Saturday, July 22, 2017


For many years I'll Be Seeing You was Liberace's theme song. Personally, I was never particularly fond of the song but I wrote this shoddy arrangement to add to my midnight cafe repertoire (see previous post). It's definitely not one of my best arrangements.
Liberace used to sing while he played this song, which (in my opinion) made the song even more unappealing.
You can listen to my version with the complete assurance that I won't be singing.....
(this is an old recording - - audio quality is poor) 

I was never a Liberace fan. There's something about him that always turned me off. Maybe it was that sickeningly saccharine effeminate stereotypical pansy-boy persona that he proudly exuded.
Maybe it was the fact that someone with minimal musical talent could rake in millions of bucks while true artists were starving. 

I wasn't jealous. Just slightly annoyed.

By the time I was fourteen people were telling me "Wow, you play the piano better than Liberace".

Heck, I thought, I played better than Liberace when I was twelve.
Hey, I'm being facetious. 

When I was sixteen, I saw Liberace give a live performance at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey (now the PNC Banks Arts Center).
My cousin Nancy and her (then) boyfriend George took me there. 
BTW, that was the same summer that I had the wild adventure on the runaway horse which I wrote about on a previous post.

Liberace was a fabulous entertainer and put on a spectacular show. It was then that I realized what a fantastic showman he was. It wasn't his musical virtuosity that made him famous. It was his personality and stunning flair for showmanship.

As a courtesy to those of you getting bored, I'll attempt to Fast Forward

I was twenty years old: perfecting my musical abilities, and slumming around Hollywood.

A Hollywood insider, whom I met at a club, told me:
"Why don't you send a music tape to Liberace? You're a talented pianist. Besides, you're exactly his type."

His type????

It's no Hollywood secret that Liberace enjoyed collecting Boy Toys. He was always looking for "talent", but most often wound up taking young - and hopelessly untalented - guys under his wing, showering them with gifts, and sometimes incorporating them into his Vegas shows.

It's also no secret that Liberace's sweet, innocuous public image was a farce. He was truly a nice guy - but in reality he was also somewhat of an aggressive wolf and a sexual predator.

Although contacting Liberace initially seemed like a good idea, my second thoughts were weighed down with heavy doubts.

For one thing, I definitely wasn't the Boy Toy type. I loathed Hollywood showmanship. I hated Vegas. And - even though I was admittedly a slut - the thought of ever having sex with Liberace was (to me) beyond the realms of revolting. 

 Liberace....and Me

Despite my misgivings, the encouragement of my friends inspired me to bring a tape of my music to Liberace's agent. 

Seymour Heller's office was on Sunset Boulevard. After reinforcing myself with a few drinks, I went there one afternoon. The grim secretary was a staunch and effective barrier between me and Lee.
"Liberace never accepts tapes from anyone," she told me. 

That was bullshit.

I knew of a young woman who nabbed Liberace after one of his shows. She gave him a tape of her music and he in turn got her a job as a pianist in an Atlantic City casino. My Aunt Ann (cousin Nancy's mother) met her and confirmed the story.

Having no success with Liberace's agent, I decided to contact his brother George. George Liberace had an office on Hollywood Boulevard where he presided over a rather shady music publishing business. To be blunt, I soon found out that George wasn't exactly kosher. He had duped people out of money with false promises of fame, and was in legal hot water up to his nose.

Let's Fast Forward. Again. 

It's several years later. An actor friend of mine invited me to a Beverly Hills party where Liberace was supposedly going to be one of the guests. I could bring a piano tape of my music and present it to him personally.

This potentially golden opportunity suddenly seemed more like a brash and tawdry exhibition. The more I thought about the idea, the more I was against it.

I didn't go to the party.
I missed my Big Liberace opportunity.
Do I have regrets? 

I occasionally think about what might have been.....
but to be absolutely truthful, I'm glad I didn't go. 

There's a lot more to these stories but I drastically condensed for this blog. 


  1. "To be absolutely truthful' made me laugh. Do you sometimes lie then?
    Liberace wasn't THAT great! Using HIS fame to progress into the world of showbiz would've been a cheap shot which you didn't need.

  2. I'm always absolutely truthful - which often has gotten me into trouble. I never had any regrets about not meeting Liberace. I didn't want to be indebted to anyone - - and I didn't want to "compromise" my lifestyle to suit anyone else. And I never had a burning desire to be famous (although the money would have been nice...).

  3. fame is fleeting. things worked out the way they did for a reason. better not to be used, in the long run.

    1. I learned early in life to be careful what you wish for....

  4. I agree with you, I was never a fan of him either, and thought he was sort of tacky, although now I probably appreciate the showmen side more now. There is a old guy who comes to the Raven Resort where I go to the pool here, who is very "Liberace". I will listen to his stories, he has some cool ones, but before the end, it never fails, there is either a crotch or ass grab, or a shoulder rub. He seems to enjoy it, so I let him do it. I can handle myself anyhow.

    But a good thing you didn't go to the party. If he accepted your tape, you may have ended up in bed that night...a night filled with satin, silk, and jeweled encrusted g strings.

    1. Hey, if that old guy happens to be loaded with money it might be a good idea to get more "friendly" (I'm only jesting, of course...)

      There was something about the whole Liberace "scene" that I didn't like. I would have never been happy and I'm glad I didn't get involved.

  5. Your excellent and romantically relaxed rendition of "I'll be seeing you" had me hearing Billie Holiday throughout. The lyrics of that song have always seemed prescient to a time when soldiers would be leaving their families --a beautiful and compassionate song. In the 1960s, there were two places young musicians applied to for promotion, advice and support here in Sacramento, Bill Rase Productions and Geo. Liberace. Norma had a friend who was aided immeasurably by Rase and I had another who was less successful with Geo. Liberace --who disappeared one day and fought his battles from Vegas. But mainly, I recall the fun of watching Lee Liberace's show on daytime 1950s tv. He'd have Brother Geo. on there and sometimes their mother and perform my favorites --"A Tisket A Tasket", "Tiptoe Thru The Tulips", etc. The show was a total kick.

    1. I love Billie Holiday but never heard her version of "I'll Be Seeing You". I have no doubt it's fantastic.

      I never knew about George Liberace's involvement with promoting young musicians. I met him very late in his career when he was having all the trouble with Songsmith's Inc. - and I suspected he was a heavy drinker. He lived in Palm Springs at that time, in a house owned by his brother Lee.

  6. This has to be one of my favorite posts! There is so much luck involved in becoming famous. Talent alone is not enough.

    1. I was initially hesitant to post this because I wasn't sure it was interesting. Delighted to know that you like it.
      Luck has an enormous amount to do with becoming famous....and, of course, ambition. I never had a burning desire for fame, nor much ambition.

  7. My mother was a fan ... me, not so much. Now that I take a second look, he was certainly easy on the eyes. 'Just couldn't get past all the 'drama.'
    (I'm glad you didn't go.)

    1. Those diamonds and furs were easy on the eyes, but I had no desire to be immersed in his kind of lifestyle.
      I'm glad I didn't go, too.

  8. I saw Liberace perform twice - both times at the Shriner's auditorium. I believe they were both at Christmastime. I only remember him presenting an up and comer one time but he may have at both shows. To your knowledge, did any of them go on with any kind of fame or fortune?

    He was a great showman. I was probably in elementary or jr. high and I enjoyed his performances. A lot of performers can't cover a wide spectrum in an audience. I think there is a museum dedicated to him in Vegas. Much like the Roy Rogers museum, it will probably be disbanded once those who remember him are deceased. Fame is fleeting.

    1. Liberace was definitely a superb showman. Unfortunately, none of his many "proteges" ever attained fame (or fortune). I honestly think proteges never do. Most of the "biggies" made it on their own.
      I think the longest relation Liberace had was with Scott Torson, who was 16 when he met Liberace. Scott had no talents (musically speaking) whatsoever.

      The Liberace Museum in Vegas closed about 7 years ago, I think in 2010 - due to lack of interest by the public. Plans were made to open a new museum but it never materialized.

      My parents saw the Roy Rogers Museum and met Roy's son (I forget his name). Oh, I think his name was Dusty.

    2. I was typing quickly and made several boo-boos. I meant to say "relationship" not "relation" and "Scott Thorson" not "Torson".

  9. He truly was famous because of the showmanship--the act! It was all kind of tongue in cheek and campy. I got a kick out of his TV appearances--didn't he have his own show for a while? But I don't think I'd have the least interest in meeting him in person. He struck me as probably being very hard and artificial in real life. I think you were smart not to go and didn't miss anything.

    Did you see the movie?

    1. Liberace certainly knew how to charm is audience and he always put on a terrific show. I think you're right about him being difficult in real life. His regular TV show was in the 1950's - - but he sporadically had other TV show "specials" later on (several times a year, I think).

      I didn't see the movie, but I did read the book by Scott Thorson ("Behind the Candelabra"). I thought the book was honest and accurate.

  10. I could never understand all the old women practically swooning when he'd come onstage. I enjoyed his showmanship as long as he did not speak. His saccharine voice always made my gag reflex go into overdrive.

    1. It's good to see you here - - and I hope you're hanging in there (most often easier said than done).

      As for Liberace, I was never a fan. As you said he was more tolerable when his mouth was shut.

  11. When I was a kid I always thought Liberace was sort of strange. It was nothing I could identify at the time but something was off. I figured it out years later.

    1. Believe it or not, I felt the same way about Liberace when I was a kid. I was an extremely naive and innocent kid (sounds incredible but it's true...*smile*)

  12. Another fascinating story Jon! Like you I also wasn't impressed with Liberace's piano talents. In fact I don't remember him playing all that much but I was impressed by his showmanship. Always made me smile. And again like you I could never imagine being a boy toy for Liberace. I wasn't his type anyway, he preferred blonde surfer types. Back "then" I was tall, skinny, dark haired and sharp featured. I was never on a surf board in my life.
    Always enjoy reading about your Hollywood history Jon. More!

  13. Actually Liberace had a rather small piano repertoire. He seemed to play the same things over and over. As you said, it was the showman part of his act that everyone liked. I could have never been a boy toy - it just wasn't my style.

    I'm so glad that you enjoy my Hollywood stories. Sometimes I feel like I tell too many of them - but it was a fascinating time in my life (and SO different from my present lifestyle...or lack of one...)


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