Aired Sunday September 7th, 2008 at 6:30 pm
The Glenn Miller Spectacular, filmed in 2004 at the world-renowned Manhattan Center Ballroom, celebrates the 100th anniversary of Glenn Miller's birth.
Airing on KUED-Channel 7 Sunday, September 7, at 6:30 p.m., this program features the music of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, under the direction of the legendary Larry O'Brien. The concert special features all the big band's greatest hits, from "Moonlight Serenade" and "Tuxedo Junction" to "in the Mood."
Glenn Miller first began playing trombone in high school. He dropped out of college to become a musician. In 1928 he married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger.
From 1939 to 1942, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was America's most popular band. Miller received the first gold record ever awarded, honoring the 1,200,000 sale of "Chattanooga Choo Choo".
The band recorded 17 Top 10 hits in 1939, 31 in 1940 and 11 each in 1941 and 1942. Overall, they had more number one hits than Elvis or the Beatles.
The distinctive Miller sound features a clarinet lead supported by four saxophones.
In 1941, the Glenn Miller band appeared in a film called "Sun Valley Serenade", which starred Milton Berle. In 1942, the band appeared in another film, called "Orchestra Wives," which starred Jackie Gleason and Cesar Romero.
In 1942 Glenn Miller enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. He organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. The band gave more than 300 live performances for troops during W.W. II and made 500 radio broadcasts, which were heard by millions of listeners.
On December 15, 1944, Miller boarded a flight from England to Paris to make arrangements for his band's next tour. But the small plane went down somewhere over the English Channel and it has never been recovered. There has been some speculation that it may have been hit by "friendly fire" when Allied bombers returning from a mission jettisoned their bombs over the Channel and Miller's plane was accidentally hit. Miller was 40 when he died.
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