If you would like to contribute your thoughts or memories to this tribute page, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***After having these recordings posted for several months, I recently received this email from Bob Moke, retired Milwaukee radio personality:
Glad to see John Michaels represented in your posts.
When I was doing a radio show (WEMP) back in the early 70s, I enjoyed featuring novelty records, including his four sides. The audience obviously had a nostalgic interest in the guy so I brought him in for an interview one evening. Fame can be fleeting and the broadcasting biz can be cruel, so he was quite surprised and somewhat moved to find that the callers not only remembered him fondly but still got a kick out of hearing those records. Not long thereafter, he actually went back on the air briefly to do some fill-in jock work locally.....WISN I think.
I believe that I do still have that radio interview on an old reel-to-reel tape. It's a slow process digitizing a wall full of those ancient reels, but I'm working on it. If I get to it before too long and it's playable, I'll be happy to send or post a copy for you.
FYI: Czarnina Kid/Michael's Market was 1954, the holiday pairing was 1955.
Music Director (retired), Sirius XM Satellite Radio
***From Mad Man Michaels Granddaughter:
I came across your postings on youtube the other day. I am Mad Man Michaels' granddaughter. Unfortunately, I do not know much about my grandpa since he passed away before I was born. My father does not talk about him much.
I just wanted to thank you for keeping his creations alive and available to the public. I do know that the Solid Gold McDonald's down 76th St near Southridge Mall in Milwaukee has one of his records on the wall. I also know that my grandpa is not Polish at all. I find it interesting that he chose to tell these kinds of stories, anyway.
Merry Christmas and God Bless,
And from Donna in Milwaukee:
Just went to your U-Tube site for the Czarnina Kid. What memories!! All of my grandparents were immigrants from Poland and I spent plenty of time with my parents and grandparents on Mitchell St. and in "South Side Sausage Shop". The unique thing about these recordings is that is how the "Southside" population spoke; half English- half Polish, it was the Milwaukee way. Crazy things is as children growing up in that environment, we understood it all. Must have been "osmosis". I don't know if you are in the Milwaukee area, but I'm pretty sure that his son is Bill Michaels who is a sports writer commentator for our local WTMJ radio station in Milwaukee. I'm sure he might be able to help you out. The web site is www.620wtmj.com . Let me know what you find out.
Milwaukee Polish Girl,
***From Fred in Indiana:
Like you, I grew up listening to these four recordings over and over. I don’t know much about Mad Man Michaels, but I believe his wife and my mother were best friends in college.
From Paul in Milwaukee:
Thanks for posting all of Johnny 'Mad Man Michaels' recordings. I too am a Milwaukee native and a dear friend of mine worked with John at WEMP during the 1950's. My friend was one of the stations broadcast engineers-the late Gerald Clouser.
I first found a copy of The Czarnina Kid after looking thru all of the 78's at the Purple Heart store on Muskego & Lincoln ave's. I found it in a phonograph located in the basement along with the assortment of radio's and phono's.
All that time I spent getting dirty and the record wasn't far away. That was around 1978.
At that time I was employed at the Mojeska Theatre as the projectionist. I used to take great delight in playing that selection during intermission. About a year later I came across a copy of Snack for Santa at the same Purple Heart store except this time the record was laying on the floor near an aisle-almost but not broken!
I will ask Gerald's brother next time I see him-after the holidays to see if he can remember anything of John.
From Sarge in Milwaukee:
While watching and listening to John's Christmas parody's, I noticed you wanted to be contacted with information. If you are interested, I have the original 4 78 rpm records. My father's aunt taught John all the Polish for the recordings. Let me know.
***From Andy from Northwest Indiana:
I found your "Man Man Michaels" recordings on Youtube. I grew up in a family of Croatian and Polish descent in the 70s and as a kid remember my older cousins and uncles laughing uncontrollably to these recordings. Listening to them now puts a smile on my face. Do you have any idea where I could get these recordings mp3 or otherwise? I would love to play them for my cousins at our next family gathering.
PS We grew up in northwest Indiana, but still could relate.
Snack for Santa
The Czarnina Kid