By Steve Crum
For nearly 30 years, JOHN CHARLES THOMAS [Sept. 6, 1891-Dec. 13, 1960] was widely regarded as one of the most gifted operatic baritones of his day. Thomas sang in operas and operettas, as well as in concert recitals, and on records, radio and film. (Well, he appeared in one obscure movie, a silent movie, no less. No singing even in the subtitles.) His repertoire included works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Victor Herbert, and Sigmund Romberg. Sort of a pre-Nelson Eddy, Thomas performed on Broadway in Maytime and Naughty Marietta. His venues included the Washington National Opera, Carnegie Hall, and finally, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (1934-43). Two years after touring Australia and New Zealand, from 1947-48, he retired.