Home Entertainment Gloria Parker, Master of the Musical Cups, dies at 100

Gloria Parker, Master of the Musical Cups, dies at 100

by YAR

As the title character in his movie “Broadway Danny Rose” (1984), Woody Allen is a hapless talent agent known for his hard-to-book bevy of weird and novelty acts: a blind xylophone, a stuttering ventriloquist, a balloon folder. — And Gloria Parker, who plays music by rubbing her wet fingers along the rims of 28 crystal wine glasses.

“She’s the Jascha Heifetz of this instrument,” Danny says in one scene, introducing her to a skeptical resort owner as he plays “The Band Played On.” “She’s amazing. She never took a lesson. This is self-taught. Next year, thank God, she’ll be at Carnegie Hall.”

Miss Parker would later say that the film, in which she also performs for Danny’s clientele at a Thanksgiving dinner, caused an increase in booking offers and increased attention for her mastery of the “singing glasses” or glasspiel, which he learned from his grandfather.

“The film will keep them alive,” she told The New York Times in 1984. “I’m just an emissary, God’s worker who brings glasses to the world.”

Miss Parker died on April 13 at a hospital in Syosset, New York, on Long Island, near her home in Laurel Hollow. She had 100.

His friend Jean Lundy confirmed the death.

Miss Parker didn’t just coax the music from the glasses. A multi-instrumentalist, she also played the marimba, the vibraphone, the violin, the maracas, and the tambor, a type of drum.

She led a company of women when she was 14 years old and led Rumba Maids in the 1940s and Afrikan Knights Orchestra in the 1960s.

In the 1940s, he starred in several Soundies, musical shorts that were shown on coin-operated jukeboxes. In those movies he sang, played the glasses and the marimba, and shared the stage with co-stars like Mel Blanc, the virtuoso voice actor, and Lincoln Perry, better known as Stepin Fetchit.

She hosted a show on ABC radio in the 1950s that featured another all-female band, Swingphony. She and she was a prolific writer of songs, many of them with a Latin rhythm, such as “Up and Down Mambo” and “The Push and Pull Mambo”. Lionel Hampton recorded another song, “Clap Your Hands and Shake Your Blues Away.”

In 1981 he recorded an album, “A toast to Christmas in the 80s with singing glasses”.

Gloria Rosenthal was born on August 20, 1921 in Brooklyn. Her father, Jack, owned a garage; her mother, Rose (Glickman) Rosenthal, played violin with Mark Warnow and the Hit Parade Orchestra. Later, Gloria adopted Parker as her stage name.

At a young age, Gloria began studying the violin (she said she played a child-sized instrument at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when she was 4 or 5 years old). At age 8, she began learning to touch glasses from her grandfather, who had brought her skill (and eight fragile Bohemian crystal glasses) from her native Czechoslovakia.

“When I was still a child,” Miss Parker told United Press International in 1984, “I had a vaudeville musical act playing both the glasses and the marimba.”

She mastered how to conjure music from 28 glasses, each filled with water or white wine to produce particular sounds.

“A drop either way makes a difference,” he told New York’s The Daily News in 2012. “Height, girth — it all makes a difference when it comes to sound.”

He rubbed his fingers over the rims of his glasses to produce a two-octave musical range while playing pop, classical, jazz, and calypso songs.

In addition to touching her glasses on “Broadway Danny Rose,” Ms. Parker was a guest on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” and “Late Night With David Letterman.”

“We hired her based on her interesting talent, but when she showed up with the big set up, she was very impressive,” Robert Morton, the executive producer of “Late Night” at the time, wrote in an email. “We loved the little dance that she did while she was playing and how she was very worried that no one would touch the setup.”

In 1979, he performed with the Hartford Symphony in a pop concert.

“Millisecond. Parker, with her long blonde hair, created a striking spectacle as she worked through her glasses, somehow managing to turn high-pitched tones into melodic, even sped-up passages,” critic Owen McNally wrote of her performance at The Hartford. Courant.

No immediate family members survive.

Miss Parker’s devotion to her music and her reputation led to several court battles. In 1965, she and a co-writer, Barney Young, sued the Walt Disney Corporation for $12 million, accusing it of pirating their 1949 song “Supercalafajalistickespeeaaladojus” for the hit movie “Mary Poppins” (1964), in which Julie Andrews sang. ” Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

A judge ruled against her and Mr. Young’s request for a preliminary injunction, saying they had not filed a copyright infringement case because, apart from their tongue-twistingly similar names, the two songs had “no similarity.” perceptible”.

In 1990, she sued author Oscar Hijuelos for libel over several passages she said reflected poorly on her in his 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love.” In the novel, she refers to a character as the leader of “Glorious Gloria Parker and Her All-Girl Rumba Orchestra,” the real name of a band she once led, and is involved in a late-night romantic scene.

“My background has nothing to do with what this man said,” Parker told Newsday after filing the lawsuit. “I travel in good company. He has hurt and crushed me.”

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.

Working on “Broadway Danny Rose” was a more pleasurable experience for her, although she was not aware of the film’s plot when she signed on.

“We only had the script for one day at a time, and I had no idea what was going on,” he told The Times. When asked if the entire film made him feel that Mr. Allen had made fun of his art, he dismissed the idea.

“Why, no one can make fun of glasses,” he added. “Benjamin Franklin played them; in fact, he introduced them to the United States in 1751. They are part of our heritage. And now, through the movie, the whole world can see them in the 20th century, and I will be the person attached to them.”

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