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Song Is Born, A (RKO 1948, Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo)

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Director Howard Hawks puts his own ‘Ball of Fire’ (1941) to music, with the help of guest stars Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and Tommy Dorsey.

While researching the history of jazz for a collaborative project, a group of tweedy professors led by Kaye gets a lively lesson from a sultry nightclub singer (Virginia Mayo) on the lam from both her gangster boyfriend and the district attorney. As spirited as its predecessor, this boasts charismatic performances, especially from the above-mentioned big-band guests and other musical stars such as Mel Powell, Buck and Bubbles, and Charlie Barnet.

Actor Will Lee appears in his feature-film debut in the movie playing a waiter. He would become best known as Mr. Hooper, one of the original characters on TV’s Sesame Street, from 1969 to 1982.

production details
USA | RKO | 113 minutes | 1948

Director: Howard Hawks
Script: Billy Wilder, Harry Tugend, Thomas Monroe,

cast
Ben Welden as Monte
Sidney Blackmer as Adams
Benny Goodman as Professor Magenbruch
Lionel Hampton as Lionel Hampton
Ludwig Stössel as Professor Traumer
Danny Kaye as Professor Hobart Frisbee
Virginia Mayo as Honey Swanson
Louis Armstrong as Louis Armstrong
Tommy Dorsey as Tommy Dorsey
Mel Powell as Mel Powell
Charlie Barnet as Charlie Barnet
The Golden Gate Quartette as Samba Kings
Page Cavanaugh Trio as Page Cavanaugh Trio
Hugh Herbert as Professor Twingle
Steve Cochran as Tony Crow
J. Edward Bromberg as Dr. Elfini
Felix Bressart as Professor Gerkikoff
O.Z. Whitehead as Professor Oddly
Esther Dale as Miss Bragg
Mary Field as Miss Totten
Howland Chamberlain as Mr. Setter
Paul Langton as Joe