Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Posts Tagged ‘Behind The Candelabra

Behind The Candelabra … Pensacola Style …

with 19 comments

Liberace with Girl_Retouched_SFW_14 June 13

I made a post a while back with a photo of Liberace that my father made back in the late 1950’s when he would travel to Pensacola to purchase antiques.   I said that I would tell a little story that my father used to tell about a conversation he had with Liberace on one of his trips to Pensacola, but I never got got around to sharing it with you.  He and Liberace were talking, waiting for Liberace’s luggage was  to be unloaded off the plane.  My father was telling him that he saw a pianist  playing at the Palmer House in Chicago back in the late 1930’s.  My father’s brother was getting married and they were having the wedding rehearsal dinner in a room at the Palmer House.  My dad was walking around looking at the hotel and could not get over how large the place is.  In fact it, it takes up a whole block in downtown Chicago on the lakefront.   Being from Pensacola, he had never seen anything like the Palmer House before and was surprised how many ballrooms the place had and they all seemed to have something going on in each of them.  In one of the ballrooms was a teenager from Wisconsin playing the piano and entertaining the crowd of several hundred people.  As he was telling Liberace this story, Liberace stopped my dad and told him that was most likely him  playing at the Palmer House.  Playing at the Palmer House in the late 1930’s was the first professional job that he ever had.  Liberace never won any musical competition to achieve  nation acclaim.  It was because of playing at the Palmer House that music company executives and other booking agents  got to see him … and the rest they say is history.   I do not know who his ” lady friend ” in the photo above is.  I had posted this photo on the first blog that I had and somebody had mentioned a name, but it was not a familiar name and I cannot remember the name that was mentioned.  Here is one of Lee by himself …

Liberace 4_4x5_SFW_6_15_13

Nice looking jacket, Lee.  I read a biography of Liberace years ago and he mentioned traveling to Pensacola to purchase antiques in the book.  He mentioned an antique business and it might have been one named “Bercaw’s”, but I cannot be sure and I have no idea where the book is now.  It was because of Ada Wilson that my father got involved … she had original LouisXV ( or whatever the number ) furniture and Liberace was a big fan of this French Provincial furniture.  I have seen some photos of Liberace sitting on these sofas with Mrs Wilson, but I cannot find any of the negatives.  I also do not know if Liberace ever came to Pensacola to play a concert and that is how he came to know these antique dealers.  Maybe some of you out there might know and would share it with us.  Finally, here is a photo of Lee’s  “assistant” …

Liberaces Friend_RTP_SFW_6_15_13

I guess that Lee always had a ” Scott Thorson ” with him back in the 1950’s.  Thanks for looking and if any of you remember meeting Liberace on one of his ” buying ” trips to Pensacola, please let us hear from you … Frank

Written by Frank Hardy

June 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm

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