Friday, May 09, 2008

Jessica Dragonette

I first saw the name Jessica Dragonette in a listing for an AFRN radio program from April 7, 1945. It starred her and Bill Perry. I was more interested at the time in their rendition of "Rum And Coca-Cola." But then I began to read her story.

She was born in 1900 in India to American parents was orphaned and came to New jersey. She was a soprano ,singing on Broadway by 1924. She became a vaudeville singer and crossed over to radio in 1926. She became famous almost overnight.

Her big break was in the 1920s when Coca-cola hired her to appear as their Coca-Cola girl in a serial. She performed on the Palmolive Beauty Box Theater, Lucky Strike Music hall, The Philco Hour, Saturday Night Serenade, Cities Service Concert Hour, and a great number of lesser known programs.

She released 78rpm albums on Victor, Columbia, Brunswick, then her career was strong enough in the 1960s to start putting out LPs as well. She quit broadcasting in the 1970s without much fanfare but returned for a single performance at NBC's 50th birthday marathon event. The year was 1976.

She appeared on a test television performance in 1928. She performed on the first program syndicated overseas "Hello Germany." She had several firsts in her 22-year career from vaudeville to her NBC syndicated programs. In 1927 she published her autobiography Faith is Song. She died in 1980, she had been lying about her age for so long most fans thought she was 70.