Wednesday, February 14, 2018


We interrupt our regularly scheduled month-long tribute to Black History for this special tribute to the late Vic Damone......

From the Associated Press:
Vic Damone, the enduring postwar lounge singer whose mellow baritone once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as "the best pipes in the business," has died in Florida at the age of 89. 

From Wikipedia:
Vic Damone (June 12, 1928 – February 11, 2018) was an American traditional pop and big band singer, songwriter, actor, radio and television presenter, and entertainer who is best known for songs such as "You're Breaking My Heart" (a number one hit), the number four hit "On the Street Where You Live" (from "My Fair Lady"), and "My Heart Cries for You" (also No. 4).

We're inducting Vic Damone into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, even though it is with some qualifications.

He does meet the basic requirements, but just barely and that with a couple of splainins.

"James Dean: Race With Destiny"
Casper Van Dien of STARSHIP TROOPERS stars as James Dean, whose remarkable talent and rebel attitude took Hollywood by storm. But as Dean's star begins to rise, his passionate affair with Italian ingénue Pier Angeli (Carrie Mitchum of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) angers her disapproving mother (Academy Award nominee Diane Ladd) and studio chief Jack Warner (Mike Connors). How did a broken heart, reckless behavior and his relationships with Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and director George Stevens (the legendary Robert Mitchum in his final screen role) lead to Dean's ultimate race with destiny? Connie Stevens, Joseph Campanella and Casey Kasem co-star in this revealing biopic that goes behind the myth to tell the true story of the superstar who lived fast, died young and left a legacy that changed movies forever.

This is the televersion of Vic Damone but seen from the perspective of some character within the production.

I wrote about Vic Damone in this TV movie back in 2007.  Click here.

'The Thin Man'
- "Damone Dilemma" 
Vic Damone asks the Charles's assistance in ridding himself of a stalker.  (This episode takes place on the seventh anniversary of the Charles' marriage.)  Vic Damone sings "Angela Mia".

A big thanks to my Southern counterpart Ivan Shreve Jr. for the two pics from within the episode.  I found the publicity picture online, but it had no caption with it.  

I'm thinking it's of Nick and Nora Charles and Vic Damone, with Damone's wife Pier Angeli.  If so, then by the end of this year the Damones would be divorced.

'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
- "Like a Sister"
 (1962) ... Ric Vallone
When handsome Ric Vallone is the guest star on 'The Alan Brady Show', Rob grows increasingly concerned that Sally is falling madly for the star, who is unaware of this complication.  Rick Vallone sings "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World".

More on this in a moment......

'The Joey Bishop Show'
- "Joey Gets Brainwashed"
Joey and Vic Damone are on a tour to entertain troops and one morning Joey wakes up speaking Russian. After learning Vic has been to Russia, he believes the two of them are part of an elaborate spy plot. Vic Damone sings "Sweet Someone".

From the CTVA:
Vic Damone is using Russian records to learn the language and Joey gets subconsious lessons in his sleep.

"The Manchurian Candidate" came out two years prior to this episode, so it's O'Bvious that Joey had seen the movie.  In fact he mentions that they could have been brainwashed like Laurence Harvey in that movie.  This verifies the existence of Laurence Harvey's televersion in Earth Prime-Time.

Now.  Back to that inclusion of Vic Damone in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' as Rick Vallone.....

As we learned in the final episode of that classic sitcom, Rob Petrie had been writing a book about his life and career (which was then optioned by Alan Brady to be a TV show for him, represented by the failed "Head Of The Family" pilot.)

Many of the previous episodes were flashbacks - to his army service, to his early years in show business, to the early days of his marriage to Laura Meehan.  And we saw that a lot of his remembrances were envisioned with alterations.  

For example, Rob's ex-fiancee Dorothy looked nothing like she did in real life.  Instead she resembled a novice operative in the intelligence community named Cinnamon Carter.  (Toobworld Central believes Rob crossed paths with Cinnamon at some point during his military service.  It could have been connected with a commie spy plot at the army base.)

There are also those appearances by Allan Melvin in the flashbacks as Rob's fellow soldiers Sam Pomeroy, Sam Pomerantz, and Sol Pomerantz.  In Rob's mind, they were all manifestations of still another soldier, Harrison B. Harding.  As Rob told/wrote his book, his subconscious could remember Horseface Harding, but he couldn't put a name to him.  So he took the names of two other soldier pals and then combined them both for another story about HBH.

So it could be said that a lot of the stories we saw during the show's run, even if they weren't flashbacks, could have been Rob's rewrite of his life to "punch it up", to make it funnier.  Or even perhaps to protect the identities of others by making it a roman a clef.

I think that's the case we have here with the episode "Like A Sister".  What we're seeing is Rob's masked version of the story, with the easily deciphered name of "Rick Vallone" standing in for Vic Damone. 

Vic Damone had been divorced from Pier Angeli since 1958.  He would marry Judith Rawlins in 1963 (and there would be three more wives, including Diahann Carroll, before the end.)  Since his relationship with Pier Angeli was referenced in that James Dean bio-pic, I see no reason why his televersion's life couldn't continue on that same trajectory.  

So at the time of that episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', Vic Damone was (mostly) free from romantic entanglements. (I'm sure he was dating Rawlins by that point.)  So I could understand how Rob Petrie would have fudged the facts a bit to spare Damone and his wife Judith any embarrassment when the book was published.

And that's why, for Toobworld at least, Rick Vallone was Vic Damone.

Therefore, we have four entries for Damone's tally and he has enough for membership in the Hall of Fame.

Good night and may God bless, Mr. Damone....

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