Johnny Desmond Collection

Identifier: MUSIC-038

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

Collection contains promotional documents, sheet music, and television scripts written by or about singing and television star Johnny Desmond. This small collection focuses largely on Desmond's pivot away from recording to work in television in the late 1950s. Of particular note are the drawings, scripts, and other information about the TV series that Desmond created in the late 1950s, which he intended to star in. None of the programs aired. While Desmond had some success in television and stage acting, this collection, though small, offers some insight into Desmond's plans to pivot into acting later in his career.


  • 1945 - 1959


0.23 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Biographical / Historical

Johnny Desmond (born Giovanni Alfredo de Simone) was a popular singer born in Detroit, MI on November 14, 1919. During his more than 40 years of professional performing, Desmond's smooth singing style, influenced by Frank Sinatra, had several hit records in the 1940s and 50s and appeared in Broadway, television, and films through the 1960s and 70s.

Desmond had an affinity for music at a young age and after a brief stint at the Detroit Conservatory of Music, he began performing at Detroit-area clibs singing and playing piano. The Downbeats, a vocal group that Desmond formed, were signed by Bob Crosby in 1940 and appeared with Crosby's band as the Bob-O-Links. After a brief period as a solo singer with Gene Krupa's band, Desmond enlisted in the armed forces soon after the start of World War II. By 1943 he was performing in Europe with Glenn Miller's Allied Expeditionary Forces Band. After the war, Desmond became a popular solo artist, enjoying chart success with songs such as "C'est Si Bon," "Play Me No Hearts and Flowers," and "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for MGM and Coral Records. Desmond was featured in several films and television shows and eventually became a co-star of the television series Glenn Miller Time. He went on to Broadway in his later years and was a working performer until a few months of his death from cancer in 1985.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials



This collection has been arranged into the following series:

I. Sheet music, 1945-1950; II. Press and newsclippings, 1950-1958; III. Guitarman television series, 1959; IV. Closeups and Shadows television series, 1959; V. Lefty television series, 1959; VI Marketing and promotional materials, undated.

Related Materials

The Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives at BGSU holds nearly 200 recordings and books that feature Desmond, searchable in the online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Recieved from unknown donor on unknown date.

Guide to the Johnny Desmond collection
David R. Lewis
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note