Peg And The Panoram

It’s been too long around here since we’ve heard and seen Peggy Lee. Here she is with her husband Dave Barbour and his quartet in a 1950 Soundie. Soundies used to run on machines called Panorams, coin-operated juke boxes in bars, restaurants, factory break rooms, even some corner service stations. They played short films. In went your quarter and out came Count Basie, Claude Thornhill, The Sons of the Pioneers, maybe the Hoosier Hot Shots or, if you were lucky, Peggy Lee.

By the time that was made, Panorams had largely disappeared from taverns and nightclubs. For a few years in the ‘50s and early ‘60s, the more sophisticated Scopitone succeeded them. For a Scopitone memory including a brief history, a demonstration with two of its big stars and the story of Dangerous Desmond’s investment scheme, see this Rifftides archive post.

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  1. says

    I can hear quite a bit of Lady Day in Peggy’s voice & phrasing, although she sounds so much more innocent and happier. Her lightness, her stunning beauty, her easy swing — You will have to look very hard to find those credentials in today’s pop music.

    Take any of Peggy Lee’s, Doris Day’s, Lucy Ann Polk’s, June Christy’s, Julie London’s, or Jeri Southern’s recordings: It’s about music in the first place; and when it was also about selling, the quality of the material was the main reason for a hit, not the marketing.

    At least “I Hear Music” in the first place, when those gals swing a number: