While reviewing some issues of Cash Box from 1959, I discovered that there is at least one more Elvis interview that we have yet to hear.
Getting into his new BMW 507 at Ray Barracks, Friedberg - February 1959
Looking through the "Platter Spinner Patter" column in their March 14th issue, a little tidbit caught my roving eye.
Someone interviewed RCA artists Neil Sedaka, and ... "teen idol Elvis Presley"!
In this case, the singer gave a ten-minute interview to WCMS Radio in Norfolk, to a lady disc jockey by the name of Miss "Sam" Barbee. It was done via trans-Atlantic phone on 2-10-1959 (Tue) and she not only recorded it, but aired the entire thing on Valentine's Day while taking live fan call-ins. Then she sent copies of the entire broadcast to Elvis in Germany!
Cash Box - March 14, 1959
Of course, the big question is ... where are those tapes today?
And whatever happened to Miss Olivia "Sam" Barbee?
Anyone know, please fill us in! It's another piece of the puzzle.
Later that year, Sam and three other disc jockeys got in a bit of trouble, and it made the press. I even found a photo of her from the incident, but after that, nothing.
WCMS Radio suspension protest, Norfolk, VA - Thursday, November 26, 1959
L-R: Bob Power, Joe Hoppel (front), Lee Whitegead, Sam Barbee (back)
Tune Spun 300 Times; 4 Laid Off Norfolk, Va
(UPI) - Radio station WCMS has suspended 4 disc jockeys for playing a novelty tune more than 300 times in a row and announced it was looking into the possibility of a “payola" deal.
General manager Roy Lamere announced that the 4 would not be on the air until a complete investigation is made.
An engineer and the station's news director were put to work playing records to replace disc jockeys Joe Hoppel, Bob Power, Lee Whitegead and Miss Olivia (Sam) Barbee.
One denied that payola, payments or gifts from record companies or song publishers for plugging a certain record, was involved.
“The whole thing was a joke," he said, adding that he and his three colleagues decided to make the current “payola" investigation “look ridiculous" by plugging one “ridiculous" record.
Lamere said he discovered after a day’s absence from the studios that the four had, played “Pachalafaka," a Turkish novelty tune, 320 times in a row. The station was swamped with protesting callers.
“We are currently trying to trace the record's origin and any connection our announcers may have with the company," Lamere said.
“Heretofore, in all WCMS history, there has never been any evidence of unethical practices," Lamere said.
The disc jockeys picketed the radio station in downtown Norfolk in protest of their suspension.
They carried placards reading: "We want payola, too."
Power said he started playing the novelty record Wednesday after the four decided to ridicule the payola charges. They intended to prove, he said, that a bad record would not become a hit regardless of how many times it is played.
"Now it looks like we might get fired," Hoppel said.
Lincoln Star - Friday, November 27, 1959
Here's the song that, somehow, was a concern to the management at WCMS Radio ...
Earl Brown "Pachalafaka" (Warner Bros. 6155, September 29, 1958)
Orchestra conducted by Henry Mancini.
320 times in a row. What a time to be alive!
As for the 1959 suspension of Barbee and her colleagues, they were all reinstated within a day, after calm prevailed.