Beautiful Georgia Carroll was America’s top model in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Her image graced the cover of numerous magazines as well as the pages inside them. In 1941, talent scouts brought her to Hollywood and put her under contract to Warner Brothers, though the studio never figured out how to properly use her. She appeared in several films, mainly in uncredited roles. In 1942, she made a soundie for RCM, singing “When the Roses Bloom Again” with Buddy Clark.
In 1943, Kay Kyser asked the studio for two pretty girls to accompany his band during an army camp show. Warner Brothers assigned Carroll as one of the women. While on the return trip, Kyser heard Carroll sing and invited her to be part of his camp shows as a regular, which she accepted. When vocalist Trudy Erwin left Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge radio program shortly thereafter, he asked Carroll to take her place. Carroll appeared with the orchestra in the RKO picture Around the World that same year and became quite popular with audiences, earning honorable mention in Billboard magazine’s most popular female vocalist poll in 1944 and taking fourth place in 1945.
Carroll and Kyser fell in love soon after she joined the band. A popular story often goes that one night in 1944 the two were pulled over for speeding in Nevada. After introducing themselves, Kyser, who wanted to avoid a ticket, quickly made up a story that they were in a hurry to get married. Knowing that publicity over the traffic stop would soon catch up to them, they decided it was best to find a Justice of the Peace and marry that night, in order to avoid negative press. But according to Carroll:
We were playing a show in the desert for the service men. Kay was supposed to be headed for Los Angeles but headed for Nevada because that was the only place to get married in a hurry. I knew where he was going but just hoped I was doing the right thing. The story about worrying over the press catching wind of the speeding ticket is not true.
Carroll and Kyser remained together until his death in 1985. She retired from show business at the end of 1946 to raise a family, the couple eventually settling in North Carolina. Georgia Carroll passed away in 2011, age 91.
Special thanks to Trevor Kyser-Carr and Georgia Carroll for setting the story straight. ↩︎