Casanova Brown and Pennies From Heaven


Who knew anything good could come from the comment section? Well here ya go, from the comments beneath a story about the reopening of Triangle Tavern in South Philly. I certainly hope they put “Pennies from Heaven” on their jukebox:

When I was a teenager, I used to work as a kitchen hand in a small, but very popular corner bar/restaurant in South Philly called the Triangle Tavern. They had a reputation for having the best mussels in town. I remember people saying they were the best because they were the cleanest. Fact is, there was an old homeless coot who used to live and work in the basement during those days, and his job was to clean the mussels for each night using an old 40’s era cylinder washing machine. His name was “Casanova Brown”. Well, it’s the name we all knew him by. Who knows what his real name was. 

Anyway, every Friday and Saturday, they had music at the Triangle. The highlight of the night would be when Casanova came in wearing an old brown suit, opened his umbrella and set it down upside down in front of the band, grabbed a microphone and started singing Pennies From Heaven as the band backed him up. Everyone in the entire dining area would start digging through their pockets and purses and soon, the air was filled with pennies and coinage of all denominations raining into Casanova’s umbrella. Ever since, I’ve never been able to hear that song without those memories coming back to me of Casanova Brown from 30 years ago. Good times.

A homeless guy used to wash mussels in the basement of the bar, then come up each weekend to sing “Pennies From Heaven” with the house band? That’s incredible. And to make it even better: the house band there was led by a local legend named Dusty Gale. Dusty was the grandfather of Sofa Kingdom member Koob. You can read more about Dusty in this 1992 Inky article.

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