Jimmy "Schnozzola" Durante

on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I am a very bad, bad, bad squirrel. I saw this picture on the left and it straight away reminded me of someone. I am such a bad, bad squirrel. In actual fact, this is a picture of a Blob fish. Yes, there is actually such a thing.

But I am such a bad, bad, bad squirrel. I am so sorry but it reminded me straight away of Jimmy Durante, Ol' Schnozzola himself. I am actually a big fan of this actor, singer and comedienne. Jimmy was born in 1893 and died in 1980. His fame and career spanned from the 1920's to the early 1970's. Just in case, you are wondering, this squirrel is grey but I ain't a contemporary of Jimmy's. No, but somehow I got to hear his gravely voice, saw some old movies of his and I just found him to be special.

Listening to Frank Sinatra sing September Song and listening to Jimmy sing it, I prefer Jimmy's version. Frank croons the song well as we would expect him to but Jimmy's voice like his face is just full of character.

Over the years, I have tried to learn more about this funny and yet sad man. For most of his career, he would end his radio and TV shows with the mysteriously cryptic phrase "Good Night Mrs. Calabash......wherever you are." There are two theories to the meaning of this phrase but I am inclined to believing this one.

He married the love of his life, Jeanne Olson, in June 1921 and they were to be happily married until her death. I am not totally certain but I recall that it was a long and drawn-out illness. She died on Valentine's Day 1943. During those last years, as she was ill, the couple made their home in Calabasas, Southern California. Hence, Mrs. Calabash was a salute to his wife wherever she was.

It was hard to find videos or recordings of Jimmy's on the internet so I hope you will enjoy the three that I have handpicked for you.

This first one is of that lovely tune, "Make Someone Happy". The video features photos of Ann-Margaret. While it was not my intention to showcase her here, nevertheless she is pleasant on the eyes too.

This second video is another of my favorite Durante tunes, "Young at Heart".

Finally, this clip from one of his TV shows includes his salute to Mrs. Calabash.


Open Grove Claudia said...

hee hee. I thought the very same thing. Yep, Jimmy Durante. And what a wonderful story. Thank you for blessing us with this today!

Sincerity said...

Huh! I always learn something new and interesting whenever I visit your corner of the world Mr. Grey Squirrel!

Thanks for sharing! :)

Gledwood said...

That blob fish reminds me of my old Religious Studies teacher from school...

Anonymous said...

I never heared him (should get my damn speakers fixed now!) or saw him in a film - actually I did not know that there are films by him - but remember having seen a picture of his giant nose, maybe in a "LIVE"-magazine-best-of-sampler. Black-white, from the thirties.

That "blob-fish", as most deep-sea-creatures, is creapy for me.

tsduff said...

I grew up in Calabasas - have been to the pumpkin festival many times (Calabasas means pumpkin or gourd) and the Motion Picture Hospital in Calabasas is probably where Jimmy Durante died. I always liked that guy - I had an Uncle Jack who looked and talked just like him - big "beak" and all. What a great post - I really enjoyed it. PS: the blob fish is hilarious!~

squirrelmama said...

Not such a bad squirrel after all, LGS. First of all, even a Blobfish needs love. (In this case, you have more likely reeled in a "BLOG-FISH.") And it does look like Jimmy D.
Secondly, I think if Jimmy Durante could read your post (if he were still alive and cyberliterate) he would say "Ha-cha-cha-cha, everybody wants ta get inta the act!" You see, there is a valid connection to be made between Da Schnozz and Da Skwerls. Durante was in a film, "A Christmas Wish," starring a squirrel named Rupert (check out my holiday blog post and you'll see it there). A delightful film, by the way, and a holiday favorite.
Good night, Lone Grey Squirrel, wherever you are.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

"Even the fish wanna get inta the act!" Glad you liked the post.

I am just sharing from the tangled mess that is my mind. Being a pack rat, I store and hoard all kinds of info. Glad you like it.

Was he a target of much ridicule and teasing?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Jimmy was kind of cute with his big nose whereas blob fish is not so. Try to listen to his voice...it is kind of unique.

How interesting that you grew up in Calabasas? Did you ever meet or seem him around town when you were young? Your Uncle jack sounds like quite a character too.

I did not know about the squirrel connection or I would have mentioned it. I am off to your blog to learn more about the Christmas Wish.

meggie said...

I always remember him singing "It's my Nose's Anniversary".
I was amazed by him as a child, & could never quite believe how much fun he made of himself! I always admired that so much.

Anonymous said...

It look like the head of a claymation character, like for time-stop animation. :)

What a nice tribute of yours to a seemingly random character actor.

Taske Care

Molly said...

That blob looks like a very ugly jellyfish, which, you're right, is also what Jimmy D looks like!

Marja said...

Very happy tune (I knew the first song) and a happy fellow better than that blob. Nice post

Josie said...

Oh, LGS, what a wonderful post. I adore Jimmy Durante. There was a movie out a couple of years ago called "The Notebook". In it there is a song called "I'll Be Seeing You" sung by Jimmy Durante, and it's just absolutely gorgeous.

And yes, the fish does resemble him a bit. :-)

thethinker said...

That's hilarious... and kind of disturbing.

jmb said...

A nice tribute to a very different Hollywood personality. I guess a radio start makes sense.

A blob fish. Who would have thought where that might lead.

Josie said...

LGS, I have linked my post to your post. Check it out. I hope you don't mind. Josie

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I think he was very comfortable about himself and his nose that he was able to invite us to laugh at him and to be so self -effacing.

I just think he is a colorful character, apart from a unique singer.

God even loves the blobs.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks. :)

It is good that whole new generations are learning to appreciate his songs through movies like that.

Disturbing? His nose? The fish? Inquisitive squirrels wannna know.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

My mind does stray all over.:)

Thanks. Appreciate the link.

geewits said...

I always loved Jimmy. And oddly I used to say if someone could make me "switch teams" it would be Ann-Margret.

Anonymous said...

That's not bad, squirrel, it does look just like him.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Ann-Margret? That's bordering on too much info! ;)

Doesn't it just?

heiresschild said...

i remember Jimmy Durante very well, his life and his death. ha-cha-cha-cha

felipe vito said...

gee...you're really bad you made me sad..the songs are my parents and grandparents lives in minutes.

Odat said...

Hehe...Does remind me of him!!

I love "Young at Heart"....


sexy said...


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