A life-size bronze statue of legendary entertainer Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was dedicated this summer in Little Italy. It now stands in front of Nonna, an Italian restaurant owned by Frankie’s long-time friend Joe Busalacchi. You can learn a little more about this statue at the Team Frankie Laine blog here.
Frankie Lane lived the latter part of his life in San Diego’s Point Loma community and frequently visited Little Italy.
The popular singer scored many big hits in the United States and internationally. Some of his best known songs include That’s My Desire, That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Jezebel, High Noon, Save Your Sorrow, I Believe, Cool Water and Rawhide. Western movie theme songs he recorded include 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles. His rock, jazz, folk and blues recordings made him one of the most popular entertainers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His hits continued right into the 1970’s.
A small plaque can be found on the outside wall of Nonna next to the bronze sculpture. A larger plaque, depicting Frankie Laine with uplifted arms, is also nearby.
I took a photo of the larger plaque six years ago, when it was located elsewhere on India Street, and I transcribed the words written on it here.
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Another very well-liked person in San Diego is Padres radio announcer Jerry Coleman. His accomplishments have been so impressive, he’s got a statue and memorial at Petco Park, just inside the east entrance to the Park at the Park.
I remembering listening to Jerry when I was a kid. At the time he did the Padres radio play-by-play, and was teamed with Dave Campbell who provided color commentary. Today, at the lively age of 89, he takes part in the broadcast during day games.
Jerry, also known as “The Colonel”, was named major league baseball Rookie of the Year in 1949 as Yankees second baseman. In 1950 his defensive plays made him most valuable player in the World Series.
As a Marine aviator, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman interrupted his baseball career to serve in the Korean War. He flew 120 combat missions and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He also flew during World War II, making him the only major league baseball player to serve in two wars.
Jerry, famous for his enthusiastic phrases “Oh, Doctor!” and “You can hang a star on that baby!” was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.