Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Album Review: John Davidson by John Davidson

Here are some interesting moments in John Davidson's Wikipedia entry.

-- During an appearance on the game show Scrabble in 1987, he told the national TV audience that he appeared as an underwear model in the 1959 Sears catalogue; he would have been 17 at the time.

That's the first sentence in the "career" section of John Davidson's entry.

-- Davidson also guest hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 87 times.

Wow. That's a lot. I wonder if John Davidson felt ripped off like David Letterman did when Jay Leno got The Tonight Show.

-- Davidson made numerous appearances on the original Hollywood Squares, from the mid-1960s until its cancelation, and was known for his long-winded bluffs. No one was more convincing at getting contestants to believe his (often ridiculous) answers to questions posed by Peter Marshall. Most times, Marshall could barely conceal a grin as Davidson started in on some far-fetched but plausible explanations for his answers, often prefaced with something to the effect of: "I just read about that in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was a fascinating study, and it said that...". Davidson sold these preposterous stories with such sincerity that contestants were often duped more than once in the same show.

John Davidson's Numerous Appearances on the Original Hollywood Squares could be a great made-for-TV movie.

-- In 1977, Davidson was present at the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Southgate, Kentucky. He was expected to appear onstage as the headline act of the evening when the fire broke out, killing 165 persons. Davidson helped others escape before fleeing through a back door. Davidson was not injured and later participated in a charity concert to raise funds for the families of fire victims. John Davidson's music director was among those who perished in the fire.

I had never heard John Davidson was there.

-- Davidson, appearing in Lake Tahoe in the 1970s once remarked to a dinner show crowd that the people in the audience the night before must have all been from Petaluma, California. "My God, I have never seen so many Simplicity patterns in my life," the singer quipped.

I had never heard of "Simplicity patterns."

To be fair, Wikipedia stamps this page with the following disclaimer: "This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards." I think that's a little harsh. But Wikipedia is awesome, and I understand why it would be so unflinching in its commitment to quality.

I've been listening to a 1969 John Davidson record the last couple of days, John Davidson. It's fine. His versions of "Both Sides Now" and "Suzanne" are my favorite male-vocalist versions of those two great songs. The album cover says that one can write to the John Davidson Fan Club at 8966 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Here's the Google Maps street-level picture of that address:

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