Television: For Whom the Gong Tolls

In its three decades on the air, the Original Amateur Hour has introduced to the American public such virtuosos as a man who hammered out Yankee Doodle by beating his head with a mallet while producing different notes by opening and closing his mouth; another who rendered Swanee River by slapping together two bananas; a little old lady who played hoedown fiddle, slipped out her false teeth, and frantically clacked them up and down in time with the music; and, in 1935, a fat twelve-year-old named Maria Kalogeropoulos.

Maria who? Today, considerably slimmed...

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