About The Artist
Charles (Chuck) Wayne was born Charles Shults in Blanchard, Oklahoma in 1927, the year that the famed Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, would set the then major league home run record of 60 home runs. He was raised in Norman, Oklahoma. He moved to California in 1939, where he went to Junior High School. and took up playing guitar.
He joined the Merchant Marines, which was the Coast Guard, in 1944 and entertained the service men in the Philippines, India, and Africa. He returned to the United States and was drafted into the 6th Army in 1945. He formed a small group of musicians and entertained the service men here on the home front that were getting ready to be deployed overseas. He was discharged from the U. S. Army February 14, 1947.
Since most of the musicians that he was working with were from California, he again formed a band with himself, Jimmy Lunsford and Richard McClintock and worked out of Richmond, California, a town on the east bay from San Francisco and north of Oakland. That was his first club job.
Chuck went back to Oklahoma about 1948 and formed a new band. The group did personal appearances all over the Oklahoma City area, including such venues as the Treinon Ballroom.
While he was back in Oklahoma, he met his wife, Johnnie Ruth, who was a student at the University of Oklahoma. For a time, he went back to the Houston, Texas area and found work with western swing band leader and legendary song writer, Ted Daffan in Corpus Christi. After Johnnie graduated from school, Chuck and his wife went to Las Vegas Nevada where he joined up with a new band. They worked in the Saddle Club and Hacienda Club for over three and a half years.
When their first child was born, a daughter named Sheila, he returned to California made appearances in various clubs including the Top Hat, Crabby Joes, 1902 Club, and The Saddle Club.
Chuck found work at Radio station KEEN in San Jose and Radio KVSM, a small station in San Mateo, California along with other folks such as Ralph Emery, Phil Philly, Jerry Leeds, Elaine Doyle Lane, Cottonseed Clark, Cactus Jack, Foreman Bill, and Red Murrell. An early 1956 article notes that Chuck was working at KVSM around that time. Some of the folks he did personal appearances with included Foy Willing, Ted Daffan, Terry Fell and Freddie Hart.
During those times, Chuck was the only Disc Jockey that had earned a first-class license that allowed him to engineer the station. That meant he had to be present at all times while the disc jockeys were doing their shows. He shared duties with another engineer and they worked on two shifts.
In 1956, he and his brother, Black Jack Wayne, purchased a dance hall in Niles, CA called the Garden of Allah, where they promoted artists on their radio and television shows, which were on Channels 2, 5 and 7 in the San Francisco Bay Area and a television station in Stockton, California.
Chuck's band did personal appearances at the many U. S. Navy and U. S. Air Force bases all over the golden state. They also worked at other dances at venues such as the Maple Hall in San Pablo, Foresters Hall in Redwood City and Naperdak Hall in San Jose in addition to their regular work at the Garden of Allah.
The first big band Chuck formed included folks such as the Black Brothers, Bobby and Larry, Vern Baughman, Huck Fields, Don Cox, John Cambra, Gary Hutton, Freddie Marciel. Some of the folks who were regular performers on the show included such names as Bill Carter, future Grand Ole Opry star Del Reeves, Cal Smith, Willie Williams and Al Barkle.
Chuck then started promoting the smaller artists of that era who basically had not found that hit record yet, but he booked their talents at the Garden of Allah. He was able to also get them air time on radio and television to help them reach a broader audience. The list of names included folks such as Buck Owens, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Johnny Cash, Larry and Lorrie Collins, and Wanda Jackson.
He also had other famous artists of the day such as Porter Wagoner, Carl Smith, Ray Price, Bob Wills, Maddox Bros. and Rose, Stonewall Jackson, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Travis, Wade Ray, Spade Cooley, Hank Thompson, Marvin Rainwater, Jim Reeves, T. Texas Tyler, Little Jimmy Dickens (with whom Chuck and his wife used to bowl with after hours), Noel Boggs, Tiny Moore, Tommy Duncan, Billy Jack Wills, Bill Monroe and numerous others.
Some of the artists they met and worked with would became life long friends. The list included folks like Fred and Kitty Maddox, Spade Cooley, and Gene and Darlene Vincent.
Chuck's talents were easy to see and he did entertain more than one offer to join big name bands of that era led by folks such as Bob Wills, Johnny Horton, Ted Daffan, Sheb Wooley, Del Reeves and Ernest Tubb. He also saw several movie offers. But, the reality of a marriage and three kids and the responsibilities that went with that along with operating the dance hall made it impossible for Chuck to make the changes those offers required.
A 1956 article notes that he was recording on the Cavalier record label and had released a couple of tunes, "Lie To Someone Else" and "Mean Mean Mean".
Imogene Chapman wrote in her "West Coast Ramblings" column in 1956 that "Cyclone Chuck" had to have an emergency appendix operation on January 2 of that year.
In July of 1956, Imogene wrote again of events related to Chuck. They had a farewell party for him at the Garden of Allah to thank him and wish him good luck in a new job as disc jockey at radio station KUDU over in Ventura, California along the California coast. He was going to be on the air six hours a day at his new station.
But it appears that his new gig was meant to be temporary. Ms. Chapman wrote again in October of 1956 that "Cyclone Chuck" had returned to KVSM. He had earned his First Class License for Radio Engineering at a school in Burbank, California. She also mentions that Jack and Chuck had a talented sister was well, Faye Wayne, who at one time had an all-female band called the "Rhythm Roundup Gang". The band did feature a male vocalist by the name of Terry Nevada.
Country and Western Jamboree listed him as one of the Top Ten vote getters in their 1956 poll for "Favorite Regional or National Disc Jockey". The votes seemed centered around the national or Nashville disc jockeys, so getting on that list is a bit of a testament to the diligence of the fans doing the voting. That 1956 list included names like Eddie Hill, T. Tommy Cutrer, Nelson King, Randy Blake and Don Larkin.
Chuck and Frankie's son, Charles Wayne, inherited the musical talents. Johnnie and Chuck played with him for several years. Charles and Jim Baughman had a small group when they were just youngsters, along with daughter Sheila and a piano player; they used to entertain the people at the Garden of Allah and did a bang-up job.
Jimmy has gone on to be a world-class guitarist. Charles formed his own band called the Charlie Wayne Band and has made an excellent front man and musician. In 1982 Charles won international band of the year in Nashville Tennessee and now works opening shows for Randy Travis and many other current big name talents. Their youngest daughter, Leesa Michelle has a fabulous voice and can sing just about anything. Chuck and Johnnie have four grandchildren of whom they are very proud.
One of them, Erik Camp, has inherited the genes carrying the guitar talent. Then there is the nine year-old grandson, Dade, whom they think may also end up playing both guitar and fiddle as he is just getting his feet wet the instruments.
Their two granddaughters, Tessa and Christin play saxophone. They have one son-in-law, Todd Amon, one daughter-in-law, Jeanne Shults and a grand son-in-law, Michael Bunch.
To mention all of the musicians that have had an influence on Chuck's life would take more time than we have. Some of the more influential ones were Howard and Fran Edwards, Bill Tester's 1440 Club in San Jose with Johnny Leggett, Tiny Moore, Curly Burns, Jim Schooling, Billy Hodges, Rory Young, Clint amd Mary Bedford, Al Periotti, John Lucas, Jim Luttrell, Jimmy Cicero, Dusty Dale, Dude Martin, Marty James, Bobby Thompson, Red Hayes, Sammy Davis, Jr., Van Horn, Huck Fields, Billy Thacker, Bill Carter, Bud Duncan and several that he has probably forgotten.
Chuck also wants to express his gratitude of thanks for many years of friendship and appreciation to Huck and Dottie Fields, Howard and Fran Edwards; and, Vern and Gladys Baughman, whom he could always count on to be there when needed and the pleasure of spending hours on end in playing music and just enjoying being together.
Chuck has been in the trucking business and insurance business for many years and has lived in Tracy, California for the past 20 years. But, they are planning to move to Henderson, Nevada in the near future.
Credits and Sources
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