A WWII Manila Prison Camp’s Maestro of Mirth, by Martin Meadows

[Guest star Danny Kaye]

Little Theater Under the Stars. 1946, F. Stevens
[“The Little Theatre Under the Stars,” illus. from Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1946, by Frederic H. Stevens]

PREFACE. The purpose of this Preface is to call attention to matters that otherwise might be overlooked in the main text, despite their relevance to this work.  Some of the following points might not seem to be worth mention, but they affected this study in one way or another, and they merit attention on that score.

    (1) Substantively, much of this narrative has been made possible by the invaluable research efforts of Cliff Mills of Philippine Internment renown; Maurice Francis, U.K. honcho of The Gang; and CPOW head Sally Meadows — all of whom, it should be noted, have similarly contributed to several of my other STIC articles.  Without their various and innumerable findings, this mini-biography would not have gotten off the ground (“mini” because it is a bit shorter than the typical printed volume).

    (2) Procedurally, it is essential to emphasize that, as far as is known, the subject of this chronicle did not write anything about himself, and nobody else has written about him either (other than brief comments).  Thus I was free to decide how to deal with the available material, published and online, unconstrained by existing works about the biographee.  Needless to say (he said needlessly), I handled that material in a completely objective — if not objectionable — manner (in my opinion).

    (3) To contextualize this mini-biography, it is essentially a spin-off from, and in one limited section a continuation of, an earlier article, one that led me to recognize the need for much more information on the biographee.  That article’s title, “STIC Signature Songs (and Sources),” will be cited herein as SSSS.  [Meadows (a)] 

    (4) Now to footnoting (mandatory for ex-academics).  Or rather, in this case, “text-noting” — names/titles and pages (if any) of sources are placed within the text; the sources in full are listed at the end (though not in scholarly-journal format).  Substantive comments are placed either at the ends of paragraphs, as [notes], or in SIDEBARS for less directly relevant material.  For online sources, n.p. (no page) and n.d. (no date) sometimes are necessary.  To simplify setup of the lengthy bibliography, italics are omitted there.

    (5) An episode of purely personal significance was a direct outgrowth of this account.  Initially it was to be included herein as a SIDEBAR, but instead it has appeared separately; its mention here is to call attention to its indirect relevance and online existence.  [Meadows (b)] 

    (6) Finally, an explanation is in order for the broad scope of this work, which, for the sake of thorough coverage, extensively discusses the various relationships (direct and indirect) between the biographee and several of his most consequential friends and/or associates.  My guiding assumption was that doing this study properly required doing it as exhaustively (and exhaustedly) as possible.  So much for preliminaries.

INTRODUCTION. During its 37-month existence in World War II (WWII) under Japanese control (1942-1945), Santo Tomas Internment Camp (STIC) in Manila usually contained about 4,000 civilian prisoners, mostly Americans, along with other Allied-country nationals, mostly British.  Almost all of those (non-infant) internees knew and respected one man in particular — a veteran professional showman named David Harvey MacTurk.  Few if any other internees matched his popularity. And since the end of WWII, likely thousands more, relatives and friends of former internees, have learned about him, for his renown remains unmatched within the internee community.  It derives from the fact that he had served as the Camp’s Mr. Entertainment — an iconic performer who had presided over and dispensed most of the programs that immeasurably buoyed the morale of his fellow internees throughout their captivity.  Thus he was admired by almost all of his fellow internees — almost, because he made no secret of his belief that the prisoners had been betrayed and deserted by the U.S. government, a view that did not sit well with those who disagreed with him.

Dave Harvey cartoon by James McCall, 1944David Harvey MacTurk (1904-1972) was the entertainer’s full name, but he was — and remains — much better known to one and all simply as Dave Harvey. That was the professional name he had adopted about a dozen or so years prior to the start of the Pacific war, when he was beginning his career as an artiste. And henceforth in the realm of show business — and even otherwise — he remained best known as Dave Harvey the professional entertainer.  To avoid possible confusion between his actual name and his professional name, and to preclude potential carping for downplaying either name, as a “compromise” and to simplify matters he will be referred to herein as DHM.  His sketch was affectionately drawn by, and is from the book by, STIC internee/statistics-keeper/artist James McCall. [McCall, “That funny, funny man, Dave Harvey,” Plate XLIII]

Given his background and expertise, it was not surprising — in fact, it was virtually inevitable  — that DHM would be placed in charge of most Camp entertainment activities.  Probably the most appreciated of those occurred in the form of what were variously called stage/variety/floor shows (which the Nipponese military banned in mid-1944, after having earlier taken over the Camp from civilian commandants).  Those stage shows were by far the most important element of DHM’s efforts to temporarily distract internees from the daily slings and arrows of STIC life.  And never in the course of his show-business career did he undertake a more important role than as the Camp’s chief diversion-dispenser.

Yet regardless of DHM’s status in the Camp, it is doubtful that internees really knew much about him.  Probably only his closest friends and associates in STIC knew the details of his show-business career.  That surmise rests upon the likelihood that DHM, despite his seemingly gregarious nature, actually was a very private individual.  In turn, that judgment is based entirely upon two significant facts cited in the Preface and worth repeating: that, as far as is known, DHM wrote nothing about himself, and that nobody else has written anything about him.  Even his obituaries, lacking information, are noticeably brief (and error-riddled). [E.g., New York Times, 28]

This work seeks to fill as many gaps as possible in DHM’s record, and thereby to add to Camp history as well.  To summarize its format, it traces DHM’s career and then some, with accounts of his key friends and associates — those who had the most significant direct contact with DHM, or (as in one case) had indirectly and unknowingly influenced him.  This study divides DHM’s life into six “chapters,” or stages, as follows.

    STAGE 1:  1904-1933 — The Hometown Years

    STAGE 2:  1933-1934 — The Collaborative Artiste

    STAGE 3:  1935-1936 — The Transition

    STAGE 4:  1937-1941 — The Solo Performer/Leader

    STAGE 5:  1942-1945 — The Prison Camp Years

    STAGE 6:  1945-1972 — The Quiet Years

Much of the coverage (stages 2-4) is on the extremely interesting and least-known period of DHM’s life.  Probably most people would regard his STIC phase as the most interesting, though of course it is already relatively well-documented, thanks mainly to the Camp’s “official” histories by A.V.H. Hartendorp and Frederic Stevens, as well as the various comments and observations about DHM in numerous recollections by former internees.  As for DHM’s post-internment stage, that is both well-known and the most tranquil period of his life, thus it receives the least extensive coverage herein.

STAGE 1: 1904-1933 — THE HOMETOWN YEARS. The following information on DHM’s early life is based on material gleaned from several official sources — the U.S. Census, the New York State Census, and the Morristown (New Jersey) City Directory — as well as from the Morristown High School Yearbook, newspaper articles, steamship manifests, and of course the monopolistic entity known as Ancestry (via a public family tree attributed not to the MacTurk family but to the Engles family, whose relation to the MacTurks is unknown).

MacTurk-Harvey wedding announcement, 1902DHM was born on 31 August 1904, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was David Francis MacTurk (1876-1950), who also was born in Philadelphia; whose father — DHM’s grandfather — was born in Scotland; and who was listed as a “lino opr” (linotype operator) in Morristown City Directories.  DHM’s mother was Gertrude Harvey (1874-1936), who was the source of his middle name and thus also of his professional surname.  To the right is the announcement of the 1902 MacTurk-Harvey wedding, which took place in an Episcopal church in Philadelphia. [The Baltimore Sun, 7]

DHM was proud of his Scottish heritage, and in fact he performed on occasion in Scottish attire (as he did in STIC).  For that reason, what follows is a brief digression into DHM’s Scottish ancestry.  To begin with, the MacTurk family name — which has a number of spelling variations — can be traced to its first recorded appearance in 1538: a “Galwegian surname, in Gaelic MocTuirc means ’son of Tore,’ from tore, a boar.”  Though not commonplace, the MacTurk name appears in novels by Sir Walter Scott and Charlotte Bronte.  The MacTurk motto is “Pace vel bello,” which means “In peace or war” — singularly appropriate, in light of DHM’s experiences.  [HouseofNames, n.p.]

Dave Harvey in kilt, 1945, after liberation
[Dave Harvey in kilt after liberation, STIC February 1945]

[Note:  According to Ancestry, the average MacTurk life expectancy in the U.S. as of 1960 was 66 years; thus DHM in the Philippines barely exceeded that at 67, one week short of 68, when he died in 1972.  [Ancestry, n.p.] ]

For the record, here is the Scottish Clan Crest Gifts display [n.p.] of the “MacTurk Family History & Family Crest” and of the “Macturk Coat of Arms” respectively:

MacTurk family coat of arms

Returning to DHM’s family history, as of 1910 the MacTurk family had moved from its initial residence in Baltimore and resided at 164 Cypress Ave., in Queens County, New York, and was still there in 1915.  By 1920 the family lived at 13 King Street in Morristown, New Jersey, where DHM attended Morristown High School, enrolled as a “Technical Course” student — in other words, he had no apparent connection with the performing arts at that time.  In the photo below of DHM’s sophomore class, it is possible to pick him out of the group because he was quite tall and had a rather long face.  One source, 1943 repatriate-internee and United Press reporter Bernard Covit, wrote that “The biggest man in camp [was] 6-foot, 4 1/2-inch David Harvey MacTurk” [Covit, 2]; and the only student who fits that description is at the right end of the top row (and I’m quite sure that is DHM).

[Note: DHM is not included in the 1922 Morristown High School yearbook, which presumably would have covered his senior-year class.  So either he graduated early, graduated late, or — the probable explanation — he simply did not have his picture taken.  Some yearbooks list the names of those not pictured, but that was not done in this instance.]


By 1925 the MacTurk family had moved to what became its permanent home at 63 Wetmore Avenue in Morristown.  That year is when DHM, cited as “D. Harvey MacTurk,” first appeared in the Morristown City Directory, which listed him as “student”; whereas Ancestry listed him in 1925 as “Occupation: Salesman.”  The City Directory did not list him until 1925 probably because that is when he turned 21; but it is unclear why it listed him as “student” at that age even though he did not attend college. The likely explanation is that he had not yet become a “salesman” when the 1925 Directory came out, and/or that youths were listed as “student” if they were living at home and jobless.  At any rate, by 1927 the City Directory agreed with Ancestry that DHM was a “salesman.”

Three major changes in DHM’s life occurred in the half-dozen years following 1927.

    (1) First of all, while he still lived at the same address (and was still listed as D. Harvey MacTurk), on 10 April 1928 he married Eileen F. Hillyer (on whom no other information is available online).  They were married in Manhattan, New York, but moved in with his parents and continued to live with them through 1933, according to the City Directory.

    (2) Next, the 1930 U.S. Census did not include DHM’s wife among the residents at the MacTurk address.  From that it can be assumed that the marriage had come to an end (probably by separation) by 1930, despite the fact that the City Directory indicates otherwise.  The discrepancy is odd, but whatever the reason for it may have been, one thing is clear — according to Ancestry, DHM was divorced “about 1933,” which is why I give precedence to the 1930 U.S. Census over the 1930 City Directory.

    (3) And finally, in the meantime, the City Directory had started listing DHM as “Occupation: Actor” in 1929, and did so through 1933 (with the same address and same name); it did not list him in 1934 and 1935, as he had left Morristown by then.  To anticipate the narrative, it appears that, with his divorce having been finalized by (or in) 1933, DHM then felt free to leave home to pursue his show-business inclinations.

There is no information available as to why, how or when DHM first became interested in show business.  It is not even known, for example, whether his high school classmates considered him to be a gregarious cut-up — or a taciturn loner, for that matter.  There is simply no record about him in his younger days, which is not the case with most of the better-known entertainers (such as the one discussed in Stage 2).  This question is even more puzzling in light of the following facts: as noted, he was a “Technical Course” rather than a “General Course” or “College Preparatory” student (at least when he was a high school sophomore); after graduating he became a “salesman” rather than an “actor”; and, most performers become such long before they turn 30 (DHM was exactly 30 as of the 1934 date of the Ancestry entry — discussed below — that is the first indication on that site of show-business activity.)

In the absence of an explanation for DHM’s seemingly sudden interest in the entertainment world, it is tempting to engage in a bit of speculation.  At the broadest level, DHM’s more formative and impressionable years as a high school upper-classman (1920-1922) coincided exactly with the beginning of the decade known in the U.S. as the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age, a time when the country “embarked on a period of progress unseen before.”  (Uncannily, the bubble burst precisely as the decade ended, with the stock market crash of October 1929.)  More specifically, “Some of America’s greatest. . . performers were very active in the 1920s. . . .  Giants in American entertainment were everywhere in the 1920s.”  And in 1927 the first talkies began to appear, led by musicals — in fact, “the first ’talking’ film was really a ’singing’ film; that is, a musical. . . .  Soon sound movies were all the rage.  Every studio switched to sound and what did they make?  Musicals. . . .  The birth of the movie musical and the advent of sound are one and the same.”  [Hischak, 41, 17]

There is not much information as to when or how DHM first became involved in show business in the period after high school and prior to the early 1930s.  What little there is, however, is interesting and even significant, in light of the foregoing analysis.  The only relevant pre-1933 material shows that, in the late 1920s, DHM — no doubt influenced by the 1920s context in general and by movie musicals in particular — had become a singer.  He performed as such on Paterson, New Jersey, radio station WODA; its programs listed him as a tenor, on a 15-minute show of undetermined frequency (daily? weekly?).  Also notable is that the programs listed him as “Dave Harvey,” indicating that he had adopted his show-business name by then.  (One source mistakenly declares that DHM “(dropped his last name soon after arrival)” in the Philippines in 1939.  [A. H. C. Bulletin, 53.] )

The Paterson radio station could be heard in New York City, thus its programs were listed in NYC newspapers, including the Daily News and the Brooklyn Times Union, as shown in the 1927 and 1928 program listings below.  However, DHM’s minuscule one-line mentions are difficult to detect with the naked eye, and would not be much easier to spot even in normal-sized programs.  At any rate, having covered the major changes in DHM’s life in the immediate post-1927 years, we move on to the cited 1934 Ancestry entry.

Radio Programs from the Brooklyn Times Union, July 8, 1927 In the Air, NY_Daily News, 1927, Dave-Harvey highlighted

Not long after DHM “came out” as an actor, a 1934 Ancestry listing revealed the far-reaching nature of his transformation (but it also raised more questions than it answered).  Citing a ship manifest, the listing stated that DHM, single and with the same Morristown home address, was on a Japanese vessel that left Kobe, Japan, on 1 October 1934 and arrived in Seattle on 14 October 1934.  (This rather abrupt transition, to put it mildly, of course will be explained later.)  But although he was back in the U.S. following his late 1934 return, he was not included in the 1935 City Directory, which shows that his parents were still at the same address.  (The only other pre-WWII Ancestry listing for DHM indicates that his mother died in New York City on 16 January 1936.  His father died much later, in 1950.)

Insofar as substantive information is concerned, therefore, nothing more can be gathered from official sources, such as Census records and City Directories.  For more on DHM, we have to rely on whatever other material is available online.  And the first question, as we prepare to survey the next stage of his life, is this:  How did he suddenly and mysteriously make the huge transition from Morristown, New Jersey, in 1933, to the distant Far East, nearly halfway around the world, in 1934?

STAGE 2: 1933-1934 — THE COLLABORATIVE ARTISTE.  Obviously there is no way to ascertain what circumstances led to DHM’s decision to leave Morristown.  One factor, as pointed out above, probably was finalization of his divorce.  Also likely are the following considerations: that there was no venue handy in New Jersey for him to display his talents (other than on radio, as noted); that nearby New York City might have been too difficult a place for a beginner to get started; and that he decided to try his luck at the closest and most appropriate location available for a novice.  In those days, there was only one choice, at least for that part of the country.

In addition to its proximity to New Jersey, in the early 1930s by far the most appropriate place for DHM to start out was at one of the many resorts in the Borscht Belt, so-called after the hearty beet soup that eastern European Jewish immigrants had popularized in the U.S.  “The term was invented by Variety originally as the Borscht Circuit, and initially considered derogatory.”  Situated mainly in the Catskill (and also Adirondack) Mountains of New York, the region — also known as the “Jewish Alps” — “was first developed at the turn of the [20th] century, when a number of boarding facilities opened, but it was not until the 1920s, that the first entertainers began appearing” in the region.  [Slide, 59]

So many famous entertainers, most of them Jewish, got their start in the Borscht Belt that it would be difficult to decide whom to name among even just the most prominent ones.  Regardless, the question is, what made the Borscht Belt such an attraction, particularly to Jews and to Jewish performers?  The main reason is that most hotels and resorts refused to admit Jews in the pre-WWII period.  As an example of the blatant anti-Semitism, consider the signs — not only on hotels and resorts — that proclaimed “No Jews, dogs, or consumptives.”  [Fraenkel, passim]  As a result, sites catering to Jewish clients sprang up in the Catskills.  They flourished especially during the period from the 1920s to the 1950s; at the peak of Borscht Belt popularity there were more than 1,000 summer vacation locations —resorts, bungalow colonies, boarding houses, summer camps — hosting a million guests yearly.  [The Catskills Institute, n.p.] [Wikipedia is more conservative with its totals.]

[Note: Interestingly, one source barely mentions — genteelly and well into the article — the anti-Semitism factor, focusing instead on the condition of farming.  [Herrmann, n.p.] ]

The various Catskill resorts began closing by the 1960s; most were gone by the 1970s; and virtually all, including the famous Grossinger’s, were closed by the end of the century, mainly because younger generations were looking elsewhere for entertainment.  Some reasons for that included the rise of the “counter-culture,” a (temporary) decline in anti-Semitism, and cheap air fares. [The Catskills Institute, n.p.]

SIDEBAR. However, efforts are now being made to at least keep memories of the Borscht Belt alive.  [Tress, passim]  There are now in existence a Catskills Borscht Belt Museum, and a Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project.  Additionally, just this year there was a “Summer 2023 Pop-Up Exhibition” titled “Vacationland!  Catskills Resort Culture, 1900-1980” (now extended through the Fall); and on 29 July 2023, an “inaugural arts extravaganza, Borscht Belt Fest, was a smashing success” [HMdb.org n.p.].

The Borscht Belt resorts always needed performers, whatever their religion.  Thus for DHM (who was not Jewish) during the Great Depression, the lure of the region must have been irresistible.  Moreover, his skills were exactly what the resorts needed; they had two major priorities — kosher food, and “good, vaudeville-style entertainment [which] generally consisted of a dance team, a singer, and a comedian.”  [Slide, 59]   There is no way to find out when and how DHM developed such skills; evidently, though, he was good enough to sing on radio programs, and he must have been a good dancer (as indicated below).  Certainly, judging from personal (and perhaps un-objective) observation of his STIC stage show acts, DHM was a talented comedian, dancer, and singer.  In any case, and for whatever reason, he was hired by one of the Borscht Belt retreats, the White Roe Lake Hotel resort — “a swinging singles resort.”  [Schiffman, n.p.]  Here is a 1930 postcard featuring that resort (click to enlarge).

Social-hall-White-Roe-Lake-front Social-hall-White-Roe-Lake-back

Social hall, White Roe Lake, Livingston Manor, N.Y.

According to its 1930 brochure, White Roe — which catered exclusively to singles, ages 18-35 — had all the amenities.  It was located 112 miles from New York City; was 2,400 feet above sea level; had 100 rooms (accommodating 2-4 persons) and 50 tents (with wooden floors and all conveniences); boasted six tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a basketball court, three handball courts, a volleyball court, a golf course, a “swimming crib,” diving boards and float, a fleet of row boats, a social hall, a complete stage, indoor gymnasium, two billiard tables, ping pong tables, and horses; and provided instruction in tennis, golf, swimming, diving, life-saving, horseback riding, and calisthenics.  Guests were advised to bring “tennis racket and shoes, golf clubs, baseball glove, riding habit, knickers, bathing suit, sweater.”  Rates depended on location (main house, lakeside cottage, or tent) and were not listed.  Finally, the brochure helpfully pointed out that the resort was four hours from New York City; if one did not drive, fares ranged from $4.00 and $4.70 one way to $6.00 and $6.70 round trip, depending on whether bus or train was used.  [Brown U. Library, n.p.]   Following are some 1930 scenes at the resort (click to enlarge).

White Roe camp 1930s, photo 11 White Roe camp 1930s, photo 2 White Roe camp 1930s, photo 3

Not always included on resort brochures were the names of the many entertainers and others who worked at the resorts.  Thus, when DHM arrived at White Roe in 1933, he of course knew nothing — not even the names — of the two performers who would help determine the future of his show-business career.  One of them was a youth of 22 named David Daniel Kaminsky (of whom more later).  About the other one, unfortunately, there is very little information to be found online, other than that provided by U.S. Census records; she will be discussed first, followed by an extended discussion of Kaminsky.

The mystery woman at issue, who was known professionally as Kathleen Young (1913-1979), was born Cathleene Margueritte Parker on 31 May 1913, in Mansfield, Massachusetts.  Her parents were Harold B. Parker and Bessie M. Young; her professional surname derived from her maternal grandparents, Charles Young and Mary Lori Kenny.  Following is U.S. Census information on Kathleen Young (her first name was spelled in several different ways).

  • 1920 Census: Cathleen Parker, granddaughter, 6 years old, and her parents were living in Chicago with her maternal grandparents.
  • 1930 Census: Kathleen Parker, granddaughter, 16, and her parents were still living with her grandparents in Chicago.
  • 1940 Census: Kathleen Parker, daughter, 26, was living with her parents in Chicago, and her occupation was listed as “entertainer.”
  • 1950 Census: Kathleen M. Young, 35, was living with her grandparents in Chicago, and no occupation was listed.

Young’s significance derives from the fact that she became one member of a dance trio that included Kaminsky and DHM, as will be fully detailed later.  Outside of U.S. Census data and her record as a performer — the latter mostly found in tandem with Kaminsky and/or DHM — she is pretty much a mystery; she seems to have appeared from out of nowhere, and in effect to have returned to the same place.  She was an attractive young woman (photo below); one newspaper review called her “a gorgeous blond with the grace of a gazelle” [Quoted in Koenig (a), n.p.].  She was usually billed as Kathleen Young, and that spelling of her first name will be used herein.

Three Terpsichoreans[Note: Apparently because she started out in show business at an early age — she was still in her teens when she first arrived at White Roe (exact date unknown) — at times she was accompanied by her maternal grandmother on her show-business travels.]

Next, Kaminsky’s background will be examined in order to explain his presence at the White Roe resort.  It is essential to do so, for two major reasons.  The first one involves his relationship with DHM, a matter that will be discussed later, in the proper context for understanding the full significance of DHM’s role.  The second reason is that, under the stage name he adopted at about the time he joined Young and DHM, Kaminsky eventually would win not only national but extraordinary international acclaim — Danny Kaye.

[Note:  Some accounts claim he adopted his professional name before he arrived at the White Roe resort; others say that he did so later than that.  And a few state that he initially used the name Kamin before deciding on Kaye.  Regardless, one thing is certain — Kaye legalized his name change in 1943.  A few other minor details vary in the innumerable accounts of his life, as will be noted, including those concerning the spelling of his surname, his high school attendance, and even his birth date.]

The Danny Kaye story begins, unsurprisingly, with his Ukrainian Jewish parents, Jakob and Clara (Nemerovsky) Kaminsky.  (Other spellings include Kaminski, Kominsky and Kominski; Kaye himself, in a brief memoir, spelled it Kominiski [Kaye (a), passim].)  In Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), Jakob was a horse trader, and Clara cared for their two sons, Larry and Mac; they lived in the city of Ekaterinoslav.  No doubt seeking to escape anti-Semitism, the Kaminsky family emigrated from Ukraine and arrived in the U.S. in 1909.  By necessity, Jakob changed professions and became a tailor in the U.S.; as Danny later put it, “My dad went from saddlebags to corsets” — from “horse dealer” to “the ladies’ tailoring business.”  [Brooklyn Eagle (a), n.p.]  (In his memoir, Kaye lovingly describes his father, and his father’s job as a tailor.  [Kaye (a)] )

Two years after arriving in the U.S., the family’s third son, David Daniel, was born in Brooklyn, New York City, on 18 January 1911.  Much too often the year is erroneously cited as 1913, because Kaye himself repeatedly claimed that to be his birth year [e.g., Kaye (b), 7]; however, as his own daughter Dena Kaye later made clear, his birth certificate shows that the year was 1911.  (One newspaper’s typo gave the date as 2013.)  It should be pointed out here that, because the innumerable accounts of Kaye’s life do not all use the same date of his birth, that fact largely if not entirely explains the various dating discrepancies and confusing — and even downright improbable — occurrences found in those accounts (as discussed below).

In sharp contrast to DHM’s early life, Kaye’s is extensively documented.  It also includes a number of photos as well as recollections by Kaye himself, again very unlike the case with DHM.  Kaye seems to have been a born performer; his mother “first noticed his talents when David was only four years old.”  [Freedland, 11] Sources generally agree that Kaye had “‘play-acted’ opposite his mother in the family parlor at the age of five” [Strauss, 29].  As Kaye himself once wrote, encouraged by his parents, “at parties, I had done imitations and songs and dances since the age of five” [Kaye (b), 7].  Once, while in a shoe store with his mother, he climbed on a chair and “startled everyone there by bursting into song.”  [Gottfried, 17]


While in elementary school at Brooklyn’s Public School 149 (later renamed in his honor), Kaye made “his first stage appearance in a minstrel show” as “a red-haired seed in an enormous watermelon slice” [Strauss, 29].  He kept on “entertaining his classmates with songs and jokes” throughout elementary school, and continued to do so when he attended Thomas Jefferson High School.  All the while he was encouraged by his mother, who “enjoyed the impressions and humor of her youngest son and always had words of encouragement” for him as well as for his brothers.  [RUSC, n.p.]  According to one source, she was also a disciplinarian — “She insisted that her sons listen to her.  She told Danny what to wear, supervised his manners and code of behavior and required an accounting of every hour” among other things.  [Singer, 34]  On the other hand, although “most immigrant parents. . . pushed their male children mercilessly. . . Kaye’s father let Danny find his own way.”  [Gralnick, n.p.]

That difference in attitude between mother and father soon manifested its effects, because Kaye’s mother died in 1927, when he was a sophomore in high school.  At this juncture a brief digression is in order to provide an example of the kind of error caused by using the wrong date of Kaye’s birth — 1913 instead of 1911.  Kaye himself provides an example — in his brief memoir (which is riddled with inaccuracies), he claims he was 13 when she died; actually he was 16.  [Kaye (a), part 2]  He was in high school when she died, and he would not have been in high school at the age of 13 given his academic record.  Not all sources are that far off — some sources state that, after Kaye’s mother died in 1927, he dropped out of high school at the age of 14.  [Oldies.com, n.p.; Dannykaye.net, n.p.]  Even in this case, and even with a tolerant father, the latter most likely would not have allowed a youth of 14 to drop out.  Most sources agree that he did allow the 16-year-old Danny to do so, as discussed next; but even Kaye questions that — in his memoir, he states that his father had put out “a missing person alarm for me.”  [Kaye (a), part 2]

To return to the original point, Kaye was strongly affected by the loss of his mother, and at the age of 16 he did indeed drop out of school.  And, apparently still not discouraged by his father, Kaye soon thereafter left home and hitchhiked to Miami Beach, accompanied by his best friend from grade school days, Louis Eisen.  While on the road they managed to “eke out a living” mainly via street performances in which Kaye sang and Eisen played guitar; but it wasn’t long until they gave up and returned home.  [RUSC, n.p.]  After Kaye returned, his easy-going father “did not pressure him to return to school or get a job, giving his son the chance to mature and discover his own abilities.”  [Strauss, 29]  Kaye did not return to high school and thus did not graduate.

SIDEBAR. Some accounts of Kaye’s life do not explicitly mention that he did not graduate.  They simply say things like “after high school” or “attended high school,” thus giving the impression, whether deliberately or not, that Kaye had a high school diploma.  Sometimes the assertions are simply incorrect — for example, “until a year after [Kaye’s] graduation” [Strauss, 29], and “After graduating from high school” [Luft, n.p.].  Such misrepresentations are not surprising, since Kaye himself used ambiguous language on that score, such as “When I left Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn” [Kaye (b), 7].  Few accounts mention that Kaye likely was expelled from high school for committing one prank too many.  One source comes close, claiming that, rather than accept punishment for his latest prank, he quit school.  [Gottfried, 22]  Another source comes even closer, stating that Kaye’s “antics drove teachers crazy and propelled Danny to an early exit from Thomas Jefferson High School” [Dorinson, 64].

In any event, after leaving school, Kaye in 1927 sought employment.  As a youth he had wanted to become a surgeon, but obviously that was out of the question for financial reasons.  Instead, he tried a number of jobs, such as “soda jerk, insurance investigator, office clerk.  Most of them ended with him being fired.”  [RUSC, n.p.]  For instance, as a claims adjuster, he made an error that cost his insurance company $36,000; he turned an insurance payout of $4,000 into $40,000, and the $36,000 discrepancy was discovered too late to recoup the money.  [Freedland, 16-17]  (Many of the almost identical accounts of Kaye’s life merely refer to this fiasco euphemistically as Kaye’s “brief stint as an insurance adjuster” without mentioning the gory details.)

Meanwhile, Kaye and his friend Lou Eisen had been performing — using the names Red and Blackie —  at “local parties and clubs as a two-man song act” [Cullen, 588]; and they also sang on Brooklyn radio station WBBC.  [Gottfried, 19]  Then, at about the time he would have graduated from high school in 1929, Kaye dropped the idea of finding gainful employment and made a momentous decision: he was going to try to become what he had always wanted to be, an entertainer — or, as he described himself, “a show-off.”  [Kaye (b), 7]  And he persuaded his long-time sidekick Eisen to leave home with him once again.

Most sources state that Kaye and Eisen headed for the Catskills on their own initiative; however, some authors claim that the man in charge of White Roe entertainment heard them perform in Brooklyn and invited them to the resort [Gottfried, 23], or that he actually signed them for the summer [Cullen, 588].  Whatever the case, both of them landed jobs at White Roe as tummlers (variously spelled tumeler, toomler, etc.).  They then often tummled as a pair, and as a result “From Kaminsky and Eisen they metamorphosed into [performers now named] Kaye and Reed.”  [Dorinson, 64]  But what, readers (if any) may ask, is a tummler and what does he or she do?


Danny Kaye, White Roe 1933

Tummler — briefly, tumult-creator —  is the Yiddish word for, as Wiktionary defines it, “An employee, usually male, of a Borscht Belt resort charged with the duty of entertaining guests throughout the day by providing any number of services, from comedian to master of ceremonies.”  A less staid definition is that a tummler is a “fool or noisemaker who does anything and everything to entertain the customers so that they won’t squawk about their rooms or food.”  [Dorinson, 64]  This is Kaye’s own description of the job:  “I had to do everything, and I mean everything.  If a waiter didn’t show up I waited on table.  I acted, danced, sang and was the camp comedian.  It was my job to see that all those lonely, pining ladies had a good time.  In the daytime I took them rowing; in the evenings I had to dance with them.  It was a tough way to earn a living.”  [Quoted in Hopper, n.p.]

Whether because the job was tough or not, Lou Eisen/Reed left White Roe after one season, returned to high school, and later became a chiropodist.

As for Kaye, tough job or not, he returned to White Roe for several more seasons — either four or five, depending on the source.  Kaye himself wrote (erroneously) that he met DHM and Young in his fourth camp season; then, counting one later season, he said that he had worked at the resort “for five seasons, starting at $200 (room and board) and worked up to $1000.”  [Kaye (b), 10]  Nonetheless, the facts to the contrary are clear — Kaye started at White Roe in 1929, and DHM first appeared there in the summer of 1933, which thus was Kaye’s fifth season (not that it matters, of course).  And thus when Kaye returned to White Roe a couple of years after leaving in 1933, that was his sixth season there.

Turning now to DHM, he must have been a good dancer, for, when he arrived at White Roe in 1933 he was quickly teamed with Kathleen Young, whose primary talent was as a dancer; and they formed the resort’s requisite dance team.  According to one source, they were “an elegant couple” who “looked like the celebrated Vernon and Irene Castle.  Kathleen was a slender and stylish marcelled blonde. . . .  [DHM] was six feet tall and debonair.”  And, as an interesting side note,  “They were the only Christians outside the White Roe kitchen” at the resort. [Gottfried, 31]

[Note:  In contrast to the above glowing description, some writers call DHM and Young “two hoofers” [Goldstein, n.p.; Luft, n.p.].  Some others oddly refer to DHM as “Dave Mack” and to the two dancers as “Mack and Young” or “Young and Mack.”  [Gottfried, 34 ff.; Cullen, 588; Dorinson, 65]  That is puzzling, as DHM did not use the MacTurk surname professionally, and certainly not at White Roe.]

DHM and Young soon added a male dancer to form a trio — whether at the initiative of the resort or of the dancers is unknown.  Anyway, shortly thereafter the newcomer had to be replaced, though apparently not for performance reasons.  Most versions of the episode simply note the need for a replacement without explanation, but one source states that the unnamed third dancer came down with measles.  As a result, Young and DHM made the fateful decision to ask Kaye to join them in order to re-form a trio.  [Brooklyn Eagle (a), n.p.]  My assumption is that the invitation to Kaye was at Young’s initiative, because all accounts agree that, at the time, she was Kaye’s girl friend.  Actually, it might be more accurate to say that Young was one of his girl friends, for, as another female White Roe performer said, “I was just about the only one on the staff who wasn’t a [Kaye] girl friend.”  [Gottfried, 29, 34.]

[Note:  It might not be too surprising, therefore, that Kaye, who got married in 1940, is reputed to have had a number of extra-marital relationships.  In fact, one of them, several decades after WWII, was with a cousin of mine; this is not confidential, for some writers have mentioned her.]

Years later Kaye described Young and DHM as “professional dancers,” whereas by his own admission he could not dance well; as he said, they “taught me how to use my feet.”  [Kaye (b), 10]  But dancer or not, Kaye had good reason to join them.  For one thing, he probably thought it would be a good idea to develop another skill to supplement his other routines.  Too, performing in a dance act would, as DHM and Young assured him, provide a job during the off season when the resort was closed.  [Gottfried, 34]  At the same time, although DHM and Young likely did not realize it at first, adding Kaye to their act would prove beneficial to themselves as well, for it would allow them “to expand their repertoire to more comedic areas because he acted as a clownish character.”  [Library of Congress, n.p.]

[Note:  Kaye became a good dancer, but not at the professional level.  For instance, one of his future dance partners in post-WWII movies was the great dancer Vera Ellen; her biographer rather nastily claims that she had to use her outstanding skills “in her pairings with Danny Kaye when there was need to make him look as if he could dance.”  [Soren, 92]]

So Kaye joined DHM and Young to form the new White Roe dance trio.  After the resort season ended, they took their act on the road, presumably intending to return to White Roe for the 1934 summer season.  (Several sources claim this was the first time Kaye used his professional name.)  They billed themselves as “The Three Terpsichoreans,” and soon learned that audience approval increased as their act became more amusing.  It is worth pointing out that the addition of humor into their routines appears to have been unplanned; that process began when, during a performance at their very first stop, Kaye “took a bad spill” and, in so doing, split his pants seat.  That gaffe brought the house down, and it led the trio to incorporate it into their act.  [Gottfried, 36]  One source well describes the deliberate fall as a “choreographed stumble.”  [The Robinson Library, n.p.]

The amusing nature of some of their routines led one writer to call theirs “a scatterbrained act.”  [Strauss, 29]  But of course that was not a drawback; as noted, it was at least in part — even in large part — responsible for the Terpsichoreans’ appeal to audiences.  As indicated above, that became evident at their first stop, which was in Utica, New York.  Then, following a stop in Syracuse, they headed for Detroit, and that turned out to be the scene of their huge break — one that unquestionably was a turning point that decided the show-business futures of both Kaye and DHM (Young did not remain long in show business).

A.B. Marcus Show of Shows, ChicagoOn that fateful night in Detroit, the Terpsichoreans’ performance was observed by veteran show-biz promoter and vaudeville/girly-revue producer A. B. (Abe) Marcus (1883-1950), an old-timer in the entertainment field.  His credentials as a show producer/promoter extended not merely to the early 1920s but much beyond that.  Way beyond that, if material in the National Library of New Zealand is correct, for it declares that the Marcus “variety shows. . . had been going for 35 years when they visited New Zealand in 1937.”  [NLNZ, n.p.]  But this is questionable, judging from information direct from “the horse’s  mouth,” in effect.  Marcus’ starting point can be deduced from a 1941 ad in Billboard, proclaiming that the “A. B. Marcus – Show of Shows – Traveling the World Over” had been “33 consecutive years in show business.”  [Billboard (a), 23] These two views are not necessarily in conflict; they could be reconciled via the key word “consecutive,” for the Marcus shows might have missed one or more years between 1902 (according to NLNZ) and 1908 (when they started their consecutive-years streak).

Marcus Show Big Special MatineeLacking material from the pre-1910 era, the following 1913 article from a Moncton, Nebraska, newspaper will suffice as an example of early Marcusiana.  It reports that the “Marcus Musical Company” was to present a program titled “Hebrew Justice,” the “funniest comedy yet” — it would be most interesting indeed to know what that was all about.  [Daily Times, 8]  At the other end of the line, so to speak, the impending demise of the once-powerful Marcus group was signaled in 1947 (not long before his 1950 death) by a newspaper’s unobtrusive notice in its back pages that the Marcus show would open soon.  [Grand Rapids Press, 21]  And now to return to the encounter between Marcus and the Three Terpsichoreans.

After the trio’s act, Marcus went backstage and offered them a job with his 70-plus-member troupe, which eventually was to tour Asia.  The three would have accepted the offer at once, except for one problem.  Unimpressed by Kaye, whom he seemed to dislike, Marcus said he wanted only DHM and Young.  The two refused to go without Kaye; but Marcus, a stubborn and powerful impresario, would not budge.  Kaye then tried to persuade his two partners to go without him, but they would not listen to him.  Hours later, DHM “took over the negotiations” and finally offered to split his and Young’s two salaries three ways with Kaye if Marcus relented.  [Singer, 53]

Three Terpsichoreans photo 5 Three Terpsichoreans photo 6 Three Terpsichoreans photo 3
Three Terpsichoreans photo 4 Three Terpsichoreans photo 2 Three Terpsichoreans photo 1

The Three Terpsichoreans aka Harvey, Young & Kaye (click to enlarge)

DHM proved to be persuasive — his offer evidently was one Marcus could not refuse, and the Three Terpsichoreans agreed to join his tour.  DHM likely did not realize it at the time, but he had achieved a genuinely impressive feat, for he had done it despite the fact that Marcus was a force in the show-business world who was used to getting his way.  As an example of that, in an April 1933 episode, Marcus forced a theater — the Empire in Glens Falls, N.Y. —  to change its schedule.  As the local newspaper explained, “The revised time-table is the result of an ultimatum from A. B. Marcus in which he refuses to permit an inadequate display of his extravaganza.”  [The Post-Star, 11]

La-Vie-Paree-1933In view of the significance of the Marcus show for the trio, its highlights will be covered next.  Marcus called his revue “La Vie Paree,” claiming that it reflected Paris night life as manifested in “the Follies [sic] Bergère, Moulin Rouge, and Casino de Paris.”  (As newspaper ads stated, “You don’t have to go to the World’s Fair to see what they see on the streets of Paris!”)  The revue was racy enough that persons under 16 were not admitted; too, when given their choice of “the G-rated show or the naughty, midnight version”, theater owners always chose the latter.  It consisted of “about a dozen groups and soloists who performed in the 20-some acts.  Harvey, Young and Kaye usually did straight dance acts that developed into some comical overtones.”  The troupe of 70-75 “entertainers, musicians and artisans piled into two Pullman cars, with their props and belongings carried in three 70-foot baggage cars.”  [Koenig (a), n.p.]  To the left is a 1934 example of newspaper ads for the Marcus show; it lists the “Harvey, Young & Kaye” team, as Marcus billed the act. [Chattanooga Daily Times, 24]

Mammoth A.B. Marcus Show to Open, 1933

After the White Roe trio joined the Marcus tour, in October 1933 the show played Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor in Michigan, swung up to Winnipeg in Canada, then back to the U.S. for performances booked in advance “in any town their train would stop.”  [Koenig (a), n.p.]  As Kaye put it, “We played every theater and outhouse — forty-one [mostly] one-night stands” altogether, two performances daily.  [Gottfried, 37]  Returning from Canada, they started in Iowa, headed east, then traveled down the east coast, through the southeast and south, westward through Texas, and finally to “a farewell performance February 7, 1934, in San Francisco, before they set sail on the steamship MS Asama Maru the next day for the Far East.”  [Koenig (a), n.p.]  (In a personal email, the author of a forthcoming biography of Marcus questions some of the details of Koenig’s account, as presented in this and in the preceding paragraph.  [Porteous, n.p.] )

Marcus 1934 Show tour of Japan programOnce overseas, there were no more one-night stands for the tour, which began in Tokyo and which spent most of its scheduled nine-week engagement in Japan (cut short by visa problems).  As far as the three Borscht Belt dancers were concerned, from their start with the tour, Marcus, as shown above, had billed the act as “Harvey, Young & Kaye” — and occasionally, within the programs for specific acts, as “Two Boys and a Girl” — rather than as “The Three Terpsichoreans”; that title change continued, once overseas.  Here is a program from the Asia tour featuring the trio at the top of the first page — it shows DHM holding up both Young and Kaye in an impressive balancing act.

Also unchanged overseas were Marcus’ dislike of Kaye, and his continued refusal to allow Kaye to perform solo.  But Kaye “was good at ingratiating himself with the other performers and quickly found work in supporting roles in other dance routines and skits.  By the time the show was headed overseas, he had worked himself into more than half the acts.”  And the situation changed completely in Japan — for, when some cast members got sick, Marcus had no choice but to let Kaye perform.  It did not take long until Kaye was in sixteen of the twenty-one numbers, and those even included solo acts.  [Koenig (a), n.p.]  Marcus later admitted that Asian audiences liked Kaye and that “he’s a smart fellow. . . but I still don’t think he’s funny and in my estimation he will never be a funny-man.”  [Singer, 55]

One of Kaye’s solo acts proved to be memorable indeed, particularly as it provides an example of how and why he developed many of his skills.  One night in Osaka, while a typhoon was lashing the city, he walked onstage just as there was a loud noise and the lights went off.  The crowd began to panic, but Kaye managed to calm them with extemporaneous improvisations.  He continued in that vein during the rest of the tour, relying on the use of “nonsense dialects and exaggerated physicality” [Encyclopedia.com, n.p.]   The various Asian audiences for the most part could not understand English, so he “was forced to communicate through mime and foolish faces” as well as his own brand of double-talk, reliance on a gift for mimicking various European accents while speaking nonsense, and ability to rattle off tongue-twisters “at speeds equalled perhaps only by the Navy’s newest dive bomber.”  [Strauss, n.p.]  (One author cleverly calls Kaye’s nonsense comic language “Desperanto.”  [Dorinson, 65] )

What was the significance of those routines?  As one writer puts it, “The experience of trying to entertain audiences who did not speak English is what brought him to the pantomimes, gestures, songs and facial expressions which eventually made him famous.”  [RUSC, n.p.]  In other words, “his comedy was a kind of verbal slapstick.  It was not based on anecdotes or ideas.  That was why it would have no language boundaries.”  [Gottfried, 37-38]   And meanwhile, throughout the tour, DHM and Young maintained their close relationship with Kaye; they listened to his ideas and “offered helpful suggestions and supplied much needed encouragement.”  [Singer, 56]  (DHM’s full relevance to Kaye’s career will be discussed in due course.)


Danny Kaye (front row, third from left) & crew enjoy the nightlife in the Orient.
Kathleen Young & Dave Harvey are standing, middle of second row.

With regard to the tour as a whole, rather than to its individual performers, its “exotic itinerary” after leaving Japan included the following stops (not necessarily in chronological order) — Shanghai, Hong Kong, Canton, Singapore, Bangkok, and the Indonesian islands, and then back to Japan.  A scheduled engagement in Australia was canceled “when Mrs. Marcus learned that her little dog Vita would not be admitted because of health regulations.”  [Gottfried, 37-38]  And most important of all, from my perspective, the tour made one more stop that should not be overlooked — and that was in Manila in July 1934, nearly three-quarters of the way through the tour and before a final return to Japan.

All new Marcus Show - Manila Tribune, 12 July 1934The Manila engagement is singled out for separate attention here for two reasons, one minor and one major.  The minor one is that, for some reason, many accounts of the tour fail to cite its Manila stop; in fact, even Kaye himself omitted mention of it while listing other stops [Kaye (b), 10].  The major reason is that the Manila visit, and in particular the fact of the tour’s performances at the Metropolitan Theater there, enabled me to make a discovery of purely personal significance.  As noted in the Preface, the story of that discovery was a direct outgrowth of this DHM chronicle; rather than include it as a SIDEBAR, as initially intended, it is mentioned here to (again) call attention to its online existence.

STAGE 3: 1935-1936 — THE TRANSITION. After completing their Southeast Asia tour, the Marcus troupe made one more stop, returning to Japan.  Due to “a technicality of the law” concerning their work permits, their first stop there had been cut short in April 1934, after seven weeks, during which they “had entertained a quarter of a million Japanese theatergoers and took in 400,000 yen.”  Allowed to return, the troupe ended their tour — which Marcus originally “anticipated could last up to three years” — in Osaka in September 1934, after almost seven months abroad.  Then, “Out of welcoming ports, Marcus called the troupe back to the U.S. to regroup”; they sailed from Kobe on 1 October 1934 on the MS Heian Maru and arrived in Seattle on 16 October 1934.  [Koenig (a), n.p.]  And that concludes the extended answer to the question posed at the very end of Stage 1 — namely, how did DHM get from New Jersey in 1933 to Japan in 1934?

Upon arriving in the U.S., the tour then continued to several cities, including Calgary in Canada; there its November stop received a lengthy and effusive review, including quite favorable treatment of the former Terpsichoreans.  The local newspaper bestowed the following glowing notice on the White Roe trio:  “An eccentric dance, ‘Gobs of Fun,’ by Dave Harvey, Cathleen Young and Danny Kaye, was particularly good.  Their execution is amazingly smooth.”  The article also praised “a fully-costumed number which was high-lighted by excellent dancing by Dave Harvey and Cathleen Young” [Calgary Herald, 5; see article below].  (The DHM-Young pairing is significant, for it outlasted the tour, as discussed later.)  The tour then returned to the U. S. and continued until January 1935, when Marcus disbanded the troupe to await the next tour — one that was not to include the trio. Thus we now turn to their post-Marcus careers. [Daily News, 15]

Marcus show scores hit in extravaganza, Calgary Herald, Nov. 6, 1934

At this point, information on the fates of two of the three becomes sparse, though of course not in the case of Kaye’s well-documented career; he will be covered first, and Young last.  

Ambiguity (and worse) prevails on the question of why Kaye left the Marcus tour in January 1935, just as it does on that of whether he graduated from high school. Either (a) authors do not mention the matter at all (e.g., “When he returned to the United States, jobs were in short supply; Kaye struggled for bookings” [RUSC, n.p.]); or (b) the truth is, shall we say, quite well obscured (e.g., Kaye stayed with the tour “until January 1935, when he had had enough” [Koenig (a), n.p.] — this clearly implies that Kaye quit the tour of his own volition); or (c) truth is cast aside altogether (“after quitting the show on its return” [Strauss, 29] — no ambiguity there, nor in Kaye himself, whose memoir claims “I wanted to leave the [Marcus] show because I needed new experiences and challenges” [Kaye (a), part 3] ). The indisputable fact, however, is that Marcus, who had never liked Kaye, simply refused to renew his contract, supposedly saying “He can’t sing.  He can’t dance! His jokes are terrible!”  [Singer, 57]  So in January 1935 Kaye was dismissed, was jobless, and had dim prospects of finding employment.

Danny Kaye and Holly Fine

SIDEBAR.  In addition, Kaye had to part ways with Holly Fine, whom he had met during the Marcus tour and who had replaced Kathleen Young in his affections.  One source claims that Fine (1910-1998) was Kaye’s “first hard-core romance” whom “Marcus had discovered sipping a soda at a drugstore” and whom he taught to dance.  [Koenig, n.p.]   Another source puts it more precisely:  Fine was discovered while eating lunch at a Walgreens in Atlanta in 1933, the year she (like Kaye) joined the Marcus tour.  Unlike Kaye, she remained with the Marcus tour on its various world trips until 1939.  She then returned to her hometown in Florida, got married, and settled down for good.  But she and Kaye maintained a long-distance relationship, the record of which is preserved and publicly accessible. [Fine and Kaye Papers, 1934-1994, n.p.]
A.B. Marcus rites held from Daily News (Los Angeles), 1950
(As for A. B. Marcus, he retired in 1947, and died in August 1950 at the age of 67.) [Daily News, 15]

[Note: Holly Fine was not related to Kaye’s future wife, Sylvia Fine; similarly, Rose Kaye, one of Danny Kaye’s girl friends at the White Roe resort, was not related to Danny.]

Coverage of Kaye now continues, so that the significance of the Kaye-DHM relationship can be made clear.  That requires a brief summary of Kaye’s activities during the 1935-1940 period.  After returning home to Brooklyn and failing to find a job, Kaye actually had to return to the White Roe resort, “from which he had supposedly graduated” [Gottfried, 39], and where no doubt they were glad to have him back, for a sixth season, which would have been in 1936.  Then in 1937 he moved on to another Borscht Belt resort, the President Hotel, where he was billed as Dan Kolbin (see below), and from there to the Tamiment resort in the Pennsylvania Poconos [Conway, n.p.]

Danny-Kaye-Highlight-ShadowsAfter that, in his own words, “I toured with [famed fan dancer] Sally Rand. . . .  Then [worked] with [bandleader] Abe Lyman.  I stooged for Nick Long, Jr., at the [Billy Rose] Casa Mañana, [and] played the Dorchester Hotel in London.”  [Kaye (b), 10]   In this column he did not mention that he flopped badly in London, where the “staid British audiences greeted his routines with cold indifference” (however, in 1948 he returned there and “became a legend after a triumphant appearance at the famed London Palladium” for a Royal Command Performance).  [Goldstein, n.p.]  In this period he also made three movie shorts, all filmed in two days, all unremarkable.

It was not until 1939 that Kaye’s luck began to turn; that happened largely because he was appearing in a New York City cabaret revue for which the brilliant Sylvia Fine was pianist, lyricist and composer.  To shorten a long story, he and Fine got married in 1940, and, as all accounts agree, she “became a powerful influence on Kaye’s career, writing much of his material and guiding his artistic development.”  [Fine and Kaye papers, n.p.]  By 1941 Kaye was well on his way to fame and fortune, and the rest, in the familiar phrase, is history.  

As his show-business career has been summarized, “[Kaye’s] exploits have spanned the lively arts, encompassing stage, screen, radio, nightclubs, records, symphony conducting, and, of course, television.  In every area he has achieved critical and public acclaim.”  [Tacoma News Tribune, 14]  More broadly, UNICEF (for which Kaye was a first-ever and long-time Goodwill Ambassador) described Kaye as “a Renaissance man who was a [licensed] jet pilot, baseball [team] owner, master Chinese chef, symphony orchestra conductor, a performer honored with Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys, Golden Globes, the French Legion of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom” [Quoted in Jewish Virtual Library, n.p.]

[Note:  Kaye always was irritated by typical reactions to his apparently sudden rise to fame.  As he wrote in 1944, “Every time they call me an ‘overnight sensation’ I burn to a crisp. . . .  The thing no one realizes is that I played every tank town in America, beat my brains out all over the world, worked in night clubs, cover charge cellars, vaudeville, Summer camps, benefits, for 12 years before I became a movie star.”  [Kaye (b), 7]]


Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine, London 1948

So at last we can consider the issue of DHM’s relevance to Kaye’s career.  In so doing, it will become possible to show that DHM did indeed have a significant impact on the career of an individual who was to become an internationally-acclaimed performer (and far more than an entertainer, as noted).  But while the influence on Kaye of Sylvia Fine is clear and undeniable, how — if at all — can Harvey’s role be assessed?  Actually, that can be done fairly simply and easily — it has never been done before because their relationship has never been examined.  Such an assessment simply requires a review of the highlights of the earlier account (starting in Stage 2) of their relationship.  Those highlights, it should be emphasized, are well-documented and are not at all based on speculation.

First of all, starting the relationship, DHM agreed with Kathleen Young to take on Kaye as a replacement third member for their dance act (of course, DHM presumably would have had no reason to disagree).  Second, he and Young taught Kaye how to dance, by Kaye’s own admission.  Third, they persuaded Kaye to join them on a dance tour, rather than return to New York City as he always did during the Borscht Belt off-season.  Fourth, and no doubt most important, DHM and Young refused to accept the initial Marcus job offer unless it included Kaye; and, according to Kaye, DHM was able to persuade Marcus to hire Kaye — an accomplishment the difficulty of which was emphasized earlier.  And fifth, during the Marcus tour DHM and Young listened to Kaye’s ideas and offered him advice and encouragement — in other words, they helped nurture and further his growth as a performer.

In short, DHM was — along with Young — instrumental in, if not absolutely essential to, Kaye’s evolution to stardom.  It could be contended, in fact, that in its own way DHM’s influence on Kaye’s early career was comparable to that of Sylvia Fine on his later career.  For the inescapable fact is that DHM quite literally may well have made that career possible, by insisting that Kaye be included in the Marcus tour — during which, not so incidentally, Kaye developed many of the talents, skills and techniques that Fine later utilized so skillfully to make Kaye a success.

SIDEBAR.  It could be argued, of course, that the preceding paragraph exaggerates DHM’s influence.  Whether it does or not, an example of such exaggeration was provided by DHM’s proud father.  In a 1944 letter to a New York newspaper columnist, after Kaye’s rise to stardom, David MacTurk amusingly claimed, according to the columnist, that DHM had “arranged a two-year tour of the Orient for Danny Kaye” [Walker, 40]. DHM himself apparently also indulged in exaggeration, according to a U.S. Navy man who was interned in STIC before being transferred to a POW camp. His memoir states that DHM claimed he “was the first male entertainer in the Zeigfield [sic] Follies and gave Danny Kay [sic] his start in 1929.” [Rutter, 29]

No doubt there are Kaye admirers who would challenge the belief that DHM — and perhaps even Sylvia Fine — had much if anything to do with Kaye’s success, on the grounds that his innate talents inevitably would have come to the fore sooner or later; after all, such admirers might argue, hadn’t he been a big success at White Roe, where he had become the highest-paid performer?  In rebuttal to any such claims, it need only be pointed out that Kaye, having already spent five seasons at the resort in what could have been a dead-end (if fairly well-paid) Summer job, might well have continued there if not for the intervention of DHM and Young; indeed, as already pointed out, Kaye actually even had to return to the same resort (and then to another one in 1937, the President Hotel) after the Marcus tour — except that this time he was far better equipped to pursue his ambitions, having developed during the Marcus tour (to repeat for emphasis) the innate talents and many of the trade-marked skills that Sylvia Fine was to put to good use.

To support the position that joining the Marcus tour was a turning point for Kaye, this segment concludes with a verdict on this issue by a close student of Kaye’s career.  “Danny Kaye’s 16 months touring with the A. B. Marcus Show from 1933-34 changed his life.  After five summers mired as a toomler in the Borscht Belt, it made him part of a professional stage troupe, sent him across the country and around the world, and helped him discover new singing, dancing and comedic talents he didn’t even know he had.” [Koenig (a), n.p.  More generally, also see Koenig (b)]  Obviously there is no way to prove conclusively that DHM was THE difference in making that outcome possible, but there is no question that his role in doing so was extremely significant.

SIDEBAR.  Three aspects of the Kaye-DHM relationship are worth pointing out at this juncture.

(a) Kaye’s reputation understandably overshadows DHM’s, but that is true even with regard to the period of the Marcus tour, when DHM was the more important member of the two (especially as far as Marcus was concerned).  An egregious example of the tendency to overemphasize Kaye is the assertion that “In Shanghai he [DHM] had done a duo with Danny Kaye during Kaye’s Far Eastern tour” [Wilkinson, 68; emphasis added]. Not only is DHM overshadowed, but the author has transformed the Marcus tour itself into a “Kaye tour.”  The emphasis on Kaye at DHM’s expense is the norm in the relevant literature, which often doesn’t even mention DHM at all.

(b) Interestingly, Kaye apparently kept track of DHM’s whereabouts.  in a 1944 guest column that he wrote, Kaye pointed out, parenthetically, that “(Dave, by the way, is now in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines.)”  [Kaye (b), 10]

(c) Also worth noting is that the two performers got together at least once after WWII, as shown in this 1950s photo, outside Kaye’s dressing room (his name is on the door).

The preceding relatively lengthy detour into the career of Danny Kaye, in a mini-biography of DHM, was essential in order to establish the latter’s credentials as a showman deserving wider recognition. He was not only an artiste who performed remarkably under extremely adverse wartime circumstances, but also a consequential trouper whose influence credibly had showbiz-wide significance. Leaving Kaye behind now, the next step is to trace the careers of both DHM and Kathleen Young upon the disbanding of the Marcus tour in January 1935. For a short period of time their careers were intertwined, thus we will start with DHM, switch to Young, and finally cut back to DHM.

DHM was back in the U.S. by 1935, but in the absence of evidence as to his whereabouts after he left the tour, it is reasonable to assume that he then most likely headed back home to Morristown, New Jersey, where his parents still lived at the same address.  That assumption is based on the facts that, at the age of 30, he was jobless with no work prospects in a still-depressed economy, and that he had been away from home, for the first time ever, for nearly two years.  An additional and much more important factor is that DHM’s mother may have been seriously ill; that surmise is based on the fact that she died in January 1936, at the age of only 61.

At that point his father was 59 and apparently healthy — at any rate, he lived until 1950.  Thus DHM no doubt then felt free, after his mother’s death, to resume his show-business career.  As an entertainer at heart and strongly attracted by Asia, that is where he then returned, as discussed below.  (Whenever in 1935 DHM might have returned home, it was not in time to be listed in the 1935 Morristown City Directory; similarly, he must have left home before being counted for inclusion in the 1936 Directory.)

From DHM the narrative now turns to Young.  The aim here is both to follow Young’s path to the extent possible after January 1935, and in so doing to help reveal information about DHM as well.  In keeping with Young’s status as more or less a mystery woman, as noted earlier, there is little information available on what she did upon leaving the Marcus tour — except that she did not rejoin it, for either the 1935 or any later tour.  Presumably she returned to Chicago, where both her parents and her grandparents resided.  But any such stay there did not last too long.

After Young left the Marcus tour in January 1935, the first evidence of her location is provided — strangely and interestingly — by mid-August 1936 documents from the National Archives of India.  At that time she was a performer at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  And she was there as half of a duo that included none other than – drumroll, please – DHM.  With both of them likely having been at loose ends after the Marcus tour, it would seem that they had decided to revive their 1933 dance act from their White Roe resort days (and perhaps also to revive a post-Kaye friendship?).  Whatever the case, the situation raises unanswerable questions, such as how and when the two traveled to Ceylon, whether they traveled together, and whether Young was accompanied by her grandmother.

But at least one thing is clear — through the Home Department of the Government of India, the Indian Hotels Company, in a letter of 8 August 1936, had requested “permission to bring to Bombay [now Mumbai] two American Theatrical Artistes” who were then performing in Colombo.  The Company asked “the Colombo authorities. . . to grant them the necessary visas for India.”  The reason for the request was that the two Americans “have been engaged on a contract for one month at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay”; and Company authorities “guarantee to repatriate them if they are stranded in India.”  Neither the Ceylon nor the Indian authorities had any reason to object, the visas were granted, and Young and Harvey fulfilled their one-month contract, which began on 11 September 1936.  [National Archives of India, n.p.]

Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageA Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageB Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageC
Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageD Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageE Harvey-Young-1936-Indian-Visa-pageF

Little more is known about the immediate activities or whereabouts of the two “theatrical artistes” following their Bombay engagement.  It appears, though, that Young and Harvey thereupon went their separate ways.  Young, possibly accompanied by her grandmother, may have returned to Colombo to perform, likely as a solo act.  The only evidence for that is a ship’s passenger list with the names of two Chicago residents — Cathleene Young (then 25 and single) and her grandmother Mary Lori Young (64 and married).  The ship was the S.S. Singalese Prince, which departed from Colombo on 16 December 1938 and arrived in Boston on 24 January 1939.  Unknown is whether Young performed in Colombo from late 1936 to late 1938, and whether she was accompanied by her grandmother during that entire period.

Kathleen Young aka Cathleene M. McCrudden gravestoneTo conclude coverage of Kathleen Young, the U.S. Census records provide most of the remaining information about her.  The 1940 Census lists Young’s occupation as “entertainer,” whereas the 1950 Census does not list any occupation for her.  Apparently, therefore, she stopped performing after she returned to the U.S. from Ceylon in 1939.  The only other available information on Young is that she died in 1979 at only 65 or 66 (specific dates are lacking) in Norristown, Pennsylvania, where she is interred as Cathleene M. Mc Crudden (no information is available about her husband).

STAGE 4: 1937-1941 — THE SOLO PERFORMER/LEADER. We now turn our attention back to DHM and at last focus exclusively on him, until the WWII period.  The first question to consider concerns what he did after leaving India and returning with Young to Ceylon in October 1936.  It might be thought that DHM, seemingly having become a devotee of Asian living by then, would have remained somewhere in Asia if not in Ceylon.  But that was not the case at all —  evidently he left Ceylon in late 1936 and then almost immediately appeared back in the U.S.

This time DHM turned up in the semi-tropical city of Miami, Florida.  How he got there is not known, but it is clear that by January 1937 he was already embedded in the entertainment scene there.  His was a solo act only in the sense that he had become a bandleader; he had somehow, in a short period of time, lined up several apparently different, or more likely differently-named, small bands.  He and his ensembles, which were cited in various Miami newspaper ads and articles, performed for at least the first four months of 1937.  A sampling of that material provides an interesting and informative view not only of DHM’s activities but of the U.S. entertainment scene in general as of 1937.

The_Miami_News_Sat_Feb_20_1937A January 1937 ad in the Miami News about the Hollywood Country Club, “Florida’s smartest rendezvous,” listed Xavier Cugat and his Waldorf-Astoria orchestra at the top, Benay Venuta somewhere in the middle, and “Dave Harvey and his Hawaiian Serenaders” at the bottom of the ad (also dinners $3, $4 on Saturdays). A February Miami News article stated that “Carnival Night at The Frolics” would present an “elaborate night of entertainment” with three groups providing continuous music until dawn, and with one of the bands in the main dining room being that of “Dave Harvey and his swing sextette.”  A March ad in the Miami Tribune for the “Jack Dempsey Bar and Restaurant” included “Dave Harvey’s 3 Royal Jesters” (also de luxe dinners $2.50).  Finally, an April notice in the Miami Herald for the Dempsey-Vanderbilt Hotel’s “Jack Dempsey Bar and Restaurant” (open all night), listed “Dave Harvey and his ‘Hawaiian Swingsters’.”  [News (a), 26; News (b) 6; Tribune, 18; Herald, 24.]

The_Miami_Herald_Wed__Jan_27__1937 Hollywood Country Club, The Miami News, Jan. 19, 1937 Miami_Tribune_Sun_Apr_4_1937 Miami_Tribune_Sun_Apr_4_1937

It is not known how long DHM remained in Florida, but from there he headed back to Asia (probably to Shanghai), perhaps after stopping to see his father in New Jersey.  At any rate, according to an August 1937 notice in a Brooklyn newspaper,  DHM was among a small group of Americans traveling from Shanghai to Manila on the S.S. President Lincoln.  [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3]  That news raises the obvious question of the purpose of his trip to Manila, especially because it is known that he lived in Shanghai until 1939, at which time Nipponese military activities there forced him to move to Manila.  It is not unreasonable to assume that the answer to that question is that he likely was trying to decide whether to move to Manila or to Shanghai.

Two factors, it seems to me, led DHM to choose Shanghai.  A minor one is that he was already familiar with the city, having performed there while with the Marcus tour in 1934 (and possibly on other occasions, such as while on his way to and from Ceylon in 1936).  It is true, of course, that he had also performed in Manila; more than offsetting that, however, was a second and far more important factor in Shanghai’s favor.  Much more than was true of Manila, Shanghai was famed — perhaps the word should be notorious — for its wide-open and bawdy night life as Asia’s entertainment capital.  In fact, it was mainly in Shanghai (and mostly among the city’s elites) that American jazz had caught on by the early 1920s; and that happened even though it was only a few years after the first jazz phonograph records had begun to appear in the U.S., in the latter nineteen-teens.  By the 1930s, therefore, Shanghai had become what one source calls “a global metropolis.”  [Farrer and Field; see esp. Chapter 2]

The growing popularity of jazz music in Shanghai, of course adapted to its Chinese milieu, led to a rapid increase there of several kinds of venues for the music, such as dance halls, cafes, bars, ballrooms, nightclubs, and cabarets; at one time jazz could be heard in some 50-60 dance halls.  As a result, there was great demand for — and thus a large influx of — foreign musicians, many of them American Blacks seeking to escape racism in the U.S.  According to one source, Shanghai music venues hired so many such musicians that soon more than 500 of them “had surged into the Shanghai concessions [and] played jazz music day and night.”  [Marlow, 39.  Chapter 4 of this book is titled “Shanghai in the 1920s-1930s: The Joint Was Jumpin’.”]  Manila simply did not compare with Shanghai on this score, an important matter to entertainers such as DHM.

[Note:  After U.S. entry into WWI, a similar though much better known movement occurred of many more Black American musicians and entertainers (e.g., Josephine Baker) into Europe than into China; and in several European countries, especially France, jazz music gained widespread acclaim.]

SIDEBAR. Reputedly the first American jazz musician to play in Shanghai was Whitey Smith (1897-1972), a drummer of Danish descent, who arrived there in 1922.  A harbinger of the aforementioned influx of American musicians, he remained in Shanghai until 1937, when Nipponese military activity there led him to move to Manila, where he was later interned in STIC during WWII.  There was a possibility that he might have met DHM in Shanghai in 1937; however, his book’s only mention of DHM is that the latter was “a showman I had met for the first time in 1934, when he was part of the Marcus show. . . [and] who, with Danny Kaye, was the top feature in the Marcus production.”  [Smith, 168]  For an example of the Smithian fusion of American and Chinese music, here is a link to a (looped) video, of all things, of his band playing for Chinese diners, probably at Shanghai’s Majestic Hotel garden in 1929. And this is a link to a 1928 recording by the Smith band, with a vocal by Smith himself. Clearly Smith was a brilliant entrepreneur.  For instance, “he encouraged Chinese women to wear the cheongsam, a body-hugging dress with a slit running up one leg that became the rage, allowing them to more easily dance the latest ’rags,’ including the Charleston.” [Kaufman, 86]

A personal note on the subject of early jazz records.  One of the first jazz recording artists was famed trombonist Edward “Kid” Ory (1886-1973), best known simply as Kid Ory.  During a break in one of his night club performances in San Francisco in the late 1940s, I managed to gain his attention long enough to shake his hand and to bore him with the fascinating information that I had most of his early recordings, including those he had made with Louis Armstrong in the 1920s.  He feigned interest admirably.  Here is a link to his 1926 recording of the jazz classic “Muskrat Ramble,” which notably is his own composition. 

There is an additional factor that could have attracted DHM to Shanghai — namely, the Philippine angle of the city’s entertainment scene.  In one book, in a section of Chapter 5 titled “The Filipino Bands Dominate,” the author states that “The music of choice was American jazz.  There were many. . . [foreign] jazz bands, but the most popular bands were the Filipino bands.  The demand was for either American bands, particularly ‘black’ bands, or Filipino bands.”  The latter’s popularity stemmed largely from the fact that “Filipinos learned not only English, but also about jazz from American soldiers” after the U.S. took control of the islands.  [Marlow, 39-41, esp. 40]  DHM may have wanted to scout the Filipino bands there, perhaps with the idea of hiring one of them for a nightclub he planned to open in Manila (as discussed later). Regardless, while jazz may have been just as popular in Manila as it was in Shanghai, Manila did not match Shanghai as an entertainment hub, and undoubtedly that mainly explains why DHM moved there in 1937.

DHM lived in Shanghai for about two years, but little is known about his activities in the entertainment field there.  The few references about that are confined to sources that agree only on the obvious and mundane fact that DHM the performer who arrived in Manila in 1939 was “a Shanghai entertainer” [Gleeck, 231] or, hardly less laconically, “a night club entertainer from Shanghai” [Quito, 177].  By comparison, one informative writer verbosely describes DHM as a “Shanghai veteran night-club owner and radio personality” [Archer, 101].  Whether DHM owned any Shanghai nightclubs is unclear, but it does seem that he had been connected with both the Cathay and the Park Hotels there in some capacity, entertainer and/or owner.

By 1939 it had become evident that war was impending in the Far East, and DHM was among the many Westerners who began to leave Shanghai.  His decision to move to Manila rather than to the U.S. was foreseeable, given the facts that he was familiar with the city and was known in Manila entertainment circles.  The latter no doubt included his fellow entertainer, the aforesaid Whitey Smith, who by then was a well-known figure in the Manila scene (he was operating the Metro Garden and Grill, aka the Metro Garden Cabaret, located in the Metropolitan Theater building).  DHM’s move to Manila makes it possible to know more about his activities there than about those in Shanghai.  Still, those activities can be summarized with a similar description — as in Shanghai, DHM was “a popular headliner on Manila nightclubs and on the radio.”  [Walsh, 295]

Oddly, the various accounts of DHM’s pre-WWII Manila ventures fail to mention the reason he was a radio personality, perhaps because nobody knows the reason. However, I happen to know the reason.  I first personally encountered DHM not in STIC but in the prewar period.  About a year after arriving in Manila, DHM followed the lead of a popular new U.S. quiz program, “Take It or Leave It,” later renamed “The $64 Question.”  He created and became host of the Philippine version, called “The 64 Peso Question.”  (Both versions were sponsored by the pen-and-pencil firm Eversharp.) I was (and remain) a devout radio listener, and that program was one of my favorites.  So, being fairly knowledgeable (or so I thought) as a radio listener and newspaper reader, it was probably in late 1940 that I wrote to the program and asked to be a contestant.  To my surprise, I was accepted, despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that I was then only ten years old; and I appeared on the program in 1941.  (In STIC I again met DHM in a somewhat similar situation, as discussed later.)

SIDEBAR. For curious readers (if any), this is what happened on the program, which as usual had a packed studio audience.  I chose the category “World Leaders in the News” (or something along those lines), in which the contestant had to identify the countries of various political leaders.  I answered the first six questions correctly — as I recall, included were names such as Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-shek, and Haile Selassie.  (After a correct answer, DHM sometimes would emulate the U.S. program host by using the play-on-words expression “That’s right [write] with Eversharp.”)  On reaching the 64-peso question, I had to choose between taking my 32-peso winnings (2 pesos then = $1) or gambling that I could answer what was always by far the toughest question.  Over-confidently, I chose to gamble — and guessed incorrectly, because I had never heard of Ireland’s prime minister, Éamon de Valera.  (DHM had kindly given me the choice — when it was clear I did not know the answer — among England, Scotland, and Ireland, and I guessed Scotland.)   The consolation prize of an Eversharp pen and pencil set of course was no solace at all.

As for the broader issue of DHM’s Manila activities, he transitioned from performer to nightclub owner, as supposedly he had done in Shanghai.  Initially, says one source, he was manager of the Alcazar nightclub, though evidence is lacking for that.  [Gleeck, 231]  In 1941, however, he became owner-manager of a well-known Manila nightclub, the Casa Mañana, located on Dewey Boulevard, adjacent to Manila Bay.  According to a promotional piece in a full-page newspaper spread in October 1941 (see below), “internationally famous Dave Harvey” — described as “an experienced executive in the business” — had become the new manager of “the most glamorous dance rendezvous of the Orient.”  The nightclub had been temporarily closed to allow for the transition to new leadership, and the newspaper spread announced DHM’s invitation to the public to the reopening that night of “his new Casa Mañana” nightclub.  [Tribune, 6]  

SIDEBAR.  Another promotional item on that Tribune page stated that one of the nightclub’s “new features” was “Rodrigo ‘Bimbo’ Danao and his rippling rhythm Casa Mañana orchestra,” which “will introduce a distinctively ‘rippling’ style” of music presentation.  Though no claim was made that the style was invented by or unique to the Danao band, nonetheless it should be noted that the term “rippling rhythm” became nationally known in the U.S. in 1936, when it was introduced by “Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra.”  To hear the Fields band’s rippling rhythm, here is a link to his theme song, “Rippling Rhythm,” recorded in 1936.

Casa Manana opens under new management, Oct. 1941

Unfortunately for all concerned, however, the festivities came to an end only a few weeks later, on Pearl Harbor Day, 8 December 1941.

[Note: The fate of the Casa Mañana during the Nipponese occupation of the Philippines is worth mention.  A Nipponese journalist who visited Manila in 1943 wrote that Nipponese “operated a number of cafes in Manila, chief among which was the former Casa Mañana, now Japanese managed and a favorite with army and civilian personnel.” [Quoted in Goodman, 417]

This narrative now moves into the most stressful and most demanding stage of DHM’s life, as entertainer and otherwise.  This period has been well-documented by STIC historians and is known in broad terms to the STIC community in general.  As a result, the question arises of what and how much to cover of DHM’s already well-known activities within the Camp.  The logical answer is to focus less on the well-known aspects of his activities as Camp entertainment head, and more on the lesser-known/unknown aspects.  What that means, specifically, is the inclusion of coverage — as was done with Danny Kaye, and to the extent possible with Kathleen Young — of DHM’s most noteworthy STIC “associates” (a word that is in quotation marks because he personally did not know one of them).

STAGE 5: 1942-1945 — THE PRISON CAMP YEARS. Once again, as in 1939, the Nipponese military disrupted DHM’s career.  But this time there was no escape as had been possible from Shanghai.  Less than four weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack, in early January 1942 DHM found himself — along with thousands of fellow “enemy aliens” — imprisoned in Santo Tomas Internment Camp, for what turned out to be 37 months of increasingly harsh privation, until Liberation Day on 3 February 1945.  During that period DHM put to remarkable use his years of experience as an all-around entertainer, accustomed to performing under adverse (but obviously not that adverse) circumstances.

The personal qualities that characterized the extraordinary role that DHM played in Camp history are well — even delightfully — summarized in the following passage from an internee’s diary.

    [DHM] was the perfect emcee for our camp.  He made us laugh and forget our surroundings, and he lifted our morale tremendously.  He was over six feet tall, with wispy and mousy-colored hair worn in a Skeezix bang which nearly hid a pair of the friendliest and kindest baby-blue eyes I had ever seen.  With his unusual height, his bean-pole skinniness was accentuated.  When he danced, his loose-jointed body seemed to move without effort, giving one the impression that he was made of rubber and completely devoid of any bones.
    [Cates, 56]

DHM’s experience manifested itself soon after the Camp opened on 4 January 1942.  As Hartendorp notes in his massive two-volume history, DHM helped organize STIC’s Entertainment Committee almost immediately.  Then amazingly, before the end of the Camp’s first month — to be precise, on January 29 — he organized and emceed STIC’s first “vaudeville show,” as Hartendorp calls it.  The second show followed barely a week later, and shows continued to be presented regularly, until the Nipponese military banned them in mid-1944.  [Hartendorp, I, 37]

[Note: One of the acts in the very first stage show was that of accordionist and high school senior Patty Gene Croft. According to a forthcoming book centered on her experiences, that act had a backstory — she had asked an un-interned Filipino friend, and fellow accordionist, to “retrieve her accordion from the Croft’s abandoned and soon-looted apartment in Pasay.” [Floyd, 65]]

Those early shows were held on a makeshift platform set up within the cramped confines of the west patio of the Main Building; eventually they were held on a genuine stage that internees constructed for that purpose on the west end of the plaza in front of the Main Building.  At times the shows were held under unusual and/or extreme conditions, as was the case on 24 February 1945 after the Camp’s liberation; even as the Battle of Manila was raging in the background — in the distance behind the stage — the “indefatigable Dave Harvey, with U. S. army cooperation,” was at work directing yet another stage show.  [Hartendorp, II, 560]  It would be difficult to overstate how well those shows succeeded in bolstering internee morale.

Of the many stage shows presented in STIC, at least three DHM-related aspects merit attention.  One is that he not only “produced, directed, wrote and emceed the stage productions”, as one writer summarized his efforts [Enriquez, 3]; he also frequently participated in the shows in various capacities.  In particular, DHM’s performances very often were of the comedic variety.  As one example, he and his top aide Phyllis Dyer (of whom more below) had an act in which they played “Davida” the dancing horse — “Dave was the head, but Phyllis drove the show.”  [Moore, n.p.]  Another example is that of DHM’s “comedy routines often involving (in dialect) his persona of Charlie McGillicuddy — an immigrant in an Americanization class.” [Cogan, 237]

Additionally, and reminiscent of his Terpsichorean days a decade earlier, several of DHM’s acts relied on his dancing skills.  Most noteworthy, perhaps, were his dances in full Scottish attire, kilt and all — he was, after all, of Scottish ancestry. By incredibly good fortune, a video exists of one such performance, filmed during the aforesaid February 1945 post-liberation program.  The video’s quality understandably is subpar, and there is no sound, but here is a link to it; DHM’s dance sequence can be seen between the 3:47-minute and the 4:20-minute marks.

Dave Harvey after liberation, February 1945, with Dyer Sisters Dave Harvey in kilt, 1945 after liberation Dave Harvey, 1945 after liberation, with Dyer Sisters

[Dave Harvey, in kilt, doing Scottish dance with Dyer Sisters (click to enlarge)]

The second aspect to note is that the stage shows became more varied over time; they were not limited to vaudeville-type programs. They included plays, sketches, comedic skits, and concerts.  A good example of the diversity was presented on New Year’s Eve of 1943, when DHM and a cast of about 150 staged his most ambitious show to that point, titled “Cinderella.”   Another notable example was a 24 September 1943 farewell show for a group of internees about to leave STIC to be repatriated (plus a poem by DHM).  [Hartendorp, II, 70, 11]  The latter show, titled “The Lost Tribes of the Philippines,” was about a “mysterious land of forgotten people, those lost tribes of the Philippines who, decades ago, were known as the Santo Tomas Internees” — and who, by obvious implication, had been abandoned and forgotten by their former rulers.  [Irvine, 148-154, reprints the show’s complete script, including drawings.  Also see Lucas, 93]

And to add to the variety, there was yet another kind of stage show, one that has not drawn as much attention as have the variety shows — namely, quiz shows. Probably responsible for that relative lack of attention is that quiz shows were presented less frequently than were the variety shows, and, more to the point, they lacked the lighthearted entertainment many internees enjoyed more.  The quiz shows were patterned after the programs familiar to radio listeners of that time; for adults, the model was the aforesaid “64 Peso Question” program, and for us youths (I was an occasional participant) it was the U.S. “Quiz Kids” program.

SIDEBAR. In STIC I again encountered DHM in the quiz-show format.  During one such show, probably in 1943, my response to one of his questions has a back-story.  He asked something like “What does the term ‘the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’ mean?”  Now, I did a lot of reading in the Camp, even including dictionaries and an occasional encyclopedia; and I dimly recalled having run across that phrase in my reading.  But I couldn’t remember its exact meaning, and in the complete silence after his question (since nobody had the slightest idea of the answer), I involuntarily half-whispered to myself what I had hazily recalled.  To my surprise DHM heard me, though he was standing toward the middle of the stage and I was sitting at the very end on the right side, as viewed from the audience.  He walked toward me and, in a kindly tone, he said “What did you say?  Speak louder so we can all hear you.”  Because of my uncertainty, I kept silent, and several times he tried to coax me to answer.  Finally I muttered dubiously “A bank in England?”  “That’s close enough,” DHM said, “it’s the Bank of England, but I’ll call it correct.”

As to the third aspect of the DHM stage shows, no survey of that topic would be complete without a discussion of the role of one of his leading “associates” — Phyllis Marjorie Dyer, DHM’s top aide, partner (on- and off-stage), and future wife (who, incidentally, is not mentioned in the index to the two Hartendorp volumes). Thus we turn now to a brief review of her history — brief because of lack of information.  Dyer (1911-1989) was a British citizen, born in the city of Simla, India.  Her parents were Dr. Augustus William Dyer and Anne Dyer; and she had a younger sister, Eva Doris Dyer, also a DHM aide (about whom there is no information online).  Phyllis Dyer had previously married oddly-named Pennsylvania Unwin Navarra (1905-1952) in Bengal, India, in January 1930, and they had a daughter, Beulah Christine Anne Navarra (1930-2010); no record of a divorce is available online.  (Navarra’s lineage, by the way, can be traced to the grant in 1743 of the title of Count to a hyphenated-named Navarra, in Malta.).

SIDEBAR. The Dyer-India link likely began with the Dyer family of Epsom, in Surrey, just south of London.  The Dyer family “had major connections with the Honourable East India Company,” which used large private armies to rule much of India for about a century, until 1858.  John Dyer (1799-1873), operating out of Bengal, “patrolled the Company’s shipping routes” in order to deal with the problems of piracy at sea and seaborne raids on the coasts.  John Dyer and his wife had eleven children, most of whom also lived in India; and, via one of his five sons, John Dyer became the grandfather of Reginald Dyer (1864-1927), who is known as “The Butcher of Amritsar” (for reasons beyond the scope of this account).  [Epsom and Ewell, n.p.]  I have not run across direct evidence of a relationship between John Dyer on the one hand, and Phyllis Dyer’s father Augustus Dyer on the other hand.  However, a connection can be inferred from the following facts: (a) another one of John Dyer’s sons married a woman named Augusta Caroline Jull, and (b) I found a reference to another relative named Robert Augustus Dyer.  The obvious inferences to be drawn are that the name Augustus probably derived from and memorialized Augusta Jull, and therefore that Augustus and Phyllis Dyer are direct descendants of John Dyer.

Owing to the paucity of online information, there has long been a question in my mind as to why and how Phyllis (and Eva) Dyer had left India and happened to be in Manila in December 1941.  A former STIC internee has answered the first part of that question in a book based on her Camp diary.  The author, Madeleine Poston, states that, before WWII, DHM employed in his Manila nightclub a “cast of five Australian showgirls and two sisters, Phyllis and Eva Dyer.  Phyllis designed and made all their costumes, and Eva was Dave’s dance partner.”  Poston learned quite a bit about that group because, as she explains, “We have four Australian dancers in our [STIC] room who formerly worked for Dave Harvey. . . and now perform in camp shows.  We also have his girl friend, Phyllis” — and as for Eva, she was next door.  (Poston notes that there was “a lot of bad blood between the Australian girls and the sisters” because the former mocked the latter for being “Anglo-Indian.”)  [Poston, 133, 188-190]

Thus the question of why Phyllis and Eva Dyer left India and arrived in Manila before WWII has been answered — they were in show business. But the question of how the sisters arrived in Manila remains unanswered (as does the related question of when they arrived).  Were they in a touring troupe (perhaps along with the Australians) that stopped in Manila?  Were they on their own?  Did DHM first encounter them somewhere else — for example, possibly in Shanghai?  Could he even have hired them before leaving Shanghai?  While it would be interesting to know the answer, the issue is a relatively minor one.

And now back to DHM.  Because he was in charge of Camp entertainment, a natural question arises as to whether he ever encountered censorship problems — or worse — from the Nipponese authorities.  Following are three instances of captor-captive interaction involving DHM.

    (1) As might be expected, DHM tended to be quite circumspect in his role as entertainment head.  For instance, during a February 1942 show, when the soon-to-depart-STIC commandant entered the west patio to observe the show, DHM announced that the occasion could be considered a farewell for the Camp boss, and called for a round of applause for him, which the internee audience provided.  [Hartendorp, I, 94]  (Touched by that display of affection, the commandant announced that he would slash Camp rations not by one-half but only by one-third — sorry, I just could not resist injecting a touch of levity at this point).

    (2) On the other hand, a July 1944 “minstrel show” caused DHM trouble, because Nipponese in the audience thought internees were laughing at their captors (as perhaps they were).  The next day DHM was questioned for hours in the commandant’s office, as were others who were thought to be involved.  The matter ended with DHM and some others signing an apology, the military commandant ordering a temporary halt to further entertainment, and also demanding pre-clearance of all future shows.  All shows soon were barred. [Hartendorp, II, 296-297; also see Cogan, 238-9]

    [Note:  After liberation, when it was safe to do so, one of DHM’s STIC friends and musical associates, Mario Bakerini-Booth (more on him later), described stage shows this way:  “[I]n the jingles we sang there was a jeer and a sneer [at the Nipponese] in every line.  We had quite a good time until one day an American-educated Japanese arrived with a new batch of guards.  He saw through our satire and concerts were stopped.”  [The Sydney Morning Herald, 4]

    (3) And finally, on an occasion unrelated to entertainment, a Nipponese sentry stopped DHM from leaving the Camp’s hospital grounds with a package of soybeans, which he confiscated and then reported the incident to the commandant’s office.  The despised Lieutenant Abiko investigated, and as a result DHM “was knocked about some” by Abiko but, “dancer and athlete as he was, he was able to bend with the blows unnoticed” by Abiko, thus escaping bruising and other potential injury.  [Hartendorp, II, 495]

In addition to the stage shows, DHM engaged in various other activities, both directly and indirectly related to his role as STIC entertainment head. To round out this brief survey of his Camp ventures, following are some examples of matters unrelated to the stage shows.

    (1) One amusing example occurred when he played in a 1942 Thanksgiving Day football game.  The game’s mimeographed program included the rosters of the teams, along with the U.S. colleges that each player had attended.  As shown on this portion of the program, DHM listed his college affiliation on the East team as “Minsky’s.”  (The Minskys owned the leading U.S. burlesque theaters during the 1912-1937 period.)

    Thanksgiving-Day-1942-STIC-1 Thanksgiving-Day-1942-STIC-2
    Thanksgiving-Day-1942-STIC-3 Thanksgiving-Day-1942-STIC-4

    [Program courtesy of STIC ex-internee Heather Holter Ellis]

    (2) On another occasion DHM was among a small group of men who were temporarily given a radio receiver, which they “usually kept about the outdoor stage on the plaza” [Hartendorp, II, 522-523].

    (3) In reaction to the role of Carroll Grinnell, chairman of the Executive Committee, who some internees thought was too cooperative with the Nipponese, DHM said “that he intended writing a book titled ‘Mine Camp’ and dedicating it to Grinnell.”  [This is cited by several writers, including Mitchell (a), n.p., and Wilkinson, 111.)

    Internitis, 1942 STIC(4) In June 1942, DHM and two other internees began to turn out a monthly mimeographed product they named Internitis (see cover to right), 8 to 24 pages long,circulation about 500 copies, 30 centavos per copy.  When his two partners left for Shanghai en route to being repatriated, DHM took sole control of the enterprise.  He issued the last copy in December 1942 after the commandant had ruled that paper should not be used for such purposes.  [Hartendorp, I, 373.  Also see Johansen, 61, for details on this matter, and for clarification of the status of various Camp publications, including the briefly published  Internews, The STIC Gazette, and Santo Tomas Transcripts.]

    (5) In Internitis, DHM had a column titled “From the Slime to the Ridiculous,” which contained amusing observations about Camp life.  Among examples cited by various sources are “Warning to Annex mothers: Never strike a child except in self-defense” and “Fish and rumors smell bad after the first day.”  [Wilkinson, 87; Lucas, 46; Mitchell (a), n.p.]

    [Note: Various books about the Camp, by former internees and others, contain vignettes about DHM, both on and off the stage; see, for example, Sams, 109-110; Norman, 149; and Van Sickle, n.p.]

Cheer Up Everythings Going to be Lousy 1935 Chick Endor and Charlie FarrellFinally, consideration of DHM’s morale-boosting activities will now center on the songs he and his associates specially composed to reflect the nature and effects of the STIC environment; all such tunes were presented during stage shows, of course.  The list of songs includes “It’s Rumored”, “Behind the Sawali”, “Everything Happens to Me”, “The Internee Song” and “Cheer Up, Everything’s Gonna Be Lousy” (hereafter cited as “Cheer Up”).  [Hartendorp, II, 248]  “Sawali” was sung to the melody of “South of the Border” [Irvine, 79, has the full verse], and “Everything” was based on a 1941 number with the same title, recorded by many singers (Sinatra, Holiday, Fitzgerald, etc.).  As for “It’s Rumored,” the topic of rumors is not germane to this work, but the prevalence of rumors in STIC deserves at least passing notice.  One STIC diary mentions many of the preposterous rumors that could be heard in the Camp, such as (a) MacArthur was to be named Secretary of War (predecessor of the Defense Department); (b) in 1942, FDR told President Quezon that the war would be over in six months; and (c) if the armband system worked properly, STIC would be disbanded.  [Pratt, passim]

The first three lyrics cited above dealt with the nature of Camp life and/or its various aspects (e.g., rumors) in a typically amusing manner, but they were simply acts in individual shows, of purely ephemeral interest.  The last two named compositions — “The Internee Song” and “Cheer Up” — clearly were intended to be the most impactful and most lasting; and as such they were two of the four songs included in the SSSS article.  The following coverage of the unpublicized (on “Internee Song”) and the unknown (on “Cheer Up”) co-composers of those two songs is, in effect, an extension of that earlier article, particularly in the case of the latter co-composer.

The two songs at issue were virtually polar opposites in terms of their nature and thus their impact upon internees.  “The Internee Song” was serious, even solemn; whereas “Cheer Up” was light-hearted and amusing.  As shown in SSSS, that difference helps explain the former’s relative lack of appeal, especially in comparison with the appeal of the latter.  But the concern here is not with the songs per se (as was the case in SSSS), but rather with DHM’s co-composers; that angle was well beyond the scope of SSSS.  At any rate, the coverage begins with “Internee Song” — on which DHM collaborated with his good Camp friend/associate, who is discussed next — followed by consideration of DHM’s “partner” on “Cheer Up.”

Just as Danny Kaye had played an important role in DHM’s early show-business career, in STIC so too did Mario Bakerini-Booth (1902-1977), hereafter referred to as MBB. Information is scant on his early life. He was born in Egypt, of Italian parents. In Italy he studied music in Florence, and learned to play trumpet and guitar. He later became a British citizen, presumably because he married a woman who was a British citizen; it is not known whether he was living in the U.K. at the time. Since her surname was not Booth (more on her below), and since neither of her parents was named Booth, his hyphenated name is a bit of a mystery.

A musician by training, MBB organized a dance band that became quite successful, performing at hotels and nightclubs throughout Europe during the 1930s. The band’s bookings included appearances at the Grand Hotel Casino in Monte Carlo and the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz. But the start of WWII forced MBB and his band (and wife) to leave Europe, whence it headed to Asia. In India the band performed in Calcutta (at the Grand Hotel), Bombay (at the Taj Mahal, where DHM and Young had performed in 1936), and Delhi (at the Imperial Gymkhana Club, and the Marina Hotel). In Ceylon the band appeared at Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel, where again DHM and Young also had performed. The band’s music “was usually swing, but also included tangos and rhumbas.” [The Argus, n.p.]

MBB’s wife was Dorothy Muriel Fairhurst (1910-1995), a British citizen born in India. She was a contralto, known professionally as Dorothy Baker, who occasionally performed with his band. After 18 months in Ceylon, in 1940 MBB and his wife traveled to Shanghai, no doubt for the same reasons that presumably had attracted DHM. There MBB organized a band that was then booked at the Cosmo Club. However, with WWII threatening the Pacific, MBB and his wife boarded the last British ship to leave Shanghai; its first stop was to be Singapore, but the Pearl Harbor attack forced it to detour to Manila, where all passengers debarked. There the British passengers, including MBB and his wife, were interned in STIC after the Nipponese occupied Manila in January 1942. [The Argus, n.p.; Mitchell (a), n.p.]

Within the confines of STIC, inevitably musician MBB and entertainer DHM became close friends and associates. Their connection likely began early on, when MBB joined the Entertainment Committee. He proved to be an invaluable asset for DHM in helping to organize musical stage shows; while for MBB himself those shows provided a welcome outlet for his talents as a musician and conductor. DHM and MBB collaborated on a number of projects designed to provide entertainment for the Camp’s inmates. Those projects were primarily carried out in the form of concerts, both orchestral and choral; of the latter, six were staged by the Santo Tomas Women’s Chorus (87 members; MBB’s wife was an occasional soloist), and 12 by the male chorus (which expanded from 20 to 65 members). [Mitchell (a), n.p.; also see Cogan, 238]

In addition, with DHM’s assistance, MBB produced an Easter program on 25 April 1943, for which he composed an “Easter Mass for Voices and Harmonium.” He also composed music for a “solemn high mass” held on Christmas 1944. [Hartendorp, II, 462] His other Camp compositions included an “Easter Mass in D minor,” which was used at religious ceremonies. “Many hours [also] were passed away in arranging some 37 classical pieces into ’swing.’ ” [The Argus, n.p.] Most important for present purposes is the fact that, as noted above, MBB and DHM collaborated to produce “The Internee Song” — MBB on the music, and DHM on the lyrics. They intended the song to serve as the equivalent of a STIC anthem, as its title indicates; however, it soon faded from internees’ attention (as discussed in SSSS) — that is, until it regained public attention in 2013, this time in Australia, as explained next.

After STIC was liberated, MBB and his wife went to Australia (where he chose to be known as “Morris” rather than as “Mario.” [The Argus, n.p.] ). MBB’s first public appearance “down under,” in June 1945, was as a conductor; but he soon became known on the music scene, and a course change ensued — he switched from conductor to band member. According to a 2017 personal email from Australian writer Alex Mitchell, who in effect had become an unofficial publicist for MBB and STIC, this is what happened: “An old-time jazz musician [saxophonist] Kel McIntosh who first told me about the [STIC] camp. . . was not in Santo Tomas but recruited one of the camp musicians to his Sydney band after the war” — and thus McIntosh came to know MBB. [Mitchell (b), n.p.] Though McIntosh was almost two decades younger than MBB, they became good friends.

Soon MBB organized his own dance band, which later played at the Trocadero nightclub, known as “the most glamorous palais de dance in Sydney.” [Wotherspoon, n.p.] Then MBB invited McIntosh to join his band, and the latter did so. The band must have been quite successful, because by July 1946 it was performing on the prestigious Tivoli Theater Circuit. In a sense MBB was reprising his STIC days with DHM, for the Tivoli, established in Sydney in 1893 and later expanded to other major Australian cities, “grew to be the major outlet for variety theatre and vaudeville in Australia for over 70 years.” (In a program called “Paris Le Soir” that began its tour in Adelaide, MBB was billed neither as “Mario” nor as “Morris” but as “Maurice Bakerini-Booth.” [N.L.A., 1/112, 50/112])

The following continues Mitchell’s published account.

    After Mario’s death in 1977, Mario’s widow asked Kel [McIntosh] if he would be interested in her husband’s vast music collection. Kel collected a truckload of music from countries around the world and brought it to the Tweed Valley when he moved north. “The greatest treasure of all was a thick folder of music and newspaper cuttings from Santo Tomas,” said Kel. He sent the wartime material to the [Canberra] Australian War Memorial and gave the music to the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra at Tweed Heads. “Mario was a very quiet man and quite shy,” Kel said. “I put that down to his wartime experiences which, incidentally, he never talked about. Whatever he saw, whatever he suffered, left a lasting mark on him. I always hoped and dreamed that his prison camp music would be played in Australia. I think it was Mario’s dream as well.” [Mitchell (a), n.p.]

That dream was fulfilled, decades after MBB’s death in 1977, thanks to Kel McIntosh, who had moved to a town well north of Sydney. In 2012, when he was 88 years old, he broached the idea of an Australian premiere, of MBB’s aforesaid 1943 Easter Mass, to the Chillingham Voices choirmaster in the town of Murwillumbah. As a result, on the 70th anniversary of its only STIC performance in 1943, MBB’s Easter Mass was performed by that same choir on 28 April 2013. In addition to the Mitchell article, the event received widespread coverage, in Sydney and elsewhere. [E.g., ABC, n.p.; emmagalliott, n.p.]

[Note: For potential researchers, this is a repeat notice — MBB’s WWII personal files are in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Incidentally, as of Mitchell’s 2017 personal email, McIntosh was 94 years old and in poor health. As for MBB’s wife, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1980, and died in California in 1995.]

While the Philippine internees’ “survival story” may have become “more widely known and respected” in Australia in 2013 [Mitchell (b), n.p.], that was certainly not the case in the U.S., with respect not only to the Mitchell account but also to the internees’ story in general. In fact, the only reason the Australian premiere of MBB’s Easter Mass became known in the U.S., along with the long-forgotten “Internee Song,” is that Cliff Mills, while doing research in 2015, fortuitously came across the Mitchell article; he then posted a report of his discovery on his Philippine Internment site. (Here is a link to that 2015 post.) That is how the MBB-related history recounted above became known — known not to the American public as a whole, it should be emphasized, but rather only to the internee community.

SIDEBAR. A shortened version of the Mitchell article, this one featuring MBB’s wife, Dorothy (with her photo), appeared in a 2016 article in a journal known by the acronym JEAN, short for The Journal of East Asian Numismatics. The author’s rationale for the relevance of the Mitchell account to that journal is that the supposedly high value of one of Dorothy Bakerini-Booth’s STIC meal tickets made the subject of interest to numismatists. [Feller (a), 101-102 (in English), and 103-105 (in Chinese)] The author reprised his argument in the March 2021 issue of a publication called Chatter. [Feller (b)] Then, apparently making a career out of STIC and other camps’ meal tickets, he and his daughter produced a book on the subject. [Feller (c)]

Dorothy Bakerini-Booth in JEAN-2016-article-p1 Dorothy Bakerini-Booth in JEAN-2016-article-p2

And now back to DHM and his other major composition. He shared composer honors on “The Internee Song,” but to internees the same seemingly was not the case with his best-known and by far his most popular composition, “Cheer Up, Everything’s Gonna Be Lousy” (to repeat — cited herein simply as “Cheer Up”). It was one of the four STIC signature songs examined in SSSS, so the discussion there will be only briefly summarized here, as necessary background. DHM first introduced “Cheer Up” during a 24 March 1942 stage show, and it immediately became the equivalent of the Camp’s combination theme song and anthem. Thus in SSSS I suggested that, if such a thing as a STIC Hall of Fame existed (musical or otherwise), “Cheer Up” would be a unanimous choice for inclusion therein.

The song was so descriptive of Camp life that there seemed to be no question that it must have been DHM’s original work, and his alone. Indeed, such a question would not even have occurred to anyone in the first place. Nevertheless, that question did occur to me, as a direct outgrowth of my interest in the subject aroused by the MBB-McIntosh account, as explained in SSSS. In short, I was quite familiar with pre-WWII jazz and popular music, and it seemed to me that I had once run across a song with the “Cheer Up” title. Searching through my hallowed and well-worn jazz music bible — Charles Delaunay’s New Hot Discography (purchased new in 1948) — I discovered that in 1935 an individual named Chick Endor had recorded a song titled “Cheer Up, Everything’s Going To Be Lousy” (“going to” and not “gonna” — though his natural pronunciation on the 1935 recording sounded like “gonna”).

Chick Endor and Charlie Farrell 1934 in cupI then tracked down the Endor recording and learned that not only the title, but the music and some of the lyrics (as detailed below) had antedated DHM’s version. Then, upon further checking into the details of Endor’s song, I learned another significant fact — Endor not only was the vocalist on the recording, he was also the composer of the song. Actually, in the interest of accuracy and fairness, it should be pointed out that Endor’s long-time musical partner, Charlie Farrell, was both co-composer of and co-vocalist on that 1935 recording, Farrell on the lyrics and Endor on the music. However, because discographies and other listings usually name only Endor, the same practice will be followed herein (at Farrell’s expense).

SIDEBAR. At this point, three indirectly relevant aspects of “Cheer up” (regardless of version) deserve attention.

    (1) One factor that has worked to Farrell’s disadvantage, as far as composer credit is concerned, is that, aside from his recordings, “almost nothing appears to be known” about him. [SecondHandSongs, n.p.] Nor has it helped matters that Charlie Farrell often is confused with his contemporary, the much better-known actor Charles Farrell (the leading man in many films with Janet Gaynor, who was the very first winner of the Best Actress Oscar in 1928). Online searches for Charlie Farrell can find material only on Charles Farrell.

    (2) Like DHM, Endor too no doubt was influenced by similar Depression-era songs, both cheerful and sarcastic. As examples of the former, in 1933 Endor and Farrell recorded “Happy Times”; and Farrell in 1930 recorded “Cheer Up (Good Times are Comin’).” By far the best example of the sarcastic kind is a 1931 Eddie Cantor hit (and Hit of the Week) recording. It was known by both a full and a short title, though its full title of “Cheer Up! Smile! Nertz!” was both more popular and more descriptive of its content than its short “Cheer Up” title. (Here is a link to the Cantor recording). Along the same lines, it should also be pointed out that there is similar Depression-era sarcasm in other Endor songs, such as “One of Us Is Crazy” (sample line — “Everything’s gonna be okay, stocks are coming back some day, (laughter), one of us is crazy”; link to song). Other off-beat Endor-Farrell recordings, unrelated to the Depression, are listed below (in another SIDEBAR).

    (3) One author goes wildly astray by outrageously misstating the DHM version’s full title only as “Everything’s Gonna Be Lousy.” [Walsh, 295, 342] Another author, also citing DHM’s version, not only flagrantly (and repeatedly) uses “going to be” instead of “gonna be,” but further publicizes the error by using it as the title of a chapter. [Wilkinson, Chapter 5 et passim. Also see Smith, 156] This ostensibly grammatically correct title is itself mistaken, because it subverts DHM’s intent in deliberately altering Endor’s title in order to ridicule the prim, the proper and the polite. Here is the link to the Endor recording.

To summarize the discussion to this point, it is clear that DHM’s version of “Cheer Up” in reality should be called a hybrid Endor-DHM composition (actually, Endor-Farrell-DHM). Additionally, going a step further to the somewhat less important issue of determining priority in listing co-composers of the hybrid version, the verdict here, it seems equally clear, is that Endor deserves to be regarded as the lead composer. For, had there been no Endor version, there likely would have been no DHM version, hybrid or otherwise — indeed, there might have been no version at all, or at the least nothing comparable.

Regardless of that conclusion, however, in SSSS I ended discussion of “Cheer Up” with the following passage:

    [L]et me emphasize that the preceding does not — nor is it intended to — minimize Dave Harvey’s contributions to the hybrid version of “Cheer Up.” On the contrary, not only was he skilled enough to convert Endor’s version into one relevant to the STIC scene, but the fact that he was able to do so within a short time after STIC’s inception, and in the midst of such an initially hectic environment, speaks highly of his talents. So, trusting that should mollify any pro-Harvey extremists, we can move on. [Note: There will be more on Endor in the aforementioned future article on Dave Harvey.]

This work has now become “the aforementioned future article” on DHM, and, rather than “move on” from that discussion, the promised “more on Endor” now follows. For, although SSSS answered the question of who really had composed the 1942 version of “Cheer Up,” it did not deal with two related questions it had implicitly raised: Why would DHM have known anything at all about Endor, an apparently little-known show-business entity? And, whether or not he knew of Endor in general, how could DHM possibly have known about Endor’s “Cheer Up” recording in particular, especially in light of his extensive travels during most of the 1930s?

Chick Endor and Charlie Farrell 1934 musical cocktailThose are extremely difficult questions to handle, because they cannot be answered with empirical evidence; answers are possible only on the basis of circumstantial considerations. That is in sharp contrast to the question of who was the composer of “Cheer Up,” on which the empirical evidence of the lyrics is indisputable. Insofar as SSSS was concerned, though, answers to those questions were neither possible nor relevant — the questions simply did not need to be answered. In a mini-biography of DHM, however, the situation is different, and this time plausible answers to the two questions would achieve two objectives. They would satisfy my own curiosity as to whether such answers are possible; and they would further substantiate (for any hard-core skeptics) the case for Endor’s role in the creation of the hybrid version.

To answer the “why” question, it was necessary to ascertain Endor’s pre-WWII reputation, since obviously there is a positive correlation between reputation and recognition. The quest did not look promising at the outset. Endor (1893-1941), who was born Charles Knapton Jr. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not only is virtually unknown today, but probably has been so since WWII; that is when he likely faded from public attention after his death just before his 48th birthday, in September 1941. Thus a detailed survey of Endor’s pre-WWII career was required, as was done with Danny Kaye. Fortunately, there is more than enough material to make completely plausible the judgment that Endor had been at least fairly well-known in the show-business world before WWII, as both composer and vocalist — and even as “comedian,” as he is described on the labels of several of his recordings. But was his reputation such that it could have attracted the notice of DHM?

Who takes care of the caretakers daughter, 1925, by Chick EndorTo begin to answer that question, consider first what may have been Endor’s earliest documented assignment. In early 1924, at the age of 30, he must have been an established composer, for he was hired — to join Ira Gershwin and others — to produce songs for George Gershwin’s 1924-1925 Broadway musical play, “Lady Be Good,” which starred Fred Astaire and his sister Adele. [Treadway, n.p.] Of the 17 musical numbers in the play, only four were not credited to the Gershwins; and two of those four were by Endor. [See IMSLP, n.p.] One of the two — “Who Takes Care of the Caretaker’s Daughter (While the Caretaker’s Busy Taking Care)” — became a classic, which still retains its popularity, as evidenced by this 1963 TV performance by Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.

[Note: Adele Astaire was reputed to be an even better dancer than her brother.]

Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope singing in 1963

She Doesn't, sheet music imageEndor’s co-workers in 1925, still early in his documented career, also were notable. That year found him on a team working to produce a song that was to be specially dedicated to the great silent-film comic Buster Keaton, for his work in the movie “Go West” (see right). Endor’s associates on the project were a young newspaper columnist named Walter Winchell (for the lyrics) and Jimmy Durante (working with Endor on the music). [Treadway, n.p.] It stands to reason that an unknown would not have been assigned, alongside those “big names,” to tasks of such significance.

[Note: The title of the tune they composed was “She Doesn’t,” for which no link could be found.]

Pigskin Parade, 1936 movie posterIn 1926 Endor helped organize a comedy musical group called “The Yacht Club Boys,” a nightclub act of four comic singers that was popular in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s. Endor was lead vocalist and guitarist with the quartet until 1930. The act “earned high billing and high salaries almost immediately, and embarked on a European tour within their first year.” (More on that below.) In 1929 the group also began to appear in musical short subject films as well as in full-length movies for Paramount, and continued to do so during the 1930s (see movie ad at left), until they disbanded in 1939. [Wikipedia]

Chick Endor 1930 divorce alienation articleBut Endor himself had withdrawn from the act by 1930, owing to marital and financial troubles (see article at right). It should be noted that DHM was at home in New Jersey until mid-1933, thus he could well have known of this group, and of Endor specifically.

Chick Endor photo, no date

Chick Endor

Endor’s problems did not interfere with his other activities. He continued to record regularly, both with and without Farrell. Some of Endor’s solo recordings were used as background music for movies; for example, his 1929 rendition of “Sunny Side Up” was used as background for a Laurel and Hardy excerpt (here is a link to that video). Endor also recorded with such well-known contemporaries as Helen Morgan and Aileen Stanley. And while on this subject, here is an interesting and telling fact: On a record album titled “Personalities of the 1920s,” containing 25 tracks by such big names as Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Al Jolson, Ethel Waters, Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting, Paul Whiteman, Rudy Vallee, Jimmy Durante, etc., a recording by Endor is included (titled “Good Little, Bad Little You,” here is the link). Endor and Farrell also are included in a 2010 album titled “Here Come the Boys: 1925-1932.”

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that Endor made recordings in London on a regular basis, and also became involved in other aspects of show business there. The Endor-British connection undoubtedly began when the Yacht Club Boys performed in England in 1927, to considerable acclaim. Endor’s recording history in London included sessions during 8/1927-5/1928, 5/1932-9/1932, 12/1932, and 10/1933. (His first London recording, incidentally, was made with Philippine musician and band leader Fred Elizalde.) [Rust, 249-251] Then too, Endor and Farrell performed in nightclubs in London; in fact, according to one source, “The team of Endor and Farrell once toured the world and gave a command performance before the late King George V in London.” [KZsection, n.p.] It is not surprising, therefore, that in 1932 a British publication observed that “Chick Endor and Charlie Farrell have apparently taken London’s cabaret patrons by storm.” [The Gramophone, n.p.]

Long Live Love, 1935-song from Two Hearts in HarmonyIn addition to the above manifestations of his British connection, Endor was in the cast of, and contributed “additional material” to, a 1927-1928 Adelphi Theatre London revue titled “Clowns in Clover.” [Guide to Musical Theatre 2023, n.p.] And on top of all that, Endor worked on music for a 1930 British movie titled Elstree Calling (retitled Hello Everybody in the U.S.); and later he and Farrell played themselves in a 1935 British movie titled Two Hearts in Harmony. The mere fact that they played themselves seems significant, since it implies that the movie’s filmmakers must have assumed that the two Americans would be sufficiently well-known to potential audiences to justify such casting — after all, what would be the point in having unknowns play themselves?

Returning coverage to the U.S., both Endor and Farrell were members of a large group of songwriters — including such big names as Noel Coward, Walter Donaldson, Harry Revel, Dimitri Tiomkin, and E. Y. Harburg — who were hired to compose music for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 (the last one produced by Ziegfeld himself, who died in 1932). The Endor-Farrell team produced one of their most popular songs for the show, titled “Was I Drunk?” (sometimes cited only as “Was I?”). As one source points out, noted critic and humorist Robert Benchley’s review of the show declared that “Was I Drunk?” was the show’s best song. [Dietz, 137] A reminder for emphasis — DHM was in New Jersey at that time.

Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, music and lyrics credits

[Note: When actress Dorothy Dell died in a car crash at the age of 19 in 1934, she was remembered for having impressively performed — at the age of only 16 — the debut appearance of “Was I Drunk?” in the 1931 Ziegfeld Follies. As one author described that performance, “Everyone talked about Dorothy’s big number, Chick Endor and Charles Farrell’s now classic ‘Was I Drunk?’ ” [Wagner, 77] That number, interestingly, has been covered by at least 18 other artists (three of them as recently as in the 2000s); and it is #35 on a list of 67 leading novelty songs. [popularmusic.library, n.p.] ] Here is a link to a 1931 recording.

“Was I Drunk” is yet another example of the quirky titles of a number of Endor-Farrell recordings, which are noteworthy for two reasons. First, the song titles serve to demonstrate their predilection for amusing, and often ironic/sarcastic, novelty-type tunes, both their own and others’ compositions; in other words, “Cheer Up” was by no means a departure from their norm. Second, the fact that they were far from run-of-the-mill melodies is an additional reason helping to explain why DHM could/would have known of the Endor-Farrell team and their recordings in general, and thus of “Cheer Up” in particular — especially since almost all of them (likely even including “Cheer Up”) appeared while DHM lived in New Jersey.

Wonderful Nonsense, fun songs of the Roaring Twenties

SIDEBAR. Following are the titles of some of those novelty songs, excluding Endor’s four already-mentioned compositions — “Who Takes Care. . .,” “One of Us Is Crazy,” “Was I Drunk?” and of course “Cheer Up.”

  • “I Got the Potatoes, I Got the Tomatoes, But Someone Else Has Got My Girl”
  • “We’ve Always Wanted to Meet the Man (the women go to see about a dog)”
  • “I Got Her Off My Hands (But I Can’t Get Her Off My Mind)”
  • “My wife’s first husband, John (the greatest man that ever the sun shone on)”
  • “There’s A Trick in Pickin’ a Chick-Chick-Chicken”
  • “How Can You Look So Good (And Still Be So Dog-gone Bad)”
  • How could Red Riding Hood song

  • “How Could Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Dog-gone Good and Still Keep the Wolf from the Door)”

(Link to Endor’s vocal on the last song, with the Yacht Club Boys, on their very first recording, in 1926.)

Quirky titles and otherwise, the Endor-Farrell recordings continued until 1935. They came to an end following the duo’s return to the U.S. after having worked in the aforesaid 1935 British movie. Very fortunately for DHM and STIC, “Cheer Up” was made before Endor and Farrell ended their recording career — in fact, the song was waxed at their very last session, in New York City on 2 May 1935 [Rust, 251] — at a time when DHM likely was back home in New Jersey (as discussed below.) Thereafter Endor and Farrell switched from the recording studio to live appearances, as in the case of their performances at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York in June 1936 [Billboard, 32], when DHM perhaps still lived nearby (prior to his trip to join Kathleen Young in Ceylon). Endor and Farrell also took their act on tour, as mentioned earlier. And subsequently, apparently with no more entertainment-worlds to conquer, they moved to Florida, where by 1939 they had become managers of a Ft. Lauderdale-area supper club called “Endor & Farrell’s Coral Club.” [South Broward Tattler, 3] Endor died in 1941 after a long illness, while Farrell seems to have faded into total obscurity.

It is time at last to summarize Endor’s career, and in so doing establish the fact that he was, at the least, a fairly well-known figure on the entertainment scene. This can easily be done by citing two of the frequently-used descriptions applied to him — that he was “a familiar name” on Broadway as both performer and songwriter” [e.g., Treadway, n.p.; emphasis added]; and, more broadly, that he “was a cabaret and revue artist, a crooner who was very popular in New York and London in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s.” [KZsection, n.p.; emphasis added] In short, this has been a portrayal of Endor that explains very plausibly — indeed conclusively, in my opinion — why DHM could/would have known in general of a “very popular” entertainer such as Endor, even as early as in the late 1920s.

But still, no matter how well-known Endor was, that factor alone does not help answer the question of how DHM could possibly have known of a specific 1935 Endor recording — or, put a bit more precisely, even assuming that DHM knew of Endor, did he have an opportunity to learn of that 1935 recording, given his travel schedule starting in 1933? The short answer is that DHM did indeed have that opportunity. For, although he had been traveling overseas with the Marcus tour during most of 1934, the tour had returned to the U.S. in October 1934 and had disbanded in January 1935, as noted earlier. After DHM left the tour, in all likelihood he had then returned home to New Jersey, as previously indicated. While there is no evidence showing that he returned home, there is absolutely nothing to show that he went anywhere else.

After January 1935, the next indication of DHM’s whereabouts places him in Ceylon in September 1936 with Kathleen Young, as discussed earlier. There is no evidence of his presence anywhere, during the entire January 1935-September 1936 period. This seems significant, for there is no other period of similar duration in which he cannot be located. It seems quite reasonable to assume, therefore, that DHM was “at leisure” in the New Jersey-New York area — in other words, he was not making news because he was not performing anywhere. That period is precisely when Endor’s “Cheer Up” became available to the public, which thus would have enabled DHM to know of and to acquire the record.

The preceding focus on “Cheer Up” has dealt with what, from my perspective, was the sole remaining unresolved STIC-era issue relating to DHM. That issue involved probably his single best-known and most popular tangible contribution to the morale of his fellow internees. The issue was not and could not be considered in SSSS, but it was one that I very much wanted to settle. The issue admittedly was of my own making, and thus it was primarily, if not exclusively, of personal concern. At any rate, I believe the goal of resolving the issue has been attained.

To summarize for clarity and for emphasis, DHM likely would have known in general about a fairly well-known fellow entertainer, Chick Endor, and just as likely would have had the opportunity to acquire a particular 1935 Endor recording of “Cheer Up.” Thus, while they cannot be “proven” empirically, the answers to the aforesaid “why” and “how” questions are, I believe, entirely plausible. And with that assertion, coverage of the critical STIC years of DHM’s career gives way to that of his final stage.

STAGE 6: 1945-1972 — THE QUIET YEARS. Having concluded a survey of the personally most dangerous, and the professionally most demanding, chapter of DHM’s life, we now turn to the last, longest, and least tumultuous period of his life, one which he spent almost entirely in the Philippines. By now the primary objectives of this chronicle essentially have been achieved, via a focus on DHM’s career as an entertainer, as well as on his most noteworthy friends and associates. The remainder of this narrative will be more or less a formality, in effect tying loose ends in the process of completing the Dave Harvey story.

The main reason for the difference in emphasis between the two “halves” of DHM’s life (metaphorically speaking — roughly 60% vs. 40%) is that he was a changed man following his STIC ordeal. That was no doubt largely because, in the immediate post-liberation period, his health was a serious issue — so much so that he could no longer conceal that fact, as it is now evident that he had been doing for some time. One of his fellow internees voiced her concern in her diary when she wrote that DHM “gave so much of himself [in the Camp] that for a long time it was feared that he would never recover. He spent several years trying to regain his health” before returning to the entertainment world. [Cates, 269] Another internee put it more succinctly: DHM “worked so hard for us that when the [Camp’s] end came, his health was gone.” [Tuschka, n.p.]

The extent of DHM’s health problem became known to Camp historian Hartendorp on 10 April 1945, when, in response to his question, DHM told him of his situation. DHM disclosed that he had to turn down an invitation for him and his troupe, including the Dyer sisters, to join the Army’s special service section to entertain the troops. DHM had to refuse the request because, he said, “The doctors found out yesterday that I have a touch of tuberculosis, both lungs.” Hartendorp’s subsequent observation merits complete citation.

    That would have been his big opportunity after three years of hard, almost impossible work of seeming to be gay and making Santo Tomas audiences forget for a little while where they were. Dave had succeeded, over and over again, until the Japanese ruled out his shows; but he had long overtaxed his lanky dancer’s frame, starved as he was like all the others. Dave went away [after liberation] quietly and alone; un-bemedaled, as much a hero as any frontline soldier. [Hartendorp, II, 616.]

That moving tribute could have served as a conclusion to this narrative, but the story is not yet complete. The short version of Stage 6 is that, after liberation, DHM got married, spent time recuperating, settled down, and pretty much ceased to be a performer in the mode of his pre-war persona. For the longer version, essentially the only thing left to do is to simply list the basic facts of DHM’s post-war life — or rather, of his and Dyer’s lives (in her case, the ratio between the two “halves” of her life was not quite the reverse of his — 44% vs. 56%).

Phyllis and Dave HarveyShortly after STIC’s February liberation, DHM married his Camp partner and top aide, Phyllis Marjorie Dyer, on 7 April 1945. To begin this review with Dyer, there is not much more on her post-WWII activities than there is on her pre-war history. At first glance her post-liberation schedule is a bit puzzling. Although she got married in Manila in April, the records of Australia’s “Far East PoWs/Internee Camp Index/Philippines” place her name in the “Australia 1945” list. Owing to those records’ ambiguity on this point, it is difficult to decide whether they merely list her name as a British citizen or whether she actually did travel to Australia.

The latter occurrence is a possibility in light of the next online record of Dyer’s location — a 1946 USS Marine Flyer ship’s manifest. It states that she had never before been to the U.S., her last permanent residence was Manila, her occupation was housewife, and a listed relative was Mrs. A. Dyer of Grind Bank in New Delhi. Clearly, therefore, Dyer had been to India to visit her mother Anne Dyer, whom obviously she had not seen since before WWII. It may be that she had traveled to India from Australia rather than directly from Manila. In any case, the manifest also indicates that Dyer left Singapore on 13 May 1946 and arrived in New York City on 29 June 1946, where she joined DHM. This leads to the inference that, after their marriage, Dyer had gone either to Australia or to India, and that DHM had traveled to New York to recuperate from his STIC ordeal.

Americans first? 1947 David H. MacTurk articleThe available evidence indicates that Dyer’s later travels were with DHM rather than solo. Their next known trip was on the City of Poona in March 1947, from New York to Manila, with a stop in Los Angeles. It is entirely possible, even probable, that they had been in New York since 1946 (and probably 1945 in DHM’s case). Certainly DHM might well have been recuperating all that time in New York, where Dyer joined him in June 1946. In any event, it is interesting to learn that, while in New York, DHM wrote a letter (shown at left) to a Brooklyn newspaper in which he criticized the U.S. Congress for failing to provide reparations for American ex-internees. [The Brooklyn Citizen, 4]

[Note: There seems to be no evidence that DHM visited New Jersey on any of his trips to the U.S., either before or after his father died in 1950. Needless to say, that lack of evidence proves nothing either way.]

On one other known trip, on the Franconia in October 1952, DHM and his wife traveled from Liverpool to Quebec, on their way to Manila via New York. A purely speculative surmise is that perhaps they were returning from a well-deserved vacation in Europe. On the whole, based on available records, it appears that the MacTurks — they always used that name, as he had done for his non-professional life — did some traveling during the early post-WWII years, but apparently then did much less of it and for the most part remained in Manila to pursue their respective interests. Those interests were quite conventional, as described next.

Dyer ran an interior decorating shop after WWII [Moore, n.p.]; indeed, she was “in charge of decorating the Manila Elks Lodge restored Club in 1949 and appears in a book on the topic” [Key, n.p.]. As for DHM, his post-recuperation show-business activities became considerably toned down; he expressed them mostly as an off-stage presence, and when he did perform it was usually as an actor in stage plays. He “was best known as director and actor in the Manila Theater Guild, a very active amateur theatre group.” [Gleeck, 231] His obituary similarly notes that DHM “was well known in Manila for his interest in amateur theater and his direction of a number of plays each year.” [New York Times, 28] In addition, he “was a guiding force at the Guild as well as its Publicity Chairman.” [Gopal, n.p.] The Guild supposedly was only for Filipino members, but it had some American and British members as well. Its repertory included “Broadway musicals and plays from the late 1940s onward.” [Ang, n.p.]

Dave Harvey and cast of The Silver Whistle

Dave Harvey and the cast of The Silver Whistle, performed in Manila
Photos of DHM in his later years are courtesy of Lou Gopal’s Manila Nostalgia blog.

SIDEBAR. DHM’s obituary in the New York Times (and elsewhere, including the identical one in the Reading Eagle) states that after WWII he “went into the construction business and interior decoration.” This rather odd mention of a “construction business” (of which there is no evidence) may simply mean that he was involved with his wife’s business; or it may be yet another error in the obituary, like claims that he was interned in the Los Baños camp and that it was liberated in 1944. [NYT, 28] According to that obituary, which was a UPI product, DHM’s cause of death was virus pneumonia.

CONCLUSION. Anti-climax or not, the preceding staid and prosaic summary covers the last quarter century or so of Dave Harvey’s life (and more than half of his wife’s life). It completes a narrative focused on his interesting, colorful and eventful career as an entertainer. If I were to put that career into broad historical perspective, I would emphasize the following: From the standpoint of Dave Harvey’s entire career, any assessment should cover what was probably his most significant contribution to show-business history at the national — indeed, at the international — level. It is comparable in its own way to the genuinely heroic role he played at the “local” level, within the walls of STIC. I would highlight Harvey’s previously unknown role in helping to further — if not actually to resuscitate — the career of the internationally-renowned performer known as Danny Kaye. Perhaps — though it would be exceedingly unlikely — this chronicle may help in its own small way to rectify Dave Harvey’s regrettable lack of recognition beyond the internee community. If that were to happen, it would be a fortuitous by-product of this first-ever mini-biography of a STIC icon.

In the normal course of events, an appraisal of Dave Harvey’s entire career likely would continue from the preceding paragraph and would conclude this portrayal, probably with glowing generalities. But the fact is that this is not a “normal” situation; in the final analysis, this is essentially a work produced for, and that will be of interest primarily to, the STIC community. Thus, to assess the work of the Camp’s premier entertainer, this account of Dave Harvey’s remarkable career concludes with perceptive STIC-centered assessments by three former internees; they implicitly or explicitly pay homage to the herculean entertainment efforts of Dave Harvey.

On the one hand there is the calm, unemotional and impersonal approach, as put forth by Whitey Smith: “There is no use in bringing back unpleasant memories. What we all remember most is [sic] the things we laughed at. I was proud that all of us. . . could laugh and find things funny under such trying circumstances.” [Smith, 155] On the other hand, as expressed so well and so succinctly by Army nurse Madeline Ullom, “Dave had the gift of getting people to laugh at themselves, circumstances and events. He is remembered by all, idolized by some, and disliked by a few. To him our thanks. He preserved our sanity and lessened the doctors’ load of nervous breakdowns.” [Quoted in Mitchell (a), n.p.] And finally, we have a typically thoughtful and balanced evaluation by Frederic Stevens.

    The work of the Entertainment Department, and particularly that of Dave Harvey, should be given credit for bringing a bit of sunshine and happiness into the dull routine of internment life. The Camp was established as a war measure; its purpose was grim, and the internees had passed through tragic experiences just before their internment. It was left to the Entertainment Department to remind its audiences of the brighter side of internment life. When nearly four thousand internees could be made to laugh together, it is no exaggeration to state that the morale of the Camp was definitely improved by these shows. In addition, the hours of enjoyment provided by the entertainers were a vital contribution to happiness. The kiddies, always in the front rows, the younger set by twos and threes, the men with their pipes and the women with their knitting all attended and enjoyed these carefree moments. It is certain that this is one feature of internment life that will always be remembered with pleasure and with gratitude toward those who made it possible. [Stevens, 194]

And with that, David Harvey MacTurk has taken his final curtain call.

There is one timely and appropriate observation to add. I recently learned that Dave Harvey was a member of Manila’s Elks Lodge 761 (chartered in Manila in 1902). He and his wife (and a number of other Elks members who were imprisoned in STIC) are interred in the Lodge’s burial site at the Manila North Cemetery. That burial site had fallen into a serious state of disrepair over the years, but the Manila Elks Lodge has been carrying out extensive restoration efforts, led by past president Aaron W. Key. The restoration’s completion will be observed at an Elks Lodge show scheduled exactly for the date of STIC Liberation Day, 3 February 2024. One purpose of that show is to raise funds for the continued upkeep of the burial site. It is gratifying to report that David Harvey MacTurk and Phyllis Dyer MacTurk now rest, and henceforth will continue to rest, in properly-maintained surroundings.

David Harvey MacTurk grave stone Phyllis Harvey MacTurk grave stone

To contact Martin Meadows regarding this, or any of his articles, please use our “Comments” form and entering “Attn: Martin Meadows” in the subject line.


A. Books

  • Ang, Walter, Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History (online publication 2018)
  • Archer, Bernice, The Internment of Western Civilians Under the Japanese, 1941-1945: A Patchwork of Internment (2004)
  • Cates, Tressa R., The Drainpipe Diary (1957) (reprinted as Infamous Santo Tomas — 1981)
  • Cogan, Frances B., Captured: The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines, 1941-1945 (2000)
  • Cullen, Frank et al., Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America (2004)
  • Delaunay, Charles, New Hot Discography (1948)
  • Dietz, Dan, The Complete Book of 1930s Broadway Musicals (2018)
  • Dorinson, Joseph, Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture (2015)
  • Farrer, James and Andrew D. Field, Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City (2015)
  • Feller, Steve and Ray Feller (c), Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp Money of World War II (2007)
  • Floyd, Larry C., with Patty (Croft) Kelly Stevens, Waiting for America: A Civilian Prisoner of Japan in the Philippines (2024)
  • Freedland, Michael, The Secret Life of Danny Kaye (1985)
  • Gleeck, Lewis, The Manila Americans (1901-1964) (1977)
  • Gottfried, Martin, Nobody’s Fool (1994)
  • Hartendorp, A.V.H., The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, 2 vols. (1967)
  • Hischak, Thomas S., Musicals in Film: A Guide to the Genre (2017)
  • Irvine, Liz Lautzenhiser, Surviving the Rising Sun (2010)
  • Johansen, Bruce E., So Far From Home: Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp (1996)
  • Kaminski,Theresa, Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific (2000)
  • Kaufman, Jonathan, The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China (2020)
  • Koenig, David (b), Danny Kaye: The King of Jesters (2012)
  • Lucas, Celia (based on Isla Cornfield diaries), Prisoners of Santo Tomas (1975)
  • Malone, Desmond, Turbulent Times in the Far East: The Story of the Malone Internee Family, 1893-1946 (2006)
  • Marlow, Eugene, Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (2018)
  • McCall, James, Santo Tomas Internment Camp: STIC in Verse and Reverse, STIC-toons and STIC-tistics (1945)
  • Norman, Elizabeth, We Band Of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese (1999)
  • Porteous, William (b), Dancing on Four Continents: The A.B. Marcus Show (forthcoming; tentative title)
  • Poston, Madeleine, My Upside-Down World (2002)
  • Pratt, Caroline Bailey (ed.), Only A Matter of Days: The World War II Prison Camp Diary of Fay Cook Bailey (2001)
  • Quito, Emerita, Festschrift in Honor of Dr. Marcelino Foronda, Jr. (1987)
  • Rust, Brian, The Complete Entertainment Discography, From the Mid-1890s to 1942 (1973)
  • Sams, Margaret, Forbidden Family: A Wartime Memoir of the Philippines, 1941-1945 (1989)
  • Singer, Kurt, The Danny Kaye Story (1958)
  • Slide, Anthony, The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville (1994)
  • Smith, Whitey, I Didn’t Make a Million (1956)
  • Soren, David, Vera Ellen: The Magic and the Mystery (1999)
  • Stevens, Frederic H., Santo Tomas Internment Camp (1946)
  • Tyner, James A., The Philippines: Mobilities, Identities, Globalization (2009)
  • Van Sickle, Emily, The Iron Gates of Santo Tomas (1992)
  • Wagner, Laura, Hollywood’s Hard-Luck Ladies (2020)
  • Walsh, Thomas P., Tin Pan Alley and the Philippines (2013)
  • Wilkinson, Rupert, Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp (2013)

B. All publications (including books — everything in one section, to help simplify text-note searches)

  • A.H.C./American Historical Collection Bulletin, “The Entertainer: David Harvey MacTurk (1939- ———)” (1992)
  • Ancestry, “Macturk family history,” n.d., n.p.
  • Ang, Walter, Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History (online publication 2018)
  • Archer, Bernice, The Internment of Western Civilians Under the Japanese, 1941-1945: A Patchwork of Internment (2004)
  • The Argus, Melbourne (6 June 1945)
  • ABC/Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “What’s on this weekend?” (26 April 2013)
  • Baltimore Sun, “MacTurk-Harvey” (1 December 1902)
  • Berry, Melvin H., “A History of Theatre in New Orleans from 1925 to 1935,” LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses (1973)
  • Billboard, “Endor and Farrell, Savoy Plaza Hotel, NYC” (13 June 1936)
  • The Bridgeport Post, “McCoy ad” (12 September 1948)
  • The Brooklyn Citizen (25 February 1947)
  • Brooklyn Eagle (a), (29 October 1939)
  • Brooklyn Eagle (b), (31 August 1922)
  • Brooklyn Eagle (c), “Americans on Lincoln” (30 August 1937)
  • Brooklyn Times Union, “Radio Programs” (8 july 1927)
  • Brown University Library, Brown Digital Repository, “Early White Roe Lake Brochure — Facts and Figures” (n.d.)
  • Calgary Herald, “”Marcus Show Scores Hit in Extravaganza. . . .” (6 November 1934)
  • Cates, Tressa R., The Drainpipe Diary (reprinted as Infamous Santo Tomas) (1957)
  • The Catskills Institute (various exhibits)
  • Cogan, Frances B., Captured: The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines, 1941-1945 (2000)
  • Conway, John, “Danny Kaye in the Catskills,” New York Almanack (3 June 2020)
  • Covit, Bernard, “Internment Is ‘Great Leveler’ ”, Wisconsin State Journal (26 December 1943)
  • Cullen, Frank et al., Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America (2004)
  • Daily News, Los Angeles, “A.B. Marcus Rites Held” (8 August 1950)
  • Daily News, NYC, “In the Air” (8 July 1927)
  • Daily Times, Chattanooga, advertisement (7 January 1934)
  • Delaunay, Charles, New Hot Discography (1948)
  • Dietz, Dan, The Complete Book of 1930s Broadway Musicals (2018)
  • Dorinson, Joseph, Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture (2015)
  • emmagalliott, “Voices to sing life into long lost wartime composition,” Sydney Daily Telegraph (18 April 2014)
  • Enriquez, Elizabeth L., “Coping With War: KGST ‘Radio’ and Other Media Strategies. . . ,” Social Science Diliman (December 2010)
  • Encyclopedia.com, “Danny Kaye” (n.d.)
  • Epsom & Ewell History Exploreer, “The Dyers” (2023)
  • Farrer, James and Andrew D. Field, Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City (2015)
  • Feller, Steve (a), “A Santo Thomas Internment Camp Meal Ticket,” JEAN: Journal of East Asian Numismatics (November 2016)
  • Feller, Steve (b), “A journey to and from the Santo Tomas Internment Camp through numismatics: a tragedy in Manila,” Chatter (March 2021)
  • Feller, Steve and Ray Feller (c), Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp Money of World War II (2007)
  • Fine, Holly and Danny Kaye Papers, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)
  • Floyd, Larry C., with Patty (Croft) Kelly Stevens, Waiting for America: A Civilian Prisoner of Japan in the Philippines (2024)
  • Fraenkel, Richard E., “ ’No Jews, Dogs, or Consumptives’. . . ,” in Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism in International Perspective (2016)
  • Freedland, Michael, The Secret Life of Danny Kaye (1985)
  • Gleeck, Lewis, The Manila Americans (1901-1964) (1977)
  • Goldstein, Alvin H., “Broadway’s New Boy Friend,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1 December 1941)
  • Goodman, Grant K., “Manila in June 1943,” Philippine Studies (3d quarter 2000)
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Updated 28 December 2023

Other articles by Prof. Meadows:

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