Wow, Is He Big!

Hi fellow Vaughn Monroe fans... I spent many years as a Boston radio announcer under the name Tom Evans. I ran music shows on air from 1956 to the late 70's on Boston radio. I had several meetings with Vaughn Monroe, the last one was during his appearance as a solo act at Blinstrub's Village in South Boston. He passed away not too long after that interview.

Vaughn was a very special performer, band leader and person. He is still missed, especially here in the Boston area where he spent so much time. As you know Vaughn Monroe had his base of operations in the Boston area where he formed his first band in 1940, I believe. For a time he was the house band at a Framingham Nightclub called The Meadows. He was a part owner, so whenever he wasn't on the road, he played there.

When I began working in Boston radio (old WCOP and later WRKO, and WLVI-TV), one of my first assignments was to interview him at The Meadows. It was late morning, we set up our equipment on a dining room table, and in he came...carrying coffee for me and my engineer. My first impression was... what a nice guy! My second, is he big!

Prior to that meeting I watched him, as a teenager, performing at the Hampton Beach Casino in NH. That's where Ziggy Talent comes in. He was the singer on "The Maharajah of Magador," a novelty song and, big favorite at the time. Right up there with "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long." Remember that?

But, of course he was at his best with romantic ballads. And in those days romance was in. I found him to be a very friendly and, at the same time a serious guy. He loved the Boston area and had many friends there. When he went out on tour he went big time...carrying about 22 pieces or more, plus the Moon Men and the Moon Maids... at times totaling 8 singers. That would be totally impossible at today's costs.

I played his records on radio as many times as I could. One of my very favorites was "There I've Said it Again." How many remember "The Story of Two Cigarettes?" A classic, I think.

My last meeting with him was on an Easter Sunday sometime in the early sixties. He was doing a solo act in those days. He wasn't yet 50, but his career was winding down. He was performing at Blinstrub's Village, a well known South Boston nightclub. Rock was king in those days... his style was waning... and he was doing what we called the nostalgia circuit, performing his old hits to an extremely enthusiastic, but older crowd. I went back stage that day, taking my two young sons to meet him. He was very gracious, as always.

He pretty much retired not long after that, moving to Florida. He was only 57 (sic) when he died... much too early. It's very nice that people still keep his memory and music alive. He brought great entertainment to millions of people. And, that's his great legacy. Thanks for listening...

And now... here is Vaughn Monroe, his orchestra and the Moon Men with Ghost Riders in the Sky....!!

Submitted by: Neil MacNevin