Today is the birthday of Petula Clark (b. 1932). Those who know her primarily from her 1960s pop hits might be surprised to learn that that was actually her SECOND career. She began as a child performer on radio and in “the halls” during World War II. She was frequently paired on bills with fellow child performer Julie Andrews. Here is early Petula in action:
Her hit records as an adult are too many too count, but today I just want to point your attention to an interesting one. Nowadays, film buffs have a tendency to regard Charlie Chaplin’s last film A Countess from Hong Kong (1966) as an unmitigated disaster. And for the most part it was. But there was a silver lining. He put lyrics to the theme music from the film (which he of course composed) and called it “This Is My Song”. Petula had a #1 hit record with it.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.