the band's success on radio, television and stage, Hollywood stardom eluded
Guy and His Royal Canadians. Like many band leaders, Guy probably found
it difficult to act on camera without being able to respond to a live
audience, which may explain why his 1950s television show was set in a
Rambling 'Round Radio Row
Warner Brothers/Vitaphone, 1932
The fourth in a series of musical shorts designed to capitalize on the
popularity of early 1930s radio stars. All four Lombardo brothers appear
as themselves along with bandleaders Howard Lanin and William Hall and
child star "Baby" Rose Marie. Directed by Jerry Wald who would
later become one of Warner Brother's top producers.
Many Happy Returns
First and easily the best of Lombardo's feature films co-stars him with
George Burns and Gracie Allen. In one outrageous scene, The Royal Canadians
accompany harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler - though it's Duke Ellington's
orchestra you hear on the soundtrack. Despite its meagre script, the film
was held over when it played in Lombardo's hometown.
United Artists, 1943
Wartime grab bag of Hollywood stars and orchestras manages to shoehorn
the Lombardo band in for one number: Sleep, Baby, Sleep. At one point
a hyperactive bobbysoxer grabs the baton from Guy and tries to make the
boys swing. It doesn't work.
No Leave, No Love
Last and least of Lombardo's films from the Golden Age of Hollywood was
a notorious flop in its day. Musical numbers include the strangely-titled
Love on a Greyhound Bus.
Real Gone Woody
Above-average Woody Woodpecker cartoon has the gang jitterbugging at a
1950s malt shop when the jukebox starts playing that familiar Lombardo
sax section - on a square record. Buzz Buzzard promptly smashes the disc
to pieces. Shame on him.
Warner Brothers, 1970
President Richard Nixon once commented that life would be great if Americans
could dance to Guy Lombardo when the Vietnam war was over. Such endorsements
didn't boost Lombardo's stock with hippies - and neither did this film.
Dreadful spy spoof inspired by the Monkeys' television show is about a
group of Communists trying to kidnap America's greatest entertainers.
Guy is one of them - even though his group is called The Royal Canadians
- duh! Hard to find and deservedly so.
Mr. Bug Goes to Town
Under rated animated feature from the Max Fleischer studio about life
in the insect kingdom predates A Bug's Life by more than 50 years. Kenny
Gardner, who would go on to become a Lombardo vocalist and brother-in-law,
provides the voice of Dick, a songwriter who pens the number "We're
the Couple in the Castle" which saves the day. Also released under
the title Hoppity Goes to Town.
United Artists, 1950
Nail-biting thriller about a businessman (Edmond O'Brien) who has been
given a slow-acting poison and has just a few hours to find his own murderer.
The bartender (Peter Leeds) who unintentionally serves O'Brien the lethal
cocktail goes on about how Guy Lombardo is his favourite musician. If
he paid more attention to his job he wouldn't keep losing customers like
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The cinematic equivalent of a barf bag features Johnny Depp as journalist
Hunter S. Thompson cruising through Nevada circa 1971 with more coke in
him than a vending machine. At one point his attorney, Dr. Gonza, suggests
they take in Guy Lombardo at the Tropicana. "Why should I pay my
hard-earned dollars to watch a ****ing corpse?" Depp replies. Say
no to drugs, kids.
The City by the Sea
Warner Brothers, 2002
Crime drama starring Robert DeNiro and Frances McDormand opens with Carmen
Lombardo crooning the 1935 hit "Red Sails in the Sunset." Perhaps
the fact that the film is partially set in Long Beach (a long-time Lombardo
residence) had something to do with the record selection.