Frank Crumit

Frank Crumit and Julia Sanderson

Frank Crumit and his wife and partner, Julia Sanderson

Frank Crumit spent his life in vaudeville and on the radio. He was born in Ohio in 1889 and earned a degree in electrical engineering before following his heart onto the stage. He earned the distinction of being the first artist to play the ukulele on the Broadway stage when he appeared in the Broadway musical “Betty Be Good” in 1918. His first recordings were made in 1919, with hits coming in the 1920s and 1930s. His recordings for Decca of the “Gay Caballero” and “Abdul Abulbul Amir” sold 4 million copies. During his lifetime Crumit was best known for his NY radio show “Battle of the Sexes,” which he hosted with his wife, Julia Sanderson. The show ran twice a week for 13 years. The final episode aired the day before his death in 1943. The recordings below are not his best known or most popular, but I love them. Like Peg Moreland, Crumit has a gentle voice, and sings with an unfussy authenticity that is a pleasure to hear.

The Recordings

Abdul Abulbul Amir

 record label Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (20715)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: 4/08/1927
Listen:
Share:

Frankie and Johnnie

 record label Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (20715)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: 5/11/1927
Listen:
Share:

A Gay Caballero

 record label For sale Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (21735)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: October 2, 1928
Listen:
Share:

I Learned About Women From Her

 record label For sale Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (21735)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: May 3, 1928
Listen:
Share:

Pretty Little Dear

 record label Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (20137)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: August 6, 1926
Listen:
Notes:

Personnel: Frank Crumit, vocal; Frank Banta, piano. In the middle of the song, Frank adds a verse or two of “When I Had But Fifty Cents,” written by Sam Devere and published in 1885 as “The Original Fifty Cents.” We also have Peg Moreland’s version of the song.

Share:

Get Away Old Man Get Away

 record label Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (20137)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: August 6, 1926
Listen:
Notes:

Personnel: Frank Crumit, vocals; Frank Banta, piano. Crumit was a ukulele player; I am assuming that’s him playing on this delightful recording.

Share:

I Don't Work for a Living

 record label Group: Frank Crumit
Label: Victor Matrix Number: Victor (40214)
Record Type: Double sided 10 inch 78 RPM
Date Recorded: January 21, 1930
Listen:
Notes:

As the title suggests, this is one of those songs that unapologetically celebrates the joys of laziness.

Share:

Comments

We'd love to hear from you! If you have any information about Frank Crumit or about Frank Crumit's recordings, please leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *