Cliffie Stone Archives
(L to R): Both of these handsome, talented, down-to-earth men were honorable gentlemen! Edited excerpts taken from both of Cliffie’s books: “With every record release, such as ‘Shotgun Boogie,’ ‘Mule Train,’ and a wonderful duet with Kay Starr called ‘I’ll Never Be Free,’ Ernie’s star kept growing brighter. One day, Ernie and I decided to go on a hunting trip in Utah for several days and we stopped to catch Kay Starr’s show in Las Vegas. Kay had been told that Ernie was in the audience and as she was about to sing “I’ll Never Be Free,” she called him up on stage to sing it with her. The audience loved it and so did the hotel executives! After Ernie came back to our table, we were soon joined by the hotel booker who gave Ernie a business card and told him they were interested in booking him. While continuing our trip to Utah, we discussed how soon we could put a show together, etc. Then Ernie asked me to become his manager. I told him I didn’t know the first thing about being one and he said he didn’t know the first thing about being a star! So I thought about it because I had to make a major career decision. Our contract was our word, which was cemented by a handshake. During the 20 years that I was his manager, we both lived up to our word. Ernie trusted his instincts about my capabilities. Since he had been a cast member on my successful radio and TV shows for years, Ernie knew firsthand about my experience, dedication and love for the business. When I became his manager, I turned over my ‘Hometown Jamboree’ show to deejay, Dick Haines, a friend of mine. I then started to focus solely on Ernie’s supersonic career because so many lifetime opportunities were beginning to happen so fast and we had to take full advantage of them. A friendship like ours is almost unheard of – especially in the business world.”

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