The Tom Merriman Tribute Evening

On September 13th, Dallas legends meet in Dallas for a tribute for one of the founding people in the jingle industry Tom Merriman. Here’s an account of the evening from Tracy Carman.

“The room was filled, the food was great and many people got to socialize after not seeing each other (in some cases) for decades. I kept trying to nudge Terry Lea into singing a few bars from the PAMS “Hometown” song without success.

I met Tom Merriman for the first time when I was down here last month. I had the honor of starting to clean out his tape storage locker at that point (66 cartons of about 9,000 pounds of tapes, folks) and palletizing them for the trip up to Massachusetts. With the help of Doug Thompson, I was able to pull out the last 25 boxes I left behind (due to heat exhaustion) and add them to the tapes making their pilgrimage to Massachusetts.

Meeting Jackie Dickson Merriman was a thrill. She referred to me as one of those “jingle freaks” and I responded “archivist”. That became the running joke between us all weekend. She’s a delightful lady with a sparkle in her eyes who also happens to have two beautiful daughters who came in for the event. They were cleaning out the “other stuff” from Tom’s three storage bins.

I ran around trying to snap as many pictures of the Dallas jingle legends as I could, and sharing conversations about the past with many. Our “brat pack” for the weekend was me, Doug Thompson, Ken Deutsch and Don Worsham. It was great to have them along with the other jingle “brats” of Jon Wolfert, Ken Justiss and Ron Harris all under the same roof at the same time.

I’m not going to make too many comments on the individuals whose pictures I did (or did not) post. Feel free to reference Don Worsham and Ken Deutsch’s books for specifics as to whom they are, if ya don’t know. I will say that it’s sad that we’re all getting old and I will forever miss having the vocal sounds of Jackie Dickson and Judy Parma on ID jingles. While singers come and singers go, these ladies (in my opinion) are the perfect voices for ANY jingles.

I was finally able to meet Trella Hart in da flesh. I had spoken with Trella for the last several years, but every time I was down here she had a singing engagement. Glenni Tai flew in from the west coast at the last minute to join in the festivities. As we chatted, she sang some of the high parts to PAMS “Jet Set” to me. Fortunately, I was able to get her to do one into the video camera for posterity.

After the cocktail hour, we all sat down for the presentation with master of ceremonies Ron Chapman. A video presentation was incorporated into the event as we celebrated the legacy of Tom Merriman. At points in time, with the heart felt sentiments, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Tom was presented with a plaque commemorating the event and a jukebox preloaded with his “greatest hits”. A programmable doorbell was also presented with one of the “chimes” being a shout stating “TOM – ANSWER THE DAMN DOOR”.

A souvenir audio CD was awaiting each of us at our table. The presentation included video edited by Jon Wolfert. I did manage to grab a few extra copies which I know will make their way into collectors hands. Don’t be looking for them on eBay!

I have to thank Ernie Wynn, Jim Long and everyone else in Dallas for all of the courtesies they extended to me. Jim thanked ME for attending, but I really needed to thank him for allowing me to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime industry event. It was an honor to be able to throw open the tape library and be sending audio files down the line into the early morning hours for Jim and Ken Justiss to incorporate into the event.

While I could could continue to type about this for hours and hours, you get the idea…

Sorry you all couldn’t be around to join in the festivities!”

“Here’s THE TM Song (originally composed in 1972 by Tom Merriman) as relyriced by Ken Justiss and adapted by Greg Clancy for the Tribute. Tracy was at TM on August 1st when they were singing this and managed to catch about 10 minutes of the vocal session on video before he had to head off to an in-house meeting.”

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“The following is cut #42 from the Merriman Trubute CD entitled “Real Artistry”. It loses a little without the flashy graphics on the screen displayed at the tribute, but you’ll get the idea.”

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Continue reading for some photos from the night.

Paris Rutterford and Ken R. Deutsch

Doug Thompson and Bruce Collier

Jim Long, Grady Sanders and Karen Baer

Muff Murfin

Jackie (Dickson) Merriman and Dick Cole

Tom Cusic, Bruce Upchurch and Deborah DeBerry Long

Harold and Mary Jo Grogan

Ben Freedman

Tracy Carman and Janie Frickie

Steve England

Ken Justiss

Tom and Judy Parma

Ron Harris and Jon Wolfert

Chris Stevens and David Graupner

Glenni Tai, Tracy Carman and Trella Hart

Jon Wolfert and Bruce Upchurch

For more pictures, see the Tom Merriman Tribute here.

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