I was born on January 18th, 1951 out on the outskirts of Johnson City, Tennessee in a place called Sugar Holler. It was called that because maple trees grew in abundance there. We got off the main highway (2 lanes then but it was paved) and we drove down a dirt road to get back up in the holler. We had no indoor plumbing and heated our home with an old wooden stove. Life was very simple back then. For fun we would swing on grape vines and look for tadpoles in the little stream that ran in front of the house. Fried chicken and collard greens were my favorite food, next to fried okra and pinto beans.
We moved out of Sugar Holler when I was about 4 years old and moved to a home that had indoor plumbing and a coal stove in the basement. Life was simple. I remember watching Howdy Doody and Captain Kangaroo on a small black and white TV. I also remember seeing Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show and doing my first Elvis Impression at around 5 years old at a Christmas Party for the local hospital employees. My Grandmother was a nurses aide. I remember getting a thunderous applause and running into my Grandma's arms with delight as she hugged me and kissed me. I knew she was proud of her only grandson and I knew right then and there, I wanted to be in show business.