Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Worst of Danny Kaye

As wonderful as this Year in Danny Kaye has been, there were a few jeers.
2013 has been an almost perfect year for Danny Kaye fans, as illustrated by yesterday’s list of highlights. Unfortunately, there were a few low lights, as well:

(1) Farewells.
My favorite part of this job is meeting and sometimes befriending the kind folks who consent to my interviews. My least favorite part is losing them. But, particularly considering most of them are in their 70s, 80s or 90s, it’s inevitable. This year, we bid farewell to:

• Johnny Weiner, as part of the Weiner clan that operated the old White Roe Lake Resort in Livingston Manor, N.Y., had been the sole surviving link to Danny’s days in the Catskills.

• Patty Andrews, the last of the Andrews Sisters, and Danny recorded the duet “Orange-Colored Sky” and, joined by her sisters, 10 other singles that marked some of Kaye's finest audio work (including my personal favorite “It’s a Quiet Town.”)

• Bryan Forbes directed Kaye in his final feature film, The Madwoman of Chaillot.

(2) No New Danny Kaye Show Episodes.
Last year's disc featuring two Christmas shows was to be the first of many episodes of Kaye’s 1960s TV variety series to make it on to DVD. Thirteen months and thousands of DVD sales later, we’re still waiting for more.

(3) The Danny Kaye Online Store.
It was wonderful seeing the Danny Kaye Centennial committee able to purchase the domain dannykaye.com and transfer their content from officialdannykaye.com. But a key ingredient was supposed to be an online store, patterned after the one at www.bingcrosby.com, where fans could buy unique Danny Kaye merchandise.

At Crosby's site, you can buy a half-dozen terrific CDs, two DVDs, three books, apparel, Christmas ornaments, even golf balls. So far, the only things you can buy at the Kaye store are a CafePress-style T-shirt and a coffee mug with the Centennial logo slapped on the front. At the very least they should be selling pressed-to-order CDs. Hopefully the store will make it onto the Top Best List in 2014!


  1. Ditto.. If they can release Carol Burnett's TV show on DVD,
    then why not Danny's show, too? Why are these episodes
    hidden away in the CBS archives?... certainly the issue of music
    rights can be negotiated. The artists who performed on
    Dannys TV show would want these songs and musical numbers
    to be heard again, right ?

  2. They're not hidden away in the CBS archives. The original prints are stored at the Library of Congress and owned by Danny's heir. When/if she wants them released, they will be released (or at least as much material as she can procure the rights for).