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Collection The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection

About this Collection

Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine in London American actor, singer and comedian Danny Kaye arrives with his wife, Sylvia Fine, for an appearance in London. November 1948.

Following the professional lives of the husband-wife artistic duo, this presentation features a wide variety of materials, including manuscripts, scores, scripts, photographs, sound recordings and video clips from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection. Kaye, a multi-faceted entertainer, worked his way from performing at summer resorts to starring in feature films and conducting major symphony orchestras. Fine, a composer and writer, went from writing revues at small theatres to composing music for Danny’s studio films and teaching at Yale University.

In 1990, Sylvia Fine made an initial donation to the Library of Congress to form the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection. In recent years, more items have been received from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Foundation and Dena Kaye to supplement the collection. For this online presentation, only a selection of items has been digitized.

As a whole, the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection consists primarily of music, scripts, Musical Comedy Library materials, awards and realia. Materials from The John Gary Show (1966), a spin off show for a former guest of The Danny Kaye Show, are included in the collection as well. The collection spans from the 1940s to the 1980s.

The music in the collection is mostly comprised of material that Kaye performed on The Danny Kaye Show (1963-67), his performance tours, movies, stage plays, and television specials. This material is in the form of printed parts, scores, orchestral arrangements, and sheet music. It also includes compositions by Fine in the form of manuscripts, printed music, and lyric sheets. The collection includes songs such as "Tschaikowsky," "The Dodgers Song," "Ballin' the Jack," and Fine's "Anatole of Paris," " Life Could Not Better Be," and "Melody in 4F."

Scripts in the collection include those from The Danny Kaye Show (1963-67), a television series which featured guests such as Lucille Ball, Gwen Verdon, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. There are also scripts from The Danny Kaye Show radio series (1944-46), The John Gary Show (1966), stage plays such as Two by Two (1970), and television specials such as Kaye's Look-In at the Metropolitan Opera (1974).

The movie scripts, some of which are housed in personalized leather binders and include black and white 8x10 photographs of movies scenes, include Up In Arms (1944), Hans Christian Anderson (1952), The Court Jester (1956), The Man from the Diner's Club (1962), and Skokie (1981).

The Musical Comedy Library portion of the collection consists of materials regarding Musical Comedy Tonight I (1979), Musical Comedy Tonight II (1981), and Musical Comedy Tonight III (1985), a series of shows produced by Fine. These shows were based on a series of lectures about musical comedy that she taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University. The materials consist of music, scripts, books, slides, programs, and various research materials. There is also a considerable amount of Danny Kaye Show material included in the Musical Comedy Library.

The awards in the collection consist of honors received by Fine and Kaye, with the bulk of the awards belonging to Kaye. He received many awards for his great humanitarianism such as The Kennedy Center honor (1984), the Lions International Humanitarian Award (1973-74), and several awards from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). He also received awards for his talents including induction into The Entertainment Hall of Fame Foundation (1974-76), and an Emmy award (1963-64) and several nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Fine's awards include an Emmy award (1975-76) from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award (1979), and an award and appointment to the Advisory Committee on the Arts (1962) by John F. Kennedy.

The realia includes miscellaneous items such as an engraved walking stick from Harry Lauder (1949), a parachute, a bull whip, souvenir baseballs, plaques, commemorative plates, model airplanes, graduation robes, mementos, and a variety of other items.

The collection also includes correspondence, business papers, and photographs.

The audio-visual materials are housed in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division and are referenced by an LC-Record number. These materials include videos of The Danny Kaye Show (1963-67) and record albums recorded by Kaye.

A finding aid listing the materials held in the collection by the Music Division is available at