Saturday, November 29, 2008

Augie Rios (music)

Having a Christmas hit song is not necessarily a way to being a long and successful music career.  Take the case of Augio Rios.  He had two Christmas hits (although they were two sides of the same record), but the songs are rarely heard today, and Augie seems to have vanished.
Augie was a child actor, appearing on a couple of Broadway stage productions and in one or two TV shows.  He appears to have been born in Spain, and also recorded some other songs after his big hits.
Correction:  Rios has contacted me to make a few corrections.  It turns out he was born in New York City; his parents were from Puerto Rico.  I thank him for the corrections; I was going by guesswork and what little I could find on the web.  See below for his biography.
But, on Christmas, even the obscure can become a star.  Rios hit the big time with the single "Donde Esta Santa Claus." It was a pleasant tune about a child wondering about Santa, and most notable because part of it was in Spanish.
But the flip side of the single had another song that I remember much more, which shows just how warped my sense of humor was when I was six.  The song was the delightful "Old Fatso," a Christmas song with a different twist. 
The tune was much more uptempo and bouncy.  The chorus was especially catchy.
Don’t care who you are Ol’ Fatso
Get those reindeer off the roof
Don’t care who you are Ol’ Fatso
Get those reindeer off the roof
No you can’t fool me because
There ain’t no Santa Claus
There ain’t no Santa Claus And I got proof.
(Full lyrics here.)
"Donde Esta Santa Claus" crept up into the top ten, I believe (at least, did well enough to be played all over the place that year), and I also remember hearing "Old Fatso" even more often.
Of course, one-hit wonders, even with Christmas songs, tend to vanish once the hit is gone, and Augie Rios never made a splash afterwards. And since he didn't write the songs, he probably didn't get royalties, but that's a moot point since neither is played all that much (though some groups with Spanish-American heritage have recorded "Donde Esta Santa Claus").  It was probably a big rush for a young boy who is now in middle age and looking back at his time in the limelight.
Augie Rios Autobiography

"I was born in NYC on October 24, 1946.  I am the eldest son of hard working Puerto Rican parents.  I was managed by George Scheck, and my vocal coach was Lola Bennett."
Theater appearaces, Broadway, NYC:
Jamaica October 1957-April 1959 Imperial Theater (with Lena Horn, Ricardo Montalban and Ossie Davis)
Saratoga, December 1959- February 1960 Winter Garden Theater (with Carol Lawrence and Howard Keel)
Christine, 1961       46th Street Theater (with Maureen O'Hara)
13 Daughters 1964 (with Don Ameche)
Television Appearances:
American Bandstand; Dick Clark's  Beechnut Theater; Naked City; and The Richard Hayes Show.
Recording History:
Hip, Skip, Jump (MGM Records)
Augie Stay Home (Shelley Records)
Trip to the Island (MGM Records)
When You Dance (Shelley Records)
Run Rattler Run (Shelley Records)
Gypsy Boy (MGM Records)
No One (Shelley)
Teach Me Tonight (Shelley Records)
Ol Fatso (MGM Records)
Lullaby (Shelley Records)
Donde Esta Santa Claus (MGM)


Steve Fuji said...

I find it hard to believe that there is so little information available about Augie Rios. I have found more info on other child singers who had NO hits.
Augie Rios made several records for the Shelley label in the early 60's which go for big bucks on Ebay, in addition to the Metro and MGM singles in the 50's and the Jamaica cast album on RCA. And even though he appeared on Broadway and TV, there don't seem to be any photos of him anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Augie left show business and joined NYC-OTB in 1971 and retired in 2001.

maureen said...

I have been looking for Augie Rios on FaceBook, google,wherever & it's true..there is nothing about him anywhere..we went to school together..a private school named "Mace".He was also my first boyfriend.( I was twelve yrs. old, he was thirteen)Then we hung out for a while in High School, & that was the last I heard from him. We both lived in the Bronx, & he did have a singing group (I can't remember the name) they did a lot of oldies (doo wop)My name is Maureen Lauder

Steve Fuji said...

Hi Maureen,
Do you have any photos of him? I have never been able to find any, even on the "Jamaica" Original Cast album cover. He actually had quite an accomplished career in a short time and showed considerable talent. I'm considering starting a Yahoogroup for his music and to see if anyone knows where he is now.

Augie Rios said...

Augie Rios

This is Augie Rios! I am happy to know there are still fans out there. Thanks to the new technological world we live in, I will be posting a Facebook page complete with old pictures and present. Feel free to email me at and I will correspond accordingly. Thanks for all of your support.

PS. If you are the owner of this website or website master, please reach out to me as there is information on this site that is incorrect. Thank you.

Steve Fuji said...

Hello Augie, I'm sure many fans will be thrilled to finally be able to find some information and photos of you. Were you aware that your records had such a following?

Anonymous said...

"Donde esta Santa Claus" was just played no more than 3 minutes ago! I decided to Google Augie and here he is! I also grew up in the Bronx and remember listening to this song and a bunch of Xmas songs made for kids during the first half of the 60's. Good to know you're still around, Augie! Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Rose said...

Both Ol' Fatso and Donde Esta Santa Claus was and still is a Christmas tradition in our family. I was raised with both songs as well as my 6 brothers & sisters. Every year at work I go around singing Ol' Fatso to everyone and so many people have told me they had never heard the song and could I get the lyrics. I love the song as do my children and grandchildren. THE TRADITION GOES ON. THANK YOU AUGIE RIOS

M K said...

Thank you Augie for all of your accomplishments. Glad to you you're alive and well.

Hector said...

Hello Augie
I sent an email using, but it was returned, that is too bad, Hope u connect again and let us know what could have happened.

Anonymous said...

I remember Augie when we were both at Star Time Studios in New York. One day I saw him singing "Donde esta Santa Claus" on some TV show and I got a kick out of it. We weren't close pals but we did chat and play time to time. The song always brings back memories of those years for me, even though I wasn't really interested in show business. It's cool to see that he's not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I, too, remember "Mamacita..." from NY Radio back in the 50's & 60's and don't understand why it isn't played - especially these days when there are stations that only play christmas songs for 6 weeks straight. Sure, there's spanish, but it's mostly english.

I checked on YouTube, and found a video of a boy lip syncing. It was great to finally hear the song again, but then I read the blurb with the video to find out that the young boy had died in a car fire about four months after his father made the video. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

I played this song for my 3rd grade class, and up and down the hall the other classes were all loving it...Donde Esta Santa Claus rocks!

Marco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco said...

I've been trying to ascertain who was the composer of this charming song. I've found it featured on many sites, but none give the names of the composer and lyricist. Even Wikipedia has a page for the song, without naming the composer. Anyone know?

Chuck Rothman said...

Good question. A look at the label credits the song to "Parker-Greiner-Scheck," which seems to be George Scheck and Parker Greiner. Can't find anything else they wrote, though.

raccoonradio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raccoonradio said...

Donde esta Santa Claus appears on a compilation CD, Christmas Party with Eddie G.

At the start of Cheech y Chong's Santa Claus and his old lady,
Cheech Marin is attempting to sing the song (or write a song based on it): "ma, ma, mamacita donde esta santa cleese, the guy with the bony knees...donde esta santa claus. The guy with the hair on his jaws..."

Freddy Letrange said...

The composers, according to the index at (where you can look up the writers' other titles, none of which I recognize), were George Scheck, Alvin (Al) Greiner, and Gordon "Rod" Parker. George Scheck was Augie Rios's manager, as well as Connie Francis's. His son, attorney Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, is the owner/publisher of "Donde Esta Santa Claus."

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Bronx, Claremont Pkway. and Wash. Ave. I believe he lived in the same neighborhood back when. I've often wondered who recorded that song and what became of the boy who sang it. Thanks to today's tech., I have learned much. God bless you, Augie

Anonymous said...

It's a wonderful song, and it's played quite a bit by Los Angeles radio stations during the Christmas season. I always love listening to it. It's such an innocent, warm and happy song. It's good to know that Augie Rios is still around if that is who he says he is from the comment written above. Augie Rios. Please know you do have fans. Thank you for this song. Take care wherever you are! Feliz Navidad 2012! . . . Elena from Los Angeles, California.

heresrob said...

I remember hearing both songs when I was a kid and then nothing offer that year. All I could remember was "I don't care who you are ol' fatso, get those reindeer off my roof". I was on a quest to find the record. I finally found it on eBay. I had my kids looking for it too. They wanted to surprise me one Christmas but, I found it before they did. Wonderful memories. I have collected all my childhood favorites now.

Anonymous said...

It is according to vhm. There is a dot between augie and rios look at his original post

Anonymous said...


wayne moises said...

He is a child performer/singer from New York he sings his Christmas singles "Mamacita Donde Santa Claus" a popular singer equivalent of Wayne Newton and became famous he is a 12 year old singing wonder and he is still alive performed around the world Asia Europe Australia United States Mexico Canada etc.thanks for the information about your comments in your opinion.From:Wayne

Alan Eichler said...

I still remember seeing him on a 1958 Patti Page Christmas Show:

Alan Eichler said...

A new CD compilation of Augie's singles is finally availble:

Alan Eichler said...

Correct link for the Augie Rio CD:

Anonymous said...

Hi Augie,

Thank you for providing the world with such beautiful music. Christmas is my favorite time of year because I get to listen to Donde Es La Santa Claus as many times as I want!

Happy Holidays!


female said...

Well, Donde Esta Santa Claus has become a great hit in Greece this Xmas, as it is in a TV commercial of a toy mega store, and absolutely everyone loves it, young and old! We had never heard it in Greece before, it is so lovely! The voice of Augie Rios is so great. I initially thought it could be young Jotta A from Brazil, thanks to this blog, I can now thank Augie ... 50 years later! :)

Johnny said...

This Christmas, Greece went nuts with this song!
I took the liberty to stereo mix the song and because I love it so much I extended it by 30 seconds, making it a 3 minute track.
Hope you enjoy it:

SavvyD said...

I'd love to find the official sheet music, but thanks to Guster covering the song with their California surfer boy Spanish, it was at least possible to find a digital version. I may just download it. This is probably one of my favorite Christmas songs ever. I don't think this is forgotten at all. But certainly it should have been heard on Dr. Demento back in the day and it never was that I can recall.

Anonymous said...

I am a Time Warner Cable subscriber in Ohio and have Music Choice on my TV. During the holidays I always have the Sounds of the Season playing throughout the house. I think they play "Donde Esta Santa Claus" by Augie Rios every day on that channel. Such a catchy tune, and my daughter and I sing it often when it comes to mind. Just thought someone might want to know that tidbit of info.

Chuck Kopsho said...

As of this writing, I heard Donde Esta Santa Claus 15-minutes ago on Music Choice.

JAK said...

Yes, they seem to be playing it on Music Choice. I heard it just a few minutes ago and Googled Augie to see what I could find.

I've heard it on Sirius/XM's Holiday Traditions channel as well (73 on XM) a few times over the last few years.

Anonymous said...

I also attended Star Time Studios with Augie Rios and my teacher was also Lola Bennet.

Ahhhh this brings back memories.

Although at the time, he had had a big Christmas hit, he was still down to earth and a nice kid (well we were both kids back then).

Linda-Marie Kennedy

Anonymous said...

I just heard it too, I love it!

IgorMKD said...

Great Xmas songs. Shame that so little is known for Augie Rios.Hope that official release of all his music will come out some day

Gail Perroncino said...

Hi Augie my name is Gail i lived on Stratford Ave. My friend SueAnn lived in your building. I got very close to your friend Joe Solis but over the years lost contact with him after he moved to Maryland or Delaware. I remember the 4 of us playing ball in front of 1124.
Merry Christmas.

Gail Perroncino said...

Hi Augie my name is Gail i lived on Stratford Ave. My friend SueAnn lived in your building. I got very close to your friend Joe Solis but over the years lost contact with him after he moved to Maryland or Delaware. I remember the 4 of us playing ball in front of 1124.
Merry Christmas.

Gail Perroncino said...

Hi Augie my name is Gail i lived on Stratford Ave. My friend SueAnn lived in your building. I got very close to your friend Joe Solis but over the years lost contact with him after he moved to Maryland or Delaware. I remember the 4 of us playing ball in front of 1124. That was about 1967/68 then you moved.
Merry Christmas.

dorida garcia said...

I just noticed it in one of my Christmas cds. I can't believe what I found . It's important to keep our artists alive. A ole to tobthe legend Augie Rios for that song that become every year in a constantly memory of happiness and joy.

DebiSanderWalker said...

Hi All,
I am Debi Sander Walker, a professional singer. I didn't know I would be singing for a living when I was a little girl, but>>>>> My mother was in the hospital just before Christmas when I was about 10 years old and I trained my four little brothers to sing this song with me to welcome our momma home. We did a really good job singing along with the "45" and an even better job on our own. They were so excited to sing it! My youngest brother was probably only 3 years old then. I have been looking for this song for years. Only 2 years ago did I put enough words of the song into google and found this sight. I had my chart writer do a chart for me on this song and I perform it at all my Christmas shows. I always tell this story and announce Augie Rios as the performer. Credit given where credit it due!! Thank You Augie!
Debi Sander Walker