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.
1. KAHN INTRO
3. EDITED INTERVIEW
Edited Version, arranged by topics, 47 minutes:
Merle at Ringling
Perry George Lowery
Henry Fillmore Stories
“The Greatest Show on Earth” Film
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!
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!