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The McGuire Sisters

This article appeared in Dayton USA, January 1965 issue.



From Easter in church choir to Fame—


     Introducing the McGuire Sisters—Phyllis, Christine, and Dorothy—who can’t forget a city like Dayton and the people in it.  Opportunities in Dayton were the beginning of world-wide fame for the McGuire’s.

     Karl Taylor discovered them in the First Church of God choir.  His brother attended the church located on West Third street and told him he must see these girls that sang—so, one Easter Sunday Karl and his wife, Inez, heard the McGuire’s.  He was so impressed he told the girls if they ever decided to go into show business they should contact him and several months later they did.

     When they think of Dayton they remember the start Karl Taylor’s entertainment agency gave them.  “We remember the Van Cleve and manager Claude Cannon in the beginning of our show business career.  We started singing at the Van Cleve with a 22-week engagement—and it was Claude Cannon who gave us two weeks off, with pay, to go to New York and audition for the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout program,” says Phyllis.  They passed auditions for the Godfrey show but appeared on the Kate Smith show while in New York that September of 1962.

     “It was about 99 per cent sure that Kate Smith would have the DeMarco Sisters accompany her—but she was holding auditions for her show.  Miss Smith had one complaint concerning the DeMarco Sisters—they were too short and it made her appear taller.  Kate is 5’11”.  The McGuire Sisters are 5’8” and with heels stand 5’11”, so the girls got the job and solved her problem.  The McGuire’s sang on the Kate Smith show for several weeks,” according to Inez Taylor.

     Murray Kane the arranger for the DeMarco Sisters did the arranging for the McGuire’s while they appeared on the Kate Smith show and he has been with them since that big break in New York.

     Christine continues by explaining another opportunity which came on December 1, 1952 with Claude Cannon as their talent scout.  “We sang ‘You Belong To Me’ and won first prize—a week on Godfrey’s radio show.  This week long appearance turned into a regular job,” says Chris.

     “The sisters started singing in their church choir in Middletown. Phyllis, just three, was joined by her older sisters.  The girls always sing with Phyllis in the middle, Christine on the left and Dottie on the right.  This arrangement originated when the girls rode in the family car.  Phyllis—the one in the middle—rode in the center so her sisters could keep an eye on her.  Phyllis, the lead singer, even receives most of her phone calls for ‘the one in the middle,’ ”according to their mother.

     Chris and Dottie graduated from Middletown high school and then the McGuire’s moved to Miamisburg where their mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Asa McGuire now live.  Phyllis graduated from Miamisburg high school in 1949.  Between high school graduation and their show business career the girls were busy in Dayton.  Each girl had three jobs.  “We were all modeling for the Rike-Kumler Company, doing two TV shows for WLW-D which were “Hit The Road” and “ Live It Again,” and singing at the Van Cleve hotel and doing other club dates,:” according to Dottie.  Dottie was also holding down a part time secretarial job.

     Remembering the opportunities made possible for them in Dayton—Chris says, “We also think of Dayton as one of the cleanest cities we have ever been in especially after living in New York. We have traveled to many different places but we still have fond memories of Dayton.”  Although all three sisters have been married, Dottie is the only one married now.  Phyllis lives in New York, while Chris makes her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Dottie resides in Alberta, Canada.

     They didn’t forget Dayton and the people that helped them after their success in New York.  In a letter written to Inez Taylor in September of 1952 the girls said, “Ruby (Christine) is the secretary and does all the writing.  Phyllis dictates and Dottie just listens and keeps the money, gosh that sounds like an organization doesn’t it?”

     They have returned to Dayton on two different occasions to sing.  They did one show with Terry Moore and the other time they did a week end engagement for Claude Cannon at the Van Cleve hotel to a sell-out audience.  Dayton has a lot to offer young people trying to get into show business with its local television shows and good dancing schools,” said Phyllis.

     Last year, for the first time in several years, the girls got together with us in Miamisburg,” says Mrs. McGuire.  “We do get together several times a year but it is hard for all three to be in the same place at the same time.  We are a close family.”

     Phyllis, the lead, is also the spokesman for the singing sisters; second alto, Chris is the official shopper—she buys three of everything for the size-eight girls; and Dottie is the secretary-treasurer and sings first alto.

     From the First Church of God choir in Middletown to million dollar record sales—the McGuire Sisters remember Dayton—“it has so much to offer everyone..…”