Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Max Terhune
Born:  February 12, 1891
Died:  June 5, 1973
KMPC Country Carnival Barn Dance
WLS National Barn Dance
KMPC Los Angeles, CA

About The Artist

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 conversation.

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.