May 2, 2018

The Imperials and Jimmy Dean

During our almost three years with Elvis, we were also heavily booked with Jimmy Dean. I told you about our first engagement with Jimmy here. It was a three-week run and sold out almost every night. We did many dates on the road with Jimmy. Many were fairs but most were hotels in Las Vegas. We appeared with Jimmy at the Desert Inn, The Frontier, and The Landmark Hotel. We would do one full month with Jimmy with two shows a night with no nights off. In 1970, we wound up doing two months of the year with Jimmy and two months with Elvis, so we practically lived in Las Vegas that year.

The Imperials with Mike Douglas and Jimmy Dean

It was that same year that the Imperials were blazing new trails on television with Jimmy Dean. We were featured on a nationally syndicated show filmed in Philadelphia called The Mike Douglas Show. We did The Merv Griffin Show out of Los Angeles and the Joey Bishop Show on the ABC network. Joey was considered in competition with Johnny Carson but never reached Carson’s ratings. We were on the show with Jimmy and the chance to sing was made available for us. We decided to sing He Touched Me to that national audience. The response was very gratifying. The famous actress, Greer Garson, was on the set as we sang that song. At the close of our number, the cameras went back to Joey and Greer at the desk. Greer Garson offered, without solicitation, her observation of the number she had just heard. Her first words were, “Well, isn’t it nice to know the devil doesn’t have all the good music”.  It was a verification to us that we had picked the right song.

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