The Aeroplane Jelly Song by Joy King

The Aeroplane Jelly Song by Joy King
402848 & 281850
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A popular radio jingle advertising an Australian brand of jelly crystals. The song was recorded in 1938 and broadcast on Sydney radio in the 1940s – up to 100 times a day.

Summary by Maryanne Doyle

John Dunne, a 2SM presenter and studio manager, is believed to have conducted the 2SM orchestra for the recording of the jingle. Dunne brought in ideas from America for the station and was keen to link advertisers with talent quests. The violin solo towards the end of the tune is performed by prize-winner Betty Elsa Gillas (later Rofe) who had won first prize on Uncle Tom’s Amateur Hour, a talent quest children’s program presented on 2SM by John Dunne. Seven-year-old Joy King won a state-wide competition in New South Wales to sing the 'Aeroplane Jelly Song’.

The tune is undeniably catchy, though its recognition factor was probably helped by the longevity of the advertising campaign and the frequency of the broadcast. A big part of the recording’s appeal is down to Joy’s charming and plaintive delivery of the simple lyrics. And in case you were wondering what aeroplanes have to do with jelly, the lyrics provide the answer: 'The quality’s high as the name will imply’. So now you know!


The Aeroplane Jelly song by Joy King synopsis

A radio jingle recorded in the late 1930s promoting an Australian brand of jelly crystals. This is the most famous and best-loved version, sung by seven-year-old Joy King with the Radio 2SM Orchestra, conducted by John Dunne.


Curator's notes

The Aeroplane Jelly Song was composed in 1930 by grocer Albert Francis Lenertz, better known locally as 'Frank Leonard of Marrickville’. Lenertz was a co-partner with Adolphus ‘Bert’ Appleroth in the firm Aeroplane Jelly. The jingle was first recorded by Amy Rochelle, a music hall entertainer who did child imitations, but the best known recording is this 1938 version sung by seven-year-old Joy King (later Joy Wigglesworth). She was chosen after a state-wide competition in New South Wales (the only state marketing the jelly crystals at this time). Her version was broadcast for many years.

John Dunne conducted the 2SM orchestra for the recording of the jingle, according to an NFSA oral history with Bessie Dunne, John’s widow. John Dunne performed a number of roles at 2SM: as well as presenting various programs, he was the studio manager and instrumental in bringing in program ideas from America.

This jingle was reportedly played 100 times a day on Sydney radio in the 1940s. Such a saturation radio advertising campaign may have been the first of its kind in Australia. This marketing innovation was the work of Aeroplane Jelly co-owner Bert Appleroth, who also demonstrated his marketing zeal in 1927 by choosing a company name to match the topical interest in aviation.

The company kept up with advances in media, and Joy King’s voice was used in animated cinema ads featuring 'Bertie the Aeroplane’, followed by television ads and now the internet, with the jingle able to be downloaded from the Aeroplane Jelly website. The downloads include versions performed in not-so-convincing French and Spanish accents as well as beatnik and rock’n'roll versions.

Notes by Maryanne Doyle