Louella O. Parsons in Hollywood

Motion Picture Editor News Service

"Pictorial Review"


May 18, 1952


You don't 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.

This seemed 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.

It 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 offered him.

"I started vocalizing with the band," said Vaughn, "and I suppose that was the beginning of my becoming a singing bandleader."

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.

Thanks to Jerry Furris for this article.