Cliffie Stone Archives
At one time or another, Cliffie was on 28 radio stations in California (See ‘Achievements’ Section). Cliffie had a hectic work schedule: his daily deejay show, “Wake Up Ranch” on KFVD from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.; bass practice from 10 a.m. to noon; then his daily 2-hour afternoon radio show, “Dinner Bell Round Up” (which he later renamed ‘Hometown Jamboree’). Interweaved throughout his schedule, were gigs with recording studios such as Radio Recorder’s Studios and later, Capitol Records; gigs with dance bands such as the Ray Simpson band in Glendale; nightclubs such as Slapsy Maxies (a popular Hollywood hangout for top comedians such as Milton Berle and Red Skeleton); and a gig as Kandy of the Koko & Kandy routine in Gene Austin’s act, who was co-headlining with Ken Murray and his ‘Blackouts” at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. Cliffie’s innate talent for the bass plus all the lessons he took from Phil Cushman and later, from Arthur Pabst (who played 1st chair with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra) was paying off. It shows how highly regarded Cliffie was as a bass player! Later, Cliffie formed his own country/western band and he started doing regular Saturday night gigs. Cliffie became friends with a gentleman by the name of Steve Stebbins and they eventually formed the ‘Americana Corporation Booking Agency.’ Per Cliffie’s taped interview: “I was doing a show as a deejay on the radio called ‘Wake Up Ranch,’ which opened a lot of doors for me in the record business. Many times, I would interview artists who had hit records, such as Gene Autry, Lefty Frizzell and Tex Williams. As I was playing records one morning on ‘Wake Up Ranch,’ a policeman walked in and my first thought was ‘What did I do?’ But he had a smile on his face and he was carrying coffee and doughnuts. He said he was Lt. Steve Stebbins from the Los Angeles Police Department and that he was a fan and listened to me whenever he could. Steve and I got to be very good friends. One day he told me that when he retires, he’d like to do something in the c/w music business, possibly book acts and he wanted my opinion. I told him, ‘It’s wide open.’ Although he wasn’t retired yet, he called me several weeks later and said there’s going to be a dance in Ojai which is near Ventura. He said to the effect that if I was interested in putting together a band, that he would check it out for me. Being from the Great Depression era, it was a habit of mine to work anytime anyplace to earn money because I never knew when a gig was going to end. So I told him, ‘I’ll work a dance any where if I can make a buck.’ So I put a band together with Merle Travis, Tex Atchison, Herman ‘the Hermit,’ Ray Merrill and a girl singer, which was either Mary Ford or Judy Hayden. So we worked this little dancehall up in Ojai, and they couldn’t sell the tickets fast enough! People were hanging out the doors and I thought to myself, ‘If this is the way I can make $500 to $600 for a band every Saturday night, then I’ll do it! So I said to Steve, book my band somewhere else. So Steve got us various gigs in the area such as, the Foster Park Ballroom and the American Legion Hall in Placentia. Later, Steve found another American Legion Hall in El Monte for me and my band to play in. In the mid-1940s, Steve and I started “Americana Corporation Booking Agency.” We signed Merle Travis, Ernie Ford, Molly Bee, etc. Whenever Ernie Ford jammed with us, we would get up to 1,200 people on a Saturday night. The room was usually packed so many people would dance in the parking lot. Steve booked all the artists who toured on the West Coast such as Lefty Frezell and Freddie Hart. His booking fee was $7.00 a night and he was always at the show making sure everything was going okay. Soon, Ernie’s career began to take off; his records were selling better and better. Ernie asked me to be his manager, which would soon become a full time job. And when it did, I gave the Americana Booking Agency to Steve which would be his company for the rest of his life. He was quite a man!”

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