Book Signings & Events, Sharon's Blog

Jeanette & Nelson: Singing for you this holiday week!

On the Facebook “Sweethearts” book page, I just posted a short article about possible reasons why Jeanette MacDonald never recorded an album of Christmas songs. It involved three Christmases in a row, 1945, ’46 and ’47, all that had some trauma attached to them for her and Nelson Eddy. While details of 1947 are discussed in the book, I thought to share excerpts from a letter that verified my source material, coming directly from Nelson’s mother Isabel. Lucile Mereto was a fan who worked in Hollywood studios and had some other connections. In Mereto’s letter to Dorothy Dillard dated November 21, 1947, she details some shocking details of Nelson’s plans:

“Now for the other news – and please don’t repeat a word of this to anybody…it must never go any farther or my source of information will be forever shut to me and this is really a channel we must keep open if we’re ever to get anywhere…. Out here, Lippe [Nelson Eddy’s voice coach] is regarded as the closest possible source next to Nelson himself so it’s very important that we keep this open. In the past the things I’ve gotten via Lippe have all proven correct – the tour, the proposed new pic, etc…. says Nelson is just dreading going out on tour and if he can possibly get a new radio show by February, he’ll cancel the tour! Can you imagine him doing a thing like that? Wouldn’t that get him in six kinds of trouble with all the concert impresarios around the country?…Lippe further said Nelson really didn’t want to do that pic [“Hollywood Story”, at Republic Studios] but he guessed he’d have to if nothing else came along….I can’t honestly believe Nelson’s position is as insecure as this would seem to indicate. Yet why else should he find himself in this spot??? Of course, as soon as I was told all this I thought of Jeanette and the possibility that he didn’t relish the thought of being away from her for a couple of months.”

Here’s what was really going on behind the scenes: The reason Nelson wanted to bail out of his spring concert tour and remain in Los Angeles was that Jeanette was pregnant with his child and would have had her baby in the spring of 1948. This was her last pregnancy and when she miscarried the night of December 17, 1947, Nelson switched gears, abruptly cancelled his solo film, “Hollywood Story” and went on tour as scheduled. The public was never made aware of the real reason behind his hesitation to leave Los Angeles. Lippe, assuming he knew the truth, certainly didn’t leak it to Mereto’s source. (Excerpt and letter quote ©2016 by me as published in  “Mac/Eddy Today” Issue 72.) I’ve detailed more about the other upsetting 1940s Christmases on the Facebook page for the Sweethearts book.

Meanwhile, here’s a rare instance of Jeanette singing “Silent Night”. It was recorded off live radio and the sound is not perfect and a bit shrill. But it’s a treasure to find and thanks to Marcus Jones for providing it.

Nelson Eddy did record a Christmas record album, but here is a wonderful solo Christmas radio broadcast from December 24. Sound quality is good and the highlight for me is the “Hallelujah” chorus, with Nelson’s powerful voice rising about the chorus singers. One gets a sense of how magnificent his voice was “in person”.

Enjoy both of these and have a safe and happy holiday!


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