|Birth: ||Jul. 16, 1925|
Hot Spring County
|Death: ||Jan. 9, 2013|
Written by John Andrew Prine of The Shreveport Times...
Frank Page, veteran regional broadcaster and a legend in the music world through his work at the Louisiana Hayride, died late Wednesday after a bout with a severe respiratory infection. Page, 87, had been in the intensive care unit at WK Pierremont Health Center. Until the last few hours of his life he received visits from family, friends and caretakers. Survivors include his widow, Helen, and a brother. Funeral details are pending. Page, long considered the dean of Shreveport broadcasters, retired from KWKH Radio in 2005 after 65 years behind microphones.
It was during the 1950s when Page cemented his place in history by introducing Elvis Presley for the first time to a paying audience in April 1954 at the Louisiana Hayride.
"Unbeknownst to me, it was what some since have called 'a seminal moment in the history of the world,'" Page told The Times several years ago in an interview. "He was a shy, well-mannered young man and just impressed the hell out of everybody." Joey Kent, a local music and film producer and son of the late David Kent, a former owner of the Louisiana Hayride, worked with Page on projects concerning the radio show and noted that Page, an unusually modest man in broadcasting, downplayed his role in Elvis's early years. "As Frank (would have been) the first to tell you, he fell into his most famous role, as the man who introduced Elvis to worldwide radio audiences quite by accident," Kent said. "Horace Logan generally introduced the well-known acts. It was through the fact that Elvis was an unknown that the job was pitched to Frank. Without much fanfare, he simply introduced Elvis by reporting what they knew, that he had a record out that had been getting some play on KWKH and other area radio stations and it had been getting a good response." Page and the early Hayride provided an uncritical and forgiving environment that allowed Presley to mature as an artist and take his talent to a national level, Kent said. Page's radio career began in 1940 in Little Rock, Ark., and a decade later he was broadcasting from Shreveport's KWKH. It was through one of his radio personas, "Brother Gatemouth," that he brought blues to a generation of middle-class youth through the 50,000-watt station. One of the people listening was a young Robert Zimmerman, of Hibbings, Minn., who grew up to be Bob Dylan. Several Dylan biographies credit Page with influencing the music stylist. Page also recorded his World War II memories for the Norton Art Gallery's continuing program to capture the memories of veterans. In a story in The Times four years ago, he recalled being on the air in Little Rock in early December 1941, age 17, when history happened. "We were playing classical music from CBS when we were interrupted by the announcer, who mispronounced 'Oahu,'" he recalled. The interruption said the Navy base at Pearl Harbor had been attacked and the nation was at war. "I was shocked and immediately called station management, who called in staffers to answer the phones. ... I worked the rest of the day, and the next day, Monday, went down to join the military service, like most other young men of the day."
He was turned down. Not because he was too young, but rather, at well over 6 feet, was too tall. He later was drafted, wound up in the Signal Corps, and wound up in occupied Berlin at the end of the war, lodging in the house of former world heavyweight boxing champ Max Schmeling and sleeping in the boxer's bed because it was one of the few that could accommodate his frame. After the war, Page returned to Little Rock, where he partnered on air with later-legendary sportscaster Bob Fulton, who later gained fame as the "voice of the Carolina Gamecocks." After Little Rock, he worked in West Memphis, Ark., where he learned of an opening at KWKH, then owned by The Times. "I did a demo and got a letter back saying 'come on,'" he told The Times in a past interview.
Page joined KWKH just before Thanksgiving 1947. It was two years later that he became an announcer on the Louisiana Hayride, where he introduced stars ranging from Hank Williams Sr. and Slim Whitman to Johnny Horton and Red Sovine. Page also worked with fellow KWKH announcers who would carve substantial careers in country music, including "Gentleman" Jim Reeves and Nat Stuckey.
Frank Page, original broadcaster of Elvis Presley, dies
By Willard Woods
KSLA News 12 has learned that legendary radio broadcaster Frank Page of Shreveport has died. Page, who worked in radio for 50 years, is best known was the man who introduced Elvis Presley on the Louisiana Hayride back on October 16, 1954. Page was inducted into the Wall of Fame in Shreveport in 2009. He also was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame, according to members of his family. Page died Wednesday night, January 9, 2013 after battling complications with pneumonia. He was 87.
Frank Page - A Radio Legend: The Man Who Introduced Elvis
Born July 16th, 1925 in Malvern, Arkansas. Frank's radio career spanned twelve U.S. Presidents (he met personally with Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan)
First Radio job at 16 years of age on KGHI, Little Rock, Ark. First Network Appearance on CBS Radio announcing "Wings Over Jordan" (Very popular 30 minute Sunday morning Gospel Show, aired nationally) 1940: Hired as announcer for KLRA Radio, Little Rock, Ark. Frank was on-the-air, Dec. 7th, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
1943: Enlisted in U.S. Army
1943: Married childhood sweetheart, Helen Hulett in Brownwood, Texas while on 3-day pass from Army
1943-45: Served in England, France & Germany; After WWII, served as on-air personality on AFN (Armed Forces Network) Berlin, Germany
1945: Shipwrecked in a hurricane on Greek transport ship in the North Atlantic while being transported home by the Army.
1945: Rehired after war by KLRA AM-1010 Radio
1946: Fired along with his announcing partner, Bob Fulton.
hanksgiving Day, 1947: Began career with KWKH Radio Shreveport, La., after moving here along with wife Helen from Little Rock, Ark.
1947: Rented apartment (across the street from former Gov Jimmie Davis) from Mrs. F.A. Bewley (of Bewley's Furniture) (Frank & Jimmie Davis would then become life-long friends.)
1949: Began career as staff announcer for Louisiana Hayride originating from Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, La. (the first time Hank Williams, Sr. performed on the Hayride¡later to return after short stint with the Grand Ole Opry.)
1950: Hired Jim Reeves as KWKH announcer, only to discover the soon-to-be legend could also sing ¨C he would later became known as "Gentleman" Jim Reeves, and the rest is history.
November, 2006 : Retired from KWKH, after 59 years with the station.
Heart of Louisiana: La. Hayride and Elvis
Reported by: Dave McNamara, Heart of Louisiana
There¡¯s an auditorium in the city of Shreveport that played a huge roll in launching the careers of some of this country¡¯s greatest musicians. In the 1950¡äs, almost everyone had heard of the Louisiana Hayride. Today, the memories of those great performers still echo through the old building.
¡°It is said that if you were to have stood in this building at the right moment in time, that you would have actually seen the music change, the face of music change for the whole country, right in the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium because of people like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and of course Elvis Presley,¡± says Teresa Micheels with the auditorium.
It was 1954 when Elvis made his first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride, a weekly live concert that was broadcast on radio from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport. KWKH radio announcer Frank Page introduced the young singer.
In an oral history recorded for LSU Shreveport, Page talks about the decision to put Elvis on the Hayride.
¡°We thought he sounded different, so we said let¡¯s try him out and see what happens. Well you know what happened. It drove the older people away and the young ones came in¡±.
Elvis became a Hayride regular for the next year. The rising star packed the house.
Guitar legend James Burton started playing in the Hayride¡¯s house band when he was 14 years old.
Services celebrating the life of Frank Page will be held at 11am on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at Rose- Neath Funeral Home Marshall Street Chapel. Officiating the service will be, Bro. James Duncan of Hickory Hill Baptist Church, Avinger, TX. Interment will follow at Forest Park St. Vincent Avenue. The family will receive friends at the funeral home, on Monday January 14, 2013 from 4pm to 7pm.
Raymond Franklin Page passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 after a brief illness. He is survived by; his wife of 68 years, Helen Louise Hulett Page, their daughter, Patti Lea Page Stephens, and her husband Ronald W. Stephens, grandson, Christopher P. Stephens, all of Littleton, CO, brother, Larry E. Page and his wife MaryAnn of Shreveport, LA.
Frank was born July 16, 1925 in Malvern, Arkansas. He was the son of Raymond Foster Page and Stella Irene Coston Page. He attended school in Harlingen, Texas; Malvern, Arkansas and North Little Rock, Arkansas. Frank proudly served his country in the United States Army during WWII.
Frank and Helen moved to Shreveport on Thanksgiving Day 1947. He had a storied career in radio with KWKH of 58 years. He was involved in the "Louisiana Hayride" from 1949 to 1960. He was associated with the "Greats" of Country Music and Rock & Roll. He is known best for having first introduced Elvis Presley to an international audience. The recording of that introduction has been released in album form in 25 languages. He received countless awards and recognition included being inducted into the Shreveport Walk of Stars. Frank loved Radio, his audience, and was affectionately known as "Mr. KWKH" and the "Dean of Shreveport Radio". A book, "Frank & Helen Page: A Lifetime at KWKH" was published in 2007, which chronicled their life together.
Honoring Frank as pallbearers will be, Jack Dillard, Ralph Jordan, Joey Kent, Don Lee, John Lee, Tom Pace, Chris Stephens.
Serving as honorary pallbearers will be, Gene Dickerson and Jerry Fentress.
The family suggests that memorials may be made to the American Heart Association , 745 Olive Street Shreveport, LA 71101, The Wounded Warrier Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org or to the charity of the donor's choice
Raymond F. Page (1900 - 1982)
Stella Irene Coston Page (1906 - 2003)
Helen Louise Hulett Page (1926 - 2015)
Raymond Franklin Page (1925 - 2013)
Raymond Franklin Page (1925 - 2013)*
Frank Page (1925 - 2013)*
Forest Park East Cemetery
Created by: Linda Holt Moorehead
Record added: Jan 09, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103351291
NLRHS Class of 1943|
L A McKenzie
Added: Nov. 30, 2015
Added: May. 21, 2013
Music wasn't by any means your whole life but I will always associate you with music. You brought much enjoyment to our lives. Thank you...|
Added: Jan. 9, 2013
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