“Danny Kaye Likes Air”

Gives Up Golf For Planes

The Windsor Star – Jul. 24, 1962

By: Vernon Scott

HOLLYWOOD (UPI) – Chances are that if Danny Kaye isn’t making a movie or signed in a television show he can be found several thousand feet straight up.

Kaye, like Bob Cummings and Robert Taylor, is an airplane nut.

Once a golf fanatic, he shot in the low 70s, the comedian discovered planes and hasn’t picked up a golf club since.

“The accomplishment of flying is one of the great thrills of the world,” he said enthusiastically. “But until two years ago I wasn’t much interested.

“When I came to California in 1942 I had never seen a golf course in my life. But I went one day with Abe Lastfogel and he talked me into hitting just one ball. It went 200 years straight down the middle.

“I told Abe there was nothing to it. Golf was a game for old men.

“A few weeks later I went out on the course again and hit the ball only six feet. So I hired a teacher, bought some clubs and spent six hours a day practicing for five weeks.

“The first time I played 18 holes I broke 100.”

Danny, starring in “The Man From the Diner’s Club,” soon became one of the best actor-golfers in Hollywood. Then choreographer Michael Kidd took Kaye for a spin in a small plane and turned the controls over to Danny.

It was as if Kaye pictured himself in the lead of “Wing.” He attacked flying as he had golf, spending 10 months (while not working) learning all about airplanes.

“I knew nothing when I started,” he said, “But I really worked on navigation, chart reading, radio and civil air regulations.

“I got my pilot’s license July 7, 1960. Since then I’ve owned two planes. My new one is a Beechcraft Queen Air which I bought last February.”

Danny enjoys taking friends for rides and has flown his plane cross country several times.

“It’s a real joy to dispel the ignorance and fears people have about small planes,” he said. “Usually if someone says ‘I don’t like to fly’ it means they are scared. There’s nothing to be frightened about in a small plane. They practically fly themselves.

“My plane is more than a hobby. I use it for business and as an investment.”

What happens if Danny tires of flying as he did with golfing?

“I may take up boats next,” he said.

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