This is not a pre-surgery Joan Rivers...
Joan Rivers and Ed Sullivan, ca. 1968
...nor is it Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona (a.k.a. Vikki Carr).
Vikki Carr, ca. 1965
No, this lovely lady is our latest Mystery Guest: the deliciously throaty thrush, Miss India Adams!
Miss Adams is, of course, best known as the "ghost voice" employed by MGM for Cyd Charisse and Joan Crawford in the 1953 pictures, The Band Wagon and Torch Song, respectively. In the former, Adams dubbed Charisse for "New Sun in a New Sky," as well as the ensemble finale, "That's Entertainment."
Oscar Levant, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Fred Astaire and Nanette Fabray perform "That's Entertainment!" in The Band Wagon (1953, MGM)
Charisse actually filmed another solo spot, dubbed by Adams, for The Band Wagon, entitled "Two Faced Woman." It was ultimately cut from the film, but when Adams was assigned to supply the singing voice for Joan Crawford in Torch Song, the number was resurrected -- only to be staged, inexplicably, in a "tropical" setting, with Crawford and her chorines made up like refugees from a minstrel show.
The other numbers recorded by Adams-as-Crawford included the already well-known pop hit, "Tenderly"; "You Won't Forget Me," which was apparently considered memorable enough for popular jazz starlet Helen Merrill to include on her With Strings album two years later; and "Follow Me," which Crawford herself recorded (in hopes of providing the vocals for her entire characterization).
Interestingly, Adams would later recall her experience with Crawford quite fondly, while remembering Cyd Charisse as cold and unfriendly. Unfortunately, Adams' friendship with Crawford -- which lasted beyond filming -- came to an abrupt end when MGM released a recording of the numbers from Torch Song, giving Adams full credit for the vocals -- something which was rarely done at that time, with the studios (and the stars themselves) preferring to let the fans believe that the actors were doing the actual chirping. MGM had expressly told Adams not to let Crawford know about the record until its release, and the perceived deception hurt Crawford deeply. Still, to this day, Adams has nothing but praise for Queen Joan.
Following her brief run as a celebrity ghost at MGM, Adams relocated to New York, where she performed in theatre (including Can-Can and The Most Happy Fella); toured nightclubs, such as the famed Latin Quarter; and recorded a highly sought after album for RCA, Comfort Me with Apples (1959), which is a masterpiece of the "sex kitten chanteuse" genre popularized by the likes of Eartha Kitt, Abbe Lane and Lola Albright.
The next stop for India Adams was England, which she made her home base from 1965 until 1981. In 1969, she was the stand by for Ginger Rogers when the latter starred as Mame at the Drury Lane Theater; in true old trouper fashion, Rogers never missed a performance, even when ill, so Adams never had the chance to make her West End bow.
She may have made a career out of singing, subbing or standing by for superstars, without ever becoming one herself; but among the discerning few, India Adams is a fondly remembered talent -- and she's still going strong, having performed most recently in Hollywood this past January. We think she's just sensational!
We're sorry we've been so ghost-like ourselves of late, but we hope to be back to our normal pace very soon. As always, thanks for playing, darlings!
Official website HERE.