SPOTLIGHT ON BABS AND HER BROTHERS/THE SMOOTHIES
PART TWO (1933-1934, 1938-1950)
SPOTLIGHT ON BABS AND HER BROTHERS/THE SMOOTHIES
"Breezin' Along With The Breeze"
"Ain't She Sweet"
"Say 'Si' 'Si'"
"The Girl With The Pigtails In Her Hair"
(Includes Audio For Nineteen Songs)
The Smoothies - Charlie, Babs, and Little (Charlie Ryan, Arlene "Babs" Johnson, and Little Ryan), previously known as "Babs And Her Brothers". Arlene ("Babs" #4) was with The Smoothies starting in 1938 and leaving in early 1940. This line-up had many records released on the Bluebird and Victor labels. "Babs" #1 was Babs Ryan, #2 was Lillian Perron, #3 was Diane Courtney, and #5 was Rosaland Stuart (See Part One for more about #1, #2 and #5. A picture of Diane Courtney is near the bottom of this page.)
Above: Two photos of The Smoothies (L-R) Charlie Ryan, Arlene "Babs" Johnson, and Little Ryan. It looks like an engagement ring on Arlene's finger. She left The Smoothies in early 1940 to get married. (Puzzle: Can you find ten differences in these two photos?)
Above: Three more photos of The Smoothies (L-R) Charlie Ryan, Arlene "Babs" Johnson, and Little Ryan. These above three photos were provided by Del Sandberg, Arlene Johnson's son. No engagement ring on her finger.
NOTE: MORE ARLENE "BABS" JOHNSON AND THIS SPECIFIC TRIO IS FURTHER DOWN THIS PAGE.
1933-1934 BABS AND HER BROTHERS WITH FRED WARING'S PENNSYLVANIANS....
Above: RADIOLAND MAGAZINE, May 1934:
Babs Ryan And Her Brothers are under the clock, the brothers are wearing bow-ties. Fred Waring is under the right side of the curtains with hands up as if conducting. The Lane Sisters are next to him, under the hanging microphone.
Above: RADIO STARS MAGAZINE, May 1934:
In front, left to right, Tom Waring (playing the drums), Fred Waring (holding the baton), Rosemary Lane, Babs Ryan, and Priscilla Lane, performing as The Lane Sisters.
Above: AMERICAN SATURDAY NIGHT NEWSPAPER, August 19, 1933. OLD GOLD PROGRAM FROM CARNEGIE HALL
Fred Waring and his famous orchestra, Babs and her brothers, the Lane Sisters, Rosemary and Priscilla, and Mandy Lou, are heard each Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. CST, over CBS-KOMA hook-up.
(NOTE: Babs Ryan And Her Brothers are around the right-side microphone. The Lane Sisters are at the left-hand microphone. The man with them is Tom Waring.)
Above: Photo of FRED WARING at the NBC microphone.
SONGS FROM 1934 RADIO BROADCASTS OF FRED WARING'S PENNSYLVANIANS
LISTEN (Windows Media Player): (NOTE: Babs And Her Brothers on these five selections are Babs Ryan, Charlie Ryan, and Little Ryan.)
1. "Keep On Doin'" - Babs And Her Brothers - From Fred Waring Radio Show dated 2-18-34.
2. "There's Gonna Be A Wedding In The Band" - Babs And Her Brothers - From Fred Waring Radio Show dated 7-22-34.
3. "The Breeze Is Bringing My Honey Back To Me" - Babs And Her Brothers - From Fred Waring Radio Show dated 8-5-34.
4. "Sweetie Pie" - Babs And Her Brothers - From Fred Waring Radio Show dated 9-20-34.
5. "Put On Your Glasses" - Babs And Her Brothers - From Fred Waring Radio Show dated 11-8-34.
ALL FIVE SONGS played in sequence.
MORE 1933-1934 BABS RYAN AND FRED WARING....
Above: MORNING CALL NEWSPAPER, June 18, 1933.
Above Left: TOWER RADIO MAGAZINE, October 1934: FRED WARING and BABS RYAN.
Above Middle: RADIOLAND MAGAZINE, May 1934: BABS RYAN.
Above Right: DETROIT FREE PRESS, October 27, 1935: FRED WARING.
Above Left: RADIO STARS MAGAZINE, October 1934: BABS RYAN.
Above Middle: TOWER RADIO MAGAZINE, October 1934: FRED WARING.
Above Right: RADIO MIRROR, March 1934: BABS RYAN.
Above: RADIO STARS MAGAZINE, December 1934: FRED WARING and BABS RYAN on cover.
Above Left: WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, August 26, 1934: FRED WARING.
Above Middle Left: PITTSBURGH SUN TELEGRAPH, April 1, 1934:
Babs Ryan, with her two brothers, provides the trick vocal effects for Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians on their bi-weekly broadcasts over CBS-WJAS.
Above Middle: AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, March 20, 1933: BABS RYAN.
Above Middle Right: BRAMAN LEADER, May 4, 1934:
Babs Ryan, diminutive young singer who appears with Waring's Pennsylvanians over a WABC-Columbia network on Sundays from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10 p.m., EST.
Above Right: STAR TRIBUNE, July 29, 1934: BABS RYAN.
Above Left: Photo of (L-R) Rosemary Lane, Babs Ryan, and Priscilla Lane. At this time, Babs Ryan performed as a member of The Lane Sisters. You may remember Priscilla starring in Alfred Hitchcock's 1942 movie "Saboteur", along with Robert Cummings. Priscilla and her sister, Rosemary, played credited parts in many movies in the 1930s and 1940s. Babs Ryan performed in at least two musical shorts, one each in 1935 and 1936.
Above Right: DECATUR HERALD, December 12, 1934: THEY SING AND BOWL IN HARMONY
Priscilla Lane, Babs Ryan, and Rosemary Lane, the Lane Sisters of radio fame, keep in trim by bowling a few frames in between shows at Philadelphia where they are now appearing in their harmony singing act.
Above Left: PRESS AND SUN BULLETIN, June 15, 1933. (NOTE: There is no mention of "her brothers" or Charlie and Little Ryan.)
Above Right: DAILY NEWS, May 8, 1934: FRED WARING, ROSEMARY LANE, and PRISCILLA LANE.
1938-1940 ARLENE "BABS" JOHNSON AND THE SMOOTHIES....
Above Left: CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, March 20, 1938: ARLENE JOHNSON.
Above Middle: KNOXVILLE JOURNAL, April 12, 1938:
Arlene Johnson, formerly Judy of the NBC group, Judy and the Bunch, is now heard as Babs with the SmoothiesBabs, Charlie and Little, on "Vocal Varieties". Miss Johnson comes from Minneapolis and for the past two years has been heard over NBC from New York. Listen to "Vocal Varieties" tonight at 6:15 over WLW.
Above Right: THE TIMES, May 6, 1938: STARS ON PARADE
There is a new trio, just organized, broadcasting from Cincinnati's WLW. Star of the threesome is attractive Arlene Johnson, who is featured as Babs. She was formerly with NBC in New York as the leader of "Judy and the Bunch". Miss Johnson is a native of Minneapolis, sang with a dance band while still in high school and has been on radio for two years.
Above Left: CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, December 14, 1939: Arlene Johnson, modeling a matching hat and handbag.
Above Middle: CAPITAL TIMES, September 4, 1938:
Arlene Johnson...Babs of the Vocal Varieties group heard over WIBA Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Above Right: STAR TRIBUNE, January 12, 1940: SNOW MAKES HIT
Arlene Johnson, who has just left a job as singer with Hal Kemp's band in New York to get married, arrived home in Minneapolis yesterday to find snow for the first time this season. So pleased was she with snow-balling in front of the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar G. Johnson, 1517 Sixth Street southeast, that she decided to go along Sunday on the snow train jaunt to St. Croix Falls, planned by the Junior Association of Commerce.
Above: HAL KEMP ORCHESTRA. That is not "Babs" at far right side.
Above Left: PLAIN SPEAKER, June 28, 1939.
Above Right: DES MOINES TRIBUNE, July 24, 1939:
Arlene Johnson, known as "Babs" of the "Smoothies" trio, featured Tuesdays on Hal Kemp's "Time To Shine" programs over KRNT, will be heard with Smoothies on "Magic Key" broadcast over KSO-WMT, 6:30 p.m. ....
Above: HAL KEMP ORCHESTRA.... In front (L-R) Arlene Johnson, Hal Kemp (holding hands), and Charlie Ryan (looking up).
"PLAYMATES" BY ARLENE "BABS" JOHNSON AND THE SMOOTHIES WITH HAL KEMP ORCHESTRA....
At Left: Playmates sheet music "featured by Hal Kemp and The Smoothies".
Arlene Johnson is in the window and (L-R) Hal Kemp, Little Ryan, and Charlie Ryan.
Above: Victor 26469-B label image. This side was recorded on January 5, 1940, shortly before Arlene Johnson left.
Saxie Dowell is the song's composer. He was a saxophonist in Hal Kemp's orchestra, thus his nickname.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
(NOTE: The Smoothies on this selection are Arlene Johnson, Charlie Ryan, and Little Ryan.)
"Playmates" - Hal Kemp And His Orchestra (Vocal by The Smoothies) - Victor 26469-B - 1940.
EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player) SOME OTHER VERSIONS OF "PLAYMATES":
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
Above Left: Label image of Bluebird B-10585-A recorded on January 18, 1940.
Above Middle Left: Label image of Columbia 37869 recorded on March 18, 1940.
This side by him was first released on Vocalion 5386 in 1940. The Columbia re-issue came out in 1947.
Above Middle Right: Label image of Columbia 35375 recorded on January 29, 1940.
Above Right: Label image of Dot 15370 released in 1955.
Above Left: THE BILLBOARD, April 27, 1940.
Above Middle Left: SACRAMENTO BEE, June 3, 1939: SAXIE DOWELL with Arlene 'Babs' Johnson. Saxie composed the song "Playmates". He was a saxophonist in Hal Kemps' orchestra.
Above Middle Right: ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, July 23, 1940:
Saxie is 36, stout and affable.
Above Right: HARTFORD COURANT, June 10, 1942: MITCHELL AYRES.
Above Left: MARY ANN MERCER.
Above Middle: TOMMY TAYLOR.
Above Right: WILKES BARRE TIMES LEADER, October 25, 1940.
Above Left: TIMES COLONIST, February 9, 1940:
That genial-faced profile of Kay Kyser (top right) is surrounded by Ish Kabibble (top left) and Harry Babbitt, Ginny Simms, and Sully Mason (bottom, left to right). The quintette, whose rousing "College of Musical Knowledge" has cheered radio fans for several years, makes its screen bow in "That's RightYou're Wrong", RKO Radio's fun-filled musicomedy co-starring Kyser and Adolphe Menjou, now at Dominion Theatre.
Above Middle Left: CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, January 14, 1940: SULLY MASON.
Above Middle Right: PASADENA STAR NEWS, January 31, 1945: SULLY MASON
"Sassy Sully Mason", as he is commonly billed, will come to Pasadena Community Dance to direct his band Friday and Saturday nights. Sully, of Irish-American stock, is a newcomer here in the role of director, although he has appeared here with Kay Kyser's band in which he played 18 years, until breaking away several months ago to form his own band. He is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina, as is Mr. Kyser. He appeared with the Kyser band in the films "That's Right, You're Wrong", "You'll Find Out", "Playmates", "My Favorite Spy", Swing Fever", "Stage Door Canteen", "As Thousands Cheer", and "Carolina Blues".
Above Right: Photo of KAY KYSER.
Above Left: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, December 10, 1939: WHAT'S THE ANSWER, PROFESSOR?
Sully Mason (left), Harry Babbitt and Ginny Simms display varied reactions to Kay Kyser's embarrassment in "That's RightYou're Wrong", at Fox.
Above Middle: DAILY NEWS, December 7, 1940: ROMANTIC LIFT IN MUSICDOM
Bandleader Ray Herbeck and Betty Benson, who sings with his band, yesterday admitted they had been secretly wed in Armonk, N.Y. They're defying the jinx that is supposed to have caused the marital break-ups of such maestro-vocalist couples as Dorothy Lamour and Herbie Kay, George Olson and Ethel Shutta, Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey. Herbeck is currrently appearing at the Paramount Theatre.
Above Right: DAYTON HERALD, January 10, 1940: RAY HERBECK BAND RETURNING... (Picture is Ray Herbeck and Betty Benson)
Returning to the Biltmore Kittyhawk direct from an engagement in the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, Ray Herbeck and his orchestra will be the featured attraction starting Tuesday night....
Above Left: Photo of THE FONTANE SISTERS.
Above Right: DAILY NEWS, February 20, 1955:
The Fontane Sisters (left to right) Geri, Margie, and Bea, might never have become a trio if their mother hadn't insisted that Geri join the act.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Playmates" - Mitchell Ayres And His Fashions In Music (Vocal by Mary Ann Mercer And Tommy Taylor) - Bluebird B-10585-A - 1940.
2. "Playmates" - Ray Herbeck And His Music With Romance (Vocal by Betty Benson) - Columbia 37869 - 1940.
3. "Playmates" - Kay Kyser And His Orchestra (Vocal by Sully Mason And His Playmates) - Columbia 35375 - 1940.
4. "Playmates" - The Fontane Sisters - Dot 15370 - 1955.
ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.
EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player) MARY ANN MERCER:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
Above Left: Bluebird B-11035-B label image.
Above Middle Left: CAPITAL TIMES, September 28, 1941:
Mary Ann Mercer is the little half-pint sized songstress who will handle the vocals for the "College Humor" show, which will be heard over WIBA at 9:30 p.m. each Tuesday night.
Above Middle Right: STAR PRESS, November 23, 1941: CAVALRY NAMES HER "HUDDLE GIRL"
Uncle Sam's men with spurs know beauty when they see it. Proof is presented in the above photo of Miss Mary Ann Mercer, diminutive radio singer. Soldiers of the First Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, named her their "Huddle Girl" of the 1941 football season.
Above Right: BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE, August 23, 1941:
Mary Ann Mercer is the new vocalist on "College Humor" over WEAF Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.
At Left: WILKES BARRE RECORD, July 4, 1940: AT FERNBROOK TONIGHT
Mary Ann Mercer is featured artist appearing with Mitchell Ayres and his band at Fernbrook Park tonight.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"Jenny" - Mitchell Ayres And His Fashions-In-Music (Vocal by Mary Ann Mercer And Chorus) - Bluebird B-11035-B - 1941.
EXTRA AUDIO #3 (Windows Media Player) THE SMOOTHIES ON THE APOLLO LABEL:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
Above Left: Label image of Apollo 1015 released in 1946.
Above Middle: PRESS SUN AND BULLETIN, November 12, 1947: SINGING FAVOTITES
The stage and radio singing trio, "The Smoothies", otherwise known as Charlie, Babs, and Little Ryan, appear in the stage show opening tomorrow at the Binghamton Theatre.
Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, August 17, 1946:
Above Left: THE CASH BOX, August 26, 1946: SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
Above Right Top: CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, June 4, 1944:
"THE SMOOTHIES"Known as Babs, Charlie, and Little Ryanprovide rhythm and syncopation for WKRC listeners in their new series heard Mondays through Fridays at 8:15 p.m.
Above Right Bottom: MINNEAPOLIS, October 9, 1947:
Elinore Nerison....appeared with the Smoothies, singing trio, at Curly's Theater cafe. Elinore is at left with Little, Charlie, and Babs.
At Left: INDIANAPOLIS STAR, January 21, 1945:
MEET BABSShe is the songstress who provides a bit of the lively art of swingsweet and lowas the feminine representative of the trio of "Smoothies" heard every Monday through Friday over WIBC and Mutual from 2:30 to 2:45 o'clock. (NOTE: Or should it be "sweet and high pitched"?)
The Billboard Review (8/24/46):THE SMOOTHIES APOLLO 1015....
Roll Me Over/Blue Skies
Great guns on the spinning sides in years gone by, there is still plenty of chant contagion in the rhythm harmonies of the Smoothies. And with plenty of rhythmic color in their lively arrangements, to which is added the trumpet and music of Henry (hot lips but no Busse) Levine, the Smoothies style it tasty for the 6/8 beat novelty, "Roll Me Over", a 1-to10 counting chant, and equally as effective for Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies". Spinning and singing plenty bright on both sides for the phonos.
(NOTE: Henry Busse was a German-born trumpeter, who started with Paul Whiteman's orchestra in the 1920's and later led his own band.)
BOTH SONGS played in sequence.
EXTRA AUDIO #4 (Windows Media Player) LUCKY STRIKE PRESENTS:
Above Left: RCA Victor CS 036971 released in 1939. "Babs And Her Brothers" are likely Arlene "Babs" Johnson, Charlie Ryan, and Little Ryan. The second part of this side is Babs doing a Lucky Strike Cigarette commercial. The flip is NOT Babs And Her Brothers.
Above Middle: DES MOINES REGISTER, July 24, 1939: THE SMOOTHIES SING ON MAGIC KEY
The Smoothies, Charlie, Babs, and Little, who are regularly heard on Hal Kemp's (Tuesday, KRNT, 8 p.m.) "Time to Shine" program, will appear in the Magic Key broadcast, KSO-WMT at 6:30 p.m.
Above Right: LUCKY STRIKE CIGARETTES full-page magazine advertisment from 1935. NOT Babs in the picture.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"Hang Your Heart On A Hickory Limb" - Babs And Her Brothers (Lucky Strike Orchestra) - RCA CS 036971 - 1939.
MORE BABS AND HER BROTHERS/THE SMOOTHIES (1940-1950)....
Above Left: MINNEAPOLIS STAR, August 12, 1940:
"THE SMOOTHIES" Charlie Ryan, Babs Stuart, and Little Ryan.
Above Right: MIAMI NEWS, February 24, 1943: VAUDEVILLE HEADLINERS
The Smoothies, Babs, Charlie, and Little, are headlined on the new stage revue opening today at the Olympia Theater.
Above Left: CHARLOTTE NEWS, April 26, 1950: WBT 1110 ON YOUR AM DIAL::99.9 ON YOUR FM DIAL
The Three Smoothies.... Babs Ryan and her brothers have become famous on network radio and television shows for their smooth harmonies and rhythms. We are happy to announce that The Three Smoothies will be heard on the Sauer Show beginning Tues., April 18th.
Above Middle: ROCKY MOUNTAIN TELEGRAM, June 29, 1950.
Above Right: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, October 16, 1949: JEWELS THAT GLITTER MIGHT BE OATS
Presenting oats and barley in an unexpected role, Babs Ryan wears jewelry which is made from grain.
(NOTE: There is no mention of any activity by either Babs And Her Brothers or The Smoothies after 1950.)
THE SMOOTHIES IN VIDEO....
FROM PHIL BEAUCHAMP...
Here is a list of The Smoothies' Soundies and their copyright dates:
1.Gobs of LoveNov. 2nd 1942
2.Princess Poo-Poo-LyDec. 21th 1942
3.Rosie The RiveterFeb. 8th 1943
4.Lalapaluza LuFeb. 15th 1943
5.Showbar FrolicsMarch 1st 1943
The Smoothies were in the 1939 musical short "Here's Hal!" featuring Hal Kemp and his Orchestra. They sing "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree", in which they imitate various trios of the time. The Smoothies in this short are (L-R) Little Ryan, Arlene "Babs" Johnson, and Charlie Ryan.
(See still shot at left.)
ARTICLES AND BLURBS....
BROOKLYN TIMES UNION, January 27, 1934:
....Babs Ryan tips the scale at a mere 112 pounds, is 5 feet, three and a third inches tall, and has golden brown hair and dark brown eyes....
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, July 2, 1939:
While the Smoothiesthe clever vocal triowere working at WLW, they were taken for granted. But now that they're back in the national limelight they once basked in, Cincinnatians who knew the members of the trio, proudly recall their acquaintance.
Fred Waring first starred the Smoothies a number of years agoa fact which is well remembered at this time, in as much as Mr. Waring and his versatile crew are back on the air five nights a week, and plugging hard for their current vocal trio "Two Bees and a Honey".
Charlie and Little Ryan remain as the male element in the Smoothies crew, but the original Babs departed during the Waring series. Charlie and Little scuffled about for a bit and then found a new Babs, Arlene Johnson, who filled the bill perfectly. The trio came West to WLW on a short contract and remained for two and a half years on the late "Vocal Varieties" quarter hour.
Five months ago they went back East again, looking for bigger game. They found it, as night club attractions and radio stars. Currently they're appearing with Hal Kemp's band, which is on tour, and are being featured on the "Time To Shine" broadcast.
Their Bluebird records have attracted widespread attention, perhaps as much for the fact that the Smoothies are the only Bluebird vocal attraction which can compete with Decca's Merry Macs, Andrew Sisters, Mills Brothers, and Modernaires, and also because the Smoothies are genuine song stylists. Like the Modernaires, the Smoothies work out their arrangements by ear first, and then have them put down on black and white....
(NOTE: "Two Bees And A Honey" were Murray Kane, "Honey" Perron, and Hal Kanner. See image below right. Lillian "Honey" Perron had been the second "Babs" from 1936 to 1938.)
BROOKLYN TIMES UNION, October 31, 1939:
....Peggy Watson is scheduled to take Arlene Johnson's place as "Babs" in the Smoothies trio as Arlene is retiring to marry a Cincinnati radio executive....
BROOKLYN TIMES UNION, November 14, 1939:
....Peggy Watson, who was slated to take the place of Arlene Johnson as Babs with the Smoothies, has had her mind changed by her husband, Jan Savitt, band leader....
DES MOINES TRIBUNE, December 14, 1939:
Arlene Johnson, "Babs" of the Smoothies, has postponed her forthcoming marriage, and will remain with Charlie and Little Ryan until they find a new Babs to take her place.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, December 17, 1939:
Stately Rosalind Stuart, a Philadelphia school marm, who's tutoring by others landed her a birth with Hal Kemp, is now being groomed by Charlie and Little Ryan to take Arlene Johnson's place with the Smoothies, in the Kemp show which completed a road tour of the country yesterday.
Three years ago, Rosalind, with ambitions to become a radio singer, hung around the studios of WCAU. In the studio's she was schooled by other vocalists. Then one morning WCAU was pumping a show to the networks. The regularly scheduled songstress failed to show up for the broadcast, but as usual Rosalind was there and she was substituted without much ado.
Rosalind clicked right away. Since then she has been heard on WCAU programs and has broadcast on KYW. She also has sung with bands around town. Recently when Hal Kemp appeared at the Earle Theater here, Rosalind was auditioned for the place with the Smoothies. When the show left for Pittsburgh, Rosalind went along.
THE TIMES, July 21, 1940:
Smooth is the word for Arlene "Babs "Johnson, member of the vocal Trio, the Smoothies, heard regularly on the new Burns and Allen show Monday at 8:30 p.m., over KTBS. With the other Smoothies, Charlie Ryan and Little Ryan, Babs dispenses her particular brand of rhythmic singing in collaboration with Artie Shaw and his new, suave, swing Orchestra.
(NOTE: Well before this time, Rosalind Stuart had replaced Arlene Johnson as "Babs".)
PITTSBURGH PRESS, August 8, 1940: GIRLS OF SMOOTHIES RADIO TRIO QUIT TO MARRY
Charlie and Little Ryan, brother combination of the "Smoothies", deserve a commission from marriage license bureaus. In nine years they have had seven girls in their trio. All quit to get married.
The first girl, known as "Babs" to radio followers of the "Smoothies", was Mrs. Charlie Ryan. She divorced the senior Smoothie and married a second time, quitting radio for family life. Followed one girl after another, each identified as "Babs". Not one remained two years, but when each left she married.
The present "Babs", Rosalind Stuart, threatens to break the record by remaining with the Smoothies and a bachelor girl. She joined the trio last autumn. The trio is currently featured with Burns and Allen. The original Babs, who with the Ryan boys helped make the Waring band radio famous, has yet to be equaled.
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, September 25, 1940:
....Arlene "Babs" Johnson, formerly of the "Smoothies", now Mrs. Delmar Sandberg, wife of the radio executive, is knitting tiny garments....
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, May 20, 1941:
The variety and musical show, "Harold Stokes Presents" returns to WGN and the Mutual Network from 9:30 to 10 p.m. tomorrow after an absence of a few weeks. Lillian Roth, of the stage and screen, and the popular trio, the Smoothies, featuring Rosalind "Babs" Stuart, will be guests. Both Miss Roth and the mixed Trio are appearing in Chicago, she at the Hi-Hat Club and the Smoothies with Art Jarrett's Orchestra at the Blackhawk restaurant....
ST. LOUIS DISPATCH, February 8, 1942: SMOOTHIES AT CHASE CLUB
....With the floor show for the first week of a three-week engagement are those celebrated harmonizers, the Smoothies, who recently completed 39 weeks on the Burns and Allen radio show and who have had a half-dozen important sponsors in the day, have been featured with the Fred Waring, the Hal Kemp, the Richard Himber, and Ray Noble bands and have popularized many a popular song. The members of the trio are "Babs, Charlie, and Little", or Rosalind Stuart, Charlie Ryan, and Little Ryan....
PITTSBURGH PRESS, August 12, 1942:
Babs Ryan, girl star of the original "Three Smoothies", is chief arranger for the Four Lee Sisters, heard with Vaughn Monroe's orchestra.
THE BILLBOARD, February 19, 1944: RADIO REVIEWTHE SMOOTHIES
The Smoothies, composed of Charlie, Babs, and Little Ryan, two fellows and a gal with harmonious voices, have joined the staff of KWK in St. Louis and are offering a fast-moving 15-minutes five nights a week.
Charlie acts as emcee, and on (the) program (that I) caught, the trio opened with "Put Your Arms Around Me", followed in quick succession by "Whispering" and "Rosalie" - all sure-fire.... Smoothies then gave out with "Speak Low", Charlie called the tune as being from Mary Astor's(!) Broadway hit show, "One Touch of Venus". (News to Miss Astor at least.) Highlight of the airing was "Mairzy Doats", offered by the Smoothies in a style that really smacked of big time. Arrangement includes impersonations of Sinatra, Boyer, Dinah Shore, and Gabriel Heatter presenting the moronic ditty. Trio wound up with theme "You're An Old Smoothie". (NOTE: Gabriel Heatter was a radio news commentator, similar to Walter Winchell.)
Entire program is way above par for its type and the singing of the Smoothies is as great as it ever was. Accompaniment for the group is supplied by Jack Connor's quartet, a musical combination of piano, bass, guitar, and vibraharp, offering background music that approaches perfection. This quarter-hour shot would be an asset to any station's roster and it will probably monopolize most of the listening ears in this territory.
THE BILLBOARD, August 3, 1946:
....Smoothies (Babs, Charlie, and Little) have added to their soap opera and transcription take-off routines and come off nicely. Stuff is giggle material, not a yock in a carload. Finished with "Roll Me Over", a washed version. But there were enough ex-G.I.'s in the house familiar with the original, so laughs were okay.
PRESS AND SUN BULLETIN, November 12, 1947: SMOOTHIES HEAD SHOW AT BINGHAMTON THEATER
....Star attraction is a singing trio called "the Smoothies", who are known as Babs, Charlie, and Little Ryan off stage. Besides their theater engagements, they have made radio appearances on such shows as Fred Waring, Kate Smith, and Alec Templeton....
(Alec Templeton was a blind concert pianist and composer. Any connection between him and The Smoothies, or Babs And Her Brothers, could not be found.)
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, September 16, 1949:
.... Big Bill's has come up with a new attraction in Babs Ryan.... Miss Ryan, who was once a star in the Fred Waring aggregation, is making a comeback and she sounds delightful when she gives the rhythmic treatment to oldies like "Pretty Baby" and "Always" with her little girl voice. She's cute and appealing behind the piano and still has that old "Smoothies" way with a song....
Above Left: Label image for Bluebird B-10295-A, both sides recorded on May 17, 1939 and released in 1939.
Above Right: Label images for Bluebird B-10616-A, recorded on January 3, 1940 and released in 1940.
Above Left: Label image for Bluebird B-10310-A , recorded on May 17, 1939 and released in 1939.
Above Right: Label image for Victor 26385-B, recorded on September 25, 1939 and released in 1939.
NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.
Listen to this week's selections featuring The Smoothies on Decca from 1939 and 1940 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
2. Breezin' Along With The Breeze
3. Ain't She Sweet
4. Say "Si" "Si"
5. The Girl With The Pigtails In Her Hair
ALL FIVE ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
ALL NINETEEN SONGS ON THIS PAGE
played in sequence
[To download audio files, right-click on song title
link and then click "Save link (target) as..."]
At Right: Diane Courtney ("Babs" #3) 1940 Photo
At Far Right: Morning Call 8/16/33 Babs Ryan Trio