Re: The Jello Singers

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Posted ByLisa Friedrich on April 24, 2003 at 11:15:39:

In Reply to: Re: The Jello Singers posted byTom on October 08, 2002 at 13:32:46:

I was very interested in your note. My grandfather was a friend of Max Smith's, and appeared as an extra on a show Max was in on November 8th, 1954. I'm trying to figure out if this would have been the Jack Benny Show, or some other show.

Also, do you know if Max had a wife named Helen Leyser who's mother was Frieda Weber Leyser? I'd appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you!

: Hi,
: The members of the Sportsmen when they became regulars were:
: Bill Days (1st tenor)
: Max Smith (2nd tenor)
: Marty Sperzel (Baritone)
: Gurney Bell (bass)

: Gurney had replaced Thurl Ravenscroft when he went into the war. Thurl came back in 1948 and while he performed for a few months, was kicked out of the group. Max Smith quit in protest.They ended forming the Mellomen. Thus the Sportsmen became:
: Bill Days (1st tenor)
: Bob Stevens (2nd tenor)
: Marty Sperzel (baritone)
: Gurney Bell (bass)

: Bob Stevens got tired of the travelling and he quit in 1951. So it became:
: Bill Days (1st tenor)
: Jay Meyer (2nd tenor)
: Marty Sperzel (baritone)
: Gurney Bell (bass)

: Jay Meyer decided that 4 years with the group was enough and in late 1954 quit. So:
: Bill Days (1st tenor)
: Bob Garsen (2nd tenor)
: Marty Sperzel (baritone)
: Gurney Bell (bass)

: There seems to have been a battle for control of the group between Sperzel and Days in 1957. Sperzel lost. He was replaced by Jay Moffett. That group stayed together until the group disbanded for good in 1971. Stevens died in 1961. Bell died in 1976. Garsen died in 1992. Moffett died circa 1993. Smith died in 1999. Days died in 2002. Sperzel, Meyer and Ravenscroft are still alive.

: I was friends with Max Smith and Bills Days. They were kind and generous men. Jay Meyer was a very nice man.Marty Sperzel didn't want to be bothered with the past and Thurl kept saying he didn't remember anything.

: John Rarig ONLY performed with the group from 1938-1942. Never as a part of the group when they were regulars. He stayed on as their arranger for the life of the group. He died in 1991.

: The entry in Josefsberg book is wrong about there being "five" of them. He must have remembered Ravenscroft and Rarig from the Frightwig appearance in 1942.

: Hope this helps,
: Tom
: : Acutally the singers weren't transcribed they were right in the studio with the rest of the cast and band. And the singers were called (you may remember them from later episodes), 'The Sportsmen Quartet.' Neither Dennis Day nor Kenny Baker ever sang with them except one time Day accopanied on 'Turkey in the straw' for the thanksgiving show of 1948. By the way the names of the Members were: Bill Days, John Rarig, Thirl Ravenscroft, Max Smith and Marty Spurzel. (Don't ask me why it was a "QUARTET" when there were 5 of them, I have no Idea.)

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