Vic Damone 1928-2018
While at first glance, the death of bygone-era pop crooner Vic Damone seems like a stretch for a site about screens, but the singer of standards like “On The Street Where You Live” has intermittently appeared on screens both as singer and actor since televisions began to pop up as the centerpiece of American living rooms.
While experimental TVs date back to the 1920s, most anthologies chart the genesis of regular programming with the 1946-47 season. Damone’s biggest hit came when he topped the Billboard charts with “You’re Breaking My Heart” in September 1949. He was the last living person to have had a number one hit in the 1940s. Here’s footage of the then-teen idol from April of that year singing “So In Love” on the long forgotten DuMont network.
For two years in the late 1950s, Damone even had his own show for a couple years, aptly titled The Vic Damone Show, and continued to sing on TV through the century. While he generally appeared on television as himself, he does have 17 credits as an actor on IMDB. Perhaps my favorite credit was his 1962 appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show, where he truly showed off his acting range by portraying handsome singer Ric … Vallone. I don’t mean to make fun of the dead but that made me smile, and anyway he wasn’t famous for being an actor. However (and here’s where I truly love being alive in this peak TV era), the entire episode “Like a Sister” is readily available online, so watch and see below.
In 2009, Damone while promoting his autobiography told the Arizona Republic “I don’t want to write a book that’s going to hurt anybody. I don’t operate like that. I’ll tell you things in my life, but we were not out to hurt anybody. Not even ex-wives.” In this age of Trump, that’s a refreshing notion. Ironically, Damone was close friends with our orangest president of the vindictive nature, but who cares. We’re not going to judge someone for who they associate with, and the above sentiment is simply lovely. Wherever you are, Mr. Damone, may the pavement always stay beneath your feet as you hear multiple larks and enchantment pours out every door.