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SteveBeasley ( 2006-03-14 )
Source: newspaper, book, magazine
Bandleader-actor Kay Kyser (real name James Kern Kyser) was not born in 1897 as stated here, but 1905. It's not unusual to see mistakes pertaining to him as they're all over the internet. He and his band were huge during the WW2 era, featuring vocalists such as Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason and Ish Kabibble (real name Merwyn Bogue). I've been a Kyser 'kollector' and archivist since '89. I've also been writer/producer on a 1 hr retrospective on the man and his band called KAY KYSER-THE OL' PROFESSOR OF SWING!. Go to kaykyser.net for everything Kyser, and stay tuned to TCM for 6 of Kyser's 7 feature films.
ShockDoc ( 2010-12-03 )
Source: not available
James King Kern Kyser was born on June 18th, 1905, to pharmacist parents in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. While a student at UNC he was convinced by fellow student Hal Kemp to take over the university band. Kyser decided to use his middle initial, 'K'(Kay) as a snappier first name. The band struggled the first few years, but found fame and fortune via a hit radio show from 1938-49 called KAY KYSER'S COLLEGE OF MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE. Kyser racked up 11 number one records, and 35 top 10s. He played more camp shows (1800) than any other WW2 performer, and made 7 feature films, guesting in 2 others. Kyser abruptly quit show biz at the end of 1950, and retired to Chapel Hill, NC, where he became a statesman, public servant, and Christian Science lecturer, leading to his appointment as President of the Worldwide Church of Christian Science in the early 80s. Kay Kyser died on July 23rd, 1985 at the age of 80, survived by his wife, Georgia Carroll Kyser, and 3 daughters.
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