Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Voice of God.....
My Grandpa Delos Jewkes was the 'Voice of God' in the Ten Commandments. He was a professional singer and an amazing entertainer and I grew up listening to him sing. He worked for Warner Brothers and all the other movie companies. He sang and did short parts in all the first sound movies. He also traveled all around entertaining on the 'Orpheum Vaudeville' circuit. He was a star on vaudeville, but the great depression hit and all of the vaudeville houses were turned into movie theatres. He did hundreds of bit parts. He use to joke there is enough footage of me on the cutting room floor to make a full-length feature. He was on the 'Andy Griffth' show, in 'True Grit', Bednobs and Broomsticks, 'The Music Man' and played parts with Bing Crosby, Betty Grable,Red Skelton and many more.
My Grandpa was born October 21st, 1895 in Orangeville, UT. His parents encouraged music in the home and at the age of 9 he worked hard delivering milk so he could buy his own violin. My great grandfather, Jesse David Jewkes, was elected state treasurer and auditor and moved the family to Salt Lake City. In 1915 my grandfather Delos served a mission to South Africa. World War I broke out and international travel was almost impossible and so my grandfather was a faithful missionary for four years. He took his violin with him to South Africa and spent many hours playing and singing. He was married in 1920 to Belle Gardner. My grandfather became a traveling salesman for a music company. He spent four years singing for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was a featured basso profundo soloist with the choir.
Grandpa then joined the Brandon Light Opera Company. There first production was the Gilbert and Sullivan operatta 'The Pirates of Penzance'. After traveling with the company he spent 64 consecutive weeks at the Strand Theatre in Vancouver. He arrived in Hollywood as the studios started experimenting with sound in movies. When he couldn't get work in the movies he sang at clubs, and funerals and weddings. He was know as the best and the lowest bass on the West Coast. He voice was once dubbed in for a lead actor who couldn't sing the lowest note and for that one single note they paid him $100. He would always joke, "I'd like to sing an aria at that rate.'
Ironically the part he was best known for and the part I remember best is the part that was suppose to be a secret, the voice of God in 'The Ten Commandments.' I was so proud of him for that and loved hearing him sing on every occassion. He continued to sing and was very generous with his talents up until he passed away in July, 1984 in his 89th year.