People: Words & Music

Lauritz Melchior, great Dane of the Metropolitan Opera, sang Open the Door, Richard on a Kay Kyser radio show and got a chromatic catcall from the president of the National Association of Schools of Music for "debasing his art." Pooh, retorted jovial Heldentenor Melchior. If the musical stuffed shirts wanted more blatant examples of undignified monkeyshines, he could refresh their memories. Once, he recalled, he sang a hillbilly song on the Fred Allen show; another time, he danced an Apache number in which he impersonated a female who could have mopped up on...

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