Alliene Flanery made her JayRob debut in the first play of the second season, “Anniversary Waltz,’ and continued with a role in the third season in ‘Cloud Seven.”
Alliene was an imposing persona, at six feet tall and well over 200 pounds. When Dore Shary’s production company came to Sacramento to film crowd scenes for the movie “Lonelyhearts” starring Montgomery Clift, Myrna Loy and Robert Ryan, Alliene was one of about 30 JayRob persons (including myself) to be filmed in scenes. Because of her bulk, she was singled out for a number of extra shots.
I remember Alliene mostly as an entertainer, as she joined my brother and me (performing as “The Baldwin Brothers”) in a campus night club-style show at Sacramento State College. The show was emceed by another student, Dick Cobb (who would later join the speech department as Professor Richard Cobb).
In one memorable scene during the night club act, Alliene had gone into her “Hard-Hearted Hannah” rendition and Dick, sitting atop an A-frame ladder, roared out “Go, my Red-Hot Mama!”
At that point, Alliene stopped her song, looked Dick in the eyes and said, “You know, I’m not married, and if I’m your Mama, you know what that makes you!”
Dick sheepishly descended from the ladder and never interrupted Alliene again.
Alliene was born November 19, 1930 in Oklahoma, raised in Sacramento and died on May 20, 1992, while living in Carmichael, California, after a stellar career in show business.
The following article was written by Paul Garner and published in the New York Times on Tuesday, August 14, 1962, with the headline:
Singer Logs 279,000 Miles In Morale Missions for U.S.O.;
Alliene Flanery Takes Off for Iceland and Greenland–Served in Trouble Spots
Alliene Flanery will never receive a combat medal or the Purple Heart, but in the last four years she has narrowly escaped danger and attracted attention while circling the world for the United Service Organizations.
Since 1958, the tall, wavy-haired singer has covered 279,000 miles. By the end of the year she will have done more U. S. O. globe-trotting in these four years than any other female vocalist.
Miss Flanery arrived in Saigon, Vietnam, as the Communists stepped up their guerrilla warfare, and she checked out of a Moroccan hotel a few minutes after it had been bombed and strafed by terrorists.
Yesterday she packed her padded flight pants, muk-luks and a furry overcoat for an engagement in Greenland and Iceland.
Before departing by plane the 30-year-old singer said: “I’ve got six pieces of luggage and enough gear to keep me warm during a blizzard. Maybe the boys will think I’m an Eskimo”
Entrance Is Dazzling
Blasé recruits are not likely to forget a Flanery entrance. She swirls on stage in her own creation: a peacock blue gown with thousands of sparkling sequins.
While the spectators regain their composure, she throws out her arms and begins belting “Hard Hearted Hannah.” Besides special material, her repertory comprises “Bill Bailey,” “Sister Kate” and “My Funny Valentine.”
Miss Flanery grew up in Sacramento, Calif. At the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in dress designing, she began singing in campus shows. She made her professional debut with the U. S. O. in 1954.
Troops in France, West Germany, Libya, Crete, the Azores, Korea, Greece and Turkey have heard Miss Flanery. She has been transported over land, sea and air by Jeeps, helicopters, weapons carriers and two-ton trucks.
During her act, Miss Flanery talks to the G. I.’s. “I’m a perfect target for hecklers,” she said, “so I advise them: ‘Boys, I may be big, but I’m adorable.’”
Challenged to Do Twist
In Alaska, one husky lieutenant challenged her to do the twist. “I did it,” she said, “but I guess seismographs registered in Berkeley.”
Besides her U. S. O. work, Miss Flanery has appeared in night clubs in Reno, Nev., and Lake Tahoe and Beverly Hills, Calif. “The U. S. O. tours gave me timing and polish.” she said, “and, of course, the audiences were very appreciative, which always helps.”
Miss Flanery termed the U. S. O. more important now than during war years. “These are kids I entertain,” she said. “Many are away from home for the first time. They wonder what they’re doing in Alaska or West Germany. It’s pretty easy for their morale to go bloop.”
Her global adventures have prompted her to write a book. “I’m on Chapter 2,” she said. “It might even make a musical comedy.”
“I stand six feet in heels,” she winked, “so my story won’t be called ‘Little Me.’”