Saturday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. on WPBT2
– MY MUSIC Special Offers Variety of Vintage Ballads and Folk Songs From Parade of Irish Stars –
In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the green month of March, the MY MUSIC series offers a nostalgic journey back to the 1950s and 1960s with long-unseen footage of beloved performers singing some of the greatest songs from and inspired by Ireland. WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING: AN IRISH PARADE OF STARS (MY MUSIC) is part of special programming airing in March 2010 on WPBT2. Patty Duke hosts the program, which is written by Malachy McCourt.
Music is proof of life to the Irish, and the songs of Ireland have entered the hearts of millions of Americans, often inspiring other kinds of music. The program appropriately opens on the streets of Dublin with the legendary crooner Bing Crosby offering a pair of Irish folk standards, “Molly Malone” and “McNamara’s Band.”
Tough-guy actor Robert Mitchum, generally not known for his singing, teams up with the Ames Brothers for a rare rendition of the tender “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra,” also known as “An Irish Lullaby.” Flame-haired film beauty Maureen O’Hara, a trained singer, delivers a touching version of “Look to the Rainbow” from the Broadway musical Finian’s Rainbow. She and singer Rosemary Clooney unite for a rousing declaration called “It’s a Great Day for the Irish”; they’re joined by variety show host Ed Sullivan and Pat Rooney, who also dances to the spirited “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady.”
The folk side of Irish music is represented by the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, a quartet that was instrumental in popularizing many of the traditional songs in America during the 1960s. They perform “Brennan on the Moor” and “The Whistling Gypsy.” Folk songbird Judy Collins fittingly warbles a lovely favorite entitled “The Lark in the Morning,” and one of Ireland’s most long-lived ensembles, the Dubliners, harmonize on a song of immigration called “Muirsheen Durkin.”
The program concludes with a pair of more recent performances by the late Frank Patterson, the ultimate Irish tenor and a star around the world. On location in scenic Ireland, he’s heard singing a stirring tale of Irish history, “The Fields of Athenry,” and the hauntingly beautiful evergreen, “Danny Boy.”
Other popular performers on the program include Carmel Quinn, Morton Downey, Dennis Day, Pat O’Brien, Paul O’Keefe and the Irish Rovers (with their hit recording of “The Unicorn”).
Hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke and written by writer-actor Malachy McCourt, WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING is a reminder of the warm personalities and enduring sounds that have traveled from Ireland to America.
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