SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Velvet Fog: 1947

The Velvet Fog: 1947

        Mel Torme (1925-1999) backstage at the Paramount Theater, in a visual approximation of his famous nickname conjured by photographer William Gottlieb and a block of dry ice in the dressing-room sink.

New York circa 1947. "Portrait of singer Mel Torme in dressing room." Medium format negative by Down Beat photographer William Gottlieb. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Down Beat

January 1, 1947:
Mel Torme Sings Just Like He Writes, Refreshing And Well

A Case of Mistaken Identity

I know the Shorpy webmaster does his homework so I have to accept that this is, in fact, Mel Torme. I would have never guessed it.

The shape and weight of his face must have changed radically in ensuing years.

LATER: Now the picture that was added to my post looks like Mel. The lead photo must have been taken from a weird angle. They don't even look like the same person.

"Girls' Town"

For a real treat, dig up this Mamie Van Doren hoot with Mel as the heavy, Paul Anka as the hero, a squad of tough-love nuns, and Elinor Donahue as Mamie's surprisingly hot sister. Pure kitschy fun, either on its own or in the MST3K version. Spoiler: Mel Torme is not Hollywood's most believable bad guy.

Steam disguise

I would not have recognized Torme in this photo. I knew him only from guest spots on Carol Burnett, and he certainly looked different then. A great performer, though!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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