|TO LEARN MORE ABOUT
PATSY, BE SURE TO VISIT LETTERS . . .
Her correspondence with Trudy, Marie and Treva is more than revealing...
HONKY TONK ANGEL
The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline
Monday, January 21, 1957 ...
Patsy and her mother Hilda Hensley arrived in New York. Hilda was to
be Patsy's "talent scout" on Arthur Godfrey's program on CBS-TV, even though
talent scouts weren't supposed to be related to contestants. Patsy
and Hilda were pulling off a deception - much to Mrs. Hensley's embarrassment. She lived
in fear they would be found out. Godfrey was then the king of network TV (day and
night-time). Monday, January 21, 1957 : On
Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, very much against her will, Patsy was forced to sing a
song she hated, "Walkin' After Midnight." It wasn't country and Patsy didn't
want to sing a pop song. Worse, the song was arranged as a big band number. The
winner would be decided by audience response on a huge "Applause Meter."
recalled Mrs. Hensley, "was just unbelievable. Patsy sang her heart out for over two
minutes. Then there was an eternity of applause." "Patsy cried,"
Mrs. Hensley remembered, "and I cried. I wanted to run out and throw my arms around
her, but I knew I couldn't. This moment was everything Patsy ever dreamed of - the
recognition and receiving such fantastic exposure over national television. Patsy told me
later she had a strong impulse to holler out 'Mama!' but got control of herself. People
were standing and yelling for more."
Godfrey finally had to calm the audience. He put his
arm around her and said, "Congratulations, Patsy. Something unbelievable has
happened. For the first time in our history, the applause has frozen the meters. It looks
like you're the winner!" All Patsy could do was smile and cry. "Little lady, you
sure know how to sing. Will you do another song for us?"
The audience went wild. Patsy got to do a country
song after all, the Hank Williams hit "Your Cheatin' Heart." "And when she
finished," exclaimed Mrs. Hensley, "the audience went crazy again! It was one of
the most memorable occasions of my life. And Patsy's!" Godfrey congratulated Patsy
once again, "There's surely stardust on you, Patsy Cline!"
As excited as
she must have been, that night Patsy wrote in her diary simply, "Went on the Godfrey
Talent Show . . . Won."
Now, Mrs. Hensley was feeling more deeply ashamed of their
deception and made Patsy promise that when they saw Godfrey they'd tell him the truth.
[The next day] Patsy told the host there was someone special she wanted him to meet.
"Mrs. Godfrey, Mrs. Hensely is really--" He interrupted, "My God,
girl, I know this lady is your mother!" Godfrey offered Patsy a full time job on his
show, but they clashed over the kind of music she would sing. She was fired two weeks
Sunday, March 10, 1963
... Winchester, VA
. . . It would be polite to say that Patsy's funeral was a
three-ring circus. Since Charlie had to attend the services for the other deceased,
Patsy's funeral was moved to Sunday afternoon to give him, Mrs. Hensley, and members
of the family time to get safely to Winchester. The burial attracted thousands of fans and
a mass of media. They quickly became an unruly mob that city and Virginia state police
could barely handle.
Members of the family were disgusted with the
conduct of a majority of the crowd, but Mrs.Hensley and Charlie were too distraught to
know what transpired. The situation became so unmanageable that old friends of
Patsy's, such as the Crutchleys, the Deytons, Jumbo Rinker, even Bill Peer couldn't get
into the funeral home.
Sammy Moss, a Winchester disc jockey and bandleader who'd also
known and befriended Patsy early on, noted on his annual Patsy Cline memorial broadcast in 1972: "This country DJ had
never expected anything like
this. I had been asked to be a pallbearer ... As I arrived ... about two forty-five
it looked as though something big was about to happen. Streets were
jammed. Traffic was almost at a standstill, and when I arrived at the Jones Funeral
Home I could see what all the commotion was about. The general public wanted to
participate in the final rites of Patsy Cline. It was filled to capacity. Finally,
the doors were locked so the service could begin."
memorial leaflet distributed by the family quoted Tennyson:
and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems to sleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.