Interviewers: Scott Hawthorne, Mike Kieffer, Dave Stuckey, Andrea Walsh 2/29/2004.
JH: Move those 78's over so somebody's elbow doesn't hit them...
AW: We know how to handle it. I only break other people's records. (laughter)
JH: She said, as she leans on it now... Isn't she (Andrea) a wonderful lady?
AW: It's the mutual admiration society.
JH: Well, I mean, my side mainly. She's just born too late!
DS: Her website is great, having known about you, only having heard just this record (Serutan Yob), and I was a big Red Ingle fan, and it was "Hawthorne..? What's going on here?"
AW: I always thought he (Jim) was Red Ingle!
DS: There was a radio show,...then I found her website, and it opened so many..it was so informative...
AW: Well, I couldn't believe I even found JIm on the web, first, because I was late to get ON the web, and then I punched in "hawthorne" and I kept getting him, and Checkers & Pogo, and I thought, "this can't be the same guy". And so I write to him, saying I apologise if you don't know what I'm talking about, and he's like, "No, it's me!"
AW: Do you want to get autographs over with first?
JH: Whatever you want, you're calling the shots, it's your show!
AW: Well, these guys have the more technical questions that I wouldn't even know how to ask, the first time I interviewed you.
JH: Well, we should have the cameras rolling...
AW: They're rolling now.
JH: OH good, I didn't know that, I would have worked right with you, then...can you see me all right? Oh I see there, oh, you have a real lens in there! (laughter)
MK: Yeah, right in the center, right there.
AW: Over here, too. We're getting you at both angles.
DS: Lookit that, it's a two camera setup!
JH: There's his right here, (looks at one camera) and those, (looks at another camera) and the rest of you!
AW: That's right.
JH: We're gonna lose our license here! If I'd known we were on earlier, I would have used all my good material! (laughter)
AW: I have e-mails that people sent for you just to give you, and I have requests, which, darn it, this guy wanted you to autograph 3 pictures of you and Cooper, and I forgot to bring them all.
JH: Well, it's hard to get Cooper now....I mean we're not gonna dig him up for anything! (laughter)
AW: Poor old guy, when did he die, anyways?
JH: Oh, late 50's, early 60's somewhere there, from smoking, you know.
AW: Can you tell that story about introducing Elvis Presley?
JH: Yeah, my elbow still hurts...Uh, introducing Elvis... I think it was his first American appearance, maybe first west coast appearance, I don't know. It was in the Oakland auditorium. I introduced him, and I tried to get off the stage, 'cuz here are nine million females trying to get up on the stage to touch him! So it was like..."Here he is.....Elvis Presley!" (makes a sudden frantic running gesture) I go down the stars, and here they come up here, push me aside, and hit my elbow on this steel gate.
AW: What year was this?
JH: 1956 or 57, his first tour.
DS: And they stormed the stage?
JH: Yeah. They started his music, and I got out of there, you know. I went backstage to see Colonel Parker. We talked for a few hours....he was blowing smoke in my face.
JH: Yeah. And he spit all the time. I'd had to go shh-shh (makes windshield wiper gesture on his eyeglasses).
AW: What did he do, just B.S. you about Elvis and stuff?
JH: No, no, listen--He knew what he had there, he had like fifty-eight percent of him.
MK: Oh, sure!
AW: I bet!
JH: So HE was happy. All he said to me was, "Did we hurt you, kid?" I said, "No, I don't think so..." I should have said "I'll see in the morning!"
DS: Yeah. You'll hear from my attorneys.
JH: It still bothers me...and I plan to go to an attorney tomorrow! (laughter)
AW: That's right. You gotta sue Elvis' lawyer, man.
DS: The estate's bigger than ever, I mean, come on! (laughter)
AW: You didn't get your picture taken with him, did you?
JH: I may have, I don't remember.
SH: I remember meeting him there. I remember looking up at him, he said "How ya doin', sonny?" AW: Wow.
DS: You got a hell of a souvenir, I guess!
JH: I'm sure I did (get a picture taken with him) but I don't remember that...I had my picture taken with so many people...
DS: Any pictures of you and Slim Gaillard taken together?
JH: Yeah, sure. Either he came over to the station (KXLA), or I came over to where he was playing. I don't know who took the picture, I have no idea, I don't have any prints of it.
AW: You said that he (Gaillard) used to have a radio show that came on right after yours.
JH: Yeah...he's the one that made that faux-pas.
AW: What faux-pas?
JH: He didn't know he was on the air. This was KXLA, 10,000 watts, now KRLA. Well, no longer KRLA, it's something else now..anyway. He said on the air, not knowing he was on the air, "Folks, we're gonna go on the world's lousiest station, but dammit, they got 10,000 watts, and there's some guy out there who's nuts, and..." and then he stopped, and they are all (signalling), "NO!!" So he goes, "WELL, here we are, ladies and gentlemen, on the air from Vine Street, on the GREAT station, KXLA, 10,000 watts, our wonderful station..." (laughter)
AW: Was that his one and only show?
JH: (laughing) It was around that time that I went into his Vine Street jazz joint and talked to him, that's when the picture was taken. I don't have prints but I remember vaguely a photo shoot.
DS: They exist, then?
JH: Probably somebody's got them, some Gaillard fan has them.
AW: That's obviously the connection with you on that Slim Gaillard record (Serenade To A Poodle), because you met him through the station. When I first told you about it, you didn't even remember doing it!
This is just the first part of a long interview with Jm Hawthorne. I'm transcribing it as fast as I can and will post more soon.