Jean Cavall

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This performer recorded frequently for the British HMV label in the '40s, often providing a local spin on a hit that had been recorded in another language. In the '50s and '60s, Cavall began utilizing…
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This performer recorded frequently for the British HMV label in the '40s, often providing a local spin on a hit that had been recorded in another language. In the '50s and '60s, Cavall began utilizing both singing and acting talents on television and radio. He was based out of Canada, and was associated with innovative CBC variety shows such as Haunted Studio, named thusly not because of the presence of poltergeists but because of a deliberate dearth of sets and props. The main nod to the haunted theme was having a full-time theremin player in the cast, Jerry Hicks. Despite the grandeur of this association or the wonder of vintage recordings such as the flowing "La Seine," Cavall will be best remembered for playing the role of Papa La Touke on the Howdy Doody Show.

Cavall recorded in both French and English, language skills that made him especially marketable in the bilingual Canadian nation. During his recording career with HMV, Cavall frequently had his eye on international hits that could be shuffled around from language to language. His version of "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" is a typical example. The song originated as a Latin hit from Osvaldo Farres Vasquez in the late '40s, sung in Spanish. Cavall opted to record an English version, "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," but he certainly had plenty of choices. There was "Wer Weiss, Wer Weiss, Wer Weiss," published by the German West Ton Verlag firm, or "Qui Sait, Qui Sait, Qui Sait," published by the French Societe D'Editions Musicales Internationales. Cavall frequently did record in French, including the aforementioned river ditty, the quaint "In the Heart of Montmatre," and the charming "Mamselle". "Rever" -- English title, "Dream on Little Dreamer" -- is the Cavall title that may prove to have the longest staying power, nurtured on in the digital age by its inclusion on greatest-hits collections.