The Glenn Miller Trust

March 2004

Lynn Bari's Ghost Singer Pat Friday

Orchestra Wives and Sun Valley Serenade

Pat Friday

Lynn Bari

The Wonderful Voice of Pat Friday.

Big Band Buddies talked to the ghost singer for Lynn Bari, Star of the two Glenn Miller films, Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives.





Pat Friday is a name that all devoted Glenn Miller fans will know.

Why? Well this is a lady who singing voice has been associated with Glenn Millers music since the very early forties.

Her voice is on perhaps the best recording ever to be made of the Glenn Miller orchestra. These were the recordings that came out of the studio of 20th Century Fox.
Pat Friday is the singing voice of Lynn Barri who appeared in both the Glenn Miller films

Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives.

The songs she sang in those films have probably been the most played of all my original recordings because of the quality which far exceeded those that came from RCA at the time.
It was a surprise to me that only in recent years did I become aware of these original film soundtracks had been re-issued on a CD called '
The Original Glenn Miller Orchestra in True Stereo'. The sound tracks for the films were recorded on separate tracks on the film, so the technicians were able to take these off separately on some of the numbers and produce quite an outstanding recordings for the time they were original recorded way back in 1941.

Pat Friday's voicing for Lynn Bari sang on the following recordings from these films.

I know Why

It Happened in Sun Valley

At Last

Serenade in Blue

I read an interesting comment in Paul Tanners book, 'Conversations with a Musician' in which he said

'after a party someone asked Lynn Bari to sing something. Lynn looked around and seeing Pat Friday had yet to arrive, declined by saying that her voice wasn't there yet'.

Lynn Bari

I guess you could say that I was one who accepted that I would never know who Pat Friday was. Her voice I loved and the only face I could fall in love with was Lynn Bari's.

I mentioned to Big Band Buddy Lynn Roby in the USA, that I was attempting to locate Pat Friday. He suggested I contact Arlene Leonard secretary for the Glenn Miller Birth Place Society, which I did. This lady was very interested in helping me and gave me the address of a Skip Osten and a name I was only able to catch in part as Helen.

I wrote to both and within a week or so I received an email from a Ray 'Skip' Van Osten who told me that Pat was a visitor at the GMBS Festival in 1998 and 2000.
He said he would send me some photos taken then of Pat and some tapes of Pat's recording made on the Armed Forces programmes during the 1940's.
You can imagine how pleased I was to get this news, and make a new friend in Skip.

Helen Patricia Freiday

The same day another email arrive which went as follows:-

Your kind letter to "Helen" in Texas was received by me this afternoon. I'm glad Arlene Leonard put us in touch.
To clear up the confusion: at birth, I was named Helen Patricia Freiday, but was never called Helen -- just Pat. And when I started in "show business," the "e" in Freiday was dropped,
and I became Pat Friday.

Wow could this be true the Helen I wrote to turns out to be the very person I have thought about for years and now with the aid of this new gadget that has become so much part of our lived 'The Computer' I find myself writing to that very person.

I'd be happy to answer questions for you, and with e-mail, nothing could be easier for us. To answer one of your questions right off: the Miller films were at the close of my very short career; really, there was nothing subsequent. A couple of old Decca records before that, and very large number of Armed Forces radio recordings during World War II; many of the folks who attend the Miller Festival in Clarinda Iowa started sending them to me about four or five years ago. One old lifetime friend
made a tape of all that he could find . . . including some very strange songs! You might be interested in a copy of that.

You can imagine that I soon replied to Pat with a list of questions.

I had told her that I had only been able to imagine her with the face of Lynn Bari as I listened to her singing. Pat said that in fact "Lynn Bari was tall, slim, dark and she was then short, plump and blonde". How wrong could I be?

She found Lynn a pleasure to work with while she trained to lip sync; to Pat singing.

Why weren't you given credits on the film for your singing voice? was my next question, to which Pat replied.

"Credits" were not given to ghost singers. In fact, my contract with 20th Century Fox forbade my telling anyone! My usual accompanist and voice coach were even banned from the studio lot!

Ghosts were to be heard and never ever seen.

How were you chosen to sing for these parts?

Apparently Mr Miller heard me on radio, contacted my agent, and asked if I would do the job.

I agreed to do the first (and then the second) GM film. I did meet GM, but only in passing.

I was coached by the Fox music department, met Miss Bari, learned the songs, and recorded them in a booth "walled off" from the orchestra. That was usual then, even for people who did their own singing.

Each of the films took less than a week. For this I was paid about $500 per film, with no residuals for recordings, re-issues, etc. And no credits, for many years.

Can you tell me something about your life:-

OK, I'll try to cut it short. Born in Idaho 1921; family moved to Los Angeles in 1923. Only child. Father died; Mother worked and to 'keep me busy' enrolled me after school for dance lessons. . . which I managed tochange-over to singing lessons when the poor dear wasn't looking!
Entered university at 15; sorority sisters made me enter a college student talent contest for the 5 Western states of the US. I won. Prize was a guest appearance on national radio (Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall). He and his brothers put me under contract to them and groomed me for "big stuff". I took over their Kraft Music Hall for two summers, guested on a lot of national radio programs. Continued at University, did a little recording (and watched Hitler gather steam).

Over the dead bodies of the Crosby office, I married; they blackballed me in the entertainment business. Didn't bother me too much; singing was never my 'day job.' Moved to Texas; US entered war; husband enlisted and for a time I was a camp follower. He went to 8th Air Force, our son was born, and finding a military 'allotment' rather meagre, I enlisted the help of the mother of the Crosby "boys" and she made them lift the blackball. I went back to singing.

Mostly I sang as a volunteer for the military and to sell War Bonds. Made many armed forces radio broadcasts, sang lullabies at military hospitals, met hospital ships at Long Beach, did some Hollywood Canteen shows, sang almost every Friday night at a small, stodgy men's club where the members cooked the dinner, invited servicemen "off the streets" to dinner and a show. Flew up and down the California coast on military transport to give small shows to small military outposts. Not very glamorous, no pay, but that is the singing I'm proudest of.

photo Roy Rogers Dale Evans museum

Did have to make a living. Was the featured singer with Jack Webb on a series sponsored by United Airlines (before he did "Dragnet" -- ever wondered why he later became Sgt. Friday?) Then a couple of seasons as feature singer with Roy Rogers (during a time when Dale Evans and her film studio were having problems). RR wasn't bad, but OH, some of those songs!

Jack Webb

Then as a reward for those Yippee-Ah-Yeaa songs, I signed on as the singer on the Victor Borge radio show. That was a delight and a joy. A genuinely funny man who was also kind, intelligent, witty, and gentle. About the time the Borge show was up for renewal, my dear husband came home from the wars and once again I left Hollywood for Texas, and then 1950-1952 to Caterham Surrey while David took his doctorate at the University of London.

Two children: son David died in 1992; daughter Catharine lives nearby. I made listings in Who's Who in Finance and Who's Who in American Women . . . defunct now; nobody expects octogenarians to 'keep up' but mostly I do. Still hold a couple of directorships and David and I tend a scientific service handled by the 'net. But mostly, now, life is friends, church activities, neighborhood responsibilities, and lots and lots of reading! At last! time enough to read almost as much as I want.

Skip Van Osten exaggerated! I don't really sing any more. I think I sang 4 bars of 'The Eyes of Texas' at one of the Glenn Miller Festivals in Iowa. But Skip and I have to stick together since we both attended Audubon Junior High School back in the 1930's! How's that for a coincidence? Meeting again in Clarinda sixty years later.

I promised Arlene Leonard that I would try to attend next year's festival marking the 100th birthday of GM. And that I'd sing something if they'd find me an accompanist who could figure out a key I could handle. I still don't read music; apparently had a good ear once and could learn a song so quickly no one suspected my dark secret. It has precluded my singing in the church choir now, for which I am grateful!

Band leader Bill Baker with Pat.

Pat at the Glenn Miller Festival 2000 enjoying the ride in vintage car

Pat wthl Slip Osten

 Your voice was so appealing in those songs you sang with Miller, how come he didn't offer you a job?

"Why didn't GM offer me a job with the band?" I think even in our limited exchanges with one another he understood that singing was "not my day job" and that I wouldn't be interested. Singing those few songs with the Miller band was a treat . . . as it was a treat to sing a few songs with Freddy Martin, or Benny Goodman, etc. etc., but Miller's band was the best! Bar none!

The last festival I attended in Clarinda, someone in the audience asked me what was my greatest experience with Miller. It was a totally honest answer when I said that "Now. Here. Being with the Miller fans in Clarinda." The organizers, the townspeople, the visitors and the people who have been associated with Miller music are great people. Maybe one day YOU can pay a visit there, too.

I am happy to say I did in fact make that pilgrimage to Clarinda in 2006.

In a later letter from Pat she told me that she was just a teenager when she started singing. She was a student at the University of California at Los Angeles when she started singing professionally.
She married in 1940 and when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour her husband David enlisted into the 8th Air Force and was sent to England. When her husband returned home late in 1945 and she had finished her contractual obligations that were for singing-except for ghosting a few film-for Glenn Miller and others.

Glenn Miller buffs will know that on some of the recordings issued from the film sound track back in the 1950's, the name Lorraine Elliott appears on the credits as singing for Lynn Bari. I asked Pat about this and she replied:-

Lorraine Elliott I did not know, although I think we met once at a benefit concert. I don't really know how that mix-up started; probably someone's bad reporting. Recently someone told me that Miss Elliott did ghost a song or two for a Miller film but that she and the recording were replaced by me; I don't know that as a fact, but I can guarantee the finished film was Pat Friday singing for Lynn Bari.

John Payne I remember him in Western Films and have seen him in several of his early films where he sang. You worked with him in the film Sun Valley Serenade, how did you get on and what were your impressions of him.

John Payne? He and I sang a duet for the film; apparently, he learned his part independent to me as I learned mine independent of him. We met, rehearsed for ten or fifteen minutes recorded the song and parted company. I can't claim to know much about him! My impressions? He was workmanlike, matter-of-fact, courteous and efficient. Just like a good cowboy! And you can't ask anything more than that of a duet-partner or a ranch-hand.

Thanks you so much Pat Friday for sharing a small part of your life with your fans.

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