January 1953, Page 1 (Cover)

They're Breaking Records While Making Records!

To the record industry, they're the youngest duo ever signed to a contract.

To millions of music fans, they're the girls behind the hit recording of "Bermuda."

To the people around Seal Beach, Cal., they're two attractive girls, members of a large, happy family.

To their neighbors and classmates, Cynthia and Kay Strother ... but to the nation at large, they're the Bell Sisters. Cynthia, slim 17-year-old student at Huntington Beach High, is the sparkplug of the team. She has the respect of the music world because she is not only a featured voalist but also composed the words and music for "Bermuda." Kid sister Kay is 12. The girls took their mother's maiden name, Bell, for professional purposes.

"They sound like two Frankie Laines"

Cynthia has been banging on the piano and composing her own tunes as long as the family can remember. When she and Kay improvise vocals, "they sound like two Frankie Laines."

The calm of the Strother household was ruffled when all this "Bermuda" business began. Cynthia won a prize on Peter Potter's Los Angeles TV show for writing the best song. She made three more appearances on the show. A music publisher heard her and Kay, was impressed and got them a hearing with Henri Rene, West Coast RCA Victor man. Rene signed them to a contract and helped them polish "Bermuda" for recording. The public's wide acceptance of the song wrote a happy ending to the story. Since then, they've recorded more than a half dozen songs, and there'll probably be more originals by Cynthia in the offing.

Math before music, history before harmony

In spite of their fame and fortune, Mother and Dad Strother (he's an electrician in an aviation plant) see to it that math comes before music, history before harmony. Their parents would like to see them follow in their footsteps and go on to college. When the parents were high school steadies back in Ashland, Ky., their classmates voted them "most likely to marry." They did -- after they had finished college.

"We still have to help with the dishes every night," sighs Cynthia ... who is buzzing with new song ideas.

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January 1953; Vol. 10, No. 2; Cover Story

THE SINGING BELLS: Young Singing Duo is Tops in Recording Field

Riding the crest of a popularity wave that has made theirs one of the entertainment world's most fabulous success stories in recent years, the singing Bell sisters of Seal Beach, California are a pair of pink-cheeked, school-age harmonizers who almost overnight established themselves as stars in the highly competitive juke-box recording field.

The two girls -- Cynthia, 16, and Kay, 12 -- used as their springboard to stardom a catchy tune composed by Cynthia called Bermuda. Singing the song in a crisp, breezy style on an amateur TV talent show, the girls were discovered by Henri Rene, a Pacific Coast scout for RCA Victor who signed them to a recording contract. Bermuda became a smash hit on the nation's coin record machines and paved the way for more recordings and numerous guest star bookings on leading network television shows.

Despite their phenomenal success, the attractive sisters have remained completely unspoiled and still lead the normal life of two daughters growing up in a large California family of modest means. The family owns their home and lives moderately but comfortablyy in a typically American small town. The family name is Strother (the girls adopted their mother's maiden name to use professionally) and in addition to Kay and Cynthia, there are four other sisters and one brother. Mr. Strother is an electrician employed by North American Aviation Company.

Cynthia has been picking away at the piano keys for years and has built up quite a library of original songs. The music for Bermuda was her composition alone, but the whole family had a hand in writing the lyrics. Popular with other teen-agers at Huntington High School where she is a junior, Cynthia also is an avid sports fan and a swimmer of better-than-average ability. Kay is a sixth grader at Seal Beach Elementary School and when not singing spends most of her spare time working on Girl Scout activities.

Although the singing success of Kay and Cynthia has complicated the family's home life, Mother and Dad Strother stand for no nonsense. Everyone pitches in to help with the housework. If there is a conflict between harmony and history, the school work comes first. When Mom and Dad are away, Cynthia assumes the prerogatives of oldest daughter and takes charge of the housekeeping duties, doling out work assignments to the other girls.

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May 1953, Page 8

Hollywood Earfuls (column)

Being sisters ourselves, we couldn't bypass an opportunity to visit with the singing Bell Sisters while they were moviemaking in Columbia's "Cruising Down The River." In between scenes, 17-year-old Cynthia had convinced 12-year-old Kay she ought to learn to knit. Not only that but their four other sisters are also learning the purl one routine. The sisters are looking forward to a Summer of playing fairs, doing TV stints, and other personal appearances.

Their father, incidentally, has given up his job at North American Aviation Aircraft to act as their road manager for p.a.'s. He is also going into the music publishing business with two other men. Of course, the Bell Sisters' other tunes besides "Bermuda" will be published by the group.

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November 2, 1953, Page 90

Those Redheads from Seattle (movie review)

Those Redheads from Seattle (Paramount) is a 3-D Technicolor musical which is laid in the Klondike and is also fairly far north for silliness. The redheads in question (Rhonda Fleming, Teresa Brewer, and Cynthia Bell) voyage out to join their father, a crusading newspaper publisher in Dawson, Alaska, only to discover that he has been killed by an ex-convict. then, in a dramatic scheme of things which wambles strangely among pathos, farce, and ragtime, the girls and their mother set to work to earn their living by assorted chores of dressmaking, typing, nursing, and cabaret singing.

Miss Brewer, who attends to the latter, is thereby estranged from her family, despite the fact that Miss Fleming has fallen in love with the cabaret owner (Gene Barry). He aids the family in many ways, but Miss Fleming is soon informed, inaccurately, that he was really responsible for her father's murder. It seems certain that she will reopen the newspaper and try to drive him out of town - which is just what she tries.

Director Lewis R. Foster and his fellow script writers, Geoffrey Homes and George Worthington Yates, have interlarded these developments with many other complications, and there are five songs by various writers. But the sum total is tasteless and well-night tuneless.

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December 22, 1953
By Cpl. Frank Jacobs

Operation Starlift Arrives; Grant Vows 'Good Clean Show'

TOKYO, Dec. 22 (Pac. S&S)--The 1958 Far Eastern edition of Operation Starlift landed in Tokyo yesterday with troupe manager Johnny Grant promising a "good clean show" for the troops in Korea.

Headlined by starlets Terry Moore and Roberta Haynes, the Hollywood entertainers--most of them female--showed exuberance on the even of the tour. They leave Tokyo tomorrow and will spend 10 days in Korea.

Miss Haynes, seen most recently with Gary Cooper in "Return to Paradise," stepped from the plane with her feet attired only in bedroom slippers. "I left my shoes and sox in the wrong suitcase," she said. "I think I've brought all the wrong clothes for this trip."

Terry Comes Prepared

But Miss Moore seemed well-prepared for the Korean cold weather. "My stockings," she revealed, "are wired for heat just like an electric blanket. I'll keep a battery in my pocket."

In leading this year's troupe, manager Grant will round out his fifth tour of Korea--a record for service entertainers. Grant, a disc jockey in Los Angeles, said tha the would "continue to come here as long as there's a man in Korea."

Troupe members, he added, are loaded down with gifts for the troops. "Everybody," he xplained, "gave us presents to distribute to boys they know in Korea. And just before I left, I saw General Dean who asked me to tell the boys of the 24th Division that he was thinking of them and that he wished them a Merry Christmas."

Operation Starlift is organized by the Hollywood Coordinating Committee of the Motion Picture Producers' Assn. Two other troupes are staging Christmas shows for servicemen in the European Command.

Divided Into 8 Groups

The Korea entertainers are divided into three groups:

Group No. 1, headed by Grant, will tour X Corps and will include Miss Haynes, Miss Moore, Penny Singleton, Richard Sanders, Mary Anders, Sheila Connolly, Susan Zanuck and Joe South.

Group No. 2, headed by comedian Roscoe Ates, will tour I Corps and will include Virginia Hall, Mary Murphy, Cynthia and Kay Bell, Ann mcCormack, Christine Towner, Bill Loyd and Eddie Ross.

Group No. 3, headed by Larry Roberts, will tour the southern part of the peninsula, and will include Kay Marx, Phyllis McCann, Lenny Sherman, Stan Buseth and a soldier combo.

Photo Caption: HOLLYWOOD INVASION--Starlet Roberta Haynes steps down from a MATS Constellaton at Tokyo International Airport, where the Far Eastern troupe of Hollywood entertainers arried yesterday to launch a holiday season of shows for U.N. personnel in Korea. Also in the group are Terry Moore (shown in the background), Penny Singleton, Mary Murphy and the Bell Sisters. Johnny Grant is in charge of the show, which will play for units during the Christmas season. (Pac. S&S Photo by S/Sgt. Frank Praytor)

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December 30, 1953
By PFC Dick Brooks

Hollywood 9 Delights 27th Regt.; One-Hour Show Features Music, Comedy

WITH U.S. 25TH DIV. Korea, Dec. 30 (Pac. S&S)--An energetic Hollywood troupe of nine, headed by comedian Roscoe Ates, yesterday had some 5,000 troops of the 27th Inf. Regt. howling in bone-chilling weather as they went through their one-hour show in a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

With the temperature hovering around 16 degrees above zero thousands of soldiers, most of them peeking from behind expensive cameras, burst into a loud crescendo when captivating Virginia Hall, a 22-year-old starlet of Paramount, stepped on the stage and sang four songs.

Miss Hall, who had bit parts in "Small Town Girl" and "Come Back Little Sheba," toured with the same Ates show last year during Christmas.

Pert Mary Murphy, a star in her first picture, "Main Street to Broadway," held her audience as she went through a series of skits and comedy routines along with Ates.

Liz Mimics Marilyn, Betty

Night club and stage show comedienne Elizabeth Talbot-Martin imitated Marilyn Monroe and Betty Davis.

Despite a touch of laryngitis, Christine Towner sang two songs.

The Bell Sisters, Cynthia, 18, and Kay, 13, had the troops sitting in silence when they went through their singing routine. The duo has made 21 recordings thus far in their short career.

Backing up all the performers are guitarist Bill Lloyd and accordianist Eddy Ross.

Roscoe Ates, master of ceremonies and ad-libbing comedienne, kept the troops laughing between acts. Ates is currently making his third trip to Korea.

Photo Caption: SHOWTIME HARMONY--Mary Murphy, Roscoe Ates and the Bell Sisters blend their voices in one of the many songs the Hollywood troupers are singing this week for U.N. troops in Korea. The large contingent of Movietown entertainers, headed by Johnny Grant, are divided into three groups covering all Corps areas and forward units during the holidays. (Pac. S&S Photo by S/Sgt. Frank Praytor)

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