Sometimes when I can’t sleep – surprise at 60, eh? – I lull my brain by thinking back to a guy who was on late nights on St. Louis radio station KXOK: Johnny Rabbit. When I say this guy was funny as all shit, I can’t begin to tell you. This was from about 1964 through ’68.
At left: Teens sharing their love of Johnny Rabbit
He had this sort of sidekick Bruno J. Grunyon, an early model slacker mixed in with beatnik (not hippie!) rebelliousness. He couldn’t keep an after school job, his parents couldn’t stand him, and girls wouldn’t give him the time of day.
I think in the few years I was into the show he must have had something like 150 jobs and they seemed to all be about sweeping. Bruno also had a scheme to fix anything, a popular pick up from many, many classic shows like The Honeymooners. Bruno was like a teenage Ralph Cramden, always on the brink of something big, but always getting in trouble over it. He was like we were!
The kicker is that the host of the show, whose real name was Don Pietromonaco, did both voices. Sometimes he prerecorded them, sometimes he just switched back and forth live. It was completely convincing either way.
There were always stories going around about some group of drunk teen fans waiting outside the studio to try to “kidnap” Bruno. Insane. He didn’t exist and Johnny Rabbit would always give the losers the razz the next night or next show.
The best part is that Johnny Rabbit was always understanding in spite of Bruno J. Grunyon’s idiocy. He never got mad at Bruno, or judged him.Johnny was sort of the perfect parent, if you could design one yourself.
This spilled over into Johhny’s dedications and the love letters he would read that listeners sent in or phoned in. That’s where “Blab it to the Rabbit” comes from. He was always totally 100% sincere. Maybe it was a more sincere era.
Now I laugh myself to sleep, chuckling, remembering how innocent and silly everything was. Everyone is too serious these days.
© boomersrememberwhen.com, Inc.
* * *