And he is singing:
Did he ever return?Charlie on the MTA was (and is) a standard at family and friends get-together dinners. When we were small, we all listened to Mr. Wertheimer sing and play the 1950's folks standards of his youth. As we grew, we joined in on the chorus. In recent years, we've hauled out guitars and hand-drums and played along.
No he never returned.
And his fate is still unlearned (poor old Charlie)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned.
The song dates from the middle of the last century. It was written for a political campaign in Boston to criticize an opponent for a subway fare increase.
Now, thanks to Governing's 13th Floor blog, I find that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority -- the MTBA -- has, in a rare instance of a municipal sense of humor, named its fare-card after the fictional Charlie.
The CharlieCard will prompt a smile of recognition from Bostonians who know their history and from fans of mid-fifties folk-music.