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The Kings Men Quartet The Kings Men Quartet

The King's Men Quartet. Unissued recording from 1934. Sheet music and photographs represent films in which the quartet was heard and (usually) seen. Many are not familiar with the King's Men Quartet, even though they are seen or heard in some very famous motion pictures. They formed in 1929 when Paramount was recruiting a quartet for the film Sweetie with Nancy Carroll. By 1934 the personnel became permanent: Ken Darby, Arranger & Bass; Rad Robinson Baritone; Jon Dodson, Lead Tenor; (Grafton) Bud Linn, Top Tenor.

After appearing on and off camera in several important musical films (including Let's Go Native, Hollywood Party, Murder at the Vanities) Darby shipped an audition recording (a 16” transcription) to Paul Whiteman, who hired the quartet the same year, 1934. While with Whiteman, the King's Men made hundreds of radio appearances (Kraft Music Hall), RCA-Victor records and films, such as Thanks a Million (they are seen in the number “New O'leans”). In the film Honolulu the King's Men play the Marx Brothers with two Grouchos. They subsequently appeared with many other orchestra leaders, including Rudy Vallee. They were heard, and sometimes seen, in many feature films, including “Belle of the Nineties” (Troubled Waters), Alexander's Ragtime Band, Murder at the Vanities (Lovely One) and notably The Wizard of Oz, in which they are the off screen voices for the Lollipop Guild. Wizard... is Darby's first screen credit.

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