David Weiner, Swing Era scholar and friend from ‘way back, sent along these pictures of Mildred Bailey — looking more sunny — and news that she did appear in a 1933 Universal Pictures musical short subject (not yet transferred from the negative) in which she sings IS THAT RELIGION in “full go-to-meeting garb,” happily.  Waiting eagerly . . .

Until that surfaces on DVD, here are three photographs of Mildred — I’ve only seen the middle portrait study:

In the first, she’s in a CBS television studio.  The pianist is Ellis Larkins.  Can anyone identify the bassist?

I see Mildred’s Native American heritage in her facial structure here.

Here’s the more cheerful portrait, date unknown:

Finally, a publicity shot of Mildred and Benny Goodman — possibly 1939-40, when she recorded with the band for Columbia.  Mildred is pointing at Benny’s tiepin.  Readers are free to add their own subtexts.

Sometimes she’s happy . . . .

4 responses to “MILDRED, CAPTURED

  1. John P. Cooper

    Looking forward to her ectoplasmic appearance in that 1955 short!

  2. Corrected to 1933 — good catch!

  3. Edward Lovett

    Thanks for the great Mildred thread, Michael. I’ve spent a couple weekends at an acquaintance’s nice country home at Carmel, in Putnam County. Next door is a modest stone house that Bing built for MB, my host told me. Bing was a champion and looker-after of MB, apparently.

    I own one copy of Popular Songs magazine, bought for two bucks at my local old-stuff store here in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. It’s from 1935. I must have bought it for its reprint of the sheet of “Aint-Cha Glad?” (no verse, alas; does anyone know if there is one?) I glanced at at yesterday and saw what I think will be the sunniest shot of MB your post has elicited. It’s a good old-fashioned showbiz, “eyes-and-teeth!” pose–complete with jazz hands. I don’t have a scanner but can look around. Or send to you.

  4. Dear Edward,
    To your many talents (singer, guitarist) you’ve now added Jazz Archivist! I’d be delighted to get a good-quality digital camera photograph of our Mildred. At your leisure. I am very happy to have my theory of a glum Miss Bailey disproven by the evidence . . . although was Mildred happy to look happy? Deep philosophical waters here.

    And what are jazz hands? A “hi-de-ho” pose?

    P.S. Does anyone have the complete sheet music of AIN’T CHA GLAD? I know my readers have sizable and deep collections.

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