The King Family Show: Publicity

Figure 1.--The King Family singers were photographed here in 1965 for a publicity shot. Presumably this was one of the many costumes they performed in.

A publicity article provided some interesting information about the King Family singers. There was 39 members thst participatedf in the weekly show. An editor asks a repoter if he got the names of the singers. "No, boss I didn't. All I said was: "Drop in and bring the family."" ... That's the frequantly expressed, hospitable phrase often received by the King family. I quickly learned the dangers of such an expression--32 of the 39 accepted and arrived en masse."

The charge was not unlike that of Pickett's at Gettysburg, and the problems of logistics as far as the King family on tour make Gen. Eisenhower's problems on D-Day miniscule.

They came in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They came short and fat, and tall and thin; there were blue and brown eyes, and black, strawberry, and various shades of blond hair. But, somehow, they all ended up looking and acting the same.

The traffic policeman in front of Tribune Tower did a double take as they marched off the bus, entering the elevators (filling three) for the trip to the sixth-floor color studio.

Each King sister and sister-in-law is responsible for her brood. They all changed clothes quickly and rushed before the camera. Cam saw fit to tease and tickle Laurette as cameraman, Gustie, attempted to win everyone's attention. Jon and Raymond stood growing out of their sparkling clean white pants, and Susanah impatiently bobbed up and down.

Figure 2.--This enlargement shows the costumes that the younger children were wearing. Adam had to have his knee's washed. Cam had to pull upmhis kneesocks. I'm not sure of all identities, but I'm pretty sure that the boys are (left to right) Adam (who's knees had to be cleaned in the article), Cam (who had to be reminded to pull up his knee socks), and Stephen Driggs (Jonathan's older brother). I think Jonathan might have been too young initially to appear as a performer. I hope I don't have my "Kings" mixed up.

"Everyone sit up straight," called Earl.

"Time out," responded Marilyn. "I must clean Adam's dirty knees."

As Marilyn rushed out for a towel, Laurette yawned, Alyce and Yvonne signed, the teenage members of the troop snapped their fingers in unison, and Cam hoisted his knee socks.

"Ready, again," cried Earl. "Moisten your lips and smile."

"Call `cheese'," said Del Courtney.

"Cheese," cried the whole family.

Snap! went Earl's camera a few times. And the picture taking session was over.

"It isn't a case of togetherness for the sake of togetherness' said peppy Yvonne when we conered them. "We enjoy being with each other, and there is always an occasion for a party. Just the other day, we had a birthday party for three members of the group. Carolyn was 21, Raymond 13, and our musical director {who travels with us on tour] was 30+. We had three cakes. Alyce set up the whole party--she's the Elsa Maxwell of the family."

We give this warning to nyone foolhardy enough to invite the King clan to drop in--be sure you have room for a household of people, lots of good humor, much attention and reaction, and musical entertainment.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 23, 2001
Last updated: June 23, 2001