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The June 9, 1941
Salute to Canada Lee

supplement to
The Duke – Where and When
A Chronicle of Duke Ellington's Working Life and Travels

Since "The Duke - Where and When" is very large, I moved some material to supporting webpages. This one is about the 1941 Salute to Canada Lee broadcast
This webpage was created in February 2017 and is maintained by David Palmquist,
with considerable input from fellow researchers
Last updated

On Monday, June 9, 1941, Duke Ellington and Herb Jeffries appeared for about five minutes in a Mutual Broadcasting System nationally broadcast tribute to Black actor Canada Lee in a show titled "Salute to Canada Lee."

Who was Canada Lee?

Afro-American actor Canada Lee (Leonard Lionel Cornelius Canegata) began his stage career in 1934. Previously, he had been a well-known boxer with about 200 fights under his belt, losing only about 25, and he became a band leader. Click here to read his fairly comprehensive biography on Wikepedia.

The Show

Venue and Technology


  1. Did Ivie Anderson sing?
  2. Was the show live, prerecorded or time delayed?
  3. How long was it?
  1. Did Ivie Anderson participate?

    • The Indianapolis Sunday Star reported

      'Duke Ellington, also in Hollywood, introduced several numbers from his forthcoming musical, "Jump for Joy," never before heard on the air. His soloists were Ivy [sic] Anderson and Herb Jeffries...'

    • Announcer Robeson said Ivie was on the show, but if she was, the show would have had to be longer than 30 minutes, since she is not heard in the half-hour recording heard at the above links.
    • It seems more likely Ivie was expected but did not appear, and she is named in announcements scripted before the show aired. The New York personnel would likely not have known whether or not she was present in the Hollywood studio.
    • The Sunday Star review may be sloppy reporting, based on press releases rather than hearing the show.
    • Steven Lasker suggests Ivie may have been preoccupied with opening Ivie's Chicken Shack, her new restaurant, three days later.
    • At the time of writing, there is no evidence of Ivie appearing in an extended version of the show - see "How long was it?" below.
    • A report published after the event in the Indianapolis Sunday Star says:

      'THE NEGRO AMUSEMENT field honored its newest star, Canada Lee, on a gala coast-to-coast radio program last week...Duke Ellington, also in Hollywood, introduced several numbers from his forthcoming musical "Jump for Joy," never before heard on the air. His soloists were Ivy Anderson and Herb Jeffries... '

      The radioGoldindex database has Ivie Anderson singing, but what she sang in this broadcast is undocumented. She sang Chocolate Shake in the studio recording a few days later, but New Desor's analysis of the recording from the broadcast doesn't have a vocal.
  2. Was the show live, prerecorded or time delayed?
    • During this period, networks transmitted shows to affiliated stations over telephone lines. If it was necessary to transmit the show twice, it could be:
      • performed live twice (with additional payments to the performers, including the musicians)
      • pre-recorded (on a transcription disc)
      • recorded at the sending studio during the initial broadcast to allow a time-delayed feed to network affiliates for a later broadcast from those stations. This is one form of "line transcription."
      • recorded by a receiving station from the network's telephone line feed for a later local broadcast - this is also a "line transcription."
    • In 1942, reporting the American Federation of Musicians' concerns over repeated broadcasts, Variety described the five types of repeats in use by the networks as Live Repeat, Delayed Broadcast, Regional Repeat, and two types of Regional Delayed Broadcasts.
    • The 11:30 p.m. west coast broadcasts (KHJ, Los Angeles; KORE, Eugene) were five hours after the original network broadcast. It seems unlikely the network would have made two live broadcasts this far apart, especially given the need to coordinate feeds from studios on both coasts.
    • The show could have been prerecorded, but there is no evidence of this.
    • It seems most likely that the show was recorded by the originating network station during the broadcast to be fed later to the network's western affiliated stations or the initial network feed was recorded by one or more affiliated stations on the west coast. The former seems more likely, since the late broadcast was made by more than one west coast station. This is consistent with the recording media held by Mr. Lasker.
  3. How long was the show and when did it air?
    • Most of the radio timetables reviewed have the show starting on the half hour. Where another show is shown on the hour, the show was definitely not more than 30 minutes.
    • In some cases, however, there is no other show listed on the hour following the start time; in those cases it is possible the show was longer, IF additional material was included in a segment of the broadcast that wasn't used by all of the network affiliates.
    • If there was such a segment, it could include Ivie's singing and explain why she is announced and reported as singing but is not heard on the Lasker copy of the recording. If this were so, however, Ellington would have appeared with her, and his second contribution would be excluded as well.
    • This table is a partial survey of radio logs listing the show, showing whether or not another show started after half an hour.
      Newspaper Start
      in the
      half hour
      time slot?
      Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y.(WOR)9:30 p.m.yes
      Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.9:30 p.m.yes
      Springfield Republican, Springfield, Mass. 9:30
      (10:15 was the
      next listing)
      The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.(WOR)9:30 p.m.yes
      The Morning News, Wilmington, Del. 9:30 p.m.yes
      Cumberland Evening Times, Cumberland, Maryland8:30
      The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland8:30
      Mount Carmel Item, Mount Carmel, Penn. 9:30 p.myes
      Evening News, Harrisburg, Penn.9:30 p.m.yes
      Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Penn.9:30 p.m.yes
      Record-Argus, Greenville, Penn.8:30
      Jersey Journal, Jersey City, N.J.9:30
      (10:15 was the
      next listing)
      Cincinatti Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio (WKRC)8:30yes
      The Republic, Columbus, Ind. 7:30 p.m. CSTno
      Rockford Register-Republic, Rockford, Ill. 7:30 p.m.yes
      The St. Cloud Daily Times, St. Cloud, Minn.7:30
      (next listing is 8:30)
      The Abilene Reporter-News, Abilene, Tex.
      Salute to Canada Lee was only 15 minutes
      to allow a 7:45 political broadcast
      7:30 p.m.yes
      Argus-Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D. 7:30
      Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene Ore. (KORE)11:30 p.m.yes
      Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Cal.(KHJ)11:30

While the Indianapolis Sunday Star report was published after the event, it may be that it was written based upon press releases, rather than by a reviewer who actually heard the show. If Ivie actually did sing, her voice is not on Lasker's two 15-minute acetates.


'Further research might confirm if the broadcast was live or prerecorded. While the Indianapolis Sunday Star report was published after the event, it may be that it was written based upon press releases, rather than by a reviewer who heard the show. If Ivie actually did sing, her voice is not on the two 15-minute acetates.
     If it was broadcast a full hour, it would have required half an hour of additional material. All the artists announced by Robeson (who, being in New York, couldn't see the line-up of talent in L.A. so reading from his script which named Ivie) performed on the broadcast except for Ivie. She wasn't going to supply 30 minutes on her own. I suppose she just missed the gig, and so was unable to sing on "Chocolate Shake" which was her vocal feature, which DE played as a solo. Why did she miss the show? Was she sick? Was Ivie preoccupied with readying her Chicken Shack for its grand opening three days after the Salute to Canada Lee broadcast?
     I don't hear any obvious edits on my lacquer discs (two 33-rpm, 14-inch lacquer disks dubbed professionally from an original line transcription disk). It all sounds "of a piece."
     My conclusion is that a one-hour version is devoutly to be wished, but it would be a stretch.'

Ken Steiner:

'The half-hour broadcast sounds complete to me. The small-town radio listings to me donít really indicate the possibility of another half hour.'


'Canada Lee: {This is] A lot of work for five minutes of Ellington on-air, I agree, but the broadcast, taken as a whole was a pioneer show of black talent on network radio this early on.'

Additional references:

Page created by
David Palmquist
Delta, BC, Canada