Blessed with a golden voice, Gordon MacRae (3/12/1926 - 1/24/1986) thrilled audience members on the stage, screen, television and radio plus he had a long recording career with several hits. MacRae worked constantly from the time he was a little boy until his death in 1986.
MacRae was born in East Orange, NJ and later moved to Schenectady, NY where he attended school, later enrolling in Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. While in high school he enjoyed participating in drama club as well as singing and playing piano, saxophone, and clarinet. While in school, MacRae worked in jobs as close to show business as he could. He was a "master of ceremonies" for a radio station, he sang with a quartet, and appeared on the Miniature Minstrels radio show on WFBL in New York.
When he was 19, he won a contest sponsored by Picture Magazine. The grand prize was a a two week run at the New York World's Fair with the Harry James and Les Brown bands. By the time he started working in show business, he already had a lot of experience under his belt.
After graduating from high school and after a summer European trip, during which his father died, MacRae took a job as an NBC page in New York City. In a stereotypical show business story, he was "discovered" while he was a page by a talent scout for band leader Horace Heidt. The scout heard MacRae singing in the lounge. After an audition, he was hired as a singer and stayed with Heidt for two years.
In 1942, like so many other young men, MacRae enlisted in the Army Air Corp. Before enlisting, however, he had a little thing called a wedding to handle. He married Sheila Stephens, an actress, in 1941. After enlisting, he was stationed in Texas where he was a bombardier instructor for the army until 1945. Sheila was lived with him in Texas and that is where they started their family. They had four children: Meredith, Heather, William Gordon, and Robert Bruce.
After MacRae was discharged, he went back to show business appearing on Broadway in "Junior Miss" and "Three to Make Ready". He also starred on the radio in NBC's The Teentimer's Club, a music show. In 1947 he starred in the summer show Gulf Spray Radio Show plus he was Fanny Brice's substitute for five-weeks on CBS. He also starred in The Gordon MacRae Show/The Texaco Star Theater.
MacRae was alway a hard worker and, in keeping with his nature, he signed on to make records for Musicraft with Charles Gross and his Orchestra. He was very popular on the radio with songs like Prisoner of Love. He was heard on over 500 radio stations. In 1948, he signed with Capitol Records, a relationship that lasted for over 20 years.
In 1948, MacRae signed a seven year contract with Warner Brothers to make movies plus he began starring in The Railroad Hours on CBS which lasted for six years. His first movie was The Big Punch. For a star who was know for his singing, his first movie role didn't involve any music beyond the musical score. MacRae went on to make 18 movies, appears on television as a guest star, and make records.
MacRae's radio career lasted from the mid-1940s through the 1950s. All of his radio shows were related to music. Teentimers, The Gulf Spray Show, and The Gordon MacRae Show/Texaco Star Theater were are centered around popular music. He, along with regulars, sang popular music and they were very popular.
The Railroad Hour was also very popular show. Reaching the height of popularity in 1951, the show averaged 12 million listeners each week. The show format had nothing to do with railroads except for the sponsorship. Each week, the show feature MacRae with guest stars performing shortened versions of mostly Broadway shows with the occasional original show thrown in for variety.
Gordon MacRae was a talented singer with a beautiful voice; this collection contains: