THE BEN CARTER STORY

BY

REVEREND PHILLIP BEAUCHAMP

(Assisted by Tony Fournier)

Above Left: Ben Carter with Louise Beavers from the 1942 20th Century Fox film "Young America."

Above Right: Photo of Ben Carter.

BEN CARTER (1911-1946) was a black actor and one man booking agent for black performers. He was also a songwriter and a civil rights activist. BEN CARTER made his first motion picture appearance in 1934 and had a film career that lasted up to his death in 1946. Among the films that BEN CARTER appeared in were "Gone With The Wind" and "The Harvey Girls."
Above: On the set of "Gone With The Wind" in 1939, Ben Carter with actors (left) Fred Crane and (right) George Reeves.

Before we get to all of the ensembles and some of the quartets that BEN CARTER put together, we have to first look at a major influence on BEN CARTER. That would be Mrs. Lauretta Butler.

Mrs. Lauretta Butler taught children in the art of singing, dancing, and acting. One of her famous students was THE DANDRIDGE SISTERS. Mrs. Lauretta Butler would put on stage presentations across the country with her students. These stage presentations go back to at least 1919 and all the way up to the 1950's.

In the 1920's some of her stage presentations were called "Kiddies Minstrels" and in the 1930's they were called "The Kiddies Revue." The amount of children that she would have on stage would be from very large ensembles to small groups.


KIDDIES REVUE - CALIFORNIA EAGLE 4/3/31

BEN CARTER saw one of Lauretta Butler's stage presentations and it inspired him to form his own children choir, that he called "The Pikaninny Choir," in 1934. This will not be the only children choir that BEN CARTER would put together as we shall see.

The second ensemble that BEN CARTER put together was THE BEN CARTER'S COLORED OCTETTE. They were in a 1935 film titled "Kentucky Blue Streak" (the film is on YouTube). The musical score in the film is credited to BEN CARTER.

The third ensemble that BEN CARTER put together was "THE PLANTATION BOYS," who were made up of twelve men. Five of those men were CARL JONES, ORMONDE WILSON, LEONARD BLUETT, GENERAL WHITE, and CLIFFORD HOLLAND. Those names will turn up again as we continue on.

Above: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 29, 1937. THE ORIGINAL PLANTATION BOYS.
Front Row: Buel Thomas, Eddie Lynn, James Collins, Robert Simmons, Carl Jones, and Floyd Avery.
Back Row: Thomas Long, Daniel Morris, Ormande Wilson, Leonard Bluett, General White, and Clifford Holland.

BEN CARTER managed to get THE PLANTATION BOYS in the 1937 20th Century Fox film "Ali Baba Goes To Town." They were part of the ensemble in the "Swing Is Here To Sway" musical number.

That number included THE JONES BOYS, THE PETER SISTERS, dancer JENI LEGON, DAVID PATILLO and RICHARD DAVIS of THE FOUR BLACKBIRDS, THE JONES BOYS SING BAND, and THE FOUR TOPPERS (later becoming THE REDCAPS), and OSCAR MOORE of THE JONES BOYS SING BAND (and was later in THE NAT "KING" COLE TRIO.

WATCH the VIDEO of Swing Is Here To Sway from the 1937 movie "Ali Baba Goes To Town" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

Another film that THE PLANTATION BOYS are said to be in is the 1937 M-G-M film "A Day At The Races" starring The Marx Brothers. They are supposed to be in the number with IVIE ANDERSON, who once was a singer with THE DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA. Also in this number were THE DANDRIDGE SISTERS and even BEN CARTER himself.

WATCH the VIDEO of All God's Children Got Rhythm from the 1937 movie "A Day At The Races" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

In 1940 BEN CARTER appeared in a 20th Century Fox film titled "Maryland" (the whole film can be seen on YouTube). Ben played Shadrach the two-timing, dice playing husband of Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel. There were 75 black actors and actresses in this movie. Of those 75, 63 were clients of BEN CARTER.

Also BEN CARTER put together a 32 member choir for the film, in which the choir sang a song titled "Amen." This may or may not be same song that THE IMPRESSIONS recorded in 1964 but I do know that the song that THE IMPRESSIONS recorded does go back to the 1940's.

When movie studios credited some of BEN CARTER's ensembles as THE BEN CARTER'S CHOIR, those choirs were not all the same. They ranged from children choirs to older adults choirs. I will talk more about a couple of BEN CARTER ensembles but for now lets get into some "quartets."

The first quartet that I am going to talk about is THE FOUR DREAMERS QUARTET. During their incarnations, THE FOUR DREAMERS had various members of THE PLANTATION BOYS coming in and out. I am concentrating mainly on their motion picture work in this article.

Above: The Four Dreamers, (L-R) Clifford Holland, Carl Jones, General White, and James Shaw.

An early incarnation of THE FOUR DREAMERS was in the 1940 RKO Film "Irene." They were part of the "Alice Blue Gown" number along with THE DANDRIDGE SISTERS.

Above: The Four Dreamers from the movie "Irene."
(Top Row On Right) General White and (Second Row On Right) Ormonde Wilson.

WATCH the VIDEO of Alice Blue Gown from the 1940 movie "Irene" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

In either 1940 or 41, THE FOUR DREAMERS made a short that was similar to Soundies. It was produced by Musical Shorts LTD (I thank Mark Cantor for that information). The song they sang in that short was "Little Liza I Love You." The members in that short were LEONARD BLUETT, GENERAL WHITE, CARL JONES, and ORMONDE WILSON, who all were members of THE PLANTATION BOYS.

With the same personnel mentioned above, they appeared in the 1941 M-G-M film "The Big Store" starring The Marx Brothers. They were part of the "Sing While You Sell" musical number.

Above: The Four Dreamers are harmonizing in the "Sing While You Sell" production from the 1941 movie "The Big Store." (L-R) Leonard Bluett, General White, Carl Jones, and Ormonde Wilson.

WATCH the VIDEO of Sing While You Sell from the 1941 movie "The Big Store" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

They also appeared in the 1941 Paramount film production of "Louisiana Purchase" starring Bob Hope. THE FOUR DREAMERS appeared for only a brief two seconds on the screen but you do hear them sing a song titled "Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day." Unfortunately, Bob Hope is making snide remarks throughout their singing.

Sometime in 1941 THE FOUR DREAMERS did a Soundie backing Gene Grounds in a song titled "Bundle Of Love." It wasn't released until 1943.

Before we go back to looking at other motion picture films with THE FOUR DREAMERS, let's address the supposed appearances of them that were mentioned in newspapers articles back then, but I do have to say that THE FOUR DREAMERS could have filmed musical numbers only to have the motion picture studios delete them.

A newspaper article reported that THE FOUR DREAMERS were in the M-G-M 1939 film "At The Circus." They may or may not be in it. That was such a large ensemble in the "Swingali" number that the only person that I recognize from THE FOUR DREAMERS is LEONARD BLUETT.

WATCH the VIDEO of Swingali from the 1939 movie "At The Circus" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

Another newspaper article said that THE FOUR DREAMERS were in the 20th Century Fox 1942 film "My Gal Sal." Looking at a legitimate copy of the film, THE FOUR DREAMERS aren't anywhere in the film.

And last, the Paramount 1943 film "Happy Go Lucky" is supposed to have THE FOUR DREAMERS in it. An online copy of the film does not have THE FOUR DREAMERS in it, but the online copy has four minutes missing from the film.

In 1943 THE FOUR DREAMERS backed up Ceelle Burke on an Exclusive label record titled "From Twilight 'Till Dawn." Also on the record with them is a female trio named THE 3 SHADES (also known as THE 3 SHADES OF RHYTHM). The other side of the record is titled "Lovely Hannah" which has THE FOUR DREAMERS name on it but only THE 3 SHADES are doing back up on it.

Above Left: Exclusive Label - From Twilight 'Till Dawn.

Above Middle: CASPER STAR TRIBUNE (Wyoming), March 3, 1943: THE THREE SHADES OF RHYTHM

Above Right: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 26, 1943: CEELLE BURKE AND LEON RENÉ
Ceelle Burke listens as Leon René sings his latest composition "From Twilight 'Till Dawn"....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"From Twilight 'Till Dawn" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And Three Shades And Four Dreamers - Exclusive AM-02686 - 1943.

According to the IMDB website, THE FOUR DREAMERS were on the soundtrack for the 1943 Warner Brothers cartoon titled "Tin Pan Alley Cats" singing "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon" and "Old Time Religion." Don't know for sure if they were on the soundtrack.

By 1944 there were some changes for the quartet. First, LEONARD BLUETT left to do more film work, resulting in several films mostly as a dancer but he did some singing in a couple of films. Second, ORMONDE WILSON also left the quartet. He would be part of the second BASIN STREET BOYS QUARTET.

The following film appearances by THE FOUR DREAMERS are all from 1944.

The first film that we'll discuss is titled "Dixie Jamboree" from PRC Films (the film is on YouTube). PRC stands for Producers Releasing Corporation or as I like to call it, Poverty Row Cinema. Their film budget is usually around $80,000 to $100,000.

BEN CARTER not only appeared in this film as Sam the deckhand, but he also put together the choir for the film. The choir sings "You Ain't Right With The Lord" which included THE FOUR DREAMERS, who, in this film, are CARL JONES, GENERAL WHITE, CLIFFORD HOLLAND of THE BEN CARTER'S PLANTATION BOYS, and BEN CARTER. Yes, BEN CARTER is singing with them.

I don't know the story as to why BEN CARTER is singing with them in this film. Maybe THE FOUR DREAMERS didn't have a new member at that time and BEN CARTER was just filling in or that JAMES SHAW was already in the quartet and BEN CARTER was just lip syncing and it is JAMES SHAW on the soundtrack.

Above: The Four Dreamers from the movie "Dixie Jamboree," (L-R) General White, Clifford Holland, Carl Jones, and Ben Carter. At far right is actor Eddie Quillan.

BEN CARTER sang with the chorus in the already mentioned "A Day At The Races." According to the IMDB website, BEN CARTER was a singer in The Jericho Choir in the 1940 operetta "New Moon." The online copy of the film that was seen didn't have any such choir in the film.

The next film that THE FOUR DREAMERS were in was the Universal 1944 film "My Gal Loves Music" and this time JAMES SHAW is singing with them. Unfortunately, all the copies of this film that are floating around (that includes online as well as edited) do not include their musical number.

Above Left: The Four Dreamers from the movie "My Gal Loves Music," (L-R) James Shaw, Clifford Holland, General White, and, on piano, Carl Jones.

Above Right: From the movie "My Gal Loves Music," (L-R) Clifford Holland, Carl Jones, and on the piano, Bob Crosby.

Their next and last film appearance was in the Columbia 1944 film titled "Carolina Blues." In that film they were part of the "Mr. Beebe" production number, which includes HAROLD NICHOLAS, JUNE RICHMOND, and THE FOUR STEP BROTHERS. Even LEONARD BLUETT was in this number as a dancer.

WATCH the VIDEO of Mr. Beebe from the 1944 movie "Carolina Blues" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

THE FOUR DREAMERS broke up around 1945. CARL JONES joined THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS replacing CLINTON HOLLAND. CLIFFORD HOLLAND later joined THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS replacing KELSEY PHARR. GENERAL WHITE would once more be part of a quartet in the M-G-M 1948 film "The State Of The Union." GENERAL WHITE along with LEONARD BLUETT are part of a quartet called THE FOUR BLUENOTES QUARTET. I don't think they were a performing group. They were a quartet for just this one film. You only hear them sing for two seconds but they are seen in the background in the final part of movie.

Before we look at another quartet, I do want to mention an ensemble that BEN CARTER put together that I consider as the best ensemble that he put together. That was the ensemble in the M-G-M 1943 film "I Dood It."

BEN CARTER put together the ensemble for the "Jericho" number starring LENA HORNE and pianist HAZEL SCOTT. The ensemble contains both male and female singers. Four of the members are CARL JONES, CLIFFORD HOLLAND, JAMES SHAW, and LEONARD BLUETT, who all sang in THE FOUR DREAMERS. As mentioned before, CARL JONES, CLIFFORD HOLLAND, and LEONARD BLUETT were part of THE PLANTATION BOYS and I wouldn't be surprised that other members of THE PLANTATION BOYS are in this ensemble.

According to the IMDB website, some of the female members of this ensemble were VIVIAN DANDRIDGE of THE DANDRIDGE SISTERS, MAGGIE HATHAWAY, AVANELLE HARRIS, SUZETTE HARBIN, JULIETTE BALL, and DORIS AKE.

Above: From the movie "I Dood It." (Far Left) Lena Horne and (in front of the trombone) Leonard Bluett.

Above Left: From the movie "I Dood It," (In Front) Lena Horne, (On Lena's Right) James Shaw, (On Lena's Left) Clifford Holland, and (At Far Left) Carl Jones.

Above Right: "I Dood It" Movie Poster. Bottom Left Inset: Hazel Scott at Piano and Lena Horne in front.

WATCH the VIDEO of Jericho from the 1943 movie "I Dood It" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

The last quartet that we will be looking at is THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET.

Let's start with BOBBY BROOKS himself.

The following information about Bobby Brooks is provided by Marv Goldberg:
There was a Dourwood Robert Brooks (spelling per his WW2 registration and his California death notice of Oct 4, 1943). His wife was Jane Sales Brooks. In 1930, they lived in Los Angeles.

However, the only child was Janice, born in 1922 or 1923. In 1940, she was Janette and 17. Now there was also Robert, who was 12. But in 1940, Jane was divorced from Dourwood, not a widow.

When Robert registered for the draft on July 10, 1945, it was as Robert Durwood Brooks. He gave his birthdate as July 5, 1927. He died on November 16, 1957 in Los Angeles.

I don't know how long BOBBY BROOKS was singing in public, but with the help of his mother, Jane Brooks, it was at least since 1939. In 1941 BOBBY BROOKS was at Warner Brothers Studio with The Edward Bailey's Hollywood Studio Ensemble. Bailey, besides being a president of a musician union, directed several choirs in the past. One day Bailey was rehearsing his ensemble. He noticed BOBBY BROOKS' soprano singing voice and gave him a part in the Warner Brothers 1941 film "The Great Lie" for his first movie appearance, in which he sang a 1862 Stephen Foster song titled "Slumber My Darling."
Above: Bobby Brooks as he appeared in the 1941 film "The Great Lie."

Now about the rest of THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET. There was a article in the August 9, 1941 issue of The California Eagle which said:

LAURETTA BUTLER'S DANCERS IN FILM AT PARAMOUNT
Lauretta Butler has again established her worth as a successful teacher of dancing and music. This week the Paramount Studio selected a quartette from among her group for parts in their new picture, "Louisiana Purchase."

These children range in ages from 12-16. The four selected for this picture are: Billy Mitchell, Sherrill Luke, Jack Thompson, Walter Smith. These children have studied under Mrs. Butler for quite some time.

The headline for the above newspaper article is very misleading. Paramount Studio did not get dancers for their film. It said they got a "quartette." In other words, a four-part harmony group. So some of the members of THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET, namely SHERRILL LUKE, JACK THOMPSON, and WALTER SMITH studied harmony under Mrs. Lauretta Butler. Unfortunately for the quartet, they were not in "Louisiana Purchase." In fact, they were replaced by THE FOUR DREAMERS.
Above: The Four Dreamers from the movie "Louisiana Purchase," Carl Jones is on the far left.

In 1943 BEN CARTER created his second children choir for the Universal film "Mister Big." BEN CARTER used children that were trained by Mrs. Lauretta Butler to sing in a choir. One of the children in BEN CARTER's choir was BOBBY BROOKS. It was written in the July 22, 1943 of The California Eagle: "Bobby Brooks, sepia youngster, discovered in BEN CARTER's Children Choir." BOBBY BROOKS wasn't really discovered for he was performing in public for some time and sang in a motion picture in 1941.

SHERRILL LUKE, JACK THOMPSON, and WALTER SMITH were also in BEN CARTER's choir and, along with BOBBY BROOKS, somehow became a vocal quartet.

Above Left: PITTSBURGH SUN TELEGRAPH, August 6, 1943. THE BEN CARTER CHOIR

Above Right: CHARLOTTE NEWS, August 25, 1943. THE BEN CARTER CHOIR

From the start of THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET film career with Universal Pictures it seems that Universal Pictures liked the idea of a teenage version of THE INK SPOTS or else they wouldn't have made six movies with them. Now what does a teenage version of THE INK SPOTS sound like? Well, like the teenage version of THE INK SPOTS. I guess that is what the people at Universal Pictures didn't like about them. That they didn't sound exactly like THE INK SPOTS.

Oh, they liked BOBBY BROOKS' soprano singing voice, but it's the background singers that they didn't like. One has to remember that THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET were teenagers and not grown ups. They didn't have grown ups voices like THE INK SPOTS, so they wouldn't sound exactly like THE INK SPOTS.

It is probably BEN CARTER who came up with the idea of having the teenagers, SHERRILL LUKE, JACK THOMPSON, and WALTER SMITH, lip sync to grown up singers' voices. And who was chosen to sing on the soundtrack but none other than members of THE FOUR DREAMERS QUARTET. I would have liked it better to have the teenagers use their natural singing voices than somebody else.

"Mister Big" (1943) was the first of six films that THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET did for Universal Pictures. The end screen credit listed them as BOBBY BROOKS and THE BEN CARTER'S CHOIR. The first time we see THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET they are singing with THE BEN CARTER'S CHOIR on a song titled "Come Along My Mandy."

For the next song in the film we see how THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET transformed into a junior version of THE INK SPOTS. First, there are references to THE INK SPOTS in the film. Second, THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET are all dressed in outfits that are very similar to what THE INK SPOTS wore in the Universal 1942 film "Pardon My Sarong." And last, the choice of song that they do, which is "We'll Meet Again," is a song that was recorded by THE INK SPOTS. As they were singing the song, the rest of THE BEN CARTER'S CHOIR are singing along with them.


THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET FROM "MISTER BIG"

WATCH the VIDEO of We'll Meet Again from the 1943 movie "Mister Big" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

The second film with THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET was "Honeymoon Lodge," also from 1943. In it the quartet sings "Do I Worry," which was another song that was recorded by THE INK SPOTS.

Their next film from 1943 was "Top Man." In it they sing "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams," done in the style of guess who? THE INK SPOTS.

Above Left: OPP NEWS (Opp, AL), January 13, 1944. BOBBY BROOKS

Above Middle: SHAMOKIN NEWS (Shamokin, PA), October 20, 1943. THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET

Above Right: CHARLOTTE NEWS, October 23, 1943. THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET

WATCH the VIDEO of Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams from the 1943 movie "Top Man" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

Their fourth film, again from 1943, was a Universal Featurette titled "Choo Choo Swing." Universal Featurettes were 15 minute musical shorts. THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET sing another song that was recorded by THE INK SPOTS, "Someone's Rockin' My Dream Boat." The BOBBY BROOKS version in this film is under two minutes, while the original INK SPOTS version is over three minutes long.

Above Right: Poster for the 1943 film "Choo Choo Swing." At right center are The Delta Rhythm Boys and, just below them, The Bobby Brooks Quartet.

Above Left: Publicity still for the 1943 movie "Choo Choo Swing" with The Bobby Brooks Quartet, (L-R) Jack Thompson, Bobby Brooks, Walter Smith, and Sherrill Luke.

Above Right: From the 1943 movie "Choo Choo Swing" with The Bobby Brooks Quartet, (L-R Top) Bobby Brooks, Walter Smith, Sherrill Luke, (Seated) Jack Thompson.

In 1949 there was a ten minute short of "Choo Choo Swing," also released as "Band Parade" for home viewing on 16mm film from Castle Films. It includes THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET, THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS, COUNT BASIE, THE LAYSON BROTHERS, and JIMMY RUSHING.

THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET's fifth film, from 1944, is titled "This Is The Life." In it THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET sing a song titled "At Sundown." Unfortunately, Donald O'Conner is shown playing with two straws, an icecube, and a water glass throughout much of the number.


"THIS IS THE LIFE" POSTER

WATCH the VIDEO of At Sundown from the 1944 movie "This Is The Life" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)

Their sixth and last film appearance as a quartet was in 1944 for the film titled "South Of Dixie." For this film there were some changes in THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET. First, WALTER SMITH left the quartet and was replaced by CHARLES JACKSON. Second, there was a slight change to their name.

The film credits them as BOBBY BROOKS and THE COTTEN PICKER QUARTET. In this film they sing "When It's Darkness On The Delta" and this time they are sounding more like THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS than THE INK SPOTS.

Above: The Bobby Brooks Quartet from the movie "South Of Dixie." (L-R) Jack Thompson, Sherrill Luke, Charles Jackson, and Bobby Brooks.

WATCH the VIDEO of When It's Darkness On The Delta from the 1944 movie "South Of Dixie" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

However, "South Of Dixie" was not the last film appearance for some of the members of THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET.

In 1944 BEN CARTER put together another children choir for the Columbia Pictures film "Stars On Parade." SHERRILL LUKE, JACK THOMPSON, and CHARLES JACKSON are the members of this version of THE BEN CARTER CHOIR.

As for BOBBY BROOKS, I should mention that in 1943 BOBBY BROOKS made an uncredited cameo appearance in the Universal film "Fired Wife." He did no singing in that film.

Above: A scene from the 1944 movie "Stars On Parade." (Kids' Top Row L-R) Jack Thompson and Sherrill Luke, (At Right On Piano) Carl Jones, and (At Left) black actor Clarence Muse, actress Lynn Merrick, and actor Larry Parks.
Above: Original lobby card poster for the 1944 movie "Stars On Parade" showing THE BEN CARTER CHOIR.

There was a newspaper report saying that BOBBY BROOKS had a long term contract with Universal Pictures, but that report was not true at all.

One of the last newspaper articles mentioning BOBBY BROOKS is the March 30, 1950 issue of The California Eagle talking about a Greek Reunion given by the undergraduate members of The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. They had a music program and, as it is written in the article, "The program included solos by Bobby Brooks, former child movie singer." He was 22 years old at that time. In 1957, BOBBY BROOKS passed away at the age of 30.

Above: WEEKLY REVIEW (Birmingham, AL), December 28, 1946. MANTAN MORELAND — BEN CARTER

"MIGHTY FINE" agrees Mantan Moreland, Hollywood star (sitting), as he admires a plaid wool coat designed by Earl Belton (extreme left), former Louis Jordan valet and recently turned clothier for big names in show business.

Ben Carter (center), Mantan's partner-in-crime, seems righteously proud of his new coat envied by Eddie Williams (extreme right), bass fiddler of Johnny Moore's Three Blazers.

The scene is backstage of the Paradise Theatre in Detroit, where The Blazers, Carter, and Moreland, plus Luis Russell's Band did a week's stand of show biz.

BEN CARTER passed away in December 1946 at only 35 years old. He was well respected among his peers. There were over one hundred people attending his funeral.

One of those attendees was THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS. One of the Honorary Pallbearers was actor Caesar Romero. BEN CARTER worked with Caesar Romero in a 1941 B-western titled "Ride On Vaquero" (the film is on YouTube).

Some of the other Honorary Pallbearers were EDDIE "ROCHESTER" ANDERSON, MANTAN MORELAND, LEONARD BLUETT, KELSEY PHARR of THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS, and FLOYD RAY of THE FLOYD RAY ORCHESTRA.

Some of the flower girls were LENA HORNE, BILLIE HOLIDAY, DOROTHY DANDRIDGE, PEARL BAILEY, Oscar winner HATTIE MCDANIEL, actress LOUISE BEAVERS, and singer THELMA CARPENTER.

For additional information on BEN CARTER, THE PLANTATION BOYS, and THE FOUR DREAMERS QUARTET, read Marv Goldberg's article on the second BASIN STREET BOYS. (Will open in a separate window)

THE BEN CARTER'S COLORED OCTETTE FILMS:
1. Kentucky Blue Streak - Puritan Pictures - May 1st 1935

THE PLANTATION BOYS FILMS:
1. A Day At The Races - M-G-M - June 11th 1937
2. Ali Baba Goes To Town - 20th Century Fox - October 15th 1937

THE BEN CARTER'S CHOIR/ENSEMBLE FILMS:
1. Maryland- 20th Century Fox - July 19th 1940
2. I Dood It - M-G-M - September 1943
3. Dixie Jamboree - PRC Films - August 15th 1944

THE BEN CARTER'S CHILDREN CHOIR FILMS:
1. Mister Big - Universal Pictures - May 28th 1943
2. Stars On Parade - Columbia Pictures - May 25th 1944

THE FOUR DREAMERS QUARTET FILMS:
1. Irene - RKO Pictures - May 3rd 1940
2. Little Liza I Love You - Musical Shorts LTD. - 1940 or 41
3. Bundle Of Love - Gene Grounds (and THE FOUR DREAMERS) - Soundie - 1941 / copyrighted May 3rd 1943
4. The Big Store - M-G-M - June 20th 1941
5. Dixie Jamboree - PRC Films - August 15th 1944
6. My Gal Loves Music - Universal Pictures - December 1st 1944
7. Carolina Blues - Columbia Pictures - December 20th 1944

THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET FILMS:
The following films were all Universal Pictures Productions.
1. Mister Big - May 28th 1943
2. Honeymoon Lodge - July 23rd 1943
3. Top Man - September 17th 1943
4. Choo Choo Swing - November 24th 1943
5. This Is The Life - June 2nd 1944
6. South Of Dixie - June 23rd 1944.

Universal Pictures filmed a scene with THE BOBBY BROOKS QUARTET for the 1943 movie "Crazy House." Unfortunately, the studio left that scene on the cutting room floor.


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Original Start Date:  March 7, 2022