Twice this week I’ve received broadcast e-mails courtesy of two friends who don’t know each other. Both bore the same information, each working “Tom Hanks’ Dad” into the title of the same basic misinformation.
My friends wanted me and a gazillion other people to know that the father of Tom Hanks was once the lead singer of that 1950s group, the Diamonds, and that this e-mail contained You Tube clips of the elder Hanks and the rest of the Diamonds singing their big hit, “Little Darlin’,” as young men in 1957 and then agin as old men in more recent times.
The problem with the thing was not the two performances. Fans of the Diamonds will love seeing and hearing them perform again. They were great, energizing, and guaranteed catalysts to that old hormonal jolt that some of us get from 1950s music.
The problem was with the false postulation that the father of Tom Hanks’s father sang with the group as their lead singer. If you look at the guy in the 1957 performance with no further information than I’ve given you here, it’s pretty easy to see the guy and think, “Yeah. That’s Tom Hanks’ dad all right. They look a lot alike.”
The problem is – the lead singer of the Diamonds was a Canadian fellow named Dave Somerville, who was born in 1933 and is still very much alive. Tom’s father was California-born Amos Mefford Hanks, born in 1924 and deceased since 1992.None of the DIamonds have ever used the name Hanks in their careers nor have any of them claimed a relationship to the Hanks family of any kind.
Check out the Snopes negation of this breezy claim at http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/tomhanks.asp
After a thousand years on the Internet, this is hardly my first rodeo with wild lies spreading fast into the more prestigious categorization as “urban legends,” but it still irks me that off-the-wall assertions need only to titillate the taste buds of mass curiosity to take on a life that easily finds unquestioning acceptance as “the truth” from people too tired to question their veracity.
I guess that’s why Elvis still lives.