An Audi Baritone: Update

Originally published October 2014.

image

CVA 1184-2072 John Charles Thomas signing a drum while group of people watch in music store. Jack Lindsay photo. 1940-48? (Probably 1946).

Who is the apparent rock star above? A fellow who, in his day, was a household word: American opera baritone, John Charles Thomas.  Today, his vocal stylings are not quite forgotten (although his name is all but so); his English rendering of Johann Strauss’s “Open Road, Open Sky” was used in Audi’s 2011 advertisement for its A6 Avant automobile (featuring robotic bird animation).  In the image above, he appears to be in Kellys Appliances shop (Georgia at Seymour).  Thomas was well known and appreciated by Vancouver music lovers; most notably, he drew some 15,000 to an outdoor concert at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl in 1939. I cannot imagine a crowd of that size at the Bowl!

August 4/16 Update:

Here is a shot I recently stumbled across on CVA that cracks me up. It shows John Charles in his pinstripes mugging as though he had something to do with the construction of the Brockton Point grandstand being built for Vancouver’s Diamond Jubliee at the time (1946).

St Pk N105 - [John C. Thomas and Mrs. Gordon Hilker during the stage and stands construction for Vancouver's Diamond Jubilee celebration at Brockton Point] 1946

CVA St Pk N105 – John Charles Thomas during the stage and stands construction for Vancouver’s Diamond Jubilee celebration at Brockton Point. 1946.

And here is another chuckle: John Charles in full costume as Captain Geo. Vancouver (and an unknown young Vancouver resident, I presume). As I recall, the Diamond Jubilee pageant was organized by an American who didn’t take Vancouver’s tendency to dampness into account. The pageant was not the roaring success that had been hoped for, as a result.

St Pk N103 - [John C. Thomas playing Captain George Vancouver at a pageant to celebrate Vancouver's Diamond Jubilee at Brockton Point] 1946.

CVA St Pk N103 – John Charles Thomas playing Captain George Vancouver at a pageant to celebrate Vancouver’s Diamond Jubilee at Brockton Point. 1946.

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