A few months after I started work at WMGM-TV in Atlantic City, I got a call from Stu Bykofsky a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News and my first Journalism teacher at Temple University. Stu and his wife were coming down to A.C. to spend the weekend at Trump Castle (now Golden Nugget) and take in a few shows. Being still relatively new to the town he invited me to join them. We met for dinner then headed up to one of the showrooms to see a Revue show they had featuring singer Len Barry (Bristol Stomp and 1,2,3 oh thats how elementary) then we made our way to the Crystal Ballroom where we were to see Tony Bennett. I was a huge Frank Sinatra fan and a growing Tony Bennett fan so I was excited about not only seeing him for the first time but getting the chance to meet him, which Trump P.R. guru Bob Arrow had arranged for us after the show. Turns out we wouldnt have to wait, as we headed down to the showroom our elevator stops, the doors open up and who is standing there but Tony Bennett himself! There he was no entourage or escort, just Tony in his tux, a man going to work. We introduced ourselves to him and told him that wed be coming backstage to speak with him after the show he said by all means come back and he told us to enjoy the show. That was very easy to do, Tony wowed the audience and me. Afterwards we went backstage and theres Tony and Ralph Sharon going over the show . When he saw us Tony came over and was a gracious host introducing us to his girlfriend (now wife) Susan Crow. Stu asked him a couple of questions for his column then we just stood around talking about everything from Tonys days as a young entertainer performing in Wildwood and Atlantic City to music today, to who were his favorite singers. (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald were his answers.) Along those lines I told him that I had a picture of Frank Sinatra on my desk but after the performance I just witnessed its about to be replaced. He said oh thank you but before you replace it, I should tell you that I have a picture of Frank Sinatra on my desk. After a while Tony asked me so John youre in TV? I said yes Im the 11 p.m. anchor with the local NBC affiliate and he said maybe we can do a show together some day. I was floored and I told him it would be an honor. jobHe told me to give him a call next time hes in town. I remember thinking is this for real? Id find out a few months later when I saw Tony was coming back into town. I called over to Bob Arrow who was with us that night and said Tony told me to call him and we set in motion the plans for a half-hour special, just Tony Bennett and me looking back on his then 40 years in show business.
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