Skitch Henderson

Skitch Henderson

Show Count: 69
Series Count: 2
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: January 27, 1918
Old Time Radio, Halstad, Norman County, Minnesota, U.S.
Died: November 1, 2005, New Milford, Connecticut, U.S.

Lyle Russel “Skitch” Henderson (January 27, 1918 – November 1, 2005) was a pianist, conductor, and composer. His nickname ("Skitch") reportedly derived from his ability to quickly "re-sketch" a song in a different key.


Lyle "Skitch" Henderson was born on a farm near Halstad, Minnesota, to Joseph and Josephine Henderson, both of Norwegian descent. His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was then sent to live with his aunt Hattie Henderson Gift and uncle Frank Gift, who raised him. She taught him piano, starting at the age of four. Although he didn't receive formal conservatory education in music, Henderson received classical training under Fritz Reiner, Albert Coates, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernst Toch and Arturo Toscanini, who invited him to conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Henderson would later recount his learning the ropes by playing in taverns with popular singers of the day.

He started his professional career in the 1930s playing piano in the roadhouses of the American Midwest, his major break being as an accompanist on a 1937 MGM promotional tour featuring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Henderson later said that as a member of MGM's music department, he worked with Garland to learn "Over the Rainbow" during rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz and played piano for her first public performance of the song at a local nightclub before the film was finished. However this account is at odds with the memoirs of the tune's composer, Harold Arlen, who said he first performed the song for the 14-year-old Garland.

After the war, he worked for NBC Radio, where he was the musical director for Frank Sinatra's Lucky Strike Show. He was also accompanist onPhilco Radio Time with Bing Crosby on the new ABC network. Henderson also played on Bob Hope's Pepsodent Show.

The origin of his nickname is often traced to this period, with Henderson crediting the invention to Bing Crosby who said he (Henderson) should have a nickname. Crosby settled on "Skitch", which came from "The Sketch Kid", referring to Henderson's ability to quickly transcribe music to a written score. Other reports, however, claim that the name came from something that a young Skitch and his buddies would say to act cool and hip, "skitchadudawawa", long before he met Crosby.

Legal problems

He was indicted on July 2, 1974, on charges of tax evasion for the years of 1969 and 1970 for claims about the value (allegedly $350,000) of a music library he donated to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He further claimed that he had consulted on the value of his collection with Leonard Bernstein and Henry Mancini, both of whom denied the claims. A signature on an acceptance letter from the library director was also deemed a forgery.

Henderson was sentenced on January 17, 1975 to 6 months in prison and fined $10,000. He began serving his sentence at a minimum-security Federal prison on April 9, 1975 and was released after four months, on August 4, 1975.

Source: Wikipedia

Bing CrosbyBing Crosby
Show Count: 36
Broadcast History: 2 September 1931 to 27 February 1932, 8 March 1932 to 20 July 1932, 4 January 1933 to 15 April 1933, 16 October 1933 to 11 June 1935, 2 January 1936 to 9 May 1946, 16 October 1946 to 1 June 1949, 21 September 1949 to 25 June 1952, 9 October 1952 to 30 May 1954 and 22 November 1954 to 28 December 1956
Cast: Bing Crosby, Bob Burns, Mary Martin, Victor Borge, Connie Boswell, Jerry Lester, George Murphy, Peggy Lee, Judd McMichael, Ted McMichael, Joe McMichael, Mary Lou Cook, Ken Carpenter, John Scott Trotter, Skitch Henderson, Lina Romay , Charlie Parlato, Mack McLean, Loulie Jean Norman, Gloria Wood
Director: Bill Morrow, Murdo MacKenzie, Cal Kuhl, Ezra MacIntosh, Bob Brewster, Ed Gardner
Producer: Bill Morrow, Murdo MacKenzie, Cal Kuhl, Ezra MacIntosh, Bob Brewster, Ed Gardner
I Deal In CrimeI Deal In Crime
Show Count: 3
Broadcast History: 21 January 1946 to 18 October 1947
Cast: William Gargan
Director: Leonard Reeg
Broadcast: April 12, 1950
Added: Nov 29 2021
Broadcast: March 8, 1950
Added: Apr 18 2022
Broadcast: May 1, 1950
Added: Dec 12 2023
Broadcast: April 25, 1950
Added: May 09 2021
Broadcast: March 30, 1950
Added: Jul 24 2022
Broadcast: March 27, 1950
Added: Jun 20 2022
Broadcast: March 16, 1950
Added: May 23 2022
Broadcast: May 24, 1950
Added: Jul 17 2022
Broadcast: April 28, 1950
Added: Jan 06 2023
Broadcast: March 28, 1950
Added: Jul 09 2022
Broadcast: April 5, 1950
Added: Oct 02 2022
Broadcast: April 20, 1950
Added: Apr 18 2021
Broadcast: March 29, 1950
Added: Jul 10 2022
Broadcast: March 10, 1950
Added: May 16 2022
Broadcast: April 21, 1950
Added: Apr 25 2021
Broadcast: March 9, 1950
Added: May 09 2022
Broadcast: March 24, 1950
Added: Mar 17 2023
Broadcast: April 26, 1950
Added: May 30 2021
Broadcast: May 5, 1950
Added: Feb 15 2024
Broadcast: April 24, 1950
Added: May 02 2021
Broadcast: March 21, 1950
Added: Jun 11 2022
Broadcast: September 5, 1948
Added: Sep 12 2016
Broadcast: December 20, 1954
Added: Dec 08 2019
Broadcast: March 21, 1955
Added: Mar 19 2017
Broadcast: January 3, 1955
Added: Jan 05 2020
Broadcast: June 14, 1954
Added: Mar 12 2017