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 Phoebe Dorin & Michael Dunn singing
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SS spy school graduate

57 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2020 :  15:17:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does anyone know if Phoebe Dorin is still active in acting or retired? I have been watching an episode of Barney Miller that she appeared in 1978. I've always loved the singing Antoinette and Loveless did on the show, but I had no idea of the work that went into their song selection. I'd wondered about it, but pleased to find out that the show did not just pluck an old song out and had it performed by the duo, but actually put serious effort and research into the songs.

Found this on our beloved website regarding this information: And singing the occasional song on West was Michael Garrison's idea. He saw the act and he said, "On every one of the shows, you're gonna sing, that's gonna be your 'thing.'" We worked with Marvin Hamlisch and a lot of the other people who worked for CBS in the music department at that time. They would research these old madrigals or old folk songs that would fit the period --I'm sure they fudged a little [laughs]! And then we would go in on a soundstage and pre-record them. On the set, I would play the harpsichord or I would play the lyre or I would play something --an instrument of the time --and Michael and I would sing, but basically they would loop us into what we did".

"To answer your question, sir, I'm James West, with the Secret Service." -The Night of the Plague

SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3865 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2020 :  22:22:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't know if Ms. Dorin is still with us or active.

Regarding the duets she and Michael Dunn sang, one that they may have fudged on is "Sloop John B." That song may be as old as the 1870s, but it was first transcribed in 1916. Another thing's for sure: both The Kingston Trio (1963) and The Beach Boys (1966) covered it. The latter was released on the album Pet Sounds (May 16), only some five months before we heard it on "The Night of the Raven."

I don't know how old "Sylvie" is (the first duet, from "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth"), but Harry Belafonte sang it during his classic 1959 performance at Carnegie Hall.

Two of the duets have always intrigued me because of their use of counterpoint: "On Top of Old Smoky" (in "The Night of the Whirring Death") and Brahms' Lullaby (Wiegenlied; "The Night of the Murderous Spring"). The first is given a charming, carousel arrangement, but if you listen carefully to the lyrics, some are quite grim:

And the grave will decay you,
The roots they will die,
And we'll all be forsaken
And never know why.

Dunn and Dorin sang Brahms's cradle song beautifully to harpsichord accompaniment, while twenty characters were murdering each other in a dining room offstage.

That's an awful way to end this post. Instead I'll sign off with the parody of "Old Smoky" recorded in 1963 by Allan Sherman ("Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"):

On top of Old Smokey,
All covered with hair.
Of course I'm referring
To Smokey the Bear.
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California gal
SS senior field agent

8545 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2020 :  09:43:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Phoebe is still alive, according to IMDb. She was born in 1940, so that makes her 80. Her most recent posted work was 2018 in the TV serves "Lethal Weapon." If you check her page, she has quite a few credits over the years.

Most American folk songs have their origins in British or Scots-Irish tunes. I don't know for certain about the ones mentioned here and sung in the show. When I have a moment, I'll see what I can find out. I have a couple of books, and there's always Google!

James: Thanks, Artie.
Artemus: "Thanks Artie"! Is that all you can say to me? I've just come back from the grave, risen like Lazarus, and that's what you say? "Thanks, Artie"?
James: Thanks, Artie.
Artemus: It's a pleasure.
- TNOT Pistoleros
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