Baltimore’s Sol Lurie joined Benjamin Blubaugh, Jose Casanova, Larry Smigel and pianist Nick Grimaldi on the Ink Spots’ hit, “Java Jive” near the beginning of the 1943 show.  Lurie, who studied at the Peabody Conservatory also played violin and was a popular Baltimore bandleader before the war.  During the war, he was a member of the 29th Division band.  Lurie died in 1966, two days short of his 59th birthday.

Born: Oct. 5, 1907

Died: Oct. 3, 1966

Wife: Hilda (Rosenfield) Lurie


Lt. Col. Ben Lyon - Baltimore

Maryland-born Ben Lyon, who was master of ceremonies for the portion of the 1943 Christmas broadcast with thee 8th Air Force, was an actor whose career dated back to silent movies.  Among the actresses he co-starred with were Jean Harlow and Gloria Swanson.  After World War II he joined 20th Century Fox as a casting director and helped launch the career of Marilyn Monroe.  He later became a studio executive.  He was married to actress Bebe Daniels until her death in 1971.  In 1974 he married actress Marian Nixon.  Lyon died in 1979 at age 78 while aboard the Queen Elizabeth II.

Born: Feb. 6, 1901

Died: March 22, 1979

Wives: Bebe Daniels, later Marian Nixon


Reporter Lee McCardell – Baltimore

Sunpapers correspondent Lee McCardell came up with the idea for the program and was the primary force behind pulling it together.  McCardell had joined The Evening Sun in 1925 covering news and features in the city.  In 1933 McCardell won a Pulitzer Prize honorable mention for his coverage of the Bonus March on Washington. McCardell was first dispatched to England to cover the 29th Infantry Division as it prepared for the invasion of Normandy.  He was later sent to cover the Allied campaign in Italy, then was assigned to the 9th Air Force.  He was one of four reporters who covered D-Day from the air. Near the end of the war, McCardell was among the first reporters to write about the Nazi death camps. After the war, McCardell served as The Sun's London and Rome bureau chiefs, city editor and assistant managing editor.  He died in 1963 at age 61.

Born: June 8, 1901

Died: Feb. 7. 1963

Wife: Nancy (Arnold) McCardell


Sgt. J. Preston McComas - Bel Air, Md. 

Preston McComas was a popular singer at functions in the Baltimore area prior to the war.  On the 1943 Christmas show, he is heard singing “White Christmas.”  He and fellow Bel Air resident Charles Irwin sang at clubs and churches while stationed in England and it was there that he met his wife, Marguerite, who played piano and organ at a Presbyterian church. After the war, he returned to Bel Air and continued to sing at weddings and other events in the area.  He died at age 86 in May 1997, less than two months after the death of his wife.

Born: Dec. 2, 1910