Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique

Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique

by Joseph Lanza, Dennis Penna
     
 

The Hollywood Babylon-like story of the short-lived, Valentino-like crooner.

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Overview

The Hollywood Babylon-like story of the short-lived, Valentino-like crooner.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Lanza (Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak) and character actor Penna have concocted a fascinating glimpse into the world of early 20th-century music and film with this biography of crooner Columbo (1908-34), a rival of Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee now largely relegated to obscurity. The authors trace Columbo's brief life as the youngest of 12 children of Italian immigrants, recounting his early violin studies, performances accompanying silent movies, years on the club circuit to radio fame, motion picture roles, and untimely death owing to the accidental firing of a pistol by his longtime friend, photographer Lansing Brown. Along the way, he encounters stars such as Pola Negri, dates comedienne Carole Lombard, runs afoul of organized crime figures through gambling, and suffers both contractual disputes with managers and up-and-down financial situations. The period photos, supportive documentation, and catchy wording add to the impact of this item, while some bizarre musings in a chapter on his "spirit" strain the reader's credulity. This effort is welcome, but Michael Pitts and Frank Hoffmann's recent The Rise of the Crooners, which includes a chapter on Columbo, should be sufficient for most libraries. Recommended where interest warrants or for comprehensive American popular culture or popular music collections.-Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780922915804
Publisher:
Feral House
Publication date:
11/01/2002
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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