Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another reminder of the ‘50s




In this morning’s newspaper, the “Today’s Birthday” column noted that Bill Hayes is celebrating his 85th! He was a popular singer back in television’s early days on the weekly variety show “Your Show of Shows.” Later on he had the top recording of the “Ballad of Davy Crocket” and a long career as an actor on a TV soap.

His name doesn’t come up often all these years later of course, yet I am reminded of him every time I hear a certain phrase.

In 1953 Hayes was appearing on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Me and Juliet.” One Saturday afternoon, as I was walking past an alley onto which the stage door opened, I heard the kind of screams that come from a mob of thrilled fans. As I turned to see what was happening, I noticed a throng of people crowded around someone. Looking closer, I saw it was Bill Hayes. He looked kind of apprehensive and not sure if he liked all the attention. Just then a member of the stage crew walked past the crowd and yelled to Hayes, “What price glory?” Indeed.