The local evening TV news and Post and Courier’s business section covered small ceremony on King Street in which Mayor Joe Riley, Melvin Solomon, and Robert Goldberg (Sonny’s son) unveiled a small brass plaque dedicated to the memory of late businessman Sonny Goldberg.
I remember the old TV advertisements for Sonny Goldberg’s Furniture store, an old show room at 445 King Street. Goldberg looked like Sesame Street’s “Mr. Hooper” and spoke with an amusing, monotone Geechee accent. “Come on down to da home of ya Kang Street sing-uh!” he’d announce with a grin. “I hab my oh'n stoh’ now — one stoh’ ohnly. An’ please: drive k'y'arefully: we wan’ yuh ta’ get hee-uh.” Then he’d flash the “okay” sign and smile.
The late businessman was a beloved figure on King Street way before the big boom north of Calhoun. He was called the “King Street Singer” because he used to sing his own radio ads before there were such things as local TV commercials (often with a few bars of Jack Gale’s “Serenade of the King Street Singer”) and the nickname carried over through the ’70s and ’80s when his no-frills TV spots ran constantly.
I remember one of his friendly rivals was Clarence “Don’t Turn Nobody Down” McCants, of the old Metropolitan Furniture store (down the block). McCants starred in his own remarkable, locally-produced commercials as well. Before I even knew what a checkbook was, I knew by heart that there something special about the financial possibilities with Clarence at Metropolitan, as his proud, sing-songy announcement “We finance our own accounts!” still sticks in my head. Maybe he’s next in line for the next plaque dedication.