I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo

Back when music was so wholesome and awesome. It was during World War II that a song helped immortalize Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Glenn Miller Orchestra introduced ‘I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo’ in the 1942 musical ‘Orchestra Wives’ starring George Montgomery, Ann Rutherford, Cesar Romero, a young Jackie Gleason, with a dance number by the Nicholas Brothers. With a moderate swing tempo, writer Mack Gordon and composer Harry Warren produced a number one song capturing the wartime mood of a fella longing for his girl back home. Originally recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with vocals by Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton and the Modernaires, it was on the charts for 20 weeks and garnered an Academy Award nomination as best song. As a result of the popularity of the tune, there really was a gal there. Sara Woolley (later Knight) was selected by her hometown to represent the “Gal from Kalamazoo.” Her outgoing personality and good looks made the 19-year-old Kalamazoo College student an ideal spokesperson for the city. Her picture and story were published in newspapers, and she became a celebrity. She received mail from her fans, including admiring servicemen, and made many public appearances to sell war bonds and to promote Kalamazoo.

Video by wmg93