The People's Choice

January 13, 1994

In his intriguing causerie, ''Eversharp,'' Bennard B. Perlman (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 1) reminisces on his meeting, on a visit to Hollywood in 1947, with Garry Moore, the noted variety show host. (The famous entertainer recently died at 78.)

I'm reminded of my brief encounter, in the middle 1930s, with the future star whose trademarks were the crew cut and the bow tie. Among other duties, he led a series of amateur shows on Baltimore radio; winners were determined not by judges but by the largest number of postcards, or ''votes,'' sent in by listeners.

Based on my experience as a bathroom baritone, I signed up for an appearance on one of the shows. As it turned out, I poofed more than I orbited, and in just one appearance I made both my debut and my farewell performance in the field of musical endeavor.

But after the returns were in they phoned me to say, to my surprise, that I'd received the most postcards and to come in for my prize. When Garry handed it to me ($15, I think it was), he tactfully refrained from offering any opinion whatever on the quality of my vocal rendition (doubtless bad enough to induce a wince in many a listener). Instead he said simply, ''Well, anyway, you sure got a lot of post cards!''

Today, after a passage of over 55 years, I somehow feel it fitting to recollect I owed the ''success'' of my ephemeral triumph on that distant day to the loyalty of my father, who worked for the streetcar and bus company with its many hundreds of employers. He had spread the word around to get those post cards rolling, I take it.

Wells Mears


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