Voice with Muscles




August 20, 1949


(l to r) Mary Jo Thomas, Maree Lee, Vaughn, Tinker Cunningham, June Hiett

Monroe and the Moon Maids do a number for his weekly radio program, now in its fourth year.

One of Monroe's biggest hits is Riders in the Sky


Swooning teen-agers put Vaughn Monroe, whose crooning bulges with virility, at the top of their listening lists. His booming baritone has set box-office cash registers to jingling and Mr. Monroe to counting his musical millions


MR. VAUGHN WILTON MONROE is a large handsome young man whose business it is to stand in front of an orchestra which bears his name, and bellow songs in a voice reminiscent of both Nelson Eddy and Leo the Lion. For this, and related activity, he currently is grossing nearly $2,000,000 a year. He is the number one orchestra leader of this country, according to such show business authorities as Billboard and Motion Picture Daily; the number one male vocalist, according the the best-seller record lists of Variety; and the Adonis of Band Leaders, according to a plaque presented to him by the Hairdressers of Cleveland, Ohio.

He also is proving to be the greatest boon to the nation's all-night disk jockeys since the discovery of insomnia.

Last January, for instance, a gentleman named Ed McKenzie, known to the Detroit radio audience as Jack the Bellboy, was passing a slow night at his turntables in the studio. On a whim, he picked up a Vaughn Monroe record and said, "Well, let's hear now from Old Nasal Nose, the poor man's John Charles Thomas. In the recording by Old Mushmouth, note carefully the muscles on the tonsils, the sinews on the adenoids. Here he is, Vaughn Mon-schmoe!"

The next day, angry teen-agers swarmed upon the radio station. Jack the Bellboy was deluged with letters, typical of which was the following:

        Dear Empty-head:

        Why don't you drop dead, take the A-train, or jump in the river? Boy-- you're nowhere.

        When you start picking on my boy Vaughn Monroe, the fireworks really start.

        First of all, he's the most wonderful man, the best-looking male vocalist in the country and he

        can outsing anybody you can name any day. Why don't you keep your rotten opinions to


        How about playing Vaughn Monroe's latest-- without your usual sarcastic remarks?

                                                                                                    An ex-Bellboy fan

After reading thousands of such letters Jack the Bellboy (who actually is a close friend of Monroe) smiled contentedly, piled up the letters, and walked in to ask for a raise. Today, whenever the Bellboy wants to give his Hooper rating a boost he attacks Monroe and happily waits for the letters to come pouring in.

"This," says Jack the Bellboy, "doesn't happen with any other star-- not even Crosby or Sinatra."

Apparently, a lot of things are happening to Vaughn Monroe lately that are not happening to other stars. The entertainment world is in a slump, but not the deep-toned Mr. Monroe, whose controversial voice has brought him titles like the Voice with Muscles and the Voice with Hair on Its Chest (friendly); and the Foghorn, Old Leather Lungs and the Million-Dollar Monotone (critical). His weekly radio program is in its fourth year, and a good deal of money is rolling in from a number of other sources.

[This article continues on page 64 of Collier's Magazine]