Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: The Best of Danny Kaye

2013: The Year in Danny Kaye
An avalanche of wonderful DVD and Blu-Ray releases was the highlight of 2013 for this Danny Kaye fan.

Danny Kaye fans have had plenty to rejoice about this year. There haven’t been this many opportunities to enjoy the performer’s work since before he passed away in 1987.

Here were my Top 10 Danny Kaye highlights of 2013:

(1) DVD Bonanza.
Aside from dozens of low-budget releases of the public domain The Inspector General, Kaye’s movies have never been that accessible on home video. That all changed over the last few months, with the release on DVD of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the four-pack Danny Kaye: Goldwyn Years, a combo Court Jester/Five Pennies disc, and pristine Blu-Rays of Knock on Wood, On the Double, and On the Riviera.
That leaves just two Kaye features unavailable—the sadly neglected Me and the Colonel and the not-so-sadly-neglected Man from the Diners Club.

(2) Library of Congress Website.
 Accessed at, the new Danny Kaye/Sylvia Fine collection website is a godsend for all Kaye fans and researchers. You’ll find recordings of songs, radio shows, short films, rare family photographs, Sylvia’s hand-drawn orchestral scores and typed lyric sheets, scripts, personal letters, and more—without having to make the trip to Washington, D.C.

(3) Dena Kaye’s Tireless Pounding of the Pavement.
Danny and Sylvia’s daughter Dena deserves much of the credit for not only funding the centennial celebration that inspired most of these products and tributes, but also for constantly making herself available for interviews and events. Her energy and her presence are what kept this event—and her dad—in the public eye for so long.

(4) TCM Moviethon.
Turner Classic Movies celebrated Kaye’s birthday with a day-long tribute that did as much as anything to shine a light on his finest work.

(5) The Danny Kaye Show on Sirius Radio.
The private-access radio network has been regularly airing dozens of episodes of Kaye’s old radio series. Many of the programs haven’t been heard since they first aired in the 1940s.

(6) The Traveling Library of Congress Display.
That a sampling of artifacts from the LoC collection was on display in their reading room’s foyer was neat, for the hundreds of visitors who came across it. Even better was when the collection was moved to Los Angeles, where it could be enjoyed by the thousands.

(7) Instant Downloads.
Kaye has definitely arrived in the here and right now. This year, several of his movies became available as instant downloads on iTunes.

(8) The New Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
In making his new film, Ben Stiller intentionally tried to steer clear of Danny’s version, but—considering the movie's high profile—its mere existence should send thousands of fans clamoring to check out the original.

(9) Danny Kaye Film Festival.
Attendance may have been small, but the love for Danny in that conference center was palpable. And they booked a great speaker with a terrific slide show!

(10) The Clicks Keep Coming.
It’s been supremely gratifying to see readers continue to stream to this blog and continue to purchase copies of my book, Danny Kaye: King of Jesters. It shows me that indeed the world has not forgotten about—and still enjoys the work of—Danny Kaye. 


  1. There is a beautifully remastered DVD of The Madwoman of Chaillot available from the Warner Archive collection.

  2. CMCB09
    Thank you for the heads up! I hadn't heard about this release and will have to add it to my collection. And I'll amend the article appropriately.

  3. I like this column very much! I'm glad to hear you clamor for
    more episodes of "The Danny Kaye Show" to come out on DVD.
    Certainly the whole 4 years would be fantastic. Danny in his
    TV show is my favorite version of Danny, since I was a young kid
    when I saw it and fell in love with this amazing, wonderful, charming performer.
    And thanks for mentioning our Danny Kaye Film Festival as one of
    your 10 highlights (!); We worked hard for 2 years to put on a really entertaining festival, and to get Danny Kaye fans together to enjoy
    his movies. Our festival was an historic event, showing 10 Danny Kaye movies in 2 days ! It was great fun for all who attended. And yes, the speakers were great, too .. :)

  4. I have been one of the many "clickers" who frequently visits this blog. Though I don't post much on the Internet, I was delighted to read this entry, and happy to say that I was able to participate in a number of these events, including the film festival in Pasadena, and a return to Southern California a couple of months ago to see the Library of Congress exhibit at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. David, it was a pleasure to meet you at the Danny Kaye Film Festival nearly a year ago, and I so enjoyed the slide show that you presented. I admire the years of research that went into your book, "Danny Kaye: King of Jesters," and what I love most is that I can open my autographed copy to any page at any given point and start reading about what was happening in Danny's life and career. It's kind of like having a written transcript of everything that's on the Kaye/Fine website at the Library of Congress! Thank you so much for all you have done to keep Danny's star shining before the public, and for not forgetting that there is a contingent of fans in whose hearts Danny Kaye holds a very special place. My best to you always.

    1. Wonderful post, Debra! It's good to see you step out of lurking mode and post your well-written comments..:) It was great having you attend our Danny Kaye Film Festival in January 2013. You were one of the most enthusiastic DK fans there... it was great to share our love of Danny Kaye and watch 10 movies together with everyone that came..

    2. Debra, it was my pleasure meeting you. And thank you so much for faithfully reading this blog and the book, as well.

  5. David, did you know that Official Danny Kaye (Facebook page) has finally acknowledged you and this blog? (it's about time, right ?...) They posted a link to this post, "Best of Danny Kaye"...
    .-> Danny Kaye fandom should be united, not divided.

  6. DKFF, thanks for the heads up! I see they've reprinted the post on, as well!