Yesterday a friend asked, "Remember John Gary?" I said, "Oh, wow, the first time I ever went to a night club was at Annarino's in Dayton and we saw John Gary!" She asked, "Remember that song from that Ray Bolger musical that was a flop?" I said, "Oh, yeah, it was "Once Upon A Time". She said that she had been reading an article about "flops" and that show "All American" was a famous flop and Mel Brooks just wrote one of the acts and quit. I said that I did not know that bit of trivia.
She said that she always remembered John Gary's rendition of the song. We reminisced about John Gary and "what might have been" if rock and roll hadn't dominated the music scene in the 1960s. I told her that my mother said John Gary was the "heir to Perry Como." I said if he'd been a future generation he could have been successful like Harry Connick, Jr. and Josh Grobin. I told her I would get out the John Gary records and we could listen to them to see if he were as good as we remembered.
She called later and said, "Get on You Tube; there's all kinds of John Gary songs and he's wonderful!"
John Gary used to appear on Ruth Lyons Fifty-Fifty Club every time he was playing in the Cincinnati/Dayton/Columbus/Indianapolis area which WLW covered. He also appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson as well as on the Ed Sullivan Show. He had his own television show and was a summer replacement for the Danny Kaye Show.
When guests were with Ruth Lyons we learned a great deal about their backgrounds and accomplishments. John had been in the Marine Corps and was a scuba diver who held underwater endurance records and had patented underwater devices. He was also an expert with a bow and arrow and pistol.
My mother loved his rendition of "Danny Boy".