Since we recently profiled Dorothy Collins, the sweetheart of TV’s musical program Your Hit Parade, it seems only fitting that we follow up with the guy who often teamed up with her on the show. And even if Snooky Lanson wasn’t quite as memorable as Collins (except for his improbably-cute name), he had plenty of fans and enjoyed a nice career of his own.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Snooky Lanson began life as Roy Landman, and first began appearing professionally in the late 1930s. Primarily a radio singer, he occasionally found work as a band singer too, most notably with bandleader Ray Noble, who had lost his celebrated vocalist Al Bowlly. Lanson’s singing talent might not have risen quite to the level of Bowlly’s, but his pleasant, smooth baritone was featured on several good records with the band during the 1940s.
When Your Hit Parade transitioned from radio to TV around 1950, Hanson began what would be a seven-year stint on the popular show. Every week he’d sing several of the Top Ten hits, either as a solo or as part of the show’s ensemble, and he wasn’t afraid to tackle a variety of songs. He even did a few made famous by Elvis — with mixed results, as you can see in the video below. (In fact, many believe that the rise of rock and roll eventually led the end of the show. Read about it HERE.)
During the course of the show, Lanson also hit the recording studio from time to time, climbing the charts with records like “It’s Almost Tomorrow” and “Why Don’t You Write Me.” He also briefly hosted a summer replacement show, but even though he continued to work for many years after his period on Your Hit Parade, things inevitably slowed. Like many performers, he continued to entertain his fans once in a while even in retirement. He died in 1990 at age 76.