Max's career included a stint on WLS and the National Barn Dance
around 1932. It was there he met another legendary singer, Gene
Autry and westward they went to Hollywood and movies.
Max was also a bit of an actor and at one time we find that he
he was in a Republic Pictures Western Movies
as a member of "The Three Mesquiteers" along with
Ray Corrigan & Bob Livingston.
He performed under the name of
Lullaby (later changed to Alibi) Joslin.
he was a magician and a ventriloquist.
Max was also a magician and did comedy using
dummy named Elmer Sneezewood in
his performances. He was considered to be one of the
best manipulator of coins
and playing cards of any magician.
Cliff Japhet considered Max a friend and tells us a few
memories of the times spent with Max. Cliff said he
first met Max in Lynchburg, VA in 1941. Cliff was
performing at a theatre along with Polly Jenkins and her
Musical Playboys. Just down the main street, Max was performing
separately at another local theatre.
They were all staying at the Hotel Carrol, so they would get
together quite often during their time off-stage.
Max's show started at a different time than Cliff's performances,
so, Cliff says they attended one of his performances.
And of course, Max turned the tables and attended one
of their shows. Cliff recalls that he was sitting in the
front row and using his ventriloquist skills, throwing his
voice into the midst of their show and seemingly causing
some confusion among the audience. But Cliff says they got a big
kick out of it.
On another occasion, Cliff relates:
"One night after our shows were over, we got together in one
of the larger Hotel rooms, and Max got Elmer out for Polly to hold,
and then proceeded to include the dummy into our normal
Polly remarked that the dummy seemed to be a
real person. Elmer replied, "I am real, He's the
dummy, he has to carry me around wherever he goes."
Later, Cliff recalls that Max did a bit of magic for them.
Max had 'hid' a whole deck of cards in his
hand and began turning it back and forth so fast that it
could not be seen. He then blew smoke up in the air
and then reached up into it and cards were falling
all over the floor.
Left to right:
Charles Barnes, Joe Carroll, Wally Fowler, Curly Kinsey, Little Bashful Johnny New.
Sitting on the chair, Max Terhune (sometimes known as "Lullaby" or "Alibi" in
movies) and Elmer. Photo said to be at Ball Park in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Then he had Cliff unbutton his shirt; and then reached
down the back of my neck and pulled out ... a rabbit. Cliff says,
"Don't ask me how he did it, I just don't know."
One fine Sunday Morning, they had all gone to breakfast at a restaurant
and when Polly, Cliff and Max came out of the restaurant and
walking down the the street,
some small boys spotted Max and started hollering "There's
Alibi" - Max's character in the movies.
Soon the word spread around and other kids joined in the procession
and followed the group of performers along their way.
They came to a manhole cover that was open, and had a protective
gate around it. A man was working on some electrical wires
down below the street level.
Not letting an opportunity go by to have some fun with the kids,
Max threw his voice down there, and started hollering
"Let me outa here."
The entourage then crossed the street to a small shoe
shine parlor where just inside the door they
had a popcorn machine. Max said "C'mon kids the treat's on me;
free popcorn for all of you."
Max started piling bags of popcorn in Polly's
arms, Cliff relates, saying "Hold this while I get some more."
Well, Polly of course, got a bit overloaded and dropped some of the
popcorn, but as Cliff says, it became an unforgettable occasion.
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