Now, many of you have no idea who Stan Kann is. Those of you old enough to have regularly watched the Tonight starring Johnny Carson, or talk shows such as Mike Douglas, might remember him. Stan was the man who would come on with all of these crazy gadgets, most of which didn’t work, and try to explain what they did. But these gadgets are not why I remember Stan.
When I was young, and later in my teens, I would occasionally watch these shows with my parents or my grandparents. When Stan would come on, my grandparents would usually note that Stan was the first man to propose to my mother, but she turned him down. I have a vague recollection of that. They would remark how at the time, they were both at Washington University in St. Louis, and Stan was a concern organist. Those facts indeed were true: according to Stan’s obituary:
Kann began his performing career at Washington University where he planed the organ. He went on to become the best known concert organist in North America. Kann played the Fox Theatre for 22 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1975.
According to his obituary in the St. Louis paper, he was a lifelong bachelor (my mother’s fault? we’ll never know) and a collector of antique vacuum machines. Next time I listen to a pipe organ (yes, I have them on my iPod), I’ll think of him.