Preston with Don & Phil

 

Everly Memory no. : 3

Lucky Fan                : Preston Bealle, USA 

Year                          : 1957/1958

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 feel old!"  
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."  

 

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