Thursday, December 15, 2011

Remembering Danny Kaye

I am re-posting my "K" from the 2011 A-Z Challenge.  Why?  Why not?

As a child, the first color TV I had ever seen was at a friend of my father's, Ed House.  He and his wife had no children.  A few days before Christmas, our parents would take us to the Five-and-Dime store (Ben Franklin's) and give us each $5!! We each headed off to shop for our family of seven and grandparents.

Afterwards, we stopped by Ed's house where the adults sat in the kitchen drinking coffee.  We were parked in front of the color TV!  That first year I was amazed and delighted by "White Christmas" in color.  In color!

So I post this tribute to Danny Kaye, and his comrades, who made this memory possible.

K is for…Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye was an amazing actor, dancer, singer, comedian, and a self-less humanitarian.  Born in the 1913 of immigrant Jewish parents, Danny Kaye was a truly self-made man, who happened on entertainment as a career, purely by accident, and of necessity.  That said, learned from Wikipedia, I have to say that Danny Kaye was someone who influenced my life.

I was all of ten years old when I saw “White Christmas” in color at a friend’s house.  Danny Kaye was supposed to be the comic relief to the somber Bing Crosby, but in my view.  Danny Kaye took off with his part and dominated the screen.  At my young age, I didn’t see the sizzling desire between Bing and Rosemary Clooney.  What I saw?  Danny Kaye, with his rubbery face, funny voices, danced without the demands of gravity.  Danny Kaye made me laugh.

Year later, I saw much more of Danny Kaye in different movies.  He was Hans Christian Anderson in one film, then he was a court jester in another.  He had a successful television variety show, which always began with one of his famous tongue twisters:

“git gat gittle-giddle-di-ap, giddle-de-tommy, riddle de biddle-de-roop, da-reep, fa-san, skeedle-de woo-da, fiddle de wada, reep”

Danny Kaye was so versatile as a performer, and even more so in his personal life.  He was involved and interested in learning.  He was an accomplished pilot, an internationally recognized Chinese chef, a regular USO performer, an ambassador for UNICEF, and even an honorary member of the American Medical Board of Surgeons.

The thing I will always remember about Danny Kaye is that at the end of each TV episode, Danny would dance freely around a white sound stage, with each step displaying his joy in life.  He died at the age of 71 following complications of heart surgery and heart attack.  

This post is part of the tribute to the A-Z 2011 Challenge.  My own reflection will be posted on Dec. 16, 2011.  Please be a part of this reflection time, as we gear up for the next Challenge!

A-Z Challenge 2012


  1. i loved him too and his enjoyment of life.

  2. I can still remember sitting in the movies watching Hans Christian Anderson, "I'm Hans Christian Anderson, I've many a tale to tell."
    It still is one of my favorite flicks of all time.

    Danny lived his life quite well!

    Thanks for the memory.

  3. First time you saw a color TV. hmmm can't say I can remember that experience, being as they were already out..haha White Christmas is a good holiday film too.

  4. White Christmas is one of the most wonderful movies ever. I love Danny Kaye. Now I need to go watch it...

  5. I LOVE Danny Kaye as well. I remember all those movies, and also one that we watched a lot as kids called The Five Pennies about a musician whose daughter had polio. LOVE him, and I'm hoping to catch White Christmas as a rerun over the holidays. :0)

  6. I just read a biography about Irving Berlin (side note: it was awesome) and it mentioned that Danny Kaye only landed the role in White Christmas because a lot of other big names pulled out. I love White Christmas. Thanks for sharing some facts about his life.

  7. Thanks for this nod to the A to Z Challenge. It's funny, just the other day I was recalling to my mother the first time I remember seeing color TV back in 1955. My aunt had died and we were at her in-laws, who were rather wealthy. Even at 4 years old I could see that the color quality was not very good, but still it was dazzling to see having been accustomed to only watching a B & W TV with maybe a 15" screen.

    Our family didn't get a color TV until about 1967 and TV was never the same after that.

    A to Z stories starting 12/12 and the official A to Z Badge is now revealed
    Blogging from A to Z

  8. Lee, you and I must be the same age! Not many in our community had color for many years; my parents bought a color TV when I was in high school. The old black box b/w TV finally could not be fixed.

  9. He was amazing :) I really want to watch "White Christmas." I love that show and I bet my kids would get a kick out of the "sisters" song :)

  10. I've never seen White Christmas, but it was great to read your memories of it and Danny Kaye. :)

  11. I, too, love "White Christmas". Our downtown theater always shows it the Wednesday afternoon before Christmas on the big, big screen for FREE! A couple of friends from church join me for lunch beforehand and then we go to the movie together. Danny Kaye's joy stirs joy in my own heart!
    Merry Christmas, Susan!
    2 Encourage


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!