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“Your name is not Lloyd…it’s RANDY SPARKS.”

I have been writing ‘my book’ for a few years now, and I’m amazed by how oblivious I was to all that was going on as I lived every chapter. I like the Bible as a resource, and I accept the wisdom of allowing others to praise me, not vainly telling how important I am (or was), but most of my cheerleaders are dead and gone, and if I’m the only one left to tell the tale, isn’t it acceptable?

‘Happenstance’ seemed to be the ‘norm’ in my life as a Singer/Songwriter, and it’s human na-ture, I think, to actually believe I did all of it by myself. Imagine my surprise in only recently learning that I had so much help from folks I barely knew. My invention of The NCM played a huge role in the story, of course, but long before that, live entertainment was radically altered by incredibly-gifted Mort Sahl, his promoter, genius Larry Tucker, and those who chose the talent, Enrico Banducci (Mister Hun-gry i), and to a degree, the Purple Onion’s Don Curry. Also very quietly involved, I now know, was wealthy Howard Hughes. It was HH, I believe, who ordered my move to Los Angeles, even choosing the venue where I’d perform un-der his watchful eye. He saw every set I did at John Walsh’s 881 Club on LaCinega Blvd…yet I never met him. It was Howard Hughes who asked Gordon McRae what my chances of be-coming successful might be, and it was the famous ‘Spruce Goose’ builder/flyer who asked Henry Willson what my stage name ought to be. Henry had named many of the ‘beefsteak actors’ at Universal Studios: Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter and Guy Madison, etc.

Gordon MacRae told me I HAD NO CHANCE AT ALL, AS I LACKED WHAT IT TAKES.

Henry Willson said “Your name is not Lloyd…it’s RANDY SPARKS.”

Howard then appointed an agent to represent me, and I was moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where Elvis was working his first job at ‘The Louisiana Hayride.’ Howard was also (quite secretly) The King’s biggest promoter. You thought it was all Colonel Parker? Think again.

All of those magical people connected to my earliest advancement in music and comedy are dead and gone. I know of only one who’s still among the living: MORT SAHL’S widow, China Lee. I only met her twice. What a joy.

P.S. Either Mort or Howard arranged for my Grammy to be handed over by Gordon MacRae and his wife Sheila. Is that ‘poetic justice’?

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