 we could never end a movie on a sour note, so fear not, swing music lover, Judy and the band leader do indeed get together and all ends well for the angelic voice and her handsome band leader. If you want to hear more of Martha Tilton, head on over to Free-Classic-Music, a great source of food for your mobile device - I'll betcha can't keep your feet from tapping to the beat!
Charles Collins kisses Martha Tilton
Cliff Nazarro and Iris Adrian
Ernie Adams stares at Peter Cookson
Cliff Nazarro, the double-talk man
Iris Adrian and Martha Tilton
Martha Tilton and Betty Brodel
Martha Tilton and Earle Bruce
Philip Van Zandt and Martha Tilton