Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

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drjohncarpenter
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Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

There's always something new to discover in the Elvis world.

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.


590200_Ray Barracks_Friedberg.JPG
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 Mar 14 1959_p24.JPG
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.





BONUS BARBEE



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.




591126_WMCS protest suspension.JPG
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
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/58387340/




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.
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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

As noted, the resolution was swift, and made the national news again.


ERRS ON DISC JOCKEYS

Station Manager Influenced by Playing of Record


Norfolk, Va., Nov. 26.(AP)— Four disc jockeys suspended after they played a single record 320 times in one day have been reinstated.

Roy Lamere, general manager of station WCMS, reinstated the four last night, after a public apology. Lamere said he suspended them in a moment of confusion surrounding “all this payola talk.”

The disc jockeys are Joe Hoppel, program director, Bob Power, Lee Whitehead, and Olivia Barbee.


Kansas City Times - Friday, November 27, 1959
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/56170320/



As Elvis might have said, "Give me a story with a happy ending."
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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

ericthevid on Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:19 am wrote:https://www.whitepages.com/name/Olivia-Barbee
Thanks very much for the link.

However, the search returns a half-dozen with the name Olivia Barbee, and none are the approximate age she might be today, around 83.

Do you have any other ideas? I cannot find any other information on her, but female disc jockeys in the 1950s were kind of rare.


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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

I've tried but cannot find another shot of Miss Olivia "Sam" Barbee, who did the interview for WCMS Radio.

Here a close-up of that one photo I found from November 1959:


591126_WMCS protest suspension_DETAIL.JPG
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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

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This topic may have only gotten a single reply, but something a pal sent showed it made more of an impact than I knew.




Screen Shot 2022-05-05 at 12.08.32 PM.jpg




"FECC"

What a delightful surprise. I wonder how often this happens.

:wink:
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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by Swedish »

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:51 am
ericthevid on Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:19 am wrote:https://www.whitepages.com/name/Olivia-Barbee
Thanks very much for the link.

However, the search returns a half-dozen with the name Olivia Barbee, and none are the approximate age she might be today, around 83.

Do you have any other ideas? I cannot find any other information on her, but female disc jockeys in the 1950s were kind of rare.
I guess she has been married 1959 or later and thus has a different last name now?


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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Swedish wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 10:49 pm
I guess she has been married 1959 or later and thus has a different last name now?



Whatever the surname, her radio career disappears after the 1950s.


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Re: Miss-terious Sam Barbee Interview --> February 1959!

Post by Ricky »

I live here in Tidewater and have history with WCMS. The above mentioned gag was detailed in George Crump's book. "WCMS Write It Down", but the recorded phone call is not mentioned. I interviewed several older DJ's about Elvis - Red Gywnn, Ted Crutchfield & Joe Hoppel back in the 80's None of whom mentioned the phone call either. WCMS, was "THE" country music station here for many years and was involved with Elvis concert appearances in the 50's.I don't doubt the phone call. If indeed recorded, it probably was destroyed in a fire that engulfed the original radio station. Maybe, the additional copies exist elsewhere. WCMS has since been sold, but I'll try to do a little research with the remaining employees