Memory no. : 3
: Preston Bealle, USA
The Scoop (in his own words)
I met Don and Phil in 1957 at a
rehearsal for the Perry Como weekly TV show, in a hall on Broadway in
New York City. The Como show was one of the top 10 shows in the
country. When the Everlys were to appear on it, it was a major
event for them. It was outstanding national exposure. I
actually had the script at one point before the show aired, and they
were going to do "Take a Message to Mary" and "Poor
Jenny", as shown in the script, but they didn't do those songs on
the live show.
I was 6 years old and had gone crazy for their songs on the radio, so my
father, who was in the television business, secretly arranged for me to
spend 15 minutes with them in a corner at the rehearsal. When I
walked up the stairs to the rehearsal hall, I saw Art Linkletter coming
down. I was totally shocked, because he was an important
television personality at the time, and even at age 6 I knew who he was.
He was on daytime TV every day. He stopped and said hello....I
think I was getting special attention because I was on crutches, newly
diagnosed with a hip disease that would take me 5 years to get over.
It was actually my first day on crutches, after being in a
wheelchair for 6 months, so it was an extra special day to be up on my
feet a bit. I was in no way expecting to meet the Everly Brothers as I
went up those stairs, my parents had held it as a surprise, in case
something didn't work out.
When I got to the top of the stairs and saw them in a corner of this
giant rehearsal hall, 43 years ago, I was completely astonished. I
knew instantly who they were, and it was as if I couldn't breathe for a
second. A co-worker of my Dad's was carrying me, and he was sort of
playing a game because he was in on the big surprise...he could see my
excitement, and said, jokingly, "What's wrong"? I said,
"That's the Everly Brothers! They're my favorite
singers!" It was all I could say. He walked me over to
them, and they were expecting me, so they sat right down to chat. They
both had on zipper front sweaters with collars, very cool looking.
I said to Phil, "you're my favorite singers, I want to be a
singer when I grow up." He said "Wow, thank you very
much! Would you like to hear our new song?" He talked
to Don about it for a minute, they picked up their guitars and stood up
right in front of me, and did "Problems", which was just about
to be released. It remains one of my favorites to this day, and it
disappoints me a bit when I've heard Phil say he doesn't like the song.
Their loud singing broke up the rehearsal, and Perry Como turned around,
a bit annoyed as if he was going to tell them to knock it off. I
guess he saw this little kid with crutches, and changed his mind. Everyone
in the entire place stopped and watched until they finished the song.
I do not remember who the other stars were there, except for Ann
Sheridan, the movie actress. As I think back to it, it might have been a
poignant moment for those watching, but for me it was just
amazement and a huge thrill. Later, I became a runner with no
effects at all from my illness(a rare hip disease called Purthese).
My father continued to work in television in New York, and would
occasionally tell me "The Everly Brothers were back in town last
week, they were asking how you're doing." That thought really
lifted my spirits.
I have seen Don and Phil from time
to time over the years, and if I have the old picture with me, they seem
interested in seeing me with them at age 6, and seeing me now. Usually,
Phil will make some comment like, "you sure know how to make a guy
If I could read their minds at that moment in 1957(or could have been
'58, I have the exact date somewhere), I have to believe that they were
probably nearly as much in shock at finding themselves in that hall in
New York City as I was. Only months before, as we all know, they'd
been broke, with no real prospects in the business. The weeks
before the release of "Problems" and right after the release
of "Bird Dog" were very early times in their careers, and Phil
has commented at times, "If I'd known how long we would last, I
would have had a lot more fun back then. All the reporters
asked us constantly, ' What are you going to do for a living after
this rock and roll stuff dies?' I was always wondering if I might
be doing some heavy lifting somewhere the following year."