Sunday, April 16, 2017
The Post Office in my little town has a nice feature. They've set up an area where people leave and trade books. My latest choice was the autobiography of Susan Boyle from Scotland, the woman who amazed the world with her show stopping rendition of the song, “I Dreamed a Dream” on the TV show “Britain's Got Talent”.
The book is an easy and pleasant read but what caught my attention was when she mentioned how her dad enjoyed many singers but his favorite was Jim Reeves. This very same comment was posted on my blog a few years back from a reader in Pune, Maharashtra, India. “Wow”, I thought, “For a country singer Jim certainly had an international following of admirers” … and I was among them.
The year was 1957 and I was pretty much living my dream in New York City. I had been hired to write promotional material for WABC Radio. With TV about to take center stage this was a last ditch effort to keep radio alive and our campaign featured an array of celebrities performing live shows weekly. Among the celebrities was Jim Reeves. I only saw him once but was very impressed with his quiet demeanor and his friendliness, a far cry from some of the ego driven “stars” that swarmed our office.
Of course our efforts were in vain and none of the Live Shows lasted long. In the meantime Jim had become a world wide traveler … his trips taking him to such diverse countries as South Africa, Britain, Ireland, Norway, India and Sri Lanka. In 1964 I was no longer at WABC, or even in the city, when I heard that Jim had been killed in a plane crash. It was a great loss but I marveled at what he'd accomplished in his short life span. His efforts had created a world wide market for country music … and he did it “the old fashioned way”, one trip at a time and without the aid of today's technology.