Few readers remember a Southern California route mechanic/collector by the name of John Forman. But, RePlay people do. This jack-of-all-trades bore the nickname “Moose” despite his pint size. He died in his sleep, after battling lung cancer for years, at the Pete Knight California Veterans Home in Lancaster, Calif., on June 23. He was somewhere in his mid-70s.
RePlay’s publisher Eddie Adlum hooked up with “the Moose” over 20 years ago. “I don’t remember the circumstances, but he was working for Jack Dolan’s old jukebox route at the time, so it must have had something to do with the business,” Eddie recalls. “I do know we became friends. . .friends for life, it turns out, as I was told I was the last non-resident to visit him at the home,” he added.
Johnny could not only fix just about every vinyl jukebox ever built, but really, anything else that might glitch out in home or office. RePlay people used his services to do home repairs, electrical and plumbing installations and, you name it (though he often said: “I don’t do painting).”
During the years the magazine staffers bound and mailed the issues themselves each month at a bindery in Canoga Park, Calif., Johnny would hire the day workers and run the line like the former military man he was. For several years before he got sick, he also worked part time at the magazine during the run up to its annual directory editions, calling companies to check out names and addresses in his famous baritone voice that would bounce off the office walls like the guy who says: “This, is CNN!”
“John was a cracker,” Eddie says. “When he was in the Navy subs, he bet another seaman he could crawl into a torpedo tube, make a U-turn and come back out. He got caught mid-U-turn, and they had two choices: send some skinny guy down to pull him out, or fire him out the hole,” Eddie laughs. “Afterward, the Captain told him he wouldn’t be punished for the prank because getting stuck was punishment enough.”
Johnny told CalVet he didn’t want any funeral or memorial, just a toast during their weekly wine tasting event. And so the old soldiers and sailors tipped a cup to their comrade the Wednesday after he passed on, leaving only a daughter he hadn’t seen in many years somewhere out there, and a memory of one of the greatest characters anyone could ever meet. Rest in peace, Moose. You were one cool dude.