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This song has a special meaning for me because it is the only recording I have, or I think which exists, of my birth mother Patty Small Keeler’s voice. She recorded this song with her mother Mary probably in the 1960’s and it was released on Coral Records.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of great people during this journey and one of them is Glenn Santos who provided us with this great picture which I believe is from the New Jersey Steel Pier in the 1930’s. It shows Mary Small with Bobby Gilbert and Ralph Dumpke, but more importantly it shows Mary’s great and close friends, who gave her a huge break after she asked the for an autograph at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. Glenn, thanks for all of your support during this project and your own incredible research product, and hopefully soon we can hear the girls sing together again!

Here are two extremely rare photographs from the Paramount Theater, circa 1934, showing entertainers Milton Berle and Mary Small.  Along with Eddie Cantor and other Vaudevillians, these entertainers really brought down the house in the 1930′s and helped create the foundations of entertainment as we know it.

Making this documentary has given me the great opportunity to know H. Kevin Miserocchi, who is the Executive Director of the Tee and charles addams foundation in New York. Kevin was instrumental in helping me develop this story and guide it to the place where it is now and we are eternally grateful to him, not just for his friendship and help with this project, but for his commitment to the legacy of charles addams. Thanks, Kevin! Be sure to check out the foundation at http://www.charlesaddams.com/

Here’s a great picture of Paramount Pictures’s chief, the one and only Adolph Zukor with the Queen of England in the 1930’s. This kind of gives you an idea of how powerful this great business man was. The story of Adolph Zukor could be the basis for a great movie which I don’t think has ever been tried. I’ve shared this still from The Little Girl with the Big Voice because Adolph Zukor put Mary Small in a Fleischer Brother’s film after seeing her sell out his Paramount Theater in the 1930’s.

One of the coolest things I got to do for The Little Girl with the Big Voice was interviewing Rudy Vallee’s widow, Eleanor Vallee.  This really gave me an opportunity to capture a primary resource who knew intimately the way Rudy Vallee operated and the great champion he was of other performers, like Mary Small, to whom he handed her first big break.  Thanks, Eleanor for this gracious interview!

So you see a child, particularly a girl in those days in the theater, there are two things to look at, you’re suppressed because you cannot play with kids your own age, which is a natural desire, and you are watched over so carefully that you feel like you’re doing something wrong… and you really just want to go rollerskating.

Mary Small, as interviewed by David Siegel in 1999 for Remembering Radio


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I had the opportunity to sit down with Larry Gassman and Walden Hughes, two SPERDVAC boardmembers, a couple weeks ago to discuss my documentary, The Little Girl With The Big Voice. on their YesterdayUsa.com program, Same Time Same Station.

Larry and Walden were instrumental in pointing me in the right direction when I started doing my research on Mary Small and her contribution to radio and I owe them a great debt of gratitude.