The Gay Crooners, born of the stuff (socio-political and economic context of Canal Zone’) that challenged their ‘self-affirmation’. These were young men who were determined to ‘make something of themselves’ even when the Canal Zone Civil Service system denied them employment opportunities. They were of a generation and age when they were few ‘opportunities’ for employment on the Canal Zone where they lived with their ‘local rate’ employed parents/guardians. While we cannot know how much of a ‘threat’ these circumstances were, we do know that laws on the Canal Zone limited the time that dependents could continue to live with their parents. These group of young men, however, following David Campbell’s lead took a leap of faith, threw the dice and took a chance on their own natural talents, formed the ‘Gay Crooners’ (in the late fifties/early sixties), became widely popular, toured Central America, Mexico and Europe…and never looked back longingly at the Canal Zone.

Featured in this 1964 photo of the Gay Crooners (left to right):

  • Rudolph ‘Lefty’ Charles;
  • Ferdinand ‘Ferdie’ Thompson;
  • Leroy Worrell
  • David Campbell (founder and leader)
  • Randolph ‘Ranny’ Sealy (lead singer)

What do you remember about the Gay Crooners? Share your memories of the era, this and other ‘Gyambo singing groups’ in ‘Open Space*)

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Makeda Kamara

    Two of them were our neighbors on 319. Ronny Sealey lived in Dustbowl. I loved their floor shows and practicing. Those were great days.

  2. reginaldo williams

    As a teenager I performed with a group at the movie theater in Paraiso, CZ. Back then the name of the group was The Gay Crooners (Gay back then we used it for Happy. Presently his sister Mrs. Norma Frederick is my neighbor. Leroy had a great voice. My condolences and prayers for his family. R.I.P. Leroy.

    1. Mahalia Worrell

      Thanks Reginald. Leroy is my dad. Im his eldest daughter. Thanks for your kind words

  3. Judith Stewart -Sainten

    David and the Gay Crooners created the first female singing group ever to perform on radio and TV in the Canal Zone and in Panama. The group consisted of Deanna Carew,; Vilma Henry , and my self Judith. Great memories and fantastic floor shows.

  4. Linda kutcher

    Knew all these fun guys for almost 2 years while I lived in Mexico city 1968 to 1970. Would like to contact them (especially Fernando thompson) as was extremely important in my life….
    …like in love. Still love Fernando after all these years later. Breaks my heart really.
    Please fill me in on his whereabouts please.

  5. Enrique Brown

    Ferdinand is my father’s cousin. Some years ago I visited with him and his family in Mexico City and heard them perform at a club there.
    Also, Randolph Sealy was a classmate at school in Gamboa (Santa Cruz) and Paraiso.

    I will always remember Leroy Worrell’s rendition of “Amapola”!

  6. Raymond A. Davis

    This article reminds me of a parallel group named The Starlights of which I was a member. We did not attain the popularity and artistry of The Crooners, but shared the stage with them in the early days. The experiences of those days have been unforgettable.

    1. José María Torrijos Legazpi

      Hi Raymond A. Davis! I’m interested in contacting you, because I want to know more about The Startligths. Thanks a lot.

      Chema Torrijos Legazpi

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