|Julius La Rosa
|Singer Julius La Rosa, from Brooklyn, New York, and Joe Carvajal, from New Orleans,
were teen-aged buddies at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, in 1949. When
La Rosa was "discovered" by TV's Arthur Godfrey, he was transferred to the Navy
Band in Washington, D.C., for formal training in preparation for a professional career
following his Navy enlistment. Carvajal was transferred to Washington, D.C., a few
months later (in May of 1950), after he had completed Navy Photography School in
Pensacola, and the two young men resumed their friendship.
In a famous incident, Godfrey fired La Rosa "live" on national TV in 1953. By then,
Carvajal had also completed his Navy enlistment and was working as a Capitol Hill and
White House news photographer. The two last saw each other at a La Rosa
performance in D.C. that fall. La Rosa went on to make a series of hit records and play
the "singing lead" in a Hollywood movie. He has his own star on Hollywood's Walk of
Fame. After a few years, the two men lost touch with one another.
After the passage of a few decades, La Rosa happened to be in Greenville, S.C., on a
tour with the reconstituted "Artie Shaw Orchestra." Carvajal, living in retirement in the
mountains of Western North Carolina, was able to contact him through the tour, and
they exchanged several long letters -- getting "caught up" on each other's life experiences
in the intervening years (including some lengthy musings about "fame" and what it's like
to experience it first-hand). According to Julie La Rosa, it's not all a bed of roses.
|Just one of the more recent of Julius La Rosa's
many albums recorded over the years.
|Hollywood Walk of Fame
|Julie La Rosa in 1951, visiting the
Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Snapshots by Joe Carvajal