Although Glenn Miller and his orchestra appeared in only two films, they both were…..
hits for Fox……and future TV legends, Berle, and Gleason, appeared in the films…..
Now, on to the answers to our Glenn Miller Quiz.
1) Question: Which of these titles served as the theme song for the Glenn Miller Orchestra? a) Son of the Volga Boatman; b) The Man With The Mandolin; c) Sun Valley Jump; or d) Moonlight Serenade.
1) Answer: d) Moonlight Serenade, a great tune, eminently suitable for a spin around the ballroom floor.
2) Question: What specifically were the circumstances of Miller’s death in 1944? a) As Major Miller, he was killed in combat in the Battle of the Bulge; b) He was found dead in a Paris brothel; c) He suffered an aneuryism while playing his trombone; or d) He disappeared in a plane crash flying from England to Paris.
2) Answer: As noted yesterday in a reader comment from Graham Hill, this is still something of an open question, still debated. Enough said that (d) a plane transporting Miller from England to Paris mysteriously disappeared over the English channel. It and any trace of Miller have never been found. Option (b) is intriguing in that a German publication in 1997 theorized that Miller did indeed die in a Paris brothel, and the plane crash story was a cover-up.
3) Question: James Stewart superbly played Miller in 1954’s The Glenn Miller Story. But who played Miller’s devoted wife, Helen Burger? a) Gloria Grahame; b) June Allyson; c) Donna Reed; or d) Irene Dunne.
3) Answer: b) June Allyson, an actress who excelled at portraying down-to-earth wholesome wives or girl friends in various movies. Offscreen, however she was a more earthy woman contrary to her semi-virtuous screen image. Her marriage to Dick Powell, his third and final, ran from 1945 to his death in 1963. (There’s the happy couple below.)
4) Question: Which one of the following did NOT appear in a movie with Glenn Miller? a) Cesar Romero; b) Dorothy Dandridge; c) Sig Ruman; or d) Milton Berle.
4) Answer: c) Sign Ruman, the wonderful character actor who has a small part in 1954’s The Glenn Miller Story, starring Stewart as Miller. Ruman did not appear in the two movies that featured Miller as Miller. (Yes, that’s Ruman as Ruman below.)
5) Question: What was the instrumental secret to the distinctive Glenn Miller Orchestra sound? a) A brass section playing fortissimo; b) Distinctive band vocalists; c) A reed section voicing of a clarinet playing over four saxophones; d) Miller’s proficient trombone solos.
5) Answer: While a member of British-born bandleader Ray Noble’s ensemble in the mid-Thirties, Miller studied privately with Joseph Schillinger, a Russian-born composer/musical theorist who came up with the Schillinger system of musical composition. In working out a practise arrangement, Miller hit upon his band’s distinctive sound of (c) a reed section voicing with a clarinet playing over four saxophones. This Eureka Moment is beautifully handled by Stewart in The Glenn Miller Story, an emotional high point of the film.