Homer Escamilla was born to Jesus and Eva Escamilla. We cannot say for certain where he was born, but
thanks to the 1930 census being online, we were able to determine that the family was living
in Floresville, Texas, a town south of San Antonio. By 1940, a daughter (Rosemary) had been born
and the family was living on South Street in San Antonio, Texas.
On February 22, 1945, Homer enlisted in the U. S. Army in Fort Sam Houston. We learn from his military
records he only finished two years of high school.
After his stint in the U. S. Army, Homer found his way to the Los Angeles, California music scene that
took him on a varied path.
In 1954, Cowboy Songs ran an article about the Spade Cooley television show airing over KTLA in
Los Angeles, California. It noted that regulars on Spade's show at that time were violinist Anita
Aros, Phil Gray on vocals, Patsy Harding ("Miss Movie Teen"), "bouncing" Homer Escamilla and
a comedy act known as Lotta Chatter.
In 1955, we found an ad for a show in Bakersfield, California that indicated the "Trading Post Gang"
and their special guests would be doing a show at the Rainbow Gardens located three and a half miles
south of Bakersfield on Route 99. Guest stars included Gene O'Quin, Homer Escamilla and Smiley Maxedon.
Country & Western Jamboree magazine reveals that Homer was doing personal appearances
with Cliffie Stone and the Hometown Jamboree show during most of 1956 from its "On the Trail" column.
In January 1957, the Reno Gazette reported that Homer was working with the Hank Penny and Sue
Thompson show at the Riverside Theater Restaurant. They performed in the cocktail lounge and
the act included a cast of seven. In addition to Hank and Sue, there was Dickie Phillips,
Joe Graves, Jack Kent and Helmut Kreamer along with Homer.
In May of 1958, the Nevada State Journal ran an article with an accompanying picture of a
group that billed itself as "The Idiots". Most of the members were formerly with the Spike Jones
troupe. Members at the time included Freddie Morgan known as "Mr. Banjo" and was said to have
been with Spike Jones 11 years.
Homer was said to have written several hit tunes. We have found that he co-wrote a tune
with Sheb Wooley in 1956 called "Are You Satisfied?". Sheb recorded the tune. That tune was
also recorded by such folks
as Connie Francis, Rusty Draper, Toni Arden, Ann Cole and even the legendary actor, Clint
Eastwood in 1963. Our research also found a tune
called "Coleen, Drink Your Ovaltine" as well. He also wrote "Burrito Joe" which was
recorded by The Armenta Brothers Orchestra on Coast records. He also co-wrote a tune called "Bundle
Of Dreams" with Billy Strange that appeared in the 1958 movie "Sing Boy Sing"
While working with Hank Penny, Homer did the vocals on a recording Hank did called "A Fool's Lament".
Homer became quite ill in 1959. Billboard magazine reported that Tex Williams held a benefit for Homer
at the Village Ballroom in Long Beach, California on March 15, 1959. That event helped raise $1,400 for Homer. The
article indicated Homer was a drummer. The article reported he was critically ill at the Long Beach
D. O. Hospital. Dickie Phillips promoted the event and as you might expect, many of the artists
on the country music scene back then took part in the event.
Homer Escamilla passed away in December 1959 and is interred at the Hollywood Memorial Cemetary
in Los Angeles, California. Mousie Garner was known for his slapstick comedy and had been with Spike
six years. He was also said to have been one of the original Three Stooges who went on to legendary
fame with their comedy and movies. A gal by the name of Lissette was part of the group and was said
to have been from France. Dickie Phillips was also with the group and spent five years with Spike.
Joe Vento known as the "man of all instruments" also worked with Spike. And on drums was Homer
Escamilla and it was noted had not played with Spike's group.
Credits & Sources
- Cowboy Songs No. 37; September-October 1954; American
Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
- Country and Western Jamboree; March through October 1956; Maher Publications, Inc.; Chicago, IL
- Bakersfield Californian; July 9, 1955; Bakersfield, CA
- The Billboard; March 30, 1959; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
- Nevada State Journal; May 30, 1958; Reno, NV
- Reno Gazette; January 12, 1957; Reno, NV