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'Goodbye' to Benny Goodman

June 21, 1986

While your Benny Goodman obit details his demands on his musicians, it omits how he handled his employers. My father, the late producer Sol Lesser, had a Goodman experience making "Stage Door Canteen" in 1942.

Canteen featured six bands, topped by Goodman. The show was great, but the smash bit was the new platinum blonde Peggy Lee sing-songing over Goodman's clarinet, "Get out and get me some money, you." It was sizzling, sultry sex then, but the message was so valid even women liked her. Peggy's deadpan was in startling contrast to the contemporary smiling girl singers.

I asked my father where he found the blonde bombshell. He answered, "I didn't. Goodman said he'd do the picture only if he could include a number with his new singer."

So Goodman made demands on everyone--out of a good head.

The six bands, which also included Guy Lombardo, were supplied by Jules Stein who made his demands: "No other bands but mine."

JULIAN BUD LESSER

Los Angeles

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