Saturday, May 27, 2023

Ed Ames is Dead at a Mere 95; Think How Long He Might Have lived, if Not for Apartheid (Videos and Pics Galore!)

As a young man (30?)

“Ed Ames Teaches Johnny Carson to Throw a Tomahawk” (27 April 1965)

Ed Ames, Singer and ‘Daniel Boone’ Sidekick, Dies at 95

He’s also known for landing a tomahawk in an uncomfortable place on The Tonight Show.

By Mike Barnes, Duane Byrge may 26, 2023 7:03 a.m.
the hollywood reporter

Ed Ames, the deep-toned baritone pop singer and actor who portrayed the faithful Cherokee sidekick Mingo on the 1960s NBC series Daniel Boone, has died. He was 95.

Ames died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with Alzheimer’s, his wife, Jeanne, told The Hollywood Reporter.

A native of massachusetts and a son of Jewish immigrants from the ukraine, Ames starred as the oxford-educated Mingo opposite Fess Parker as Daniel Boone on the first four seasons (1964-68) of the tv western.

His most memorable night on television, however, came in april 1965 during an appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show. Demonstrating to host Johnny Carson how Mingo would expertly handle a tomahawk, he hurled the weapon at an outline of a cowboy drawn on a wooden board — and it stuck right in the crotch.

As the audience howled, Carson left his desk and said to Ames in now-classic ad-libbed lines, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish!” and “Welcome to frontier bris!”

The whole thing generated one of the longest laughs in the history of The Tonight Show — at about four minutes, some say one of the longest in the annals of TV — and was a staple of highlight shows for decades.

In a 2014 interview with host Mark Malkoff on The Carson Podcast, the amiable Ames admitted that he had never tossed a tomahawk until he learned The Tonight Show wanted him to do it on the air. (On earlier appearances with Carson, he had thrown a bola and a lance and shot an arrow.)

“That afternoon, I practiced throwing it,” he said. “First I did it at home the night before and wrecked a couple of trees.”

Ames noted that the morning after the show aired, cab drivers yelled at him, “Good for you, Ed!” as he walked through the streets of New York City.

The 6-foot-3 Ames got the job playing Mingo after 20th Century Fox talent scouts saw him as Chief Bromden opposite Kirk Douglas and Gene Wilder in the original 1963 Broadway production of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ames and three of his older brothers — Vic, Gene and Joe — performed and recorded as the Ames Brothers. In 1950, they had their first No. 1 song, the double-sided tracker “Rag Mop”/”Sentimental Me”; struck it rich three years later with “You, You, You” on RCA Records; and became one of the most popular quartets in the era before the intrusion [!] of rock ‘n’ roll.

Ames went it alone in 1961 and had success with such songs as “Try to Remember” — his signature song — “Apologize,” “When the Snow Is on the Roses,” “My Cup Runneth Over” and “Who Will Answer?”

Edmond Dantes Urick was born July 9, 1927, in Malden, Massachusetts, the youngest of nine children (five boys and four girls). As a child, he attended the rough-and-tumble Boston Latin School — Benjamin Franklin was another famous alum — and sang in churches around town.

He joined Vic, Gene and Joe as the frontman in an act they called the Urick Brothers and then the Armory Brothers (Vic’s middle name), and they made their mark in Boston nightclubs like the Latin Quarter, founded by Barbara Walters’ father, Lou.

They headed to New York, landed a job with bandleader Art Mooney, signed with Decca Records and, at the suggestion of famed Broadway producer Abe Burroughs, became the Ames Brothers. (“Ames” means “strength” in Yiddish.)

They found their first chart success in 1949 with “Forever and Ever,” recorded with Russ Morgan’s orchestra. Listeners loved their rich, clean harmonies.

After “Rag Mop,” “Sentimental Me,” “Undecided” and another top-10 hit, the 1954 novelty song “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane,” the brothers began to perform regularly on Arthur Godfrey’s show and were one of the first acts to appear on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town.

In 1955, they had their own 15-minute syndicated TV program, The Ames Brothers Show, and performed the title song for Man on Fire (1957), starring Bing Crosby. At their peak, the foursome could command $20,000 a week on tour, and they were named Billboard’s best vocal group of 1958, when they had eight singles on the charts.

Ames pursued acting in the ’60s and studied at the Herbert Berghof Drama School in New York. He starred off-Broadway as John Proctor in a revival of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, then landed the lead in the national company of Gower Champion’s Carnival.

Ames also appeared in the off-Broadway smash The Fantasticks, on which he sang “Try to Remember.” Carson loved his rendition, and Ames once sang it every night for a week on The Tonight Show.

Ames also introduced the John Wayne film The War Wagon (1967) with “Ballad of the War Wagon.”

In later years, he appeared in concert and at supper clubs and showed up on such TV shows as Murder, She Wrote, In the Heat of the Night and The Marshal.

Ames also was an early minority owner of the NBA expansion team the Phoenix Suns along with Henry Mancini, Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Tony Curtis.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his children, Ronald and Sonya; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Voices of Innocence and Experience: Hear Ed Ames Sing “Try to Remember” at 36, and Watch Him Sing It Again at 80 (Photoessay and Videos)
By Nicholas Stix
Expanded at 3:23 a.m. on Saturday, August 15, 2015
Ed Ames was born Edmund Dantes Urick, on July 9, 1927 in Malden, Massachusetts to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants.

Ed Urick grew up poor, one of nine kids. He and his brother Joe both attended highly selective Boston Public Latin School. The Urick brothers were immensely talented at music, athletics, comedy and academics.


The Ames Brothers

During the late 1940s through the 1950s, Ed and his brothers Vic (May 20, 1925–January 23, 1978), Gene (February 13, 1923–April 4, 1997), and Joe (May 3, 1921–December 22, 2007) had great success singing as The Ames Brothers in clubs, theaters, and on TV, both as a guest act and with their own variety show. They had a string of hit records, largely in the late 1940s and early ‘50s, with “Rag Mop” probably their biggest hit.

In the early 1960s, Ed decided to become an actor, took acting lessons, and enjoyed success off-Broadway in the legendary musical, The Fantasticks, and on Broadway in Carnival, and in Kirk Douglas’ production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“Try to Remember” was the signature song from The Fantasticks, which was ultimately the longest-running show in theatrical history. In Cuckoo’s Nest he played “Chief,” which led to his being offered the supporting role of the Ivy League-educated Indian “Mingo” on Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker, which ran from 1964-1968. Ames still speaks of Parker as “my friend.”


As “Mingo,” on Daniel Boone

No Ukrainian Jew, no matter how talented, or how much he looked the part, would ever get such an offer today.

In his prime, Ames stood a strapping 6’3.”

When Daniel Boone ended its run, Ames was only 40, and yet, though he and his fans didn’t know it, his TV career was over. An actor could have great success for years on the boob tube, have a show end its run, and suddenly find fickle producers ignoring him.

Starting with “Try to Remember” in 1964, Ames had success as a solo singing act. Ames’ singing career was greatly aided by Johnny Carson, and his name recognition through the TV series. Carson reportedly scheduled him to sing one night on the show in 1964, and then had him come back every night that week. However, Ames never enjoyed success as a solo performer on the level of the brothers act.

On April 29, 1965, Ames had one of the most memorable appearances in the history of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Ames showed Carson how to throw a tomahawk. His throw elicited what is supposed to have been the longest sustained laughter in the history of the show, and a response from Carson that would be verboten today, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish!,” followed by “Frontier bris!”



Ames continued singing and performing for many years, but like so many wonderful singers of the Great American Songbook (think of Jack Jones), he flew under the radar of the MSM, which promoted first the British invasion and “rhythm & blues,” followed by punk and rap.

During his sixties, Ames became a horse rancher.

In recent years, he has served as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Zionist Organization of America.

The 1964 version of “Try to Remember” displays Ames’ bass-baritone to full effect, and yet…


In June 2007, on the eve of his 80th birthday

Watch him perform as an old man, at 79 or 80 years old. He’s still a big, handsome, powerful man, with a big, powerful voice. You wouldn’t want to tangle with him. See how he interprets the song, slowing it down at times, and his stage presence, with the business he does with his hands. As impressive as it is that his voice is still so powerful, it is the tenderness of his performance that is even more remarkable, a tenderness that is lacking in the earlier performance, or anyone else's.

“Try to Remember” is one of the most beautiful songs of the era of recorded music. I believe that the 2007 performance is scored closer to the original version than the 1964 version, or any other version I know, outside of cast recordings of the show itself. Not only did the 80-year-old Ed Ames give the most moving performance of this song, but one of the greatest vocal performances I’ve ever heard of any song.

The Boss said he reminded her of Sinatra. But, of course—Frank Sinatra taught generations of great singers how to do it. Gene Lees wrote that while Sinatra had hoped that his method of musical interpretation would be his legacy, once Sinatra had established himself, men singers had the choice between interpreting songs as Sinatra had taught them, and being dismissed as Sinatra-imitators, or going a different route, and being dismissed as inferior. My chief of research borrowed Ronan Farrow’s quip, “Frank Sinatra is the father of us all.”

On July 9, Ed Ames is due to turn 88 years old.

Try to Remember
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics by Tom Jones

Try to remember the kind of September,
When life was slow, and oh, so mellow,
Try to remember the kind of September,
When grass was green, and grain was yellow.

Try to remember the kind of September,
When you were a tender and callow fellow,
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender,
That no one wept, except the willow,
Try to remember when life was so tender,
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.

Try to remember when life was so tender,
That love was an ember about to billow,
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow ... follow ... follow.

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Although you know, the snow will follow,
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Without the hurt, the heart is hollow.

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow,
Deep in December, our hearts should remember…
And follow.

Innocence: Ed Ames at 36, Singing His Single of “Try to Remember” (1964)
Try to Remember (from The Fantasticks)


Experience: Ed Ames Singing the Same Song Before a Live Audience, in 2007, on or About His 80th Birthday


The extroardinary Ed Ames singing a great song.

Uploaded on Nov 29, 2008 by Mountain Poet.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hear the Ageless Ed Ames Sing “My Cup Runneth Over” at 40, and Again at 80!

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Previously, at WEJB:

“Voices of Innocence and Experience: Hear Ed Ames Sing “Try to Remember” at 36, and Watch Him Sing It Again at 80 (Photoessay and Videos).”

My Cup Runneth Over
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics by Tom Jones

Sometimes in the morning,' when shadows are deep,
I lie here beside you, just watching you sleep,
And sometimes I whisper what I'm thinking of,
My cup runneth over with love.

Sometimes in the evening, when you do not see,
I study the small things you do constantly,
I memorize moments that I'm fondest of,
My cup runneth over with love.

In only a moment we both will be old,
We won't even notice the world turning cold,
And so, in these moments with sunlight above,
My cup runneth over with love,
My cup runneth over with love,
With love.

[Reprise the last stanza]

“My Cup Runneth Over” (1967)


Uploaded on Apr 20, 2009 by Tom Smith.

Charted at #8 on Billboard Hot 100 in March 1967 and #1 on Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. From the musical, I Do, I Do. Released as a single in November 1966. Written by Harvey Schmidt & Tom Jones. B-side is “It Seems a Long, Long Time (Theme from “Mandragola”).”


Uploaded on Nov 29, 2008 Mountain Poet.
The extraordinary Ed Ames singing a marvelous old song.


In June 2007, on the eve of his 80th birthday


Anonymous said...

The "Try to Remember" singer passed from Alzheimer's.I usually abhor when media comes up with that crap,as if a random song title has anything to do with a man's demise,but IN THIS STILL doesn't mean a thing.

The Carson bit was possibly the funniest(accidental)piece of comedy in history.A sequel on the "Afterlife Tonight Show?"


Anonymous said...

Ed Ames could pass for an American Indian. Just like the Sicilian guy Iron Eyes Cody was able to. Charles Buchinsky [Charles Bronson] could do the same. Bronson a Crimean Tartar Pole.

Bobbie Gentry was a co-investor with Ames in the basketball team. Bobbie of the one hit wonder "Ode to Billy Joe".