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Felix Knight
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Vocalist
    (November 1, 1908-June 18, 1998)
    Born in Macon, Georgia
    Birth name was William Felix Knight
    Tenor, actor, and vocal teacher
    Best known as Tom-Tom in the Laurel and Hardy musical 'Babes in Toyland' (1934)
    Acted in 'Down to Their Last Yacht,' 'Caravan,' 'The Bohemian Girl,' and 'Pick a Star'
    Performed on 'Your Show of Shows,' 'Calvacade of Stars,' 'Juvenile Jury,' 'The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar,' and 'NBC Television Concert Hall'
    Spent four seasons with the Metropolitan Opera Company (1946-1947 - 1949-1950)
    Performed in stage musicals 'The Merry Widow' (1942), 'Lamke' (1946), 'Parsifal,' 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,' 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail,' 'Die Zauberflöte,' 'Lucia di Lammermoor' (1947), 'Il barbiere di Siviglia' (1948), and 'Kiss Me Kate' (1960)
    Signature songs include 'Don't Cry, Bo-Peep, Don't Cry,' 'The Castles in Spain,' 'Go to Sleep, Slumber Deep,' 'The Girl on the Little Blue Plate,' 'By the Zuyder Zee,' 'The Rose in Her Hair,' 'Steppin' Along,' 'Then You'll Remember Me,' 'I've Got it Bad,' 'A Dream,' and 'Giannina Mía'
    He secured a contract with MGM, but did no films directly for the studio (instead going out on loan to Warner Bros usually).
    He fell in love with Alice Moore on the set of 'Babes in Toyland,' eventually eloping with her to Yuma (only to divorce four years later).
    He maintained the same boyish, baby-faced image into his early thirties.
    This may have been part of the reason why he failed to make traction during the technicolor movie musicals of the 1950's (while tenors like Howard Keel and Mario Lanza had both the vocal chops AND the build of a leading man).
    Hal Roach seemed to think it would be a great idea to have him rip off the 'Peter Pan' look as Tom-Tom the Piper's son, in 'Toyland.'
    There's a running joke among movie musical buffs that his 'Go to Sleep/Slumber Deep' number sung to Bo Peep in the Bogeyland scene cuts it very close to resembling a potential date rape.
    Overall his scenes with Charlotte Henry in 'Toyland' come off as bland compared to the scenes with the Laurel and Hardy teaming (and is now overshadowed by the remake's Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello pairing).
    He taught himself to play the guitar growing up in rural Pensacola with his family.
    He grew up the son of a poor cotton farmer (who died in a hunting accident when Felix was only five).
    He was one of the finalists on NBC's Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air for 1938, losing to the winner by a single vote.
    He made radio recordings for Thesaurus Transcriptions with Nathaniel Shilkret and his Orchestra, and would later record nine songs for Victor Records with Leo Reisman's orchestra.
    He became a member of the Metropolitan Opera, after signing on with Decca Records, in 1946, recording operettas with the Guy Lombardo orchestra.
    After his music career ended, he made a living as a very successful vocal teacher, with clients ranging from Broadway performers to Opera singers.
    He remarried, in 1940, to radio star Ethel Blume, and would remain with her for 58 years, until his death in 1998.
    'Babes in Toyland' would become a holiday staple following the advent of television, and would be aired annually on the morning of Thanksgiving by CBS throughout the 1960s and 70s (and is still aired on local stations on the same occasion).
    He was a member of the Founding Tent of the Sons of the Desert Laurel & Hardy fan club, and was a regular presence at fan conventions over the years.
    He granted an interview to Classic Images magazine the week of his death, saying: 'I did my best, I tried to be a nice guy. I helped people whenever I could, and I never complained. ... For a country boy from a cotton patch in Macon, Georgia—I think I did pretty good.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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