Forrest Tucker singing ‘Seventy Six Trombones’? Surely not. But it’s true – and he sang it 2,000 times!
I came across the above photo of FORREST TUCKER and was surprised to discover that this actor , whom I only knew for his gangster and western roles, had starred on stage in the musical, THE MUSIC MAN.
The Meredith Willson musical had starred Robert Preston on Broadway , and Forrest Tucker took over the leading role of Professor Harold Hill in the National tour of the show ,starting in 1958.
Another surprise was to find that Tucker’s costar on stage was JOAN WELDON who only made a dozen films between 1953 and 1958, mainly westerns and the sci-fi picture, THEM!
I didn’t know Joan was a trained singer.
Forrest, as we know him best:
(Forrest’s first film.)
(Charlton Heston as Buffalo Bill and Forrest Tucker as Wild Bill Hickok.)
Forrest Tucker (1919 – 1986) also starred in the comedy series “F TROOP” for 65 episodes, 1965 to 1968.
Other stars who played in stage productions of The Music Man:
Van also brought the show to London’s West End.
Jack Carson is described as “twinkle-toed and “twinkle-eyed!”
Would love to have seen all these Harold Hills!
Joan had a guest spot in MGM’s DEEP IN MY HEART, joining Tony Martin in ‘Lover Come Back to Me’, though,bizarrely,it’s not exactly a duet. Joan is only seen in the last minute or two of the number.
And her solo number in the film, ‘One Kiss’, ended up on the cutting room floor, though it can be heard on the dvd release.
Warners didn’t have any musicals for Joan . They weren’t making many musicals in the 50s unless they starred Doris Day and, aside from The Desert Song, they weren’t making the kind that would have suited Joan’s voice – operettas.
Instead they put the actress, who was in her 20s, into westerns opposite veterans Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Fred MacMurray. And made her a scientist in the sci-fi classic, THEM!
Unfortunately the parts they gave her were pretty routine , with little opportunity to gain acting experience.
Joan said of THEM! “The ants were the star.”
After her brief film career and a few TV appearances, at the age of 28, Joan returned to the musical stage in 1958. There’s a quote from Joan on IMDB, ”I was a singer. that was my first love.”
Joan toursd with Fess Parker in “Oklahoma”. She had her own TV series in 1955, “This Is Your Music.”
Married to a doctor since 1966, Joan moved back to New York. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to interview her about her brief sojourn in Hollywood. She retired from performing in 1980.
I am looking forward to seeing her first film , THE SYSTEM, costarring Frank Lovejoy.