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Ciao, Johnny Shoes

Johnny Shoes (photo courtesy Stefano Salimbeni)

“È finita la canzone,” the song is over: it was the first quote by Johnny Shoes Cammarata that I ever put on television; many more followed. The year was 1998, and I — 31 and hungry for the spotlight — had just begun telling Italian and Italian American stories for RAI, the Italian national TV network I still work for today; Johnny, then in his mid-sixties, was already in a nostalgic mode, constantly looking back to the ‘good old days’ when “everyone knew everyone” in Boston’s North End and “you could leave the doors open”… all that jazz old timers ...

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