He Was On The Verge Of Becoming One Of The Worlds Top Superstar Vocalists...
Buddy Clark Was One Of The Most Popular Admired Singers Of His Time
~ By Frank E. Dee ~
Buddy Clark was a likable, versatile singer whose career was cut short at the age of 37 by an airplane crash on October 2, 1949, at 9 p.m. PST.
In November Of 1946. Before His Untimely Death, Everyone Was Humming Or Singing Buddy Clark?s Big Hit Song, ?LINDA?. It Was The Number One Hit Song In America At That Era Of Time.
The True Story Of The Crash That Took Buddy Clark?s Life, And Injured Five Others On The Twin Engine Cessnas.
Buddy Clark and five other friends rented a small plane to attend a ?Sanford vs. Michigan? football game. After the game on the way back to Los Angeles, the plane developed a sputtering engine problem, due to lack of gas, and lost altitude and crashed on Beverly Boulevard, in California. Buddy was thrown from the plane. He did not survive the crash. At that time, he was 37 years old reaching new heights of popularity, when tragedy struck.
The strange part of this freaky accident was that no one else on the plane was reported to have died, nor was there any one on Beverly Boulevard reported hurt. James L. Hayter, pilot of the chartered twin engine Cessnas plane who suffered chest injuries gave his explanation of the crash: He was attempting to land the plane at suburban Burbank, Ca., because of a low supply of fuel when it ran into overcast. When it emerged. He said, he didn?t know where he was. "I switched on the emergency fuel tank just before we got over Los Angeles." he said. "When she started sputtering I thought the fuel line might have been clogged, but later I figured we were out of gas. I just picked a spot and set her down."
The plane clipped branches from treetops and sheered off two power lines. Directly over Beverly Blvd., it lost its tail assembly and crashed. Four of the passengers were tossed clear of the wreckage by the impact. Despite the heavy traffic on the Beverly Blvd., the California police regarded the crash a little short of a miracle that the plane landed on Beverly Blvd., without causing greater damage, and drivers below pulled to the curb upon seeing the plane over-head.
One parked truck was hit by a piece of the plane, but no one was in the truck at the time about 9 p.m. PST.
Buddy Clark?s real name was "Samuel Goldberg," he was born 1912 in Dorchester, Mass., a suburban city of Boston, and grew up in the West end, of Boston. As a youngster, he expressed strong interests in sports, body building, exercising, and one of his big dreams was to become a professional baseball player. Buddy even had plans to become a lawyer. He attended Northeastern Law School, in Boston.
A strong love for music however, his love for music was stronger than his dreams of becoming a pro baseball player or an attorney.
As a young boy Buddy sang as often as he could at gatherings, and in what today?s times would be called ?joints? -- local pubs, where the floors of the local pubs, and barrooms were covered with sawdust. He often times sang just to earn enough to pay for a square meal. Neighbors, and friends, who heard this young lad sing, were supportive, whether he sang on the streets or in a pub?he was well liked. It wasn?t long before Buddy was appearing with local Boston bands, singing his heart out to supportive loyal Boston
At 17 years old the young Sam Goldberg was singing at a local wedding in Boston, when he was heard by David Lilienthal a proprietor of Boston?s leading furriers I. J. FOX, located on Washington St., in Boston. Sam became a prot?g? of Mr. Lilienthal who arranged music lessons for him and started him off on a professional career as a band vocalist and radio star. He appeared for nine years on a Boston radio show, sponsored by I.J. Fox, the company owned by Mr. David Lilienthal. Sam made two evening broadcasts, and sang six days a week on morning shows.
Sam was now on his way to a new musical career with his own Boston radio show, with a new name, where he was billed as BUDDY CLARK, a name that had more of a show business flair than his own. It wasn?t too long that the Buddy Clark stylish unique baritone voice was catching on to local audiences in his own home state of Massachusetts. Within a few years after his successful Boston radio show, he was now ready to tackle the big ?Apple?, New York City, where singers often went to seek their musical careers, by joining the big bands?And Buddy was no exception. In 1934, he made his big band singing debut career, in earnest as a vocalist, with the Benny Goodman band on the "Let?s Dance" Radio Show.
Buddy was billed on several other top radio shows. Including the "Hit Parade" from 1936 to 1939. Buddy worked hard to achieve his musical goals. He even supplemented his local activity by appearing, often times unaccredited, on the transcription discs recorded with such giants of the big band era as Fred Rich, Archie Blyer, Freddy Martin, Lud Gluskin, Nat Brandywynne, and other popular bands of the radio stations that couldn?t afford to have a live music program of their own.
In fact, Buddy Clark?s renown as a "Ghost Singer" was such that film producer Darryl F. Zanuck hired him to do the singing for actor Jack Haley in "Wake Up And Live," a 1937 movie about a popular radio singer who gets "Mike Fright." The Hollywood welcome mat was now laid down for Buddy. He was offered his own radio show, called, "Here?s To Romance," and he even played a small cameo role in the 1942 film "Seven Days Leave," which starred two of Hollywood?s leading stars, Lucille Ball and Victor Mature. He also sang for actor Mark Stevens in the musical hit "I Wonder Who?s Kissing Her Now."
Buddy made scores of hit records, many of them with Xavier Cugat?s orchestra. The balding Clark who didn?t care whether he lost his hair or not, earned the title of the "Contented Crooner," partly because of his radio sponsor on the "Carnation Contented" program, and also because of his appeal to the bobby-sox fans. He didn?t care if his fans swooned when he sang. He was noted in saying: "Just so they keep buying my records. I?m getting old and bald, and I?m not the type to make them squeal and I have no burning ambition to be a movie hero."
Although fame and fortune came to Buddy Clark, in the 30?s and 40?s, he was one who never forgot where he came from as a struggling singer of Boston. Every year he would return back to the West End of Boston and perform for friends, and fans alike. Jacob Burnes at the time was an official of the ?West End House on Blossom St., in Boston, where Clark was an alumnus of the famous West End House. Burnes recalled: "The young singer was a good looking boy, an excellent debater and a fine athlete. He was the catcher on the West End House baseball team and was on the basketball team."
Buddy Clark put his career on hold by enlisting into the U.S. Army for three years during World War II. While serving his country, Buddy sang with many of the military bands until his discharge in 1945, in which he resumed his career. For the last ten years of his singing career as a super star in radio and a top ranking celebrity of the juke boxes, he had lived in an aura of success while earning over a $100,000 a year, which in those days would be equivalent to millions of dollars to popular singers of the 1990?s and now of the 2000's.
My Special Sincere Thanks Go To, Two Wonderful People.
Mrs. Lorraine Parretti, Of Milford, Mass., And Raymond De Simone, of Lexington, Mass., Who Helped Make This Story Possible. Without their assistance, this story would not have been possible. They both donated their time in researching the archives of Buddy Clark, with me at the Boston Public Library, In Copley Square, Boston.
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Created: January 15, 2007 Modified: January 15, 2007