Future Favorites — John King (1937) 🇺🇸

February 08, 2022

Ben Bernie and Zeppo Marx are responsible for this young man’s start in the theatrical world... One gave him his poise and theatrical finish, while the other secured for him his first job in pictures and his present contract with Universal...

by Lee Blackstock

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 11, 1909, King gained his preparatory education at Cincinnati public schools... He attended the University of Cincinnati after being graduated from high school...

John’s ambitions in those days led him to take up a general business career... however, John never put his education to practical use for, as soon as he finished college, he went to work as a stoker in a grain elevator... in turn he became a clerk for a radio concern, a furniture salesman, a chauffeur and a candy salesman... to top this all off, he later became a lumber-jack in Old Mexico and a ranch-hand in New Mexico...

1930 found King returning to his home town... By this time, his fine baritone voice had become greatly improved because it was John’s habit to sing as he went about his labors on the great western ranch...

Through a friend, John gained an audition in a radio station in Kentucky and a job resulted... On these programs King soon became chief entertainer, singing popular songs and ballads... Friends soon convinced him that his voice was his fortune, so he turned to prominent voice teachers for serious instruction...

Eight months later found John as chief announcer and featured singing star over his home town radio station in Cincinnati... he spent four years at this job... Ben Bernie’s chance listening to John’s program turned his career and soon after he was on the Ol’ Maestro’s pay roll as a featured singer... John’s experience with Bernie developed his poise and confidence...

By February, 1935, Ben Bernie’s band landed in Hollywood, and it was here that the band leader told King that he was ready for the screen... King was unwilling to leave the man who had given him such a start, but after a talk with Zeppo Marx, John changed his mind and took a screen test at Universal... the result brought a long term contract...

After a good performance in “Three Smart Girls” he landed the top part in “The Road Back”...

John is an accomplished baseball player and is better than fair at golf... He is a camera fan and has made some excellent portraits in his spare time... John is six-feet-two, weighs 180 pounds and has medium brown hair and blue eyes... rumored to be engaged to Binnie Barnes, but don’t take this too seriously... Binnie is in Europe!

Source: Motion Picture Magazine, August 1937