Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Danny Kaye



Photographs of the inimitable Danny Kaye. His musical ability and flair for physical comedy and tongue-twisting lyrics made him one of my favorite comedic actors growing up. The Inspector General, Hans Christian Andersen, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty were constants in my childhood. Kaye is joyous onscreen, and the palpable fun he has dancing and erupting into seemingly improvised nonsense is irresistible. While searching for these photos, I learned that his wife, Sylvia Fine, wrote the majority of his lyrics which is just so cute, no? There's a quote from her on IMDB about Kaye:
"I can't say what Danny Kaye is like in private life. There are too many of them."
Given her writerly wit and his vivid performances, I'd say they were a perfect creative match.

If you're unfamiliar with Kaye, here are a couple clips to get you warmed up: the gypsy drinking song (by Fine) from The Inspector General (1949), and the pellet with the poison bit from The Court Jester (1956).


Photographs via the Life photo archive.

4 comments:

Lilly said...

oh my gosh these photos make my heart smile. i think i watched hans christian anderson 100 times growing up. my favorite story of my grandfather's was "one time I saw Danny Kaye in an elevator in Manhattan." that was pretty much the entire story from beginning to end but i made him repeat it constantly! thank you for the happy memories on this gloomy dallas morning!

Liza said...

Oh, yay! Danny Kaye was so special to me growing up, but it seems like so many of my friends have never heard of him. I'm glad you were obsessed with Hans Christian Andersen, too!

I wish I could have heard your grandfather's story. :)

Samantha Chu Ramage. said...

my husband and i watched white christmas this year and loved danny kaye's performance in it. they just don't have actors like that nowadays!

xo
sami

Theresa said...

Thank you for the lovely pictures and the interesting text. I'm crazy about the man, the more I learn about him the more I like him. I love his beautiful voice, his gracefulness, his agile hands. He was an incredibly clever person, but not a very easy one. Strangely enough, too much talent and intelligence are not an easy burdeon. Cheers.

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