THE STARS AND THE STORIES
from the Roy Radin Showvocal by (my father-in-law) Robert Goulet - from "Toy Story II"
Milton Berle was an amazing guy. He kept us on our toes and was a true professional and perfectionist. He asked that of everyone on the show. He understood no other way.
Here you see Milton at set-up for the show. He did this every show, even on two a days, and would go so far as to place the lead alto music stand and have us build the orchestra around that stand. Everything had to be precise. We all learned so much about the business and professionalism from him. There will never be another like him.
Dick Haymes was one of the nicest, kindest human beings I have ever met. He was a great performer and a musician's singer. We always looked forward to working with Dick. He had the greatest arrangements and would always get off the bus at the end of the night and say "See you at the office", which meant, I'll see you at the bar. Dick passed away while I was working in Miami Beach with Eddie Fisher. It was a very sad day when Dick left us.
Gloria DeHaven was a fabulous singer and a very sweet lady. She just might be the most beautiful women to evertour with us. She could hang with the best of us and loved musicians to death. One night on stage, I noticed that the musicians were not looking at me. They were playing and not paying attention. I looked around and saw that Gloria's dress was made of a rather thin material and when the spotlight hit it, you could see right through it, as is readily apparent in the picture above right. As you can see from her pictures, she was and is still a gorgeous woman and the band loved her.
Georgie Jessel was another of those "once in a lifetime" people one gets to meet. On one trip, we stopped at a Howard Johnson's to eat. George invited some of the guys in the band to join him for lunch. When the bill came, he told us to go on out to the bus and he would be right there. It turns out that Georgie signed the bill to his room at the last hotel, several hundred miles away, and skipped out. We found out and paid the bill. He used to go to his room, at the hotels and leave his room door ajar. Donald O'Connor saw the door opened one day and knocked. He heard "Come in". When he entered, there was Georgie lying on the bed naked, wearing just his hat. Donald said "Oh Excuse me. I'll close the door". Georgie told him not to bother, that that was the way he got lucky every once in awhile.
Frank Gorshin was one of the most talented people in the business. He had a great singing voice and would actually take on the appearance of the people he was impersonating. He never got the credit that he deserved. We used to watch him come into a bar and bet on which character he would do to try to pick up chicks.
His conductor, Buddy Freed, was a great guy and my mentor. He taught me more about working with musicians and how to rehearse, quickly, painlessly and make sure the musicians enjoyed themselves. Buddy's passing was as great a loss to the music world as Frank's was to the entertainment community.
For those who never got to see the brilliance of Frank, here is a routine cut into two part.
George Gobel was probably my favorite of all the stars, with the exception of Donald. He was the most down to earth and never said a funny thing. He just said things funny. He had us in stitches all the time and we loved having him on stage and off. One night on stage, he turned and bowed to the band. The band stood and bowed back. He giggled and went on with the act and all of a sudden, he turned and bowed to the band again. We quickly stood up and bowed back. When the second trumpet player went to sit down, his chair leg had been knocked off the stand. He sat down and began to fall backward. He reached over and grabbed the lead trumpet player to stop himself and, instead, took the lead player with him. The lead player reached for the third trumpet player and he knocked the lead players hand off him and watched them fall over. There was a band shell behind us, so they went down in slow motion. There was a big crash and George turned in horror, seeing that there was an empty gap in the trumpet section. They stood up, dusted themselves off and got back on the stand. No on was hurt and George, along with the band and the audience, began to laugh. He went on with the act and at the end, went to hit a high note, but stopped, turned around, counted the trumpet players, giggled and finished the song.
Another time, we were at an after show party. George was a heavy drinker and had an equilibrium problem. He would come to me and say "The wind is blowing." Which meant he was having trouble with his balance and needed help out to the bus. One night, it had been raining and Greg Zack and I were helping him out to the bus. There was a puddle in front of the bus steps. I said "Hey George. Watch the puddle." He quickly replied " Why. What's it going to do". He was always a really funny guy.
George really didn't say funny things...he just said things funny, as is easy to see in this clip from The Dean Martin Show.
Johnnie Ray was a very down to earth star. He used to have the audience wrapped around his little finger. We loved to mess with him, because the audience would mob him trying to get his autograph when he would try to get to the bus. We were in Wilmington, Delaware one afternoon and Johnnie looked out and saw hundreds of people waiting at the stage door. He came to me and asked me to try to get him to the bus. I went out to the bus and looked off to the main entrance of the theater and saw Johnnie's manager, Danny, standing there. Unfortunately for Danny, he looked a lot like Johnnie. I yelled "Hey, there's Johnnie Ray" and pointed to the main entrance. The mob moved quickly and surrounded poor Danny, who had no idea what was going on. Johnnie ran to the bus and we left poor Danny there, trying to convince people he wasn't Johnnie.
Here is a video clip of Johnnie doing "Walkin' My Baby Back Home"
Jackie Vernon was a very funny guy, both on stage and off. He had a couple of problems that he had to deal with. One of which was he was a bit of a kleptomaniac. We had some time off, one day and he and Eddie Mekka went to a store. As they went through the store, Jackie kept bumping up against Eddie. When they finally got outside, Jackie stopped Eddie at the car and started taking things out of Eddie's jacket. Mekka had no idea that Jackie was stealing things and putting them in his jacket. Jackie also had a luggage fetish. If he saw that there was a luggage sale. He would go buy bags and Carl, the bus driver, would have to ship them home, or the bus luggage bay would get too full.
Smokin' Joe Frazier was a killer in the ring, but one of the kindest, gentlest guys anyone could ever meet. We rehearsed and did the first show of the tour Joe was on and Roy called me into his suite. He told me that the band would have to rehearse the next day again, as Joe did not like the way his show went. I blew up and told Roy the only problem was the way Joe's arrangements were written. Roy told me to work it out with Joe. Back then, I was a bit of a hot head and was very protective of my musicians. I went to Joe's room and when he opened the door, I let him have it verbally about how his charts sucked and told him he could shove another rehearsal up his ass. Joe had me come in and when I continued with my tirade, he simple put his huge hand on my shoulder and said "Sit down!" I then realized that I was about to take on the only man to knock down Muhammed Ali and break his jaw and decided to calm down before I got knocked down. I rewrote Joe's arrangements that night and all was right with the world. To this day, I still consider Joe to be a good friend.
Joe had a favorite hotel bar in Phili. that he used to hang out at. Ali used to piss him off by showing up at the bar and having himself paged, so everyone would know he was there and they would all flock to Ali. The competition never ends.
There are clips from the 3 Ali-Frazier fights on this video. Joe told me that in the third fight he didn't answer the bell for the fifteenth round because he knew one of them would have died that day. Ali said "If Joe would have stood up, I would have sat back down", for he knew the same thing.
F 360 was Joe Frazier's back-up vocal group. Very sweet people and boy could they sing.
DEAN MARTIN'S GOLDDIGGERS
Patty Pavaar, the leader Joyce Garro, seemed to be the quietest one
The albericci sisters, Marie Elena, Darlene ( the baby sister) and Linda Peggy Gohl, the funniest one
Peggy was also an amazing talent
Robyn Whatley, the sweetest of them
The Golddiggers were a marvelous act of six extremely talented ladies. They were all very sweet and were a joy to work with, with the exception of their luggage. We were all limited to one suitcase, but the ladies needed suitcases for their clothing and also their costumes. There was limited space available for luggage under the bus, so the overflow had to go in the back of the bus, in the passenger seats. We would set up an assembly line of musicians to get the luggage to the back. It became very crowded and occasionally during a tight turn or sudden stop, the band, who resided in the back of the bus, would find themselves victims of a suitcase avalanche. Musically they were a great act to work with. They had some great charts.
Darlene, the youngest of the Albericci sister's, was on her first road trip. She actually sat down and wrote her own musician's dictionary, since musicians have their own language. It was cute and very enlightening to see ourselves through someone else's eyes.
Jo Anne Worley was a real sweetheart. She was on our first tour and it was the first time on the road for most of us. She became our den mother and took very good care of us. Mickey Deans was the conductor at that time and he was Judy Garland's last husband. Jo Anne had a crush on Mickey and every time Mickey would go to his room, she would barge in and jump on him. Nothing ever happened, as Jo Anne was married at the time and we found out much later that Mickey was gay.
Tiny Tim has to be one of the most unique performers on the tour. He was more like a child than an adult. He always spoke in his falsetto voice and always addressed everyone by either Mister or Miss whatever. I was always "Mr. Fowlar", no matter how many times I asked him to call me Tim. We all called him "Tiny". He would never eat with us. He would always take food to his hotel room or to the bus and always wore his tuxedo. We went to a grocery store one afternoon and Tiny went with us. When he went to check out, the manager told him that if he would sing over the intercom, his purchases would be free. He obliged the manager and sang "Tiptoe Through The Tulips". The next day, the story made the local newspapers.
We opened our first, tour headlined by Eddie Fisher in Pompano Beach, Florida. Tiny was on the show and the restaurant was across the street from the hotel rooms, which had no room service. We had to cross Highway 1, which was fairly busy. The band had finished the morning's rehearsal and had settled in to eat. Someone looked out the window and saw Tiny trying to cross to the restaurant. He would get about half way across the highway, when a driver would recognize him and honk. Tiny would turn and run back to the side he had come from. After several tries, Frank Maffei, from Danny and the Juniors, came along and escorted Tiny to the other side. We were all in tears in the restaurant. He may have been a bit strange, but he could tell you who wrote a song, when it was written and by who it was first recorded. Donald O'Connor called him "an Idio-genious". He could barely tie his own shoes, but could recite unbelievable baseball statistics. Kind of a musical Rain man.
We had a day off on one summer tour and decided to have a baseball game. Tiny asked if he could referee the game and we agreed. Tiny came out to the field in his pink tuxedo and umpired the game. It was quite a sight for the passers by.
Larry Klug was Tiny's pianist during his second tour with us and Larry sent me a snippet of a tap Tiny made for Larry one night.
click here to hear Tiny's snippet
Here is a classic Tiny Tim moment on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
This link will take you to a lovely tribute to Tiny.
Jack Carter was one of the most miserable people we ever had on the show. All he did was bitch and moan and growl. The band dubbed him "Captain Rage". He made everyone so unhappy, that we had him thrown off the bus and he had to drive with Danny Rapp from Danny and the Juniors.
Stanley Myron Handelman was a favorite of the band. His comedy was so hip that it usually went over the audience's head. He had that slow, drawn out style of talk that just made you laugh and a very quick wit. I was always sorry we didn't stay in touch.
Brenda Hilliard and Albert Bailey were Faith, Hope and Charity. They were Roy Radin's first venture into the recording world. They were a great act, who could sing their butts off. My fondest memory of them was the day we flew to Honolulu with the show and all 39 pieces of luggage went to Guam instead. I spent hours with Brenda waiting to find out what happened to our bags and finally got to know her very well. She was a really sweet woman and I will always treasure the time we spent talking and watching TV waiting for the bags.
Danny and the Juniors were probably the act that did more tours than any other, with the exception of Kenny Sherburne, the juggler. They became our friends and I still work with them whenever possible. I conducted a few shows with Eddie Mekka, where we had the Juniors on the show. It is always great to hang out with them and they know the best places for Phili Cheesesteaks. Donald loved the Juniors, but Danny( farthest on the right) is no longer with us.
Ronny Spector was a sweetheart and very tiny. She was all of 95 pounds soaking wet. She used to walk on my back after the show and straighten it out. Ronny had a bit of a drinking problem at the time and one night, she walked into the dressing room shared by Donald O'Connor and Eddie Fisher and threw up in Eddie's shoe, just before going on stage. We had to turn off her mike and have Sonya, one of the Ronettes, sing lead.
Charley Gaston was a very fine impressionist. He did a Sinatra that would fool Frank Jr. Charley never made it big, but I think if he ever got a break, he would have done great things. He was very bald and would wrap his long hair around his head and unless it got messed up, you would never know. He used to do Johnnie Ray in his act and at the end, would rip off his shirt and mess up his hair. It was quite a sight.
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