By James L. Dickerson
According to unheard of study and interviews, this authoritative biography of Colonel Tom Parker (1909-1997) contains new revelations and insights into rock music's most famed and infamous supervisor.
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Louis, and then back to Jackson, where he became a regular at WTJS for six years. Radio stations did not pay entertainers to perform live; they were expected to do it for the experience it offered them. To support himself, Arnold played club dates whenever possible, and took a part-time job as a mortuary assistant. His primary job was to drive the ambulance. The undertaker gave him a place to sleep in the funeral home and paid him twenty-five cents for every corpse he could bring in. He was paid fifty cents for each funeral he worked and was paid extra if he put on a suit and acted as a pallbearer.
With the exception of the Tampa/St. Pe-tersburg area, the entire west coast of Florida was a desolate waste-land. Since Tampa offered the only major port between Key West and Pensacola, illegal immigrants who wanted to bypass the mainstream ports on the west coast heavily favored it. Cubans arrived by the thousands to work in the area's cigar factories, and it was the port of choice for those Germans, Italians, and Russian and East European Jews who preferred a backdoor entry into the United States.
It is that common perception that binds them into a family unit. The first thing Parker would have done upon arriving in Memphis, especially since it was his first outing with the carnival, would have been Page 9 to find out who the bosses were. Not that he would have had any desire to schedule a meeting: The idea was to stay out of trouble's way. In the early 1930s, Memphis was home to one of the most powerful crime cartels in the country. For more than two decades, the Prudential Insurance Company had labeled Memphis the “murder capital” of America, based on a study of homicide rates across the country.