Crooners croon, and few crooned with as much smoothness and swoon-worthy goodness as Vic Damone.
Brooklyn during wartime provided the backdrop for Damone's childhood. Known then as Vito Farinola, he lived the life of an Italian immigrant, combing his hair into a pompadour and soaking in all the sights and sounds of a vibrant community. Singing became part of his life early on, and his fellow Brooklynites became used to the sight of the thin youngster crooning his heart out on street corners. He started performing in halls in front of audiences, his sisters helping out with warm buttermilk to soothe his singer's throat.
A childhood girlfriend of Damone's recalls that the teenaged aspiring singer let loose with a rendition of "Temptation" in her family's kitchen that caused the walls the shake.
Clearly, his voice needed a larger venue, such as the entire country. Fortunately, his talent was readily recognized and he began cranking out hit singles such as "You Do," "Again," "You're Breaking My Heart," and "My Truly Truly Fair." Over his long career, he'd be known for supplying lovers of romantic ballads with such classics as "My Heart Cries For You," "An Affair To Remember," and "Here in My Heart." His celebrity propelled him into film roles, and of course, he also gave many long performances of his hit songs on radio, as well as other appearances on big radio shows.
Included was a stint hosting Saturday Night Serenade in 1948. He also made a few appearances on Guest Star, which as the name would imply brought on a different star each week who would occupy most of the short program. It was a public service program, drumming up support for war bonds. Damone's appearances on this show took place as his star was rising, in 1947 and 1949.
He also appeared on Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, easing out a few silky tunes not far from Hedda's desk overlooking Hollywood and Vine. This was oddly juxtaposed with a dramatization of the Hemingway short story "The Killers."
Guard Session was a short program for the National Guard featuring recorded music. Damone was the featured artist on several episodes in 1964, which spun a few selections from his new album On The Street Where You Live. The programs, hosted by Martin Block, also included interviews with the crooner himself. He regaled Block and the audience with stories about his own service in the National Guard and his Army service overseas. On one episode, this spun into some verbiage about Damone's boxing and karate exploits.
The Vic Damone collection presents a dazzling slice of Americana, featuring an armed services veteran and esteemed entertainer. The smooth song stylings of Damone will transport you back to a glimmering bygone era.