Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pop Culture Basement: Dora Hall


What lives in the Pop Culture Basement? Forgotten stars of yesteryear, one & none hit wonders and other things that time seemingly forgot!

Most of the time, the worst result of using a classic red Solo Cup is the massive hangover that can come from getting blitzed on beer or some other alcoholic beverage enjoyed from one of the disposable plastic cups. In the 1960's and 70's, however, every Solo Cup package often touted a free record of 'top chart hits' that could be yours for the asking. Larger packages often came with the records attached. Who was the mystery singer whose albums could be had for a song? Why the elderly Dora Hall!


Ms. Hall was actually Mrs. Hulseman, wife of the owner of Solo Cup. A vaudeville songstress, Ms. Hall gave it all up to settle down and get married to Leo Hulseman, raising a family and helping him build up the Solo Cup Company. In the 1960's, Leo retired and handed the reins of the company over to his son while he began to give his wife the chance to have the career she deferred for him. The result was a series of vanity albums that Ms. Hall recorded in which she covered various songs like These Boots Are Made For Walking, Satisfaction and Hang on Sloopy. 

Despite the countless free albums produced and distributed, Ms. Hall's late in life career is mostly forgotten these days. Was it because she was a bad singer? Not really; she was a serviceable performer who could have brought the roof down at a senior center talent show. For a professional singer she was quite possibly out of her league, but she was obviously enjoying herself. It would be easy to mock her and her husband for their vanity, but this story is actually kind of sweet. Leo loved Dora so much that he let her follow the dreams she deferred because she chose to raise their family and help build their business. Who can find fault with that?