End of February 1958 - In California for the new movie

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Paul MacPhail in his book The Ferriday Fireball:
After his last show (in Florida) at Fort Lauderdale (on 25. February 1958), they (Jerry Lee, J.W. & Russ) flew from Miami on a cross country flight to Los Angeles, CA, where Jerry would be filming an opening appearancein a new movie for MGM….

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…The opening scene and the title track of this movie would be a new upcoming single by Jerry, scheduled for mid spring release…

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….The Lewis Trio hated long plane trips and was half-snapped by take-off time. Russ bought a jointed wooden snake at the terminal gift shop before take-off…



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…As the airliner moved north over the everglades, Russ lost his snake and began looking for it. He got down on his hands and knees and proceeded down the center aisle in search for his souvenir, looking under seats and asking other passengers if they seen a snake…

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…A stewardess asked him what he was looking for. When he told her, she quickly headed for the cockpit. The seat belt and no smoking signs were illuminated and Russ returned to his seat, where he found his toy snake between the cushion and armrest…

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…The plane made a wide arc and headed back to Miami. When the plane landed, the passengers remained seated, the door opened, and three uniformed security guards came aboard with a plainclothes officer. The stewardess pointed Russ out to the group, then they walked down the aisle to where the Jerry Lee Trio were seated….

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…The officer asked Russ for the snake, and Russ reached in his bag and took out the toy snake. The officer stared at him without speaking for several minutes, apparently deciding whether to arrest him or out him off the plane…

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…`If you want one, you can get one inside`Russ said, trying to be of help.
The flight resumed. The boys lost their buzz and asked for drinks. They were served only coffee…

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…Once in California, they spent a week in early March working on the new movie at MGM Studios at Culver City in Hollywood, and guesting on a t-v show in San Jose.

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(With Bill Wence who says:´I won a contest in March 1958 San Jose, California, TV dance party show and got to be a guest backstage at a rock n roll jamboree headlined by Jerry Lee. I was 15 years old at the time and it really had an impact on me. Other acts on the show were, the Four Preps, Roy Hamilton, Bobby Helms, the Silhouettes, Bill Justis and Jimmie Madden.  Jerry Lee was at his peak at this time. He tore the audience up.´)

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Many Thanks to:
Paul MacPhail

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