Saturday, April 20, 2019

Kate Smith? You Don't Know The Half Of It!

One of my earliest recollections is the sound of Kate Smith's voice.
Her late afternoon TV program, The Kate Smith Hour, was a daily ritual in our house while dinner was being prepared.
My father adored Kate Smith, as did the entire country. She was an entertainer who was literally and figuratively bigger than life. In fact, she described herself best when she said: "I’m big, and I sing, and boy, when I sing, I sing all over!”
But Smith was more than a singer. In post World War II America, she was a national hero.
Her fame and her fortitude began early. As a child she had not only entertained troops who fought in World War I but later, her songs of hope and inspiration captured America's heart and helped us get through the Great Depression. Then, during World War II, she traveled nearly 520,000 miles to entertain troops and sold a record $600 million in war bonds in a series of round-the-clock radio appeals. One of these, a 24-hour marathon on Feb. 1, 1944, raised a record $110 million in pledges.
Kate Smith's inimitable rendition of Irving Berlin's God Bless America became so popular and so intertwined with our national culture that a movement began to make it our national anthem, replacing The Star Spangled Banner. In fact, to this day many sports events open with it instead of The Star Spangled Banner.
Oh, wait. Now the Flyers and the Yankees have banned the song and the Flyers have covered up a statue of Kate Smith outside their arena. But wasn't Kate Smith the "good luck charm" who helped the Flyers win the Stanley Cup and didn't she lead the Broad Street Bullies to countless wins? Indeed she did -- often in person, right in the center of the rink!
But she's been banned now because nearly 90 years ago when she was in her 20s she recorded two songs that are now considered racist. One was clearly meant as a satire to mock the racism of the Jim Crow era and the other was a song also recorded by Paul Robeson, the black cultural icon from New Jersey. Yes, that Paul Robeson -- the one Rutgers University called "a pioneering scholar, athlete, renowned international entertainer, and visionary human rights advocate," while recently dedicating a plaza to commemorate his 100th birthday.
So what's this really all about. In a word, it's nonsense!
A couple of gutless sports behemoths who know nothing about politics, history, patriotism or culture are engaged in the latest round of cheap virtue signaling. For the record, The Yankees didn’t have a black player until 1955 and the NHL didn’t have a black player until 1957. They are hardly paragons of equality and inclusion. And they certainly have no standing to lecture others on the topic.
Kate Smith was an American through and through. She and Irving Berlin dedicated all of the proceeds from her rendition of God Bless America to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. After September 11, 2001, the song was heard throughout the land once again as the nation sought solace in the aftermath of a harrowing atrocity -- the worst foreign attack on our soil in our history.
How much of an icon is Kate Smith?
When President Franklin Roosevelt introduced her to King George VI of England, he said, “This is Kate Smith. Miss Smith is America.’’ Later, Kate Smith was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. and her image image appeared on a US postage stamp. And when she passed away, President Reagan declared: "Kate Smith was a patriot in every sense of the word."
Is there anything in Kate Smiths's background to indicate that she was a racist? Absolutely not!
To the contrary, her niece (her closest living relative, who cared for her in her final years) says her "aunt Katherine saw people's character, not their color." And there is ample evidence of this as Kate Smith showed a real spirit of compassion and inclusion in her professional life.
For example, on April 15, 1945 Kate Smith hosted a special prime-time nationwide memorial radio program where she joined with Philadelphia's own Marion Anderson to "bring the nation together" following the death of President Roosevelt. Kate Smith and a great African-American heroine. Is THIS the Kate Smith that the Flyers are accusing of racism. Is it?
And again on April 28, 1957 Kate Smith presented the Billy Williams Quintet on her ABC-TV show which aired nationwide, marking one of the first appearances by African-American entertainers on prime time network TV. That was 62 YEARS ago. How much do the Flyers know about the REAL history of Kate Smith? 
And this, too: On October 3, 1965 Kate Smith appeared at Carnegie Hall with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dionne Warwick in memory of Nat King Cole to benefit the Nat King Cole Cancer Foundation. Is THIS the racist Kate Smith that the Flyers have banished? Is it?
No, Kate Smith was no mere good luck charm -- no quick gimmick to win a game here and there.
She was all about so much more than a puck or a bat and a ball.
She was way bigger than all that.
She was a genuine Soldier of Freedom. She was a certified trailblazer. She was the Real Deal.
And by comparison, the Flyers and the Yankees are mere lilliputians, with pea-sized brains and guts made of squid.
Kate Smith's legacy is intact. It's the Flyers and the Yankees that need to worry. 
Or as Norma Desmond said in Sunset Boulevard: "I am big. It's the picture that got small."


Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots-Lower Bucks said...

Enough is enough! Kate Smith sang songs, she did not make policy! The Left's P.C. (Political Correctness) or as I call it, "Political Crap", must end! Kate Smith uplifted an entire Nation during two World Wars and her recording of "God Bless America" helped in our nation's healing process after September 11, 2001! Do not let Kate Smith's reputation and honor be soiled by a couple of Professional Sports teams (the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers)! Boycott both teams! Don't buy tickets to their games; don't watch them on TV or listen to them on the radio! Call, write, tweet, message and use Facebook to spread this boycott far and wide! It's time to take back America from the Leftist Storm Troopers!

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Shut up fuckin idiot. "LEFTIST STORM TROOPERS!" Grow up dummy. Stop being ridiculous. This ain't Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

"How to end the Obama Nightmare" you really are a dumb fuck. "THANKS OBAMA!"

schllac said...

Please don't insult the squid !

Anonymous said...

"This ain't Star Wars"???!!! You do know that Storm Troppers aren't just a thing from a movie, right????

Anonymous said...

just happened to catch a portion of the NYY's during 7th inning stretch time.. They played a portion of "God Bless America", just not the Kate Smith rendition. Evidently, their beef is with Kate and not the song..

John McBride said...

Kate Smith also performed over 200 shows at the Apollo in Harlem when white entertainers did not perform there, along side black entertainers when that was not popular. She endured many an insult about her weight under the guise of humor in one runs of shows. She smiled bravely on stage, and cried alone in the dressing room afterwards. She is believed to be lesbian, something that she could not share with the world back then, certainly not in the south. Hollywood was run with a studio contract and a casting couch, and if a producer wanted her to sing a song, it was either "do the scene" or face the consequences (this of course was well before the exposure of Harvey Weinstein, and no doubt at least as bad if not worse). She sang two songs for the same movie (a bust!) and never again displayed any trace of racism. Paul Robeson did indeed sing That's Why Darkies Were Born" as well,a song that, in it's day, could be seen as a sarcastic attack on racists. The lyrics of both songs are shameful, but Miss Smith did not write either song. After all this, she raised over $600,000,000 in War Bonds, and was a constant source of inspiration and hope for a nation determined to defeat a tremendous evil. And with the Flyers using her song? She never asked for one cent in royalties. Both organizations showed weak judgement, but the Flyers by far are the bigger disappointment, trying to erase her from their team's history. Ed Snider I am sure would not allow that, and Paul Holmgren should be run out of town for what he did! The team had a chance to teach from history, to educate the masses on growth, and instead they caved to PC's flavor of the week moment. At least the Mayor of Wildwood NJ has the courage to continue to play Kate Smith's "God Bless America" and address the story the correct way.

Proud American who Honors Miss Kate Smith said...

God Bless Kate Smith, The Flyers and Yankees should be ashamed of them self’s, they couldn’t due a quarter of what Miss Smith did for this Country. How quick people are to condemn someone they know nothing about, they just throw out the race card, come on, how is this country ever going to be equal, when people accuse people they don’t even take the time to find out the true facts. I hope people turn their backs on the Yankees and Flyers like they did to Miss America, Kate Smith!!!!

Galloise said...

Vote with your feet. Do not buy Flyers' tickets, Flyers' memorabilia and picket every game. Too bad that many judge a person by the worst day in their life and forget all the good. If people of color are so offended by lyrics, they have plenty of current lyrics to choose from. This PC crap is going too far and won't stop until we stop putting up with it. God bless America and God bless Kate Smith.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say THANK YOU DAN for calling out the cowardice of the Flyer organization. This wonderful woman's patriotic actions and support for people of color go far beyond being a good luck charm for my team. I sent the following letter to the Flyer Alumni of which I am a member as I feel my fellow members are just as appalled as I am myself.

doug favell

Mon, Apr 22, 6:45 PM (15 hours ago)

to Brad

Here is the real story of Kate Smith a true American patriot not just the Flyers good luck charm.
Those cowards in the Flyer organization who have allowed this abomination of our history should be ashamed of themselves. The Flyers were never a " politically correct " team and stood up for each other to achieve many memorable successes over the past 70 + years.

Obviously nobody had the guts to stand up for our teammate KATE and this I would imagine will make Mr. Snider roll over in his grave.

Personally, I will miss the goose bumps and wiping away a tear every time I watched Kate and Lauren sing God Bless America.

Even BERNIE can't save this humiliation.

Hope you can post this on the Flyers website before the PC police step in and erase another small piece of Flyer history. Doug Favell

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT - BOYCOTT - BOYCOTT! Hit ‘em where it hurts!

Unknown said...

They want to Ban Kate Smith, well lets ABANDON the flyers & that Shit ass team the Yanks.

Unknown said...

I awarded the Flyers a trophy on Facebook for the fastest knee-jerk buckle under response. I say bring back Kate Smith's statue and bring back her song. This was not an issue until some social activist group blew it up so out of proportion. This crap has to be dealt with by providing education (like this article) and people/organizations have to stop buckling under to irrelevant, obvious social/political artificially inflamed episodes! It is like giving in to a spoiled child's temper tantrums. It just encourages them to throw more tantrums. It is time to grow some cajones (sp?) and just say NO to temper tantrums and irrelevant social activism. We are allowed to do so! Say thank you for bringing it our attention, but this does not merit a response, now go to your room!

Anonymous said...

Stop whining racists.

Anonymous said...

the people making all this stinking thinking should all have their backgrounds checked and their decency also----guaranteed they are the true racists and smell beyond all of the stuff they let come out of their mouths and Doug Favell you are so correct that Ed Snyder is definitely spinning out of control !!so sad and i wish the flyers alumni would step up and show their contempt of such foolish behavior !

Anonymous said...

Sadly this will pass with the statute and the memory passing. Boycott the Flyers let their merchandise hang
In stores forever. Hurt them where it hurts IN THEIR WALLETS!