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Judy Valentine (née Norma Baker), an American singer and actress, was born 1923 in Boston, Massachusetts. While still a teenager, Valentine began singing professionally in local nightclubs. At 22, she married songwriter/disc-jockey Sherm Feller, who assumed an active role in promoting her career.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950's she recorded a series of hits including “I'm a Little Teapot”, “Kiss Me Sweet” (given the distinction of being banned by CBS due to Valentine’s suggestive delivery of the refrain ‘Kiss my little . . . cares away’ [unintentional, according to the artist])[1], and “She Was Five And He Was Ten” (co-penned by Feller), all of which showcased her child-like soprano. At this time, her husband hosted radio station WEEI’s musical variety program Club Midnight, where Valentine found herself periodically taking over duties for the absent Feller, who had a fondness for cards. The marriage eventually dissolved and in 1960 Valentine was approached by Boston television station WHDH/Channel 5 to appear in a summer television children’s series ultimately titled Judy and Goggle. Goggle was a hand-puppet and operated by then unknown puppeteer Carroll Spinney (later known as ‘Big Bird’ of Sesame Street).[2]

The success of Judy and Goggle led to its performers being asked to join the cast of The Bozo Show, where Valentine appeared as Bozo’s sidekick, singing popular children’s songs and dancing. The show ran for 12 years, and was likely the most successful of the Bozo the Clown franchises, subsequently being selected in 1970 for U.S. national broadcast syndication (Valentine’s performances were omitted from syndication prints in order to avoid the necessity of paying music-related royalties.) During this same period, Valentine made a series of guest appearances as 'The Dancing Doll' and 'Bixter the Leprechaun' on the long-running Captain Kangaroo show, and was featured in several now well-known radio and television commercials (“How many cookies did Andrew eat? Andrew 8-8000” [Adams & Swett]). Following the cancellation of "Bozo" in 1970, she took a several-year hiatus to raise her two children from a second marriage. Valentine later resumed work in commercials and theater but did not return to serial television performance. She has done considerable charity work for children’s causes, and still makes media appearances from time to time. A compilation of her recorded vocal performances, "Favorites, Vol. I," was released in 2007. Her son is composer/pianist Ross Berkal.

Sources

  1. ^ Telephone interview, Summer 2005.
  2. ^ Caroll Spinney Greater Talent
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