Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cackle Sisters

I was visiting the WFMU's Beware of the Blog as I sometimes do and they posted a set of acetates of the Cackle Sisters. It's here. I recommend you listen and the download furiously. Without revealing much detail the short post and long list of 32 MP3s set me off on two parallel hunts: the Purina Mills' Checkerboard Time radio show, and the career of the DeZurik Sisters Mary Jane and Carolyn Dezurik aka the Cackle sisters.

They began on KSTP in their home state of Minnesota. In 1935 and 1936 they won amateur talent contest on the station. That led to a show at a large country fair where they were seen by George Ferguson of the WLS Artists' Bureau. In 1936, the DeZurik sisters signed a deal appear weekly on the National Barn Dance at WLS-AM. In 1937 they were hired to perform on Purina Mills' Checkerboard Time radio show also on WLS. There they performed as The Cackle Sisters. Yodeling was a craze, and Ralson Purina was cashing in. In 1938 they signed a deal with Vocalion and cut 6 sides.
They stayed with Purina until 1941 only leaving because they were starting families. After leaving WLS the sisters split up. Carolyn went on to join Sonja Henie's Ice Review for about a year. Then she went home to St. Paul and did some time on the Sunset Valley Barn Dance and the afternoon show Main Street Minnesota back at KSTP. In 19434 the sisters reunited and went back to Purina. but also performing weekly at WSM on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. thsi required a commute by train each week.In 1946 A third sister Lorraine was added to the act. In 1947, after a car accident mary jane retired again. Lorraine and Carolyn continued on as the Cackle sisters but now they were transitioning into TV. By 1951, they'd been on WLW-TV and WBKB-TV. But Abotu then Lorraine retired from performing. Carolyn stayed on to sing for her husband, Rusty Gill's band The Prairie Ramblers sticking with yodeling in some way until 1963. Carolyn finally died in may of 2009 outliving everyone.