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Danny Kaye articles

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  • Daniel E. Harden
    Don t know if this is of interest or not, but I find it interesting, so I thought I would share. Back in the 60 s, my aunt did a school paper on Danny Kaye --
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 6, 2008
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      Don't know if this is of interest or not, but I find it interesting, so I thought I would share.

      Back in the 60's, my aunt did a school paper on Danny Kaye -- he was her favorite as well. In her research, she collected a number of articles from the 50's and 60's, some of which she hand-transcribed. She gave me the pouch with contains all her Danny Kaye research, along with articles which she added when he died. I am going through them, and attempting to transcribe and/or scan them to save them. And I thought it might interest this group to read some of them.

      In going through the articles, I found two which were actually written by Danny Kaye himself. So I started there. Here is the first one I transcribed. Please note that any typos are almost certainly mine, and sometimes I was uncertain about the spelling of names. Without further ado:

      ------------------------------

      THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF CHILD IN EVERY ADULT

      (and a little bit of adult in every child)



      by Danny Kaye



      POSH - Volume 2, Number 3, Fall 1961



      There's no better way to travel than to see the world with, by, for and through its children. It has been my good fortune to meet more than a million children - during seven tours to 48 countries for the United Nations Children's Fund.



      I wouldn't trade the experience for the S.S. Canberra.



      Why, I've learned more from seeing these children than I could have by memorizing all of Baedecker or taking a Cook's Tour of the globe with Mr. Cook.



      The love affair between Danny Kaye and Kids seems to be rather well-known now. When did it start? I really can't recall. I guess I started caring about kids when it was childish to be a child, or even to like one. But I grew out of that and into an understanding that the life and love and the future of the world are best expressed by its children.



      It also seems well established that I make my living as an entertainer. I am proud of my profession. People in show business traditionally are first to lend a hand when needed - and performers usually become emotionally involved with charitable causes. While I have always tried to play my share of benefits, I must admit I was never wrapped up in a cause until one day in 1953 when UNICEF opened up a whole new world for me. This is the wide world, the real world, the laughter-and-suffering world of children.



      We think only of teaching children, but the fact is, we can learn from them. They are much more intelligent than we think, and lacking the complications that adults acquire, they are much quicker than we to know the truth. Furthermore, it's easy to communicate with kids. There are no language barriers. Whether in Burma or Greece or Africa, I've learned that kids behave the same all over the world, and all of them respond to the two international languages - love and laughter.



      Of course, you must shed a few inhibitions if you want real rapport with children. Instead of expecting a kid to act like an adult, you must act like a kid. Don't be embarrassed or afraid to do it, because if you do, the child will sense it and your communication line will be broken.



      So, travelers do all your sightseeing, see the museums, crawl the pubs or whatever it is you like to do when in port. But take a tip from an old wayfarer. Pass up a few ruins and seek out the children at every stop. You'll have fun and you'll learn.



      For those of you who are parents, you might become better parents. I did. There was a time when, to compensate for my travel and long absences from home, I would overwhelm my daughter Dena with affection upon my return - never realizing that it made her retreat.



      Then I visited a hospital in India, where a boy lay ill in his bed and his parents sat silent in a corner. The boy turned his head slowly in their direction, and they walked to his side. A few minutes passed, and he turned his head away again. The parents returned to their corner.



      My UNICEF guide explained the significance of what I had seen. "It is the custom in India," he said, "for the parents to stay by their beloved ones. They do not force themselves on the children, but they are there in spirit and body, so they can be called upon."



      And then I knew how to live with my Dena.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Daniel E. Harden
      Okay, now for another article by Danny Kaye himself that further explains what he alluded to in the Posh article. This one I found quite touching. See what
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 6, 2008
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        Okay, now for another article by Danny Kaye himself that further explains what he alluded to in the Posh article. This one I found quite touching. See what you think. As always, please excuse any typos or misspellings... Also, there are I think three words in this article that are italicized for emphasis. I hope they come out as such.

        Dan

        ------------------------------

        How I Learned a Lesson in Parenthood



        By Danny Kaye



        Reader's Digest, September 1959 (pages 79-82)



        What followed from a poignant scene in a primitive hospital in India



        How many parents, I wonder, have had to learn the hard way, as I did, how delicate the relationship is between an adult and a child, and how easy it is to distort it?



        Like so many other children, my daughter Dena is growing up in a family where her father is frequently away from home; and, like so many fathers, I tried to make my homecomings compensate for these separations. I'd arrive with joyous shouts and a suitcase full of presents, sweep Dena into my arms and smother her with plans for the next day, the next week. I'd hug her close, trying to make up for the lost time, the missed love. But my exuberance just didn't seem to be contagious; at each reunion she responded to me less. And I didn't know what to do about it.



        Then in the spring of 1954, when Dena was seven, I was faced with a protracted absence from home. A U.N. official had said to me, "We're trying to help some children grow up instead of dying at the age of eight or ten, and we'd like you to give us a hand." He explained that an anti-TB vaccine costing only one cent per shot could mean life to uncounted African and Asian children; that one injection of penicillin could cure the terrible ulcers of yaws, that leprosy, malaria, and other ancient scourges to which millions of innocent children are heir could be defeated by modern medicine - if the world would only help.



        He asked me to tour the medical and nutritional stations maintained by the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization, and with a camera crew shoot a color film to be entitled "Assignment Children". It was hoped that this film would focus public attention on the problem and elicit the support so desperately needed. The U.N. official also thought I might be able to entertain the children and help them overcome their fears when suddenly faced by doctors and glittering medical paraphernalia. There was little I could say but yes.



        I delayed telling Dena as long as I could. Then suddenly at bedtime on Sunday evening she looked me in the eyes and said solemnly, "You're going away."



        "Well, ." I said. "Yes." While I stalled and searched for the best way to breaking the news, she had seen the truth and spoken it.



        "When are you going?" she asked gravely.



        "Not for a whole week. And we'll have a ball during that time. A beach party every day, if you like. How about it?"



        "All right," she said, but without enthusiasm. Dena had already gone away from me.



        We opened our tour by joining a mobile U.N. vaccination unit in India, traveling from one small village to another. The children were naturally awed and frightened when we arrived with our needles, and my job was to win their friendship, and confidence. For me to be introduced to them as a movie star was obviously ridiculous. These children didn't know what a movie was. If I exploded upon them with a big fanfare, they'd only see a big-mouthed redhead who made a lot of noise in a foreign language and interrupted something much more important, such as drawing a picture in the dust or thinking secret thoughts. All children fave a great sense of privacy and you violate at your peril.



        I quickly learned to move in quietly, letting them come to me. I'd wander through a village and sit down on the ground someplace, certain that curiosity would eventually lead the children to me. When they got close enough I'd make a funny face at them and there'd be giggles. Soon someone would make a funny face back and we'd have a fine contest going, with everyone laughing and relaxed. Then I'd clap hands and start a follow-the-leader that took us down the lanes and around the temples and pagodas, to end up before the waiting doctors. The children submitted to the injections, comforted not by any skills of mine but because they saw in me a reflection of themselves. Thus the adult would was suddenly not quite so alien and overwhelming.



        I remembered this lesson when I went to entertain patients in the children's ward in Mysore Province in south-central India. It was a day when the vary land seemed fevered. Twenty iron cots lined the walls of a stifling room, and at the far end was an upright piano. The children paid no particular attention to me as I walked down the aisle between the beds, nor did I to them. Standing beside the piano and tapping the beat out lightly, I hummed a song to myself. A couple of little boys glanced at me curiously, then turned back to the beads they were stringing.



        My accompanist whispered to me, "Danny, belt one out! Wake 'em up!"



        I shook my head. "Give me 'Blue Skies', real easy."



        This time I sang the lyrics instead of humming, but quietly, again as if to myself. Several children were gravely watching me now, and by the time I had started the third song a few of the more venturesome had climbed out of bed and come over to the piano. When I finished the song we stared at each other for a moment of dignified silence, then I made a face and they laughed. It was that laughter that brought every child in the room to attention and soon into the party. Their laughter made us friends, not mine. They came to me, and on their own terms.



        But somehow I didn't see how this lesson applied to my relationship with Dena. Not until I witnessed little Kirim and his parents, and their ordeal in a primitive hospital in central India. Kirim was a delicate boy of five, brought in for surgery. He was given an anesthetic, and operated on and placed in a small crib to regain consciousness. Throughout the entire procedure his parents stood reassuringly close by, where, until the anesthetic took over, he could see their calm dignity, their outward appearance of serenity.



        I was nearby when Kirim finally opened his eyes after the operation. If I'd been his father I'd probably have joked and laughed and tried to make the boy look up at the familiar and loved faces of his father and mother, I suddenly realized how wrong I would have been - how deep was their wisdom. They spoke his name and touched his hand, but gave no display of their own concern and emotion. During the following hours they talked only when Kirim wished to talk, laughed only when he did, was silent when he was silent. They did not impose themselves upon him, did not use his small being to ease their own anxieties. They let him decide how much attention he needed, how much love he wanted displayed, and when. They were a great reservoir of strength he could dip into at will.



        After my tour had covered 40,000 miles, through Burma, Thailand and Africa as well as India, I turned at last homeward. Through my memory ran an endless parade of little faces, black ones, brown ones, tan and yellow and golden ones. Now I wanted only to see one small pink and white face. As I stepped from the plane, my wife and daughter greeted me with the reserve that comes from a long separation. I kissed them warmly - but quietly - and the three of us left the field hand in hand. I wanted so to walk doubled over with my face thrust against Dena's, forcing upon her my attention, my love, my accumulated sense of loss. I wanted to hold her tight, literally to squeeze out of her the admission that she had missed me . I wanted it all now, this instant!



        But at last I knew better. She would take her own time before accepting me again as a part of her life. Usually it required about a week, and the more I bounded at her, I realized now, the slower it would be.



        During the drive from the airport Dena's mother and I talked casually about things that had happened at home during my absence. Intuitively my wife understood what I was doing, and together we tried to emphasize not the interruption in our lives but the continuity. We talked as if I had gone away only yesterday. Dena participated in the conversation, but tentatively, cautiously.



        At home we had supper on the terrace and were sitting quietly over coffee when Dena suddenly threw her arms in the air and cried, "How about a beach party tomorrow?"



        "Hey!" I cried in response. "How about that!"



        I opened my arms to catch her as she launched herself at my neck. It had been but three hours since my plane landed.



        Since that day I have tried never to drive my daughter from me by overwhelming her with my own moods. And I've learned that this principle doesn't just apply to long separations. Even when I'm making pictures in Hollywood - coming home each evening after the day's work like so many fathers - I return with some calmness, holding my emotions in reserve to see what her needs may be. I try to be her reservoir of strength.



        Someday, when she's older, I'll tell my daughter why her father changed. Then she will understand what we owe to Kirim and his parents.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Daniel E. Harden
        The rest of the articles, I think, were written about Danny Kaye rather than by him. I have only begun transcribing them, but I will share them as time allows
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 6, 2008
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          The rest of the articles, I think, were written about Danny Kaye rather than by him. I have only begun transcribing them, but I will share them as time allows me to transcribe... Many have to do with his life or his work with UNICEF, some have to do with his show or movies. Hopefully all of them will be of some interest.

          This one is short, from 1954, and is a critique about the movie Knock On Wood.

          Dan

          ------------------

          Color, Comedy - and Kaye



          Saturday Review, April 10, 1954, page 36



          Not even Danny Kaye's most avid admirers, legion though this number be, have been able to applaud wholeheartedly their favorite comedian's more recent films. To be sure, there were always moments they would point to, moments when Kaye managed to break free from the constraints of plot and character that shackled his extraordinary talents and to soar into the realms of controlled hysteria, where he has no peer. For what stood out in films like "Walter Mitty", "The Inspector General", or even "Hans Christian Andersen" were the isolated interludes in which Kaye, generally working with material supplied by his wife, Sylvia Fine, stopped acting out a role and slipped into a song or dance that hadn't the remotest connection with what had been going on a moment or two earlier.



          The good news in "Knock on Wood" (Paramount) is that the clever writer-director team of Norman Frank and Melvin Panama have hit upon a story and a character that permit their star to be consistently funny as the plot unfold, while at the same time introducing Kaye's specialty numbers (again written by Sylvia Fine) easily and logically. The result, inevitably, is one of the finest comedies to hit the screen in a long time. It builds slowly, taking as its point of departure a situation strangely reminiscent of Michael Redgrave's problem in "Dead of Night" a few years ago. Kaye, a nightclub ventriloquist jittering on the verge of schizophrenia, agrees to go to Switzerland for psychiatric care because his dummies keep talking back at him. Just before he leaves, however, a spy stuffs some stolen blueprints for a super-weapon inside his two dolls. Immediately, albeit unwittingly, Kaye finds himself catapulted into the middle of an international situation as rival gangs attempt to snatch papers from him.



          Although the psychiatric aspects of their story are played straight (at one point the dialogue seems to have been lifted verbatim from a college text), fortunately nothing else is. As the scene shifts from Paris to Zurich to London, both spies and story become increasingly opera bouffe. Since the spies not only foil easily but are also highly expendable, soon Kaye has Scotland Yard after him on a multiple murder charge. The ensuing chase finds him posing successively as an Irish tenor in a London pub, the staid salesman of a gadget-ridden British hot rod, and a premier danseur in a Russian ballet - all hilarious and wonderful to behold. It might be added that the ballet, staged by Michael Kidd, contrives to look like a real ballet even when Kaye is whirling like a dervish or intercepting ballerina Diana Adams in the midst of a grande jeté. In fact, there is at all times a keen awareness of just how far to push the farcical and when to keep one foot on the ground. Mai Zetterling is attractive and intelligent as the psychiatrist, David Burns deft and amusing as Kaye's manager and side-kick. But from start to finish "Knock on Wood" is Danny Kaye - and it's grand having him around in a picture that uses him so well.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Daniel E. Harden
          I recently came across the song Delilah Jones at http://bigpopcorn.blog.rendez-vous.be/25864/Danny-Kaye-Delilah-jones/, but the version there seems to be
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 6, 2008
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            I recently came across the song Delilah Jones at http://bigpopcorn.blog.rendez-vous.be/25864/Danny-Kaye-Delilah-jones/, but the version there seems to be clipped, lopping off the end. Does anybody happen to have this song (complete) or the flip side, Molly-O?

            Also, does anybody know about or have the Disco song he did titled "You're My Friend"? Apparently there was a record put out with 5 different versions of it.

            Thanks in advance,

            Dan

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bill Selby
            Thanks very much for transcribing these articles, Dan! Bill ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 6, 2008
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              Thanks very much for transcribing these articles, Dan!

              Bill


              On Nov 6, 2008, at 10:30 AM, Daniel E. Harden wrote:

              > Okay, now for another article by Danny Kaye himself that further
              > explains what he alluded to in the Posh article. This one I found
              > quite touching. See what you think. As always, please excuse any
              > typos or misspellings... Also, there are I think three words in
              > this article that are italicized for emphasis. I hope they come out
              > as such.
              >
              > Dan
              >



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • yipeee@vt.edu
              dan ~ just wanted to say a quick & earnest thanks for making these articles available. how nice of you.. & how interesting! can t wait to get a chance to read
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 11, 2008
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                dan ~
                just wanted to say a quick & earnest thanks for making these articles
                available. how nice of you.. & how interesting!
                can't wait to get a chance to read them.

                cheers,
                ...-elizabeth.


                Date: Thu Nov 6, 2008 10:27 am (PST)
                From: "Daniel E. Harden" danieleharden@...
                Subject: [dannykaye] Danny Kaye articles
                To: dannykaye@yahoogroups.com

                <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dannykaye;_ylc=X3oDMTJicm9hMjJnBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzQyOTI1BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTMzNDI1OARzZWMDaGRyBHNsawNocGgEc3RpbWUDMTIyNjA2Mzg5NQ-->Why
                do we love Danny Kaye so? Is it his




                Don't know if this is of interest or not, but I find it interesting,
                so I thought I would share.

                Back in the 60's, my aunt did a school paper on Danny Kaye -- he was
                her favorite as well. In her research, she collected a number of
                articles from the 50's and 60's, some of which she hand-transcribed.
                She gave me the pouch with contains all her Danny Kaye research,
                along with articles which she added when he died. I am going through
                them, and attempting to transcribe and/or scan them to save them. And
                I thought it might interest this group to read some of them.

                In going through the articles, I found two which were actually
                written by Danny Kaye himself. So I started there. Here is the first
                one I transcribed. Please note that any typos are almost certainly
                mine, and sometimes I was uncertain about the spelling of names.
                Without further ado...

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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