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The Frankie Avalon Story: The Man Who Influenced Music and Film for Three Decades

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2023 3:02 am

The Frankie Avalon Story: The Man Who Influenced Music and Film for Three Decades

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 9, 2023 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, not many teen idols are able to carve a successful career for themselves as they mature, but Frankie Avalon is one of these exceptions. Avalon had 31 Billboard singles, including number one hits, "Venus" and "Why" in 1959. Avalon is also well-known for his role in the musical film Grease as Teen Angel, in which he sings "Beauty School Dropout." He appeared on American Idol to sing for Simon Cowell on his birthday. Here's Frankie Avalon to tell his story! 

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Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people.

And to search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the iHeartRadio app to Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Not many teen idols are able to carve a successful career for themselves as they mature, but Frankie Avalon is one of those exceptions. Avalon had 31 charting U.S.

Billboard singles from 1958 to late 1962, including number one hits Venus and Why in 1959. Avalon is also well known for his role in the 1970s musical film Grease as Teen Angel, in which he sings beauty school dropout to Frenchie. Without any further ado, here's Frankie Avalon with his story. As a young man, young boy, really growing up in South Philadelphia, I really started into this business of show business, unaware of trying to be in show business, but I became a part of show business at the age of probably, I don't know, I think about eight or nine.

Because in the neighborhood where I lived was a great neighborhood, a melting pot for all kinds of nationalities and great friends. And growing up as a boy, boy, it was really just terrific. There used to be a movie theater called the Point Breeze Theater. It was in South Philadelphia. And on a Saturday afternoon, a lot of the moms used to pack a little lunch and put us in the theater there so we could watch the cartoons and everything for the part of the day. And of course, you know, we'd walk to the theater and of course walk back.

It was a very safe neighborhood. And that's what we did. And this one time when I went in there and I was about eight years old, in between some of the cartoons, there was a man that came on stage and said, we're going to have a singing contest. And I never sang in my life. But I said, Jesus to myself, this is going to be okay. He said, so anybody wants to sing?

Well, we got the first prize is going to be a red scooter. So I raised my hand and they took me up there and I introduced when they introduced me and asked, what's your name? I said, Frank Abalone. How old are you? I'm about eight years old. Okay.

Are you ready for this contest? And I said, yeah. And they said, what are you going to do? I said, I'm going to sing. So they said, what are you going to sing? I said, I'm going to sing a song that I hear on the radio all the time of my mom and dad. Like it's called, give me five minutes more.

He said, okay, you're on no band, none of this stuff. And I said, give me five minutes more, only five minutes more. Let me stay.

Let me stay in your heart. Well, after that, they had about four or five kids who auditioned. Well, I fortunately won that contest and I won my first prize, which was a red scooter. So that really was the introduction for me being into this show business world. And as time went by you know, I really wanted to be a boxer and I used to box for the police athletically because they kind of kept the kids off the street and had them something to do something. And I liked boxing.

So that became obsolete after a while. And then I went back to the movie theater and I saw a film and I must've been about nine at that time, closer to 10. And there was a film there called young man with a horn. And I stayed until it was getting dark and I watched that film about six or seven times and I just fell in love with the sound of the trumpet. And it was a story about a young boy who becomes a trumpet player, becomes very successful. And I kind of related to that, I guess, but I really liked the sound of the trumpet. And I came back home to my dad and I said, dad, I want to play the trumpet.

Well, my father was a really talented guy, not professionally, but he could play piano, he could play guitar, he could play accordion. He was just a very talented guy and he loved music and he said, okay. So the next day he came back and he told me that he went to this pawn shop and he bought a horn for about seven or $8 and he gave me the horn. And I went into my room and I started practicing and how?

I don't know. I just started blowing on this thing. And in about two hours I came out of the room and I played a song called music, music, music. And it went dadada dadada dadada dadada dadada all I want, I love and you and music. So I played that song and I started practicing.

I loved it so much. I became so involved with this horn that I would play three, four or five hours a day. And I lived in a row house and a lot of the neighbors didn't like that, you know, because I was practicing morning, noon and night. But all of a sudden after about a year's time, my dad got me a teacher from the neighborhood and his name was Danny D as he went by and he started teaching me and I started reading music and he finally came to my dad and he said, you know, Nick was my father's name. He said, you know, this kid has really got some talent and I think I can take him so far.

I think you ought to look for somebody that can really work with this boy as a trumpet player. So finally, my dad talked to some of the people in the neighborhood and him and they found this teacher who was with the Philadelphia Orchestra Seymour Rosenfeld. And I went to audition for him.

He was in North Philadelphia. And my uncle took me there and I auditioned. He said, I'll work with this boy. And I started studying with him.

And because because of that, I really learned how to play very well. When there was a singer by the name of Al Martino, who was number one in the world with a song called Here in My Heart, I heard in the neighborhood that one of the neighbors, Silvio, was giving him a party. And our neighbor just loved and admired the fact that he was such a big star.

So they threw this party and there was a big crowd outside of this little row house. And I took my horn and I kind of wiggled my way through everybody and knocked on the door. And this man, Silvio, I really didn't know him. I knew he was in the neighborhood, but he said, Yeah, what do you want? I said, Well, I'm the trumpet player.

I like to play my trumpet for Al Martino. He said, Come on in, kid. So I went in. They were having a party.

Everybody was drinking and eating, having a good time. And I took out my horn from the case. I started to play the song called Tenderly.

And I kind of stopped the party. And all of a sudden, Al Martino went to Silvio and said, Who is this kid? He said, I don't know.

What's your name, kid? I said, Frank Avellone. He said, Call his mother and father and see if we could take him to New York.

I think this kid's got some talent. I want to take him to my agency. So he did.

My mother and father agreed. We knew him from the neighborhood, Silvio. And we drove into New York City and we went to the agency. And Jack Sobel was the agent.

And I took out my horn and I played Tenderly. And he said, I got a great idea. We handle Jackie Gleason and he loves trumpet. So he's right across the street at the Sheraton Hotel. He's got a penthouse. He said, Let's take him in there.

Maybe he'll play for for Jackie. And you're listening to Frankie Avellone tell a heck of a story. When we come back, more of Frankie Avellone's story here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories.

Every day on this show. We're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country. Stories from our big cities and small towns. But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American Stories dot com and click the donate button.

Give a little give a lot. Go to our American Stories dot com and give. And we continue with Our American Stories and with Frankie Avellone's story. We last left off with him as a 12 year old boy about to perform with his trumpet for the great one. And that would be honeymooners, impresario and comedic genius Jackie Gleason at his show Sheraton Hotel. So we walked in there. They were having a meeting and Jackie wasn't there, but it was a penthouse. He was there, but I didn't know because he wasn't in that particular part of the penthouse. I took out my horn and I played tenderly. And as I was playing through the corner of my eye, I saw the great one, Jackie Gleason, come out from the second floor of the penthouse. And after I finished, they all applauded. And he said, Jackie said that there's writers and producers, director, write a show.

I want them on in two weeks. Oh, come on in, kid. Come on in. All sets ready to go.

Where are you going? This is Frankie Avellone. I'm taking him down to Joe the bartender's.

He's a terrific trumpet player. Pretty good, huh? I said terrific. Oh, Frankie, this is my good neighbor friend, Mrs. Crampton. This is my wife, Trixie.

Oh, wait till you hear this, kid. Hey, give us a number now, Frankie. Come on out.

That was my first major experience on national television with the great one, Jackie Gleason. Oh, you sure are wonderful. Oh, you sure are.

Kid, you're ready for the big time. You hear that, Frankie? Coming for my wife. Boy, that's a compliment.

She knows. Well, let's go. We're going down to Joe the bartender's.

We'll see you later, girls. Let's go. So as time went by, because of the success that I had, I also did an audition for a company that was run by a bender's name. And he had another trumpet player and he thought it would be a great combination of him kind of being my mentor was Ray Anthony, who had a lot of hit records, the bunny hop and all that stuff. So then they took me to RCA Victor, label X. I auditioned for them and they signed me under a contract to have a recording contract playing trumpet. And I did. And I had a song called trumpet Sorrento and it became on the national charts as a trumpet player.

And from then on in, I kept studying. I became number one trumpet player in the All-City Orchestra of Philadelphia. And then in summer times, I would try to play with different bands to make some extra money as a kid growing up. And I heard about a band called Rocco and the Saints. And somebody said, they're looking for a trumpet player. And someone told somebody and Rocco came into my house and he said, let me hear you play.

And I played for him. He said, I'll tell you, I'll give you a job. I said, where are we going to play? He said, Mary's Inn.

It's in New Jersey. And I said, OK, what's the pay? He said, five dollars. I said, OK, I'll play. So as time went by, I was playing trumpet with Rocco and the Saints.

We played on weekends. And finally, I started singing a couple of songs because a lot of there were seven guys in the band and everybody had to sing a couple of songs to keep the band kind of fresh. And I did a couple of songs, Lover Man, whatever it was, and another song.

And people started coming up to Rocco and saying, let this kid sing a little more. So on one of our breaks, he came to me and he said, how about singing some more songs? I said, no, you hired me as a trumpet player. And he said, yeah, but I'll give you an extra five hours.

I said, you got it. So that's how I started singing. Then in the summertime, we went out to a place down the shore in Summers Point, New Jersey, and it was called Bay Shores was the name of this club we did. We played seven days a week, five sets a night, two jam sessions. And we were living on top of the nightclub there. And a new company out of Philadelphia was looking for some new talent. And our band, Rocco and the Saints, became pretty popular. And they came in, listened to us.

And on one of our breaks, we went back to the dressing room. And Pete DeAngelis and Bob Marcucci were the owners of this record company. And they said, we'd like to sign the band. And of course, Rocco was our man to make the deal.

And he did. And he said, okay, and we want this boy, Frank, to sing on one side, and we'll do an instrumental. So we did an instrumental called Jivem with the Saints. And they wrote a song for me called Cupid Shot an Arrow. So that was my first record. And the record came out, they put it out. And it really didn't make any noise at all until in the Boston area for some reason. My song, my side of the record started to make the Boston charts. And Bob Marcucci drove me into Boston. And there was a man by the name of Joe Smith. And there was a big rock and roll show with Fats Domino and Little Richard and all these guys.

And they were all had hit records. And my manager went to Joe Smith and said, could you put this kid on? He said, we don't have any money for this kid. And I know he's got a record, but you know, we don't have any money.

And we're all filled up. He said, don't pay him, just just put them on. And my manager bought me a $12 suit that I had on. I went on stage, I did a couple of songs, the kids were waiting outside for my autograph and wanted to know what my fan club was.

Bob said, I think you've got some of these kids like you. And that was the start of being that teen idol that lasted for a while. Now I'm a recording artist. Now I'm a singer, the horn is put away. And now I've got the contract with Chancellor Records. And I do a couple of other songs. I did a song called Shy Guy, which didn't do anything. And I did something else.

Blue Betty, which didn't do anything. And then all of a sudden we had I had one more record to do, they took me into New York City. And those days, there was just two tracks.

So there wasn't all of this technology. And the band was in one part of the room, and I was in the other part of the room. And they started playing this song, which I was going to record called Dee Dee Dinah. And as they were rehearsing, that was a very staccato kind of a song to me. So I was just doing kind of singing through my nose. So the producer of the record came out to me and he said, What are you doing? I said, I'm just having some fun. Sounds very staccato to me.

So let's make a couple like that. Well, I went back to the microphone and started singing. And they made the take of it, they put it out. And in about a month, it started to make some noise around the country. All of a sudden, it became a top five or top 10 record, which really launched me as a singer singing through my nose. And a lot of people who were out there held their noses to when they heard it.

Now, after Dee Dee Dinah, I had to do another nose job, which I sang through my nose called Gingerbread. And finally, but they said, No, come on, you know, you've got a quality that the kids really like and it's more of a romantic. So they wrote another song for me called I'll Wait For You. And it was a very pretty ballad. And again, it became a chart record.

And it was probably in the top 15, I think. And then I had another recording date to do and I was at home in my house and there was a knock on the door. And again, it was a songwriter.

And he said, My name is Ed Marshall. I'm a songwriter and like to play this song for you. He came in, we had a little piano and he sat down and he played this song called Venus.

And I just fell in love with it the first time I heard it. And I said, play it again, play it again, play it again. And finally I called our record company was in Philadelphia. And I called Bob Marcucci and Pete De Angelis. I said, I got a song here.

Can we drive over? So we drove into town where their offices were. They had a piano there. And we walked in there and he played the song. And Pete De Angelis, who was my producer, fell in love with the song. And he said, as he played it again and again, he said, You know what?

I'd like to make two changes to the song if you'll permit me to do that. So the writer, Ed Marshall said, OK. And you're listening to Frankie Avalon tell his life story in the business, so to speak. And it starts in that penthouse auditioning for Jackie Gleason. The next thing you know, he's on national television. But as the world will have it, he's still got to get that next gig. And it's at the Jersey Shore playing all summer long, living above the joint he was playing that he would start to sing.

And from singing, well, he gets to the hit song Venus. When we come back, more of the story, the life journey of this South Philadelphia kid named Frankie Avalone, known to the rest of us as Frankie Avalon. His story continues here on Our American Stories. And we continue with Our American Stories.

Let's pick up where we last left off. Frankie Avalon brought a new song to his producer called Venus. And the producer, well, he fell in love with it.

Here's Frankie with the rest of the story. So he said, you know, it goes da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da. He said, I'd like to change one note.

Da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da. So he agreed to that. So we had made one change. And Pete James said, I'd like to make another change lyrically at the very end.

Instead of saying as long as we will live, I'd like to say as long as we shall live. So we made those two changes went into New York City. I made seven takes on the song. You know that you had to do it straight, just like a performance. And I waited till four o'clock in the morning to take it home. I knew that I had a smash record. And I kept playing it.

I didn't sleep for 24 hours. And to me, I was right. Pete the analyst was right. And Ed Marshall, the producer, writer of the song was right.

We were all right. And of course, the audience around the world was really infatuated with the song. It became number one for a long, long time and gave me an opportunity to sing around the world. When I became very successful and was selling a lot of records and and a teen idol had a fan base of I don't know, we'd get somewhere around 12, 15,000 letters a week and a big fan base. And so now, Hollywood recognize, hey, this kid's got some fans.

Let's put them in a picture with a major star. So Warner Brothers made a deal with my manager and my agent and they brought me out to Hollywood to do my first film for Warner Brothers with a big star Alan Ladd called Guns of the Timberland. And that started being in the motion picture industry. And from there on in, I made that on over 40 motion pictures of my career. Well, what had happened, I was playing the steel pier in Atlantic City and the film was released and it was very successful and very successful for me. And I'll never forget I was in the dressing room. I was doing 5, 7, 12 shows a day.

Depending upon the weather, you would do a 15 minute show and they would show a movie and then another 15 minute show. And they had a phone booth in backstage there. And it was my agent Jack Szilardi who said, Frankie, it's Jack. I just got a call from John Wayne. He just saw your your performance in Guns of the Timberland with Alan Ladd. He wants you to sign a contract to do a picture called the Alamo where he's going to star direct and it's going to be done in Texas. And that was my first introduction to starring a picture with the with John Wayne and a major, major motion picture.

I'm out there now. I've got to ride this horse and I play a character called Smitty and I have to learn how to ride. So the Duke said, Frankie, here's what you do. When you sit on the saddle here, you make it feel like you've got a clothes hanger that's pulling you up.

So keep your shoulders very straight, very and just kind of go along with the float with this horse. And I learned how to ride and I became a pretty good writer. And it was an experience of a South Philly kid who nothing but the streets of South Philly and under a fire plug, you know, when it was a real hot summer day. But I learned a lot, you know, being experienced with a lot of experience. Richard Widmark and Lawrence Harvey and and John Wayne and John Ford and oh, my God, it was a great experience for me.

And I was on that picture for four months. All of a sudden becoming involved in motion pictures and meeting a lot of the celebrities from, I don't know, from Natalie Wood to I did a picture with the R.J. Wagner. And of course, I got to know a lot of movie stars and of course, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And then, of course, working with John Wayne when I had to promote the film with him. I mean, I was with these major stars, but never the acceptance that John Wayne would get when I'd walk into a restaurant with him.

I mean, everybody's jaw just dropped. There was such respect for him. And he was really such a shy guy. He was six foot five. And with his boots on, he must have been nine feet to me. And we'd walk in and people would just look at him and look at him and just stare at him.

Nobody would. They were kind of afraid to even ask for an autograph. It was just a major, major big hunk of a star. So that was a great experience working with him and of course, traveling with him. So now I'm living in California, in Hollywood, and I'm living right off Sunset Boulevard and had a lot of my friends there.

Steve McQueen used to come by and Jack Nicholson. We were young Hollywood at the time and a lot of gals that were young ingenues that I was dating and had great dates with them. And then one night I was playing cards with my friends and Rona Barrett, who was a big columnist, she wasn't at the time, but she was starting, had a friend and she brought her over and introduced me.

I left the card game and her name was Kay and we started talking and she was coming from her mother's birthday party with Rona Barrett and we got into a good conversation for about an hour and when she left, I went back to the card game and I said to my friends there, well, see that gal there, I'm gonna marry her. And about six or seven months we dated and got married. We started having children right away and our firstborn, we named him Frank after me and my grandfather really. And after 13 months we had another one, Tony, and then another, to kind of sum it up, we had eight children in 10 years. So my wife was pregnant every single year and she loved being pregnant, she loved having children, and of course I was on the road and coming back and here's another one, here's another one, here's another one. And we're very fortunate to have eight children, very healthy and we have 10 grandchildren and she's a great mom, they love her, they adore her. You know, she's like a general, to have eight children and keeping everyone intact was quite a job that she had. And of course I'd come home and have a lot of fun with the kids and she was the disciplinary. So she was a great mom, still is, and they adore her. The first time I met Annette Funicello was at the Hollywood Bowl for Dick Clark, we were playing the Hollywood Bowl, he had a show of about four or five different acts on the show and she was one.

She was very popular as a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club. And she must have been about, oh, 14, 15 and I must have been about 17 and we started talking and I said, Jesus, I'd like to maybe take you out for a pizza and a cold drink or something. She said, you got to talk to my mother and I went to Virginia and I said, can I take your daughter for a slice of pizza or whatever? She said, okay, call me. And I went over to the house, picked her up and we went down the street, there was a little pizza parlor there and we had some pizza and some soft drinks and that was it. And we kept in touch and of course she was working, I was working and that was our first date and only date really. And then time had gone by and I had made a few films, I must have made about 10 or 15 films at the time and I was signed to a company called American International Pictures, I made some films for them and finally they said I got friendly with a writer by the name of Lou Russoff and I said to him, Lou, write something that's fun for kids where we hang out together and laugh and sing and he came back in about a month and he says, here's a script, read this, it's called Beach Party and I read it and I thought it was really fun.

It looked like the old dead end kids gang and having fun. I said, who's going to play Dee Dee was the girl's name. I guess he named her after Dee Dee Dinah. He said, we're talking to Walt Disney as a loan out for a Netflix cello. And you're listening to Frankie Avalon share some remarkable stories. That call he got at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, he was about to work with John Wayne and this kid from South Philly soon finds himself in a Western. He met his bride and when he met her, he told his poker buddies, I'm going to marry that girl. And seven or eight months later, he did eight kids later in 10 years, his wife Kay, he calls the general and then this movie idea Beach Party back when a movie could just be silly and fun. The story of Frankie Avalon as told by Frankie Avalon continues here on Our American Stories.

And we continue with Our American Stories. We last left off with Frankie Avalon sharing the story of how he wrote a movie script about teens. Well, just having fun on the beach, casting the female role opposite of Frankie. Well, that was up in the air. Let's return to Frankie Avalon. I said, that's great. I'm better when she was young and geez, that would be fun. And that's how we got together.

They put us together. We did our first motion picture beach party. It came out. We did it in January.

I think it came out kind of towards the start of the summer. And it was a tremendous success at the box office. And because of that, we had lots of fun doing those pictures.

We made about seven and made tons of tons of money for AIP. I always wanted to keep a career going by not just being a teen idol. Of course, those days, you know, went by the wayside because you married, you got kids and you know, when your fan base got in dwindles. And so I wanted to get into the nightclub business, which I did. I worked with a lot of good people that helped me develop a show and act. And of course, I opened up at the Copa Cabana, which is what you made the Copa Cabana. You were really you were in show business.

And I would play the show business under contract with them for about five years. And about 1971 or two, whatever it was, I'm playing at the Copa and they wanted to do a promotion for a Broadway show that was playing there called Grease. And I said, Sure, I'll go. It was in the afternoon. And I met the cast. And Travolta, by the way, was in that show as one of the side guys, one of the chorus boys. And I saw the play and then time had gone by.

And it was about 1977. I got a call. I was playing golf.

And I got off the ninth hole. My manager was there with the script. He said, This is a script.

Paramount wants you for this picture. I said, What's the picture called? He said, Grease. And I said, What character?

He said, Teen Angel. And I thought about what I saw on Broadway. And I said, Pass. And I went and played the second line. I came back in.

He was still there. He said, They will not take no. They would like to at least have a meeting with you. I said, Okay, so I go in with Alan Carr and Patty Burch, who was the choreographer, and Randall Kleiser, who was the director. And they said, Why don't you want to do this? I said, Because I saw the play. And it's not my style. I said, you know, he was all in black, comes off of a rope and black leather jacket and low long sideburns and just a little wiggles and this and sings this beauty school dropout. I said, Not my style. They said, We'll change it. I said, What do you mean you'll change it? They said, We'll do it all in white. We'll get a piano over here.

Let's see how you want to do it. They did. And in 1977, I went in for six days of rehearsals. Two days of shooting the five minute song and beauty school dropout became a part of Greece.

And Frankie Avalon was Teen Angel. When we were finally putting Greece together and at rehearsals, I said, Look, I don't want to be a joke of this film. I think this is a good character. It really is something important to this this gal, her character.

I don't want to be a joke. So they said, Oh, no, no, no, no, we'll make this absolutely perfect for you and the people just going to love it. So when the picture comes out, they they they open the premiered it in Honolulu. And there was the big columnist Liz Smith was her name. And in her column, she was at the premiere. And she said the film was fun. But when Frankie Avalon entered his part as Teen Angel singing beauty school dropout, the audience went wild. And when he left the scene, they applauded.

So it made its mark. I had come home from a trip. And I'm sitting in my den with my wife and the phone rings. And she hands me the phone. She says it's for you. It's a Bobby De Niro.

So I looked at her and all of a sudden clicked in my mind. It's it's Robert De Niro, but didn't register with her because she thinks a kid that I grew up with in South Philly, a lot of Italian kids thought it was Bobby De Niro and didn't associate it at all. So he says, Frankie, it's a Bobby, we're doing a picture with the Scorsese. It's called casino. And we know that you were the first guest to lefty whose character was Robert De Niro.

And Marty Scorsese likes to be so exacting with whatever he does. And he did research, he said he would like to use you to recreate that scene. And I said, sounds good to me. He said, when can you do it? I said, Well, I'm home. I'm home for about a week. He said, Can you do it Monday?

I said, fine with me. They sent the jet and I got on the jet, went into the dressing room when I got to Las Vegas, went into Marty, he showed me the clip. And I went on set and I stayed there for about 14 hours shooting my one scene with De Niro. Our first guest this evening is Frankie Avalon. I've got a large family. How many kids do you have? Very proud to say that we have eight children.

There's nothing to it. It's my pleasure. And Joe Pesci was waiting for me after my scene, we went to this place called Joe pigs, he had a Vesuvio restaurant, we went and had chicken meatballs. And the picture came out.

And I was in the picture. Health has been very exciting for me for a long, long time. I got interested in not only just just vitamins, but herbs.

And I started back about 50 years ago in where I live with my wife and eight children. In North Hollywood, there was a place called herb products that was in North Hollywood. And I saw the sign and I went in there.

And I got very friendly with a man who was part of it. And john was his name. And he started introducing me to different kinds of herbs that were in big box forms.

They weren't even capsules yet. And he would make capsules and put together different herbs. So I would start taking herbs and I really got involved with it. And through the years, I started to say, Jesus, I should people ask me, Frankie, what do you do? Well, I mean, you're still doing that.

I'm in my 80s now. And I still go out there and still perform. I do a lot of singing. I do a lot of performing.

I travel a lot. And I've been taking herbs and I created a product with john called zero pain. It's a pain reliever that I brought onto a home shopping network and we sold tons and tons of it.

It still is available today. And I'm going to tell everybody listening you talk about being healthy and being taken care of yourself. I have a company called Frankie Avalon products.

If you look at Frankie Avalon.com, you could look at what I've been doing for all these years, not only with the zero pain, which is a pain reliever topical, which has helped so many people from Arnold Palmer to Ernie banks, a lot of my friends in the business, and they still request it and we still offer it to the public. But your health is very important. You never know when you're going to lose it.

So keep trying to keep it. They asked me to do a guest shot on American Idol. I said, Okay, what do I do? They said, Well, it's Simon Cowell's birthday. And the year of Venus was 1959.

That's the year he was born. So we'd like to give him this little birthday gift and you singing Venus to him. I said, Okay, but you got to be you know, stay in your dressing room. You've got to be a surprise. So I go to my dressing room, and I watched my weight, I watched this, I was watching this, that, but I'm so I go to my dressing room, and they sent a whole box of candies and things and I'm waiting, I'm waiting. And I'm eating these red hots or whatever they are.

But well, I ate about two boxes of these things. So I'm ready to go on now. I've got 12 minutes to go on and do this.

This is live, you know. And I said, I really don't feel good. Now they got the paramedics right there. They take my blood pressure by going through the roof. And they said, I don't think you should go on. And my blood pressure was very, very high. I went on and I did that song, not feeling 100%, but pulled it off. I came off of there and come down with with with a lot of water and all this other stuff.

And my blood pressure went down. And that was quite an experience for me like the show goes on. Listen, I want to thank for the opportunity of a great conversation going through parts of my life.

I could write a book, but I won't. But in the meantime, I just want to thank everybody that's been with me and I've been with you for many, many years for being a part of my life. Thank you so much. And thanks to the good Lord for giving me the opportunity to my wife, to my eight children, to my 10 grandchildren, and stay well and God bless. And a terrific job on the storytelling and production by Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Frankie Avalon for sharing his life's journey with us at beach party series.

Well, it was a huge box office success. And Avalon, well, he'd go on to make a career for himself in the nightclub business as a prime act to play at the Copa and then all over the world. And then came Grease, that Paramount picture and that character, Teen Angel, he passed. He said, that character is not my style.

So they changed the character and the rest is history. I have watched this movie more times than I would care to admit because when you have a wife and a daughter, this along with Mamma Mia is required, required viewing at least a few times a year. And then of course that call from Robert De Niro and Bobby De Niro, probably a bunch of them in his South Philly neighborhood. Little did he know it was the Robert De Niro and a scene in casino. The story of Frankie Avalon, the story of America in a way from nowhere to somewhere and appreciating with great gratitude every single step along the way. Frankie Avalon story here on Our American Stories.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-09 04:35:16 / 2023-08-09 04:50:42 / 15

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