Stanley Robert Vintula, Jr. ~ One Resolute, Consistent, Amicable, Talented and Wholesome Entertainer
IMDb notes his birth name as Stanley Robert Vintula, Jr., but this excellent episode dubs the aspiring musician as Stanley Robert Vinton, Jr., after Sr.'s stage name, himself an orchestra leader in Bobby's native Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, also famous as hometown of the legendary Perry Como. But it is renowned band-leader Glenn Miller whom the youth, born in 1935, emulates.
Dorothy and Stan Vinton's only child, Stanley accompanies his father on orchestra bookings by his 1948 high school entrance, where he also plays in its marching band, performs in church choir, and forms an orchestra to perform at various social events.
When he solos at a local country club, Stanley expresses delight in audience appreciation for his performing well, and seeing many pretty young ladies, but also receiving seven dollars for the evening, which he considers an added bonus.
But confusion stimulates the small family as father and son stimulate audiences, for there are now two Stanley Vinton Orchestras in demand, and so the family decides to bill the son as "Bobby."
In 1952, Bobby majors in Music at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, and performs with his trio, the Tempos throughout the Pittsburgh/Wheeling region, often performing two bookings an evening in different states.
Bobby plans to launch his career as a band-leader upon his 1956 graduation, but he is immediately drafted into the U.S. Army and must forgo his life-long dream.
Upon his return Stateside, Bobby Vinton aims to resume his orchestra career, but discovers that the other Tempos members have recorded a hit without him: "See You in September."
This derails Bobby's anticipations, and so he must begin anew, by recording an album of standards to promote by himself, by traveling from state to state to request radio station air-play.
This determination lands Bobby a recording contract with Epic records, which releases two of his albums, but after realizing no hit singles from these, the label decides to drop him, in 1961.
Yet Bobby pleads with Epic to fulfill their contract, which calls for one remaining two-sided single, and so he rummages through a stack of rejected compositions, to record one... this time as a singer... "Roses Are Red."
But when Epic refuses to promote such a "silly little song," Bobby once again resorts to self-promotion, by driving around Pittsburgh with copies of the record and a dozen roses, stopping outside of radio stations, and asking the first pretty lady on the street to take a copy and a rose inside to ask the disc jokey to play the song. Audiences soon begin to request the song....
And within a matter of months, "Roses Are Red (My Love)" becomes the #1 song in the country for four weeks running, launching Bobby Vinton on a national tour, which leads Bobby and his new wife, the lovely Dolly Dobbins, to Manhattan and, soon, Nashville, to garner a second #1 record, with "Blue Velvet" although Epic keeps Bobby's marriage a secret from his multitudes of adoring fans to promote his appeal. (He's not a politician after all.)
In February, 1964, Bobby reaches #1 a third time, with "There! I've Said It Again," the last #1 single before the British Invasion strikes, to revolutionize the American music industry, which instantly places the careers of domestic singers in jeopardy of antiquation--but not Bobby, who perseveres with his wholesome image throughout the counter-culture movement of the late 1960's.
But, in 1967, when Bobby's former manager sues him over a contract dispute, the courts rule against the Vintons and confiscate their Great Neck, New York residence and all of their possessions except for their third baby's crib. Bobby Vinton must now start all over yet once again with his talented voice to lead the way.
After singing in English, French, Italian and Russian, it is Bobby's mother who suggests that he record in Polish, launching the 1974 single "My Melody of Love," which rejuvenates Bobby's career, and earns him the honorary title of "The Polish Prince."
And after starring in the film "Surf Party," in 1964, Bobby supports the legendary John Wayne in two feature films during the early 1970's, and appears upon numerous television variety programs throughout this period, including his own starring vehicle, "The Bobby Vinton Show" (1975-78).
From here, Bobby goes on to found his own theatre, the Bobby Vinton Blue Velvet Theatre, in Branson, Missouri, in which the entire Vinton family participates in performance and/or management, drawing in the audiences as he did back in the day as the greatest selling male recording artist of the 1960's, which includes his hit "Coming Home Soldier," which Bobby has written in the Army.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Bobby Vinton (Self), Dorothy Vinton (Mother), Dolly Vinton (Wife), Christopher Vinton (Son), Jo-An Anderson (Publicist), Tony Orlando (Singer), Michael Pick (Agent), Merv Griffin (Television Host), Clive Davis (Record Producer), and David Wild (Rolling Stone Magazine), with Joan London (Host), and Harry Smith (Narrator).
Still Photographs include Bobby Vinton, Dorothy Vinton, Stanley Vinton, Sr., Dolly Dobbins Vinton, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Paul Anka, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.
Archive film footage includes Dorothy, Stanley Sr., Bobby, Dolly, Robbie, Kristin, Christopher, Jennifer and Rebecca Vinton, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Merv Griffin, Jerry Summers, John Wayne, and Chad and Jeremy.
Bobby Vinton's song performances here include "Roses Are Red (My Love)" (1962), "Blue Velvet" (1963), "There! I've Said It Again" (1964) (background), "Mr. Lonely" (1964), "Coming Home Soldier," (1967), and "My Melody of Love" (1974).
Film Clips include Surf Party (1964), a still from Big Jake (1971) and behind the scenes footage of The Train Robbers (1973).
Television Clips include scenes from "Saturday Prom" (1960), "The Jimmy Dean Show" (1964), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (#17.16, 1964), "American Bandstand" (#8.8, 1964), "Hullabaloo" (#1.9, 1965), "The Bobby Goldsboro Show" (1974), and "The Bobby Vinton Show" (1975-78).
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