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Big Broadcast' features both famous and forgotten

Remember Bob Hope?

Sure, you do!

Martha Raye, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour? Of course.

But what about Shep Fields and Ben Blue? No, I didn't think so.

Well those two journeyman jazzmen appear alongside the aforementioned big names in "The Big Broadcast," a 1938 musical-comedy from Paramount being screened by the Syracuse Cinephile Society at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 13, at the Spaghetti Warehouse.

Ben Blue

The film focuses on an ocean race between two luxury liners. One ship is broadcasting the event on the radio and is loaded with an all-star passenger list headed by W.C. Fields with vocalist Martha Raye as his daughter. "The Big Broadcast" is Bob Hope's feature film debut and the movie in which he and Shirley Ross introduce the Oscar-winning tune (and Hope's theme song) "Thanks for the Memory," by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin.

And what about those two ne'er-do-wells, drummer/comedian Ben Blue and bandleader Shep Fields?

Ben Blue was a Canadian-born drummer who achieved greater success with punch lines than percussion. He played drums for Jack White and His Montrealers and appeared long with Paul Whiteman in the 1929 film King of Jazz before joining the Earl Carroll Vanities.

Rippling Rhythms

Brooklyn-born Shep Fields started out as a clarinetist but found fame during the big band era by blowing bubbles into a water glass as the bandleader of Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra.

Directed by Mitchell Leisen, The Big Broadcast also stars Dorothy Lamour, Leif Erickson, Lynne Overman, Grace Bradley, Tito Guizar and Kirsten Flagstad.

Spaghetti Warehouse is located at 689 N. Clinton St., near Syracuse's Inner Harbor. Admission to each Cinephile screening costs $3, or $2.50 for Cinephile members. For dinner reservations, call 475-1807.

Scott-Heron dead at 62

Spoken-word pioneer Gil Scott-Heron, who co-headlined last year's Syracuse Jazz Fest, died May 27 in New York City after falling ill upon returning from a European tour, according to The New York Times. Scott-Heron, who was 62, had long suffered from severe drug addiction and other health problems. He was best known for writing and performing a scathing piece of social satire called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," recorded in 1970.

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