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Jack Fascinato

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Born Arthur Fascinato, 11 Sep 1915, Bevier, Missouri
Died 25 December 1994, Palm Springs, California

Despite his long association with Tennessee Ernie Ford and his formidable library of choral arrangements of Christian hymns, Jack Fascinato is one of the “names to look for” in Space Age Pop. His album, Music from a Surplus Store is one of those records that die-hards spend years searching through thrifts and garage sales to find.

Fascinato was raised in Hannibal, Missouri and spent some time teaching music at Hannibal High School before serving in the military during World War Two. He moved to Chicago, played piano with his own trio in local clubs and on radio, and in 1947, became musical director of the “Kukla, Fran, and Ollie” children’s television show. The show’s creator, puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, gave Fascinato great creative freedom on the show, and numerous episodes were full-scale musical productions. “St. George and the Dragon” included a complete score performed live by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and for several years, their take-off on the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “The Mikado,” was an annual event. (He later arranged a jazz version that’s been called “the worst Gilbert & Sullivan recording ever.” To some of us, that’s a big thumbs-up endorsement.)

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