Night Club Act


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By the 1950’s, Hollywood had replaced fifty-year-old Nelson Eddy with younger singers like Howard Keel, Gordon McRae, and Mario Lanza. He was still doing frequent radio and concert appearances, but the once-lucrative American concert circuit that launched his career had shriveled under the assault of television.

Eddy decided to try a new career. In January, 1953, he auditioned his original night club act at the Tops in San Diego. His vocal partner then and for the next fourteen years was Gale Sherwood, and his accompanist continued to be Ted Paxson who had started with him back in 1928.

Variety, perhaps with some astonishment, wrote: “Nelson Eddy, vet of films, concerts, and stage, required less than one minute to put a jam-packed audience in his hip pocket in one of the most explosive openings in this city’s nitery history.”

Billboard headlined their 6/20/53 review: “NELSON EDDY BACK ON RISING BOUNCE WITH CLICK NITERY TURN.” Influential gossip columnist Louis Sobel wrote, “Over to the Copa later…not without misgivings about Nelson Eddy, the starring attraction, for he was not a chap I could see in a nightclub diversion. Let me report I was unnecessarily apprehensive. He came through like the master he is – and they stormed for him to come back for encore after encore.”

Nelson had forged a new career that would keep him in front of his beloved live audiences until his death.