Merle Evans (WJU #22) Interview (2 hours) by Jay Kahn (WJU #583) with Ron Keller (WJU #492) & Russ Swanson (WJU #659). Recorded at Naperville, Illinois, July 18, 1985. Along with the edited interview (47 minutes) Jay provided a 6-minute introduction to his 1985 interview of Merle Evans through a Zoom event on July 25, 2021.



Edited Version, arranged by topics, 47 minutes:
Merle at Ringling
Karl King
Woody English
Charles Duble
Perry George Lowery
Harvey Phillips
Fred Jewell
Henry Fillmore Stories
Hartford Fire
“The Greatest Show on Earth” Film
Closing Remarks

Venerable Windjammer Ron Keller (WJU #492) arranged for Jay to videotape a face-to-face interview with Merle Evans. Merle was 93 years old at the time. Before the tape rolled, the following conversation occurred which provided a good preview of what was to come:

Jay: Mr. Evans, I want to thank you for this opportunity . . .
Merle (interrupting): Where’re you from, son?
Jay: Well, I was raised in Southern California, but I live in Iowa now. Anyway, I want to thank you…
Merle: Where in Iowa?
Jay: It’s a small town in Eastern Iowa. Anyway as I was … Merle: Where in Eastern Iowa?
Jay: It’s almost equidistant between Dubuque to the north and Davenport to the south. But I wanted to say…
Merle (growing impatient): Tell me the name of the town!
Jay: Well, I doubt if you’ve ever heard of it.
Merle (getting really irritated now): I’VE BEEN EVERYWHERE! TELL ME THE NAME OF THE TOWN!
Jay: Maquoketa
Merle: I know Maquoketa!
Jay (incredulous): You DO?
Merle: Sure! Played there with Buffalo Bill in 1917. Had a trombone player in the band from Maquoketa in the 1940s.
Jay: Really? What was his name?
Merle (with a wave of his hand): Oh hell, I don’t remember!