get to be the dream man of
thousands of adoring teenagers without some good reason. So when my mail
kept increasing for a story about Vaughn
Monroe I decided I'd better obey my readers, pronto.
a very good time for an interview because Vaughn, his wife and two daughters
were in Hollywood while he was making a motion picture for Republic.
Certainly a crooner, whose
records had already sold 20,000,000 - a number only exceeded by Bing Crosby-
deserves a story.
Strangely enough I had never met
Vaughn Monroe and when he walked into my living room, I couldn't help but
think how unlike an actor he looks.
If you met him, without knowing
he was one of the top crooners as well as an important western star, you would
say that's a country banker or a lawyer in a small town. Vaughn has the
simplicity and naturalness that goes with our conception of those solid
citizens who are typically American.
This is not surprising
as Vaughn was raised in a small town in the good old Midwest. He first saw
the light of day in Akron, Ohio where his father was in the rubber business.
But he tells me that when he was a small boy his family moved to Jeanette,
Pennsylvania, where he went to school.
was in Jeanette where he met a pretty girl named Marian Baughman, who was
destined to become Mrs. Monroe. They have been married twelve years now and
she goes with him on almost all his tours.
"When did you begin your musical
career?" I asked him.
"When I was eleven years old," he
said, "A kid down the street gave me a battered old trumpet. I brought it
home and made so much noise with it that my family was ready to throw me and
the horn out the window."
According to Vaughn, all of his
musical activities centered around that trumpet. He won a contest, and as he
grew older he decided to continue his musical studies. Before he finished
them at a musical college, he had to go to work. A job with a band was
"I started vocalizing with the
band," said Vaughn, "and I suppose that was the beginning of my becoming a
Vaughn's first appearance on the
screen was in "Singing Guns" for Republic, a movie in which he sang "Mule
Train," a song he helped make popular on the air. Later came "Toughest Man
in Tombstone." (sic)
All this happened after Papa
Yates, head of Republic, lost his two big money makers, Gene Autry and Roy
Rogers. The shrewd head of the little studio, now Rechons, he has the best
investment of his life in Monroe. Who better than Monroe to become a western
star as well as a crooner?
"The only hitch," Vaughn told me,
"is that I'd like to get out of playing westerns. But I'm the sort of person
who generally does what I'm told to do by the people for whom I work. I've
been on the air seven years for the same sponsor. I made records for the
same company, and I suppose if Mr. Yates wants me to continue with westerns,
I'll do them."
Yates realized he had a real buy
when Vaughn was in the Madison Square Garden rodeo and it was a sellout
every night. For this little chore, Vaughn received $25,000.
So I guess whether Vaughn wants
to make westerns or not, he's not going to get far away from them. Westerns
are money in the bank, and Monroe is money in the bank for Republic, for RCA
Victor and for himself.
Jerry Furris for this article.