is January 5, 1941. The work shift ended at 5:00 and on your way home you stop off at your favorite bar for a cold beer. A worker has just completed installing a large entertainment unit, around the size of a contemporary refrigerator with a screen at eye level. “What’s that?” you ask. “It’s a Panoram. Put in a dime and see,” says the man behind the bar. It is the first week of Soundies releases, and as you insert your dime you cue the machine the begin screening the first Soundie, “Sweet Sue,” featuring the Lorraine Page Orchestra and Six Hits and a Miss, a top vocal harmony group.
The first series of eight Soundies offered a great deal of variety and somewhat generous budgets. The credits notwithstanding, all of the soundtracks were recorded by Victor Young and his Orchestra, probably his regular radio band. “Sweet Sue” is, of course, Young’s standard, “Sweet Sue, Just You.” On screen we see an all-woman band headed by Lorraine Page, although the actual leader of this band, probably The Modernettes, was Kathryn Durran. On soundtrack we hear two fine soloists, Andy Secrest, trumpet, and tenor sax John Cascales, later the esteemed jazz arranger Johnny Richards.
All of the Soundies from the first session were directed by Reginald LeBorg, a filmmaker who would helm a number of fine “B” features for Universal. To disguise the fact that each Soundie was directed by the same man, LeBorg is presented here as H. R. Reginald … with other names used elsewhere.
In 1938–1941 Six Hits and a Miss was regularly featured on the Pepsodent Show, which starred Bob Hope. In 1940 they appeared with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the M-G-M feature Strike Up the Band. The group continued to record and perform in film and on radio throughout the war years, disbanding in 1946. For those keeping score, he is the group that appears in this Soundie: Pauline Byrns, female group member; standing in line facing Byrns, front to back: Vince Degen, Mack McLean, Marvin Bailey, Jerry Preshaw, Bill Seckler, Howard Hudson)