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