Entertainer Friendships Can Make Careers Skyrocket.
Rudy Vallee (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was a popular American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, he grew up in Westbrook, Maine. In high school he took up the saxophone and acquired the nickname. “Rudy” was the name given after famous saxophonist Rudy Weidoeft. Vallee became the most prominent and arguably the first of a new style of popular singer, the “crooner”. Previously, popular singers both needed and had strong projecting voices to fill theaters. Such were the voices neededin the days before the microphone. New style crooners had soft voices that were well suited to the intimacy of the new medium of radio.
Vallee came often to play at the Paramount. Rubinoff told me about Rudy admired his playing and conducting of his overtures. Vallee was a sensation at that time with the college crowd. Everyone loved his Whiffin’ Poof Song. What is Whiffin’Poof? The Yale Whiffenpoofs is a collegiate a cappella singing group established at Yale University in 1909. It is the oldest such group in the United States. The line-up is completely replaced each year: Rising seniors comprise its members. They often take a year leave of absence from the university to tour the United States and internationally. Former members included Cole Porter & Jonathan Coulton!
“The Whiffenpoof Song” (Rudy Vallee, 1927) – YouTube
Dave often talked with me about how they ate, drank and signed autographs together. Also about how they enjoyed each others company and respected each other’s art. Comically, Rubinoff admired how Vallee spoke perfect English with impeccable diction. Dave, by comparison, was often unhappy about how he spoke with a heavy Russian accent. Rudy would then assure him not to worry because his violin would speak for him. Rudy guided Dave to his first job on the Chase and Sanborn radio hour. The rest is history.
internal link: Rubinoff Friendship with Will Rogers and His Special Poem