Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Arthur Smith
 So sorry to learn of Arthur Smith's death last week. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but everyone who knew him had only the kindest things to say.  He was a Charlotte institution!
I found it very interesting that Obie had a connection to the great showman/musician:

As a "paper boy" my route included portions of Bay Street and Laburnum Ave.  The Smith brothers, Arthur, Sonny and Brother Ralph lived on the corner of Bay and Bascom, all side by side.  I'll always remember that the only one to ever give a Christmas tip was Ralph!
   One of the interesting tid bits in the article was that James Brown recorded his big hit, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" in the Arthur Smith Studio on 7th Street right across from Sharon Memorial Park!  Now, how's that for trivia.  BTW, I happened to know the James Brown story before reading the article. -Obie

I was happy to receive all the comments regarding Genial Gene!  I loved Genial Gene.  He was extremely kind and helpful to me when I was WGIV's high school DJ.!

Warren Sparrow remembers Gene's commercials for ATLANTIC BEER. Also, the fact that his music was a little "naughty."  I know what he means, I always turned the music down when there were older people in the room, because the "rythym and blues" that Gene played back then really did disturb them. 

Frankly, I don't remember ATLANTIC BEER myself. But Warren remembered not only the beer, but Gene's commercial pitch, in which he said, "Do you like the taste of freight?"

That was a reference to the fact that ATLANTIC BEER was brewed in Charlotte, hence was cheaper.

Warren also wrote,

As the date for the reunion draws nearer, I have begun to look through my Snips and Cuts of 1954.  The note Charles Mateer wrote in it got my attention.  We were roommates at NC State our freshman year.  Charles was a rock.  When I flailed about, he was always there to steady me.  I shall always be grateful to him for helping me through that first year away from home.  Attached to this message is a transcript of Charles's note, one that I am proud to share with you.

"Bird, No kidding it has really been great knowing such a wonderful person as you during our senior

year. I only wish we had gotten to know each other better before. We have
Charles Mateer

had some very good times this year, but I am sure they will be surpassed next year. I am looking forward to September when we enter State. I am sure we will have a great many good times and a little bit of hard work. 

I have greatly enjoyed our talks and I am greatly impressed by your personality. I hope you have taken in all that king (Karl) has said so you will be able to help me next year. The Hi-Y has advanced greatly because of just one person, its president. Your leadership has meant a lot to each and every member. Stay as you are and you will always be admired by your class mates. Lots of luck and I’ll see you this summer. Let’s take over State next year.

Charles Mateer"

Snips and Cuts, 1954