Kay Kyser - Rotten Tomatoes

Kay Kyser

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Born in North Carolina, Kay Kyser attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and worked his way through school by leading a student band, later going professional as the orchestra leader at Chicago's Blackhawk Restaurant. In radio from 1933, he finally hit the big time five years later with the weekly NBC musical quiz program Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge. Dressed in a scholarly robe and mortar board in hand, "the old perfessor" (as the bespectacled Kyser billed himself) addressed the audience and contestants as "students," reserving the big prizes for those who gave the wrong answers to quiz questions. During this first flush of radio fame, Kyser's bandmembers became almost as famous as their boss, notably vocalists Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, and Sully Mason, and especially deadpan musician Merwyn A. Bogue, aka "Ish Kabibble." Though in later years he claimed to dislike moviemaking, Kyser entered film in 1939, with a starring role in That's Right, You're Wrong. The film proved to be one of RKO Radio's biggest hits, spawning a series of popular Kyser vehicles: perhaps the best known (but not the best) of these films was You'll Find Out (1940), which was distinguished by the only screen teaming of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Peter Lorre. Not long after completing his final film, Columbia's Carolina Blues (1944), Kyser married his band vocalist Georgia Carroll and began raising a family. He moved his radio show into TV in 1949, by which time his featured singer was a young Mike Douglas. Having promised himself that he'd retire from show business when he'd saved a million dollars, Kay Kyser did just that in 1950, returning to Chapel Hill to devote himself full-time to his family and to the Christian Science movement.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet My Favorite Spy
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Carolina Blues
  • Kay Kyser
1944
No Score Yet Around the World
  • Kay Kyser
1943
No Score Yet Swing Fever
  • Lowell Blackford
1943
No Score Yet Thousands Cheer
  • Actor
1943
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen
  • Actor
1943
No Score Yet Playmates
  • Kay Kyser
1941
No Score Yet You'll Find Out (Here Come the Boogie Men)
  • Himself
1940

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