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From Beatle Bob Matonis' excellent Johnny Rabbitt piece in the June 1997 issue of Night Times:
"...It was September of 1964, when Don Pietromonaco arrived in St. Louis. The theater for his inimitable brilliance was KXOK, 630 on your AM dial...
Manning the prime slot of 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, the new Johnny Rabbitt was like nothing that had ever shot out of the cannon of St. Louis radio: a suave, high strung word machine flashing on the latest rock and roll impending mania. His motormouth partner was Bruno J. Grunion, a character that only existed on reel-to-reel tapes, whose gravelly voice was that of Johnny Rabbitt's in disguise.
Coolness busts all over, in bits and frames; The transcendent cheesiness of their commercials, a series of unparalleled skits where Johnny Rabbitt and Bruno would carry the listeners down a twisting word-road where puns sway and far-out concepts bloom. Their fandom grew in such numbers that the Johnny Rabbitt Army membership grew to over fifty-thousand in number, with enlistees joining in from twenty-three different states! From the years 1964-1967, the Johnny Rabbitt Show was the highest rated in its time slot in the St. Louis area. Even Harry Caray, Jack Buck, and the Go-Go Baseball Cardinals could not best the dynamic duo of Johnny Rabbitt and Bruno J. Grunion. During those same three years, Johnny Rabbitt continually placed in Billboard Magazine's weekly ratings as one of the Top Ten disc Jockeys in the country.
A live Johnny Rabbitt broadcast was pure pandemonium. Once the Rabbitt urged everyone to come on down for a Columbia Records give-away inside downtown's Stix-Baer & Fuller. Thousands jammed the store. Thousands more mobbed the streets, forcing cops to close down a virtually gridlocked city! On their first U.S. tour, in 1964 Paul Revere and the Raiders drew a scant three-hundred to their Chain of Rocks Amusement Park show. Johnny Rabbitt's Teen Town singin' soiree the same night [featured the Rabb] in an ocean blue sharkskin suit and top-hat with the trademark Rabbitt ears protruding from the sides. The gym was packed to the limit with continental hipsters and transistor sisters all razor-cut and fabulashed, moving and grooving to the Push and Shake. and over by the bandstand with Bob Kuban and the In-Men, there's Johnny Rabbitt again- hart askew, hully-gullying with a bevy of capri-clad Ronettes clones as the band blasts "Money."
If you were a local band, a Johnny Rabbitt plug was a 'Ticket To Ride' for area stardom... A local group could bring their single to KXOK, and by the end of the evening it'd be airing as an extra on the Johnny Rabbitt show. It didn't matter if your band was new on the scene, if you made a killer disc, the Rabbitt would blab it through the airwaves indefinitely...
At least once a month I pull out a taped Johnny Rabbitt show and introduce someone else to the man. Sometimes when I listen I dance. Other times I have a perpetual smile on my face, and there are times that I cry because he brings back some of the greatest memories of my childhood when the bulk of my family and friends were young, living, and loving me... He was part of my family, the invisible guardian who sat with me sometimes when I was alone, filling the room with his voice that boomed out of our big Motorola combination radio-record player. The compartment at the bottom held all the 45's he gave me when I was his gopher at KXOK from 1964-1965...
Donald Pietromonaco-Johnny Rabbitt, 61 died of complications from emphysema, April 18, 1997 in West Los Angeles, ending his illustrious career as a child actor on TV and the big screen, and St. Louis' greatest rock and roll DJ.