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Janet Blair

Red-haired brown eyed Altoona native Janet Blair was born Martha Janet Lafferty on April 23, 1921.  She began her career singing with Hal Kemp's band.  One could say that she received her musical talent naturally.  Her father was the soloist and choirmaster in his church and her mother played both the organ and piano exceptionally well.


One night, a friend of the family, Alex Holden, manager of The Hal Kemp Band had taken the Lafferty family to hear the band perform at a local dance.  Once Janet's friends, who were in attendance, saw that she was there, they started cheering for her to get up and sing.  Finally, in order to calm the crowd,  Kemp invited her to perform.  Three months later, when the bandleader found himself in the need of a singer just prior to his opening in Pittsburgh, he remembered Jsnet and he wired her to join him.


Initially, when she was offered a chance to sing professionally, her father refused to give his permission for the venture.  However, after seeing how things progressed, her father changed his tune.  She ended up taking the name of her home county as her professional name



To read the complete article , please check out the upcoming book release They Came From Blair County due out by the end of 2020.



Material from this article was found from the following resources:


1. Wikipedia article for Janet Blair

2. "Actress Janet Blair, native of Altoona dies at 85" (  The Daily News February 21, 2007.  p.2

3. Kleiner, Dick (July 4, 1957) "Janet Blair won't look back on her year of disappointment" ( Pampa Daily News p13

4. Ewald, William (September 25, 1956) "Janet Blair irked at Fabray Comparisons" ( The Times p11

5.  " Janet Blair is given surprise welcome home" ( Altoona Tribune January 7, 1947 p1

6. "Road wasn't difficult for Janet Blair" ( Waco Tribune December 7, 1952 p54

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