Post by chaptal Post by That Derek
Some woman claiming she was a close friend of Julius La Rosa's just called up the Mark Simone Show here on NYC's WOR-AM to report that he had just died.
More to follow.
This is what Wikipedia says about the "LaRosa incident"
"Like many men of his generation, Julius LaRosa as well as other male Godfrey cast members thought dance lessons to be somewhat effeminate and chafed when Godfrey ordered them for his entire performing crew. Metz suggested that Godfrey instituted the practice because his own physical limitations made him sensitive to the need for coordination on camera. "Godfrey," Metz wrote, "was concerned about his cast in his paternalistic way."
Godfrey and LaRosa had a dispute when LaRosa missed a dance lesson due to a family emergency. He claimed he'd advised Godfrey, but was nonetheless barred from the show for a day in retaliation, via a notice placed on a cast bulletin board. LaRosa attempted to discuss the incident with Godfrey at the hotel where the host resided during the week, but Godfrey walked by him and refused to discuss anything with him. At that point, LaRosa retained topnotch manager Tommy Rockwell to renegotiate his contract with Godfrey or, failing that, to receive an outright release. However, such talks had yet to occur.
LaRosa was also signed to Cadence Records, founded by Godfrey's musical director Archie Bleyer, who produced "Eh, Cumpari!", the best-selling hit of LaRosa's musical career. LaRosa admitted the record's success had made him a little cocky. Godfrey discovered that LaRosa hired Rockwell in the wake of the dance lesson reprimand when he received a letter from Rockwell dictating that all dealings with LaRosa would go through General Artists Corporation, Rockwell's agency. At that point Godfrey immediately consulted with CBS President Dr. Frank Stanton, who noted that Godfrey had hired LaRosa on-air (after his initial appearance on Talent Scouts) and suggested firing him the same way. Whether Stanton intended this to occur after Godfrey spoke with LaRosa and his managers about the singer's future on the show, or whether Stanton suggested Godfrey actually fire LaRosa on air with no warning, is unknown. Soon after the firings, Stanton conceded "maybe this was a mistake."
On October 19, 1953, near the end of his morning radio show — deliberately waiting until after the television portion had ended — after lavishing praise on LaRosa in introducing the singer's performance of "Manhattan," Godfrey thanked him and then announced that this was LaRosa's "swan song" with the show, adding, "He goes now, out on his own — as his own star — soon to be seen on his own programs, and I know you'll wish him godspeed as much as I do". Godfrey then signed off for the day saying, "This is the CBS Radio Network". LaRosa, who had to be told what the phrase "swan song" meant, was dumbfounded, since he had not been informed beforehand of his departure and contract renegotiations had yet to happen. In perhaps a further illumination of the ego that Godfrey had formerly kept hidden, radio historian Gerald Nachman, in Raised on Radio, claims that what really miffed Godfrey about his now-former protege was that LaRosa's fan mail had come to outnumber Godfrey's. It is likely that a combination of these factors led to Godfrey's decision to discharge LaRosa. It is not likely Godfrey expected the public outcry that ensued, a result of the incident running directly counter to Godfrey's avuncular image.
The LaRosa incident opened an era of controversy that swirled around Godfrey and gradually destroyed his folksy image. LaRosa was beloved enough by Godfrey's fans that they saved their harshest criticism for Godfrey himself. After the firing, a press conference was held by LaRosa and his agent. Shortly afterward, Godfrey further complicated the matter at a press conference of his own where he responded that LaRosa had lost his "humility". The charge, given Godfrey's sudden baring of his own ego beneath the facade of warmth, brought mockery from the public and press. Almost instantly, Godfrey and the phrase "no humility" became the butt of many comedians' jokes. He later claimed he had given LaRosa a release from his contract that the singer requested. Godfrey, however, provided no evidence to support that contention."