I met Johnny Mathis at P.
P. J. Clarke's 915 3rd Ave
P.J. Clarke's on Third Ave., near
55tth Street, in New York City was one of my favorite places. The
fall of 1960, I was sitting at a table with my dog, Duchess, who was eating a
hamburger under the table.
PJ Clarke's had a dog named Skip. Skip and
Duchess were great friends, therefore Duchess was permitted in the restaurant.
It was about 2 AM when Sarah
Vaughan came in with a group of people. When she saw me, she
came over to say "hello" and to pet Duchess; she and Duchess were good
friends. She invited us to join her group.
Syd Shaw and a couple of other people, were in the group. I was
introduced all around and sat with Sass. Later, we left PJ's and went up to
Johnny's apartment to listen to his latest recording.
A few days later I had a message at my Hotel from Johnny
inviting me to go hear Adam Wade at the Roundtable. People said Adam sounded
like Johnny, so Johnny wanted to hear him.
That night I met Adam and Helen Noga,
Johnny's Manger. Syd Shaw was there and we had a good conversation about the
music business. In 1967 I returned to New York from California - Syd wrote an act for my wife Paula, and we
recorded her using Sass' band. Syd and I often frequented P. J. Clarke's.
Syd Shaw wrote Heavenly for
Johnny. He also wrote acts for Lena Horne, Polly Bergen and
others. Syd and I became friends that lasted up
until his death in 1969.
Years later, Adam
Wade and I became close
friends through a mutual friend, Maria de Aragon. Maria and I performed in a play he
wrote titled The Dancer. His ex-wife was director.