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HELEN KANE

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BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Full Name: Helen Clare Schroeder

Description: Vocalist, Actress, USA

Known For: Her signature song was “I Wanna Be Loved By You”.

Instruments: Vocals

Music Styles: Popular

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 4th August 1904
Location Born: Bronx County, New York, United States of America

Date Died: 26th September 1966
Location Died: Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, United States of America

Memorial: Her remains were buried in the Long Island National Cemetery.
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CONTACT DETAILS
Web Site: HelenKane.com

Other Links: See below:

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Helen Kane

An American popular singer; her signature song was “I Wanna Be Loved By You”.

Kane’s voice and appearance were a likely source for Fleischer Studios animator Grim Natwick when creating Betty Boop, although It-girl Clara Bow is another possible influence.

By the time she was 15 years, Kane was onstage professionally, touring the Orpheum Circuit with the Marx Brothers in On the Balcony.

She spent the early 1920s trouping in vaudeville as a singer and kickline dancer with a theater engagement called the ‘All Jazz Revue.’ She played the New York Palace for the first time in 1921.

Her Broadway days started there as well with the Stars of the Future 1922–24, and a brief revival in early 1927. She also sang onstage with an early singing trio, the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce, later known as The Three X Sisters.

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Kane’s career break came in 1927, when she appeared in a musical called A Night in Spain. It ran from May 3, 1927 through Nov 12, 1927 for a total of 174 performances, at the 44th Street Theatre in NYC. Subsequently, Paul Ash, a band conductor, put her name forward for a performance at New York’s Paramount Theater).

Kane’s first performance at the Paramount Theater in Times Square proved to be her career’s launching point. She was singing “That’s My Weakness Now”, when she interpolated the scat lyrics “boop-boop-a-doop.” This resonated with the flapper culture, and four days later, Helen Kane’s name went up in lights.

Oscar Hammerstein’s 1928 show Good Boy, was where she first introduced the hit “I Wanna Be Loved by You”.

Then it was back to the Palace, as a headliner for $5,000 a week. She rejoined her friends from vaudeville, The Three X Sisters formerly The Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce for one night.

In a 1935 live stage performance, she harmonized with their unique banter to a novelty tune, “The Preacher and the Bear”.

Kane had excellent diction, intonation and timing, learned during her apprenticeship in vaudeville.

Her songs have a strong word focus, and capitalize on her coquettish voice. She blended several fashionable styles of the late 1920s. These included scat singing, a kind of vocal improvisation, and also blending singing and speech

Kane recorded 22 songs between 1928 and 1930. After 1930 and up to 1951, she recorded four sides for Coulmbia in addition to the “Three Little Words” soundtrack single recording of “I Wanna Be Loved by You”.

She also recorded four songs the comprise a 1954 MGM 45Ep entitled, “The Boop Boop a Doop Girl”.

As she took on the status of a singing sensation, there were Helen Kane dolls and Helen Kane look-alike contests, appearances on radio and in nightclubs. This cult following reached its peak in late 1928 and stayed there until early 1929.

With the hardships of the Great Depression biting, the flamboyant world of the flapper was over, and Kane’s style began to date rapidly. After 1931 she lost the favour of the movie makers, who chose other singers for their films.

In 1950, she dubbed Debbie Reynolds, who performed “I Wanna Be Loved By You” in the MGM musical biopic of songwriters Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby: Three Little Words. She did not appear in the film’s credits.

Helen Kane battled breast cancer for more than a decade. She had surgery in 1956 and eventually received two hundred radiation treatments as an outpatient at Memorial Hospital.

She died on September 26, 1966 at age 62, in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City.

Films included:

1929: Nothing But the Truth (1929 film) a comedy starring Richard Dix
1929: Sweetie a college musical, which starred Nancy Carroll, Jack Oakie and Stanley Smith
1929: Pointed Heels, which starred William Powell and Fay Wray
1930: Paramount on Parade, an all-star extravaganza
1930: Dangerous Nan McGrew, with Stuart Erwin, Frank Morgan, and Victor Moore
1930: Heads Up! , starring Buddy Rogers and Victor Moore
1931: A Lesson in Love, a musical short film

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