Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!
Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find it informative!
Jane Froman–The Greatest Singer You Never Heard Of
Her name is not much remembered today, but in her time, she had a reputation equal to that of Judy Garland and exceeding that of many others whose names are still well-known.
Her name was Jane Froman, and she literally did it all – singing with Big Bands, on radio, on Broadway, in Hollywood films – and, of interest to cabaret artists and fans – at an extensive number of nightclubs between 1940 and 1960. The list of nightclubs where the late Ms. Froman performed includes the Persian Room and the Copacabana in New York City, The Flamingo and Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Mocambo in Hollywood, Coconut Grove in Los Angeles…the list goes on and on.
What was remarkable about Jane Froman’s later career is that she continued her busy performing schedule despite the fact that she could barely walk, or even stand. On the way to Europe to perform with the USO in 1943, the plane in which she and other entertainers were traveling crashed. She was one of the few survivors, rescued by the pilot (whom she subsequently married).
Despite her injuries, Jane Froman continued her USO tour, then returned to the States to resume her singing career, which lasted until well into the 1960s.
Jane Froman’s life up through the the 1950s was the subject of a 1955 feature film, With a Song In My Heart. Most biopics take considerable liberties with the truth, but this film is surprisingly accurate and frank in its portrayal of Ms. Froman. Susan Hayward plays the lead role in this film, but Ms. Froman does all the actual singing.
A more in-depth biography of Jane Froman is posted at her Centennial website, which went up just prior to what would have been her 100th birthday in 2007 (Ms. Froman passed on in 1980 at the age of 73). This website, while extensive, does not appear to have been updated recently, however.
Jane Froman sang in the alto range. Her voice was highly disciplined, very consistent throughout her career, and had a rich quality that was very much “legit” rather than jazz or pop – due to the fact that her early vocal training was classically oriented. She might have been a fine opera diva; however, her interests lay in the popular songs of the day. Thus, the opera world’s loss has been cabaret’s gain.
But don’t take my word for it – listen to Ms. Froman for yourself.
Here is a recording from early on in her career (she was about 27 at this point):
Here is the wonderful Rodgers and Hart ballad with which she will forever be associated (it looks like Susan Hayward, but it’s definitely Ms. Froman singing):
Finally, just for kicks and giggles, here is an episode of the popular game show What’s My Line? in which Ms. Froman is the “Mystery Guest.”
Have you seen With a Song in My Heart? Do you have favorite Jane Froman recordings? Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!
We appreciate your support!
Till next time,
ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party will begin anew on Monday–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or website link every Monday through Thursday. Link is below.
Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time