Pat Boone

There was a time around 1955, when I was eleven, when for about 15 minutes I thought I liked Pat Boone. I have no explanation for this. I’d have to try listening to a record of his from back then to try unravelling this mystery but I haven’t got the stomach, or time to waste, for such an endeavour.

In 1962, out of perverse curiosity, I attended a fascist rally at Madison Square Gardens. Tickets were free and I also might have just wanted to visit the venue of all those boxing matches I watched on television as kid, during another perverse period when I was a boxing fan. The event was sponsored by Fred Schwartz’s Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. Pat Boone showed up as a surprise guest. Schwartz gave him a long rabble-rousing introduction ending with “and the father of four beautiful daughters”.

When the applause died down Boone’s first words were, “I’d rather see my four daughters blown to pieces by the atom bomb than live under communism.”

This inspired a crazed standing ovation during which I stayed in my seat, laughing and shaking my head, which caused those around me to give me strange looks, at which point I left the building.

On the brighter side, if his girls had been blown up we’d have been spared “You Light Up My Life”.

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