To Impress a Girl

I would like to share with you some of my memories of Vaughn Monroe and why I became as a teenager a lifelong fan of the Maestro. First of all, I was never even aware of such a singer as Vaughn Monroe until one day while conversing with a cute 12 year old about our favorite singers, I mentioned Bing Crosby while she said Vaughn Monroe. Eager to improve my chances with Jane, I decided I would find out more about this mystery singer which she thought was so wonderful. And so I made it a point to listen to him and although Jane and I never worked it out between us, I continued to pay attention to Vaughn Monroe during my teen years and recall to this day, the first record I ever bought of any artist and it was a song called, "Bamboo," which I am sure you heard on some occasion. It was a ballyhooed recording back in 1950 which never reached its place in the charts but is also a uniquely different sound from the pop songs of the day.

One day I learned that it was possible to get free tickets to the Camel Caravan radio broadcast which originated here in New York City which of course, was sponsored by Camel cigarettes. On several occasions, I had the pleasure of attending those programs and once got the courage as a 14 year old to go up to Monroe after the program and ask for his autograph on a publicity picture. He couldn't be more charming and gracious in signing and sent me out of the studio feeling ten feet tall when in response to my request, he actually called me sir! No one had ever called me that before in my young life and that made me a Vaughn Monroe fan for life. What I remember most about those teen age years was how we used to gather at parties and discuss our favorite singers. Most of friends were admirers of Frank Sinatra or King Cole and were not too big on Vaughn whose records I used to bring to our house parties. When I would mention Vaughn, they usually put their hand over their nose and begin crooning, "Racing With The Moon," which was fine by me and made me feel even more loyal to someone who was not a front runner.

Over the years, I attended a number of programs both at the old "CBS Playhouse" on 45th street and later at the NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller. The last time I had a chance to converse with him was while attending a band presentation at some long-forgotten dance hall in Yonkers, New York back in 1953. At that time, I requested that he sing his own composition, "Something Sentimental," which he nodded agreement to, but did not play. About a half hour later, I approached him at the bandstand and reminded him of my request, he smiled yes, and sure enough the next number was my request.

By 1954, I had enlisted in the U.S. Army, and by that time Vaughn had given up his band and I moved on with my own life. When I came out of the Service in 1956, Vaughn had a television broadcast which lasted maybe a year or so before finally giving way to the new trends in popular music. I saw one or two shows and that was the last time I ever saw him perform outside of occasional TV appearances on Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen, etc. But during those years, I made it a point of collecting his records and in the case of Amazon, writing reviews and mentioning that Vaughn Monroe has never received his due or recognition often because of mean-spirited disc Jockeys such as the late William B. Williams who in my opinion lost all objectivity in his praise of Frank Sinatra.

Naturally I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing at such a relatively young age but treasure the memories he gave me and all of the enjoyment I have had over the years listening to his voice.

Submitted by: Daniel Mugan