RIVERSIDE, CA. I was checking out Scot Bruce Fans Facebook page and came across a posting about a dear old friend who passed away. To say the least I was shocked and quite saddened by the news especially since I learned of his death on Facebook. I just saw John on August 06th at Woodbridge Community Park in Irvine during James Kruk’s tribute to Elvis concert and snapped a picture with him. Little did I know it would be our last time together.
John “Teddy Bear” Knight was an avid Elvis fan and his favorite ETA was Scot Bruce. John got his nickname because he always got to sing the last line of Teddy Bear during Scot’s concerts at Disneyland. He was an honorary band mate who was very proud to sing with Scot Bruce and fellas that one single lyric. I wrote about John’s singing debut about four years ago and reposted it in honor of him. I’m gonna miss you John.
John “Teddy Bear” Knight
Scot Bruce fans are much more than just fans. They are part of every performance and each have their role. Some folks are clappers enthusiastically clapping along in rhythm to the beat while others are dancing the fanciful footwork of East Coast Swing. Almost everyone is singing along and the more coordinated folks are doing all three at the same time.
We all have our roles whether it’s on the dance floor, rockin’ near the stage, or just sitting back absorbing the sights and sounds of folks just having a grand time. It’s all in good fun. Now and again, however, a fan will stand out from the rest of the bunch and give us a special performance; like John Knight did during Scot’s concert at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace. It was a particular touching moment.
John Knight is probably Scot’s oldest fan among all the Disney Friends at 88 years old. Raised in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, John is a World War II veteran having served with the 48th Evacuation Hospital as an Army Medic during the China Burma India (CBI) Campaign. He is tough as beans, but has a gentle soul and a playful twinkle in his eye.
John has had the awesome thrill of seeing Elvis live in concert when he played the International Hotel, now the Hilton, in Las Vegas. He said he likes all of Elvis’ songs, but Blue Suede Shoes seems to be a favorite. Another favorite of John’s are the drums which has led to a warm friendship with Scot’s drummer, Ty Cox. Ty is a likable fella and staying true to his personality made arrangements for John to sing the final lyrics of Teddy Bear. It was not to be! John missed his opportunity on Saturday night for the sake of ice cream, but all was not lost. Scot was performing again on Sunday.
Now, he only needed to sing two words from the song, but they were the two most important words of the entire song. John would sink or swim when his moment came if he didn’t sing those final two lyrics just right. To ensure he hit his mark he practiced all day rehearsing those last two words, and the last few lyrics to Teddy Bear, over and over again. Ice cream or no ice cream John was not going to miss his cue again.
John’s moment arrived…
The band hit the intro to the song. Scot started singing, “O baby let me be, your loving teddy bear.” John rolled up in his blue scooter, stage left, butted it right up against the stage and waited patiently. The concentration on his face was intense with eager anticipation. The band struck the last few notes of the chorus. Scot presented the mic first to the audience and we did our part, but shook his head in mock disappointment of our performance and scanned the audience. Scot and the fellas knew we could do better and were looking for someone who could do it right. It all fell upon John’s shoulders and it was up to him to redeem us.
Scot walked over towards John who stood up from his scooter to meet Scot at the mic and sang out loud, “TEDDY BEAR!” The fans erupted with cheers and applause. Scot and the fellas had great, big smiles on their faces satisfied with John‘s performance. If we were all in a theater he would have received a standing ovation. John did it and he couldn’t have done it any more perfect than he did that night. I know there were a few misty eyes, including mine, when he stood up from his scooter to meet Scot at the mic and sing his part.
I know his daughter, Kim, will cherish that memory for the rest of her life. I know I will and a lot of other folks, too. Thank you John Knight for the wonderful performance, the cherished memory, and your military service.
Shake, rattle and roll!