Today’s clip comes from a 1958 recording of “Art Ford’s Jazz Party.” The song is “Ace In The Hole.” It was written by Cole Porter for the 1941 musical “Let’s Face It.” It’s performed here by Maxine Sullivan who I’d never heard of until I found this clip. In 1937, she had a hit record with a jazzy version of the Scottish folk song “Loch Lomond” and she enjoyed a fairly successful career as a big band vocalist through the 40’s. In 1958, probably soon after this film was made, she retired from show business and took up a career in nursing. She made a comeback in 1966 and she recorded several well received albums.
Alberta Hunter, one of my favorite blues/jazz vocalists, also retired from music in the 50’s and took up nursing. When I lived in LA in the 90’s, the bus driver who took me to work every day was a former member of a one hit wonder band. I saw Haywood Nelson who played Dwayne on the 70’s sitcom “What’s Happening” hawking long distance phone plans to businesses at the mall where I worked. I also recognized one of the tellers at my bank from his 70s/80s TV appearances. I suspect LA is full of mundane “After They Were Stars” stories and I really want to say they are just as interesting as the crash and burn “True Hollywood” variety but I doubt that’s true. I’m sure, if asked they’d all say “Hollywood stopped calling but the bill collectors didn’t, so I updated my resumé.” Still, I’d love to hear them anyway. Maybe I could write a book about them all. I’d call it “Tiger Beat To Telemarketing: Teen Idol Transitions.” Someone call Oprah. I’m ready to kick off book tour!