The clicking on of any ads is appreciated... and helps support the costs of our Canonsburg Friends sites.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canonsburg's real Bob Vinton is a fan of the singer

A newsmaker you should know: Canonsburg's real Bob Vinton became a fan of the singer
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Will the real Bobby Vinton please stand up?
If you are thinking of the famous crooner, guess again. The only real Bobby Vinton in the area is a 45-year-old local telecommunications engineer and entrepreneur who has spent a lifetime fielding phone calls and being pestered about "Mr. Lonely" -- who is not even a relation.

In fact, Canonsburg's own Bobby Vinton, whom we all know from classic hits like "Roses are Red (My Love)" and "Blue Velvet," was given the nickname "Polish Prince" for a good reason: His real name is Stanley Robert Vintula Jr. and he is the son of famous local bandleader Stan Vintula, also known as Stan Vinton Sr.
Tomorrow, Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome will declare Saturday as "Bobby Vinton Day" and will honor the famous Mr. Vinton with the key to the city, which in this case is actually a borough.
The 75-year-old Mr. Vinton will be on hand at the Canonsburg McDonald's restaurant, which was retrofitted several years ago as a tribute to Mr. Vinton and other famous local musicians, to accept the honor and will serve as grand marshal of the Canonsburg Independence Day parade on Saturday.
The parade is the second largest in the state -- only Philadelphia's is bigger -- and already, Mr. Rhome said, residents have been setting out lawn chairs to save their place along the parade route.
On July 4, Mr. Vinton is scheduled to perform a concert at 8 p.m. at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, which will include his drummer, Zelienople-native Roger Flugher. Mr. Flugher, 53, will be returning to his hometown from Nixa, Mo., where he currently resides.
The younger Bobby Vinton, of North Strabane, said he's used to answering questions about the famous crooner, though as a Generation X-er his musical tastes don't lean toward polkas and the circa 1960s and 1970s syrupy love songs that the older Mr. Vinton is famous for.
But, the younger man became a big fan of the crooner six years ago, when the singer declined an offer from Canonsburg to construct a statue in his honor. Instead, Mr. Vinton asked that the estimated $100,000 cost be put into more important projects for the borough.
"I thought more of him because of that," said the younger Mr. Vinton, who moved to South Park 40 years ago with his parents, Bob and Karen Vinton from Ebensburg in the Johnstown area. His parents now live in Dallas.
"Everyone here in Canonsburg loves Bobby," said Mr. Rhome, who hopes to eventually rekindle talks for a statue or other tribute to the entertainer.
Perry Como, another famous Canonsburg native, was honored with a statue in 1999 and the band The Four Coins also hailed from the borough.
"What better way to be called America's small-town music capital?" Mr. Rhome asked.
As a child, Mr. Vinton recalls the family receiving numerous phone calls from Bobby Vinton fans, including one from a Polish-speaking admirer.
One of his earliest memories was seeing Mr. Vinton's variety television show, "The Bobby Vinton Show," which aired from 1975 to 1978.
"I remember thinking, who is this person with the name that sounded like mine?" the younger Mr. Vinton said.
At the height of Mr. Vinton's popularity, in the 1970s, the younger man said he considered using his initials instead of the Bobby Vinton moniker, "but it didn't work," he said.
And, what perhaps could have been the best benefit, luck with the ladies, also never materialized due to the vast age difference.
"Most people didn't know who he was," he said.
The local Mr. Vinton did have one more coincidental tie to the singer, besides the name. The younger man married his wife Becky on April 16, 1994 -- the crooner's birthday.
North Strabane's Mr. Vinton no longer lists his number in the phone book, but he still gets inquiries about his name, including once from a man who was interviewing him for a job.
Of course, that man's name was James Brown.
"And neither of us could sing," the younger Mr. Vinton said.

Read more: