“I had the good fortune to spend my peak years as a recording artist during the golden age of variety television,” wrote Mr. Riddell in his autobiography. “During the early 1960s, it appeared in nearly all of them.” Those shows he hosted included, among others, Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Perry Como, Jack Penny, Milton Berle, and most notably Red Skelton.
After appearing twice on “The Red Skelton Hour” where he just sang, he appeared in sketches intermittently from 1961 to 1969 as various characters, including Zeke Cadell Hopper, Skelton’s cousin Clem Cadell Hopper.
Mr. Linda F. Hoffman, personal assistant to Mr. Riddell, said in 2013: “His son has passed, and Bobby has always felt looked upon by Mr. Skelton as a son. They were very close.”
New York Times reviews of two of Madison Square Garden’s rock ‘n’ roll revival shows suggested reasons for his lower status in the rock music sky and his long career ahead. In 1975, Ian Dove wrote, “Mr. Rydell isn’t your hardcore skill—it was his era in the late 1950s, when rock was softening and becoming less intimidating. With songs like ‘Volare’, he sounds more like a singer than a musician. rocker”. In reviewing the 1977 show, Robert Palmer wrote that Mr. Riddell “looked uncomfortable with rock ‘n’ roll songs and would have likely become an Italian singer had he not grown up in the rock ‘n’ roll era.”
After his television appearances waned, he continued to perform in nightclubs and nostalgia shows, touring Australia, until promoter Dick Fox put the Golden Boys together in 1985, initially or on a PBS special. Mr. Riddell, Mr. Avalon and Fabian would perform their own songs and then sing together; There will also be a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Mr. Riddell’s favorite singer, Bobby Darin.
“When the three of us are on stage, we’re having fun,” Mr. Riddell said in a 2012 interview with writer Pat Gallagher. We are not trying to deceive anyone. We’ve known everyone for over 50 years. We just go out and have fun and the audience can see that.”