Talk:Johnnie Ray

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New text added today[edit]

I hope Winkelvi reads this.

I admit I added a lot of new words, but every major assertion is sourced. Please tag anything important that lacks and needs a source. Please do that rather than block me from editing.

Winkelvi's edit retains previous edits that contain several misleading statements or errors. They include;

-- the misleading assertion that Johnnie Ray's gigs at Marty's in NYC and Vine Street Bar and Grill, Hollywood, caused a lot of young people in the 1980s to discover Johnnie Ray.

To be accurate, they did not. My edit states, using more than one source, that New York promoters were not sufficiently impressed with Ray's singing at Marty's to offer him another gig anytime soon after that. His next trip to New York was eight years later. That's in the article, too. The final New York gig was in 1989, and it was so bad that many of the concerts were cancelled.

Vine Street Bar and Grill in 1984? Ray's manager made the mistake of booking it while the Summer Olympics were taking place a few miles away. That was a mistake. Ray lived in Los Angeles and never reestablished his A-list career there. It was a far cry from the Hollywood Bowl where Ray had headlined in 1955.

-- the blatantly wrong asertion that Ray was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver at age 50.

In fact, he was 36 at the time, and he recovered from it at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. He remained sober for the rest of the lifespan of his beloved friend Dorothy Kilgallen, and for more than five years after her death. Today's edit includes that.

I can list more errors and unsourced misleading statements that can be found in previous edits, including Winkelvi's. First let's see if anyone replies here instead of taking the easy way out, which is zapping my edit in its entirety.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:23, July 21, 2014‎

Recent edits[edit]

I've done some rewrites to the article. As the edit summary box is rather short, I wanted to explain my edits lest they be reverted. I replaced some sources because they appear to be unreliable. One was a book/website by That's a vanity press. I also removed the lyric websites and replaced them with book citations. I also got rid of all the stuff about when and how Ray and Dorothy Kilgallen met. This issues was a problem before (it's in the talk page archive) and it seems the now blocked editor and prolific sockmaster returned to put it back in. Nothing on or IMdb support that Ray and Kilgallen were already having an affair before he appeared on What's My Line. All those links prove is that the episodes exist. If he claimed he met her there, that's that. Maybe he lied, maybe he forgot, it doesn't really matter. This isn't the place to feature one person's amateur investigative journalism and original research. Documenting what he said and adding what others claim that counter that is sufficient as long as it is well sourced. (talk) 09:36, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

A source named George Hopkins (comedian) was a stand-up comic who performed in the same bars and clubs with Johnnie Ray before Ray signed his first record contract in 1951. In 1997, Hopkins was audiorecorded saying Ray and Kilgallen met for the first time during his second New York City engagement, which was at the Paramount Theatre (New York City).

That gig started a few weeks after Ray's first Manhattan gig, which was at the Copacabana (nightclub). The year was 1952 for both. During the Paramount gig, a press party was held at the Hotel Astor (New York City). Dorothy Kilgallen and her What's My Line co-panelist Bennett Cerf attended. The guest list was heavy on Hollywood and Broadway entertainers. The purpose was to welcome Ray to the A list of entertainment. Kilgallen met Ray at the party and immediately became very interested in his offstage life. Hopkins was audiorecorded in 1997 providing all of the above details.

If you review the Kilgallen book by Lee Israel, you see it has many footnotes, but it doesn't provide a footnote specifically for the belief that the What's My Line studio was where Kilgallen and Ray first met. Author Israel never contacted George Hopkins. Israel did not have access to a list of all the What's My Line live telecasts, which people can access now on IMDb. So she depended on someone she did not name in the book for her assertion that the episode where Kilgallen and Ray allegedly met had aired live "in the early part of 1956."

Johnnie Ray, whom we know Israel interviewed, might have been the source on that time frame, or he might not have.

Either way, hanging the Personal life section of this article on "the early part of 1956" is very irresponsible. Granted, Wikipedia scorns IMDB and YouTube as sources, but many other websites list Ray's two What's My Line appearances as August 22, 1954 and June 9, 1957. The Israel book is an unreliable source on "the early part of 1956," therefore it's also unreliable for the assertion that the episode with the vague date marked the first meeting of Kilgallen and Ray. If Ms. Lee Israel fantasized about the "early part of 1956," then she could not possibly know when was the first meeting of two people -- a meeting she didn't witness, and one of the people was dead while Ms. Israel worked on her book.

What do people want me to do? Add the audio of George Hopkins talking to YouTube? He has a Wikipedia article that I have added here in this statement.

We have other problems with the "Recent edits" done on October 15 by the person with a different traceroute from mine. In the final section of the article, he used a bad source to claim that Ray continued touring until early 1990 when he entered Cedars Sinai Medical Center. That's a glaring error. His last concert was in his native Oregon in October 1989. It wasn't part of a tour. It was a special trip he took from his legal address in Los Angeles to Oregon, which he considered his true home. His only sibling, a sister, lived there. Few people bought tickets, and that made Ray and his sister upset. Source on this is the book by Jonny Whiteside. Other Wikipedia editors inserted the Whiteside source in previous edits going back years ago.

If the person who did "Recent edits" doesn't reply here within a week, then I'm going to do another edit that combines both of ours. I'm including the What's My Line live telecast dates. I'm specifying that Ray's last concert in October 1989 wasn't part of a concert tour. It was a trip he made from Los Angeles to Oregon and directly back to Los Angeles. The Whiteside book is the source on that. Whiteside used newspaper clippings, interviews with witnesses and records from the Oregon concert venue.

After arriving in Los Angeles from Oregon, Ray stayed in his house near Sunset Blvd. for a while. He went directly from there to Cedars Sinai Medical Center. He couldn't drive and didn't have as much money as many people assume he had. He was in no position to embark on an American concert tour, which he had not done since summer 1989, before the Oregon gig.

Finally, the Whiteside book says Ray was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver when he was 36, not when he was 50. The timeframe of age 50 has been in the article for years, but it contradicts what the Whiteside book has.

As I said, I'm waiting a week. If nobody replies here, then I'm putting back details of the first meeting with Kilgallen and Ray, the two dates of Ray's live TV appearances on Kilgallen's show and the correct age for cirrhosis. I promise to keep in many of the other anonymous editor's changes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:43, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Ultimatums? That's not how we do things in Wikipedia. Content gets added that has reliable sources attached to it. Content gets removed that isn't reliably sourced, violates the WP:NPOV policy, or isn't encyclopedic in nature. -- WV 04:09, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

That wasn't an ultimatum. I said I would wait a week for the other anonymous editor to reply. If there's no reply, then I'll do a new edit that combines the other anonymous one with the one that that person vandalized. He or she vandalized portions of the article that had been there for several years.

The other anonymous person's errors include the assertion that Johnnie Ray "continued touring" until early 1990. (He died in February during a long hospitalization.) The Ray biography by Jonny Whiteside, which this article cites as a reference more than once, says October 1989 was the time frame of Ray's last concert, and it wasn't an example of "touring." It was one trip he made from Los Angeles to Oregon and back to Los Angeles specifically to perform at an Oregon venue. He considered Oregon his home. His sister and her husband and children lived there. He told an interviewer that he owned a house in Los Angeles out of necessity. The words "continued touring" are very misleading to describe the end of Johnnie Ray's career as the other anonymous editor has done.

The following portion of the anonymous edit from October 15 jumps back and forth over a time period of thirty years. It's illogical.

Personal life

After his death, several close friends publicly revealed that Ray was gay. Other friends vehemently denied this claim as did Ray,[18][19] but rumors about his sexuality began to arise when he was arrested for soliciting men for sex. He was first arrested in Detroit in 1951 after soliciting a man for sex in the restroom of the Stone Theatre, a burlesque house in Detroit. As Ray's career had yet to take off, the story was not reported in newspapers and very few people outside Detroit knew about it. Ray quietly pleaded guilty and paid a fine.[20] In 1959, Ray was arrested in Detroit for soliciting an undercover officer in a bar called the Brass Rail, which has been described variously as attracting traveling musicians and attracting gay people. Ray went to trial following the second arrest and was found not guilty.

If someone is reading about Johnnie Ray for the first time here, then the person becomes confused by the following: Ray dies, then "several close friends" reveal he was gay, then other friends as well as Ray himself deny the claim. How can Ray do that if he's dead? He dies in 1990, then we jump backwards 29 years to 1951 when he is arrested for the first time for "soliciting men for sex." He propositions more than one man before the police officer handcuffs him?

The most thorough source for this article, which is the book by Jonny Whiteside, says an undercover vice squad officer in Detroit arrested Ray in 1951 after Ray solicited him and nobody else. As you can see, the paragraph in Personal life that I have cited requires someone to scratch the whole thing and start over using the Whiteside book as a source. Another book that is solely about Johnnie Ray exists: Beyond the Marquee by Tad Mann. You can get evidence of it by clicking below.

Beyond the Marquee by Tad Mann published in 2006

Regarding the edit summary for the edit I did less than an hour ago:

I said I was fixing reference #5 so it appears on the same line as the block quote. I got that right. I also said I was adding a new reference for my restoration of the text about El Camino College that had been in the article for several years until it was vandalized earlier this month. In the edit summary, I said the new reference was #7. In fact, it is #17. It is a Los Angeles Times article that serves as a legitimate source on Johnnie Ray performing at El Camino College in 1987. I apologize for the numerical error. It is reference #17, not 7.

I'm waiting for the other anonymous editor to compromise on how to restore the details about Johnnie Ray's two What's My Line American television appearances that the editor removed earlier this month. They were part of the article for several years, as was El Camino College. If there is no further reply here after several more days, I shall try a compromise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:38, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

section called Later career influences looks good after three October 31 edits[edit]

Thank you, Winkelvi, for these edits that are fine by me.

Let's wait a while longer for the anonymous editor who changed the Personal life section to say something here. If the editor doesn't, then I'm going to try a compromise for changing that section. I already explained the bad chronology that the editor put in it. Ray dies, then he denies he was gay, etcetera.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:13, 31 October 2014 (UTC)


Please see the request for arbitration that I added a few minutes ago to this page: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring When you are there scrolling down, it is the latest entry as of now. The other person who is disputing edits never says anything on this Talk page despite my repeated requests in the edit summaries that the person should do so. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Your request there has been declined. Please discuss your issues with the edits I made here. I think it's fair to say the other IP editor won't be commenting. -- WV 01:17, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

For openers, this paragraph has several things wrong with it.

Rumors about Ray's sexuality began to arise when he was arrested in Detroit for solicitation. When appearing in court, he pled guilty to soliciting another man for sex in the restroom of the Stone Theatre, a burlesque house in Detroit. Ray paid a fine and was released.

It should specify the year when this happened. That way, the reader, who already has read about Johnnie Ray's career and the years when it rose and fell, can understand that the Detroit arrest happened before he became famous in the United States.

"... pled guilty to soliciting another man for sex in the restroom ..." That should specify that it was an undercover police officer. I understand that adding the words "vice squad" may be superfluous, but if you don't indicate that it was a police officer, the reader might assume that "the victim" was someone Ray knew personally.

It should specify that Ray pled guilty.

It should specify that the case was dismissed without going to trial. Otherwise, the reader might wonder whether his release from jail meant the ordeal was over, or whether the article is remiss for avoiding the disposition of the case.

If we reveal that the case was dismissed upon Ray's payment of the fine, we prevent confusion that could arise when the article discusses Ray's second arrest, which did lead to a trial.

Regarding the first sentence in the paragraph, "Rumors about Ray's sexuality began to arise ..."

That first sentence could cause confusion when we add that Ray's first arrest happened in 1951 before he made a lot of money or gained national recognition. (So I'm proposing still another addition that I'll get to in a moment.)

We don't want the reader to wonder why Detroit-area residents bothered to spread rumors about a performer who was unknown to other people who might have paid attention to the rumors. Ray was one of many obscure, aspiring entertainers who visited Detroit or lived there. He was one of many allegedly gay people. If you check the major sources for this article, such as the Whiteside book and the GLBTQ online article, you find confirmation that indeed few people had reason to express interest in Ray's arrest at the time it happened in 1951, and not until years later did people reminisce about it.

Here are the very words from the GLBTQ article: "The arrest of an unknown singer drew little attention at the time, but in later years tabloids occasionally dredged up the story."

Therefore, I propose that we should add that the Detroit arrest for "accosting and soliciting" happened in 1951, add a reminder that that was before Ray's sudden rise to fame in the United States -- specifying "United States" so we acknowledge that his meteoric rise in the United Kingdom happened a full year after his American elevation, and Australians didn't know who he was until a year after the English did -- and, finally, add that rumors and tabloid speculation began a few years after the arrest.

We should carefully avoid the insinuation that they began in 1951, the same year the arrest happened. Who cared at the time? Check those two sources and they confirm that there was a long delay. Other sources, such as the book by Tad Mann that appears elsewhere in the article, could confirm it, too. I have a copy of the Mann book that I can quote if you feel that could be helpful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:52, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Later years and death section[edit]

I'm not interested in the past disputes and the above walls of text are tl;dr, but there is no mention of Ray having a drinking problem, then suddenly this section talks about him being able to maintain sobriety, which comes across as a non sequitur. Valfontis (talk) 15:29, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Unless we find something recent (which I think will be nearly impossible because no one really knows who Johnnie Ray is any more), I think it will be very difficult to find anything that will mention his alcoholism. That was something they just didn't talk about except in whispers in the 70s and prior. But, I do agree, we need to make mention of it before the sobriety thing which does come out of the blue. -- WV 15:34, 25 February 2015 (UTC)