SPASTIC CHILDREN CANCELLED BY
THE DEATH OF TWO PRINCIPAL PROMOTERS
By Ricardo Brown
Death of the two principal promoters, cancelled a Hank Williams tour, which would have benefitted spastic children of 'any nationality, color or creed', it was revealed today.
Officials at St.Jude's Hospital said the blues composer, twenty nine years of age and the late Father Harold Purcell, founder of the City of St.Jude, had discussed a Hank Williams personal appearance tour, with proceeds to be used for the crippled children.
The Southern singing idol, whose death was mourned here by a cortege of 20,000 admirers, would have been one of the biggest attractions since the Pied Piper.
Most of the visits between the priest and the "Jambalaya" creator were when Williams was under treatment at the hospital.
Hospital officials said the singer was a patient at St.Jude's frequently during the past year. Williams died of a heart attack, January 1st, en route to an performance in Ohio.
The lean, at times, sorrowful singer was the first donor towards the proposed 50 bed, spastic children's building, which Father Harold Purcell was pioneering here before his death last October, St.Jude officials said. However, the sum Williams donated was not revealed.
Williams' interest in the spastic youngsters was made public when his family was questioned about a proposed Hank Williams monument to commemorate the brief but brilliant career of the man whom his admirers called, Mr.Lovesick Blues
Offers had been made by some members of the Grand Ole Opry troupe and by some citizens here, it was reported, to erect a public monument to the singer.
However, his mother, Mrs. Lillian S. Stone, and his sister, Mrs. Irene Williams Smith, said that should any funds be made available they hoped they would be used for "the one thing Hank would have preferred - aid to spastic children."
Since the death of Williams, admirers have been trying to find the right crown for the man whose songs were top hit and country ballads for a straight four years.
He was identified as the King of the Hillbillies in Time Magazine and has been described as "the King of the Blues" and "The Master Folk Song Artist."
His sister - who was Hank's first booking agent - showed the Journal a letter dated July 1940 when Hank and his Drifting Cowboys were offered a total of $20 for two performances at an Evergreen theatre.
But in 1951 the former shoeshine boy had skyrocketed that one year's earnings into an estimated $200,000 as radio and recording star.
Williams, who his family said had never been 'very strong', poured his heart out in a great parade of songs that included Hey Good Lookin, Why Don't you Love Me, Move it On Over, and Mind Your Own Business
Alabama's former governor, Jim Fulsom, declared Hank, "Alabama's own troubadour of folk music" and the Alabama newspapers referred to him as "The 'number one' Good will Ambassador"
He received national recognition from over 50 show people, who presented him with a scroll for his "outstanding achievements" in the entertainment world.
And it looks like it will be a long, long time before juke boxes and radio shows quit playing tribute to the man who wrote Nobody's Lonesome For Me.