The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 10B): John the Barber

(Continued from Monday, March 14.   Click here to see Part 1…)

When word got around that South Philadelphia nightclub musician John Valente, Sr. had a local barbershop,  visiting stars began dropping in.

16_03_17 1 John the Barber Valente DC_4068(John the Barber, Jr. reflected in a shop mirror below photos of his –
and his dad’s – famous customers.)

ALL-STAR  ROSTER…

Soon John, Sr. and John, Jr.  (who joined his dad full-time after graduating from St. John Newmann High School in 1959)  began cutting the hair of South Philadelphia celebrities like singers Bobby Rydell and Al Martino;  comedians Guy Marks,  Al Fisher and Lou Marks….

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The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 10A): John the Barber

When I first shared Arthur Tavani’s fabulous mid-1960s photo album,  there were local faces that every South Philadelphian recognized:  Singers Bobby Rydell,  Fabian and Al Martino;  boxer Joey Giardello;  comedian Guy Marks.

“So who’s the guy in the white coat standing next to your brother and Jerry Vale?  A doctor?  A dentist?”  I asked Virginia Tavani Romano,  Art’s sister.

“That’s John the Barber!”  she immediately replied.

16_03_14 1 Jerry Vale John Valente Jack Baldschun(From left: South Philadelphia nightlife writer Art Tavani,  singer Jerry Vale,  John the
Barber,  and Phillies relief pitcher Jack Baldschun in John’s shop around 1964.)

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The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 8): Lou Marks

It was the last weekend of November,  2014,  and we were celebrating our new holiday display:  26 lighted photos of South Philadelphia celebrities  –  drawn from our star-packed 1960s photo album  –  looked down from our windows onto E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.

15_11_16 1 Celebrity Windows(And, yes, everyone from Bobby Rydell and Fabian, to Al Martino and
Joey Giardello,  will be back in our windows in January, 2016.)

Feeling festive,  we headed out to Stogie Joe’s Tavern for a square pie with sausage and broccoli rabe.

It was the perfect choice:  Stogie Joe’s Passyunk Avenue building once housed the gym where boxer Joey Giardello trained,  and Joey was among our window celebrities.

But,  like everything related to Art Tavani’s magical South Philadelphia photo album,  the coincidences didn’t end there….

“NICE  LOOKING  MUSSELS!”

Soon we were comparing appetizers with the people at the next table.

“Be sure to check out our holiday windows on your way home,”  we told them.  “We’ve got everyone from Bobby Rydell to Fisher and Marks up there!”

15_11_16 2 Fisher & Marks(Singer and dancer Al Fisher,  left,  was the semi-straight man to comedian and jitterbug champ Lou Marks)

“Fisher and Marks?”  one of the men asked.  “I’m friends with Lou’s son!”  Continue reading