“Fine Future Assured For Danny Kaye”

Lewiston Morning Tribune – Aug. 21, 1944

By: Robbin Coons

Hollywood—After “Up in Arms” many who saw it wondered what else Danny Kaye could do, having done so much in one picture. It looked as if the boy had shot the works.

If so, Danny is challenging fate in his second film, “The Wonder Man.” In it there’ll be two Danny Kayes for the price of one. In color, too.

Danny plays Buzzy Bellew, brash and gaudy nightclub entertainer, egocentric darling of cover-charge society. He also plays Buzzy’s twin brother, Edwin Dingle, a heavy-spectacled adult quiz kid, whose idea of a good time is a day in a reference library.

That may give an inkling as to how Danny, the wild man, the frenetic , will live through the assignment. It was as Buzzy that Danny, leaping through a big paper drum in a nightclub number, landed off balance and fell on his leg to become a casualty and hold up the production as it was getting under way. Danny as Edwin Dingle would never, never do a thing like that, unless he happened to drop an unabridged dictionary on his toe.

And how will Danny’s career live through such generous outpourings of his specialties as distinguished “Up in Arms?” Well, look at his back-log of experience:

When Danny came to Hollywood a year ago, a Broadway sensation in “Let’s Face It” but generally unknown here, few except Sam Goldwyn were excited. Paramount had bought “Let’s Face It” for Bob Hope, but Goldwyn had bought Danny. A lot of folks confused him with Sammy Kaye (no relation) and inquired about his band. “Up in Arms” made him an overnight sensation, which he is anything but.

“What no one seems to realize,” he said, “is that for 12 years I played every whistle stop in America and beat my brains out all over the world.”

After high school in Brooklyn came a run of miscellaneous jobs—soda jerk, insurance investigator, waiter, general funny man, juvenile and character actor in summer camps, where he fell in the pool fully dressed to amuse depressed guests. He toured in the country in vaudeville, went to the orient with a tab show, toured with Sally Rand, then played the Dorchester hotel in London.

In 1939 he met Sylvia Fine, a young writer of lyrics and music, and his luck climbed. Sylvia bought him to Max Liebman, with whom he wrote “Straw Hat Revue”—and Danny got his first good notices from New York critics.

When the show closed, Danny and Sylvia were married—with a capital of either $70 or $10 between them. Sylvia had $40, but Danny isn’t sure whether he had or owed $30. This financial state was bettered by an offer from a plushy Manhattan bistro, and from there the going was up, especially after Moss Hart wrote him into “Lady in the Dark.”

With 12 years like that, and Sylvia still doing his material, Kaye can’t be a “one-picture sensation.” He could make two a year from now on, and never run out of gags.

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