Norm Pringle on left, the King and Normís wife Elsie
Norm Pringle - All-night announcer/chief announcer/Program Director & hired actor Leslie Neilsen CJCJ/CKXL Calgary 1945-50; Production Manager CKMO Vancouver 1950-52; discovered Canada's Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter CKDA Victoria 1952-58; push button mixer Western United Recorders Hollywood CA 1958-63; Audio Supervisor General Music Corporation Hollywood 1963-71; Audio Engineer Warner Brothers Studio Hollywood 1971-83; retired 1983; Cybercloud Website 1983-current.†
1929- Went to school at age 6. No Kindergarten or College in 1923- that was for the rich folk.
1941- Joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at 17. Tried to finish High School in the service. WW2 was in full swing for the Britsh Empire (1939 -1945)
1945- Honorably discharged.
at radio station CJCJ (now CKXL): was chief announcer , program director, all night DJ and discovered Leslie Neilsen.
1950- Moved to CKMO Vancouver, now CFUN- Production Manager
Elsie Morrell (a listener) in
Moved to CKDA
1954- Married to Elsie
1957- We had a son called Garry (named after Garry Crosby)
1959- Had a daughter Linda (named after Buddy Clark's hit song Linda)
Moved to General Music Corporation in
1971- Joined Warner Brothers Studio as an audio engineer (sounds better than a transfer man)
Times - Colonist.
Norm Pringle, then a local disc jockey at former radio station CKDA, is credited with discovering Jim Smith. Not that it would have been hard to find a teen wanting to be Elvis in 1956; Elvis-mania was in full effect, thanks in large part to a string of hit 45 singles, including Heartbreak Hotel and That's All Right Mama.
plenty of Gene Vincent and Elvis rock 'n' roll songs on the radio, at teen
dances he hosted in Memorial Arena and on his House Party television program on
the former CHEK-TV. The station had just opened its doors, but "they
didn't have anybody to program it," Pringle said during a recent interview
from his home in
"So I came up with an idea for House Party, where we could get various people from high schools to lip sync to the records. Some of them were so good at it, you'd think it was (the real thing)."
One of the teens to catch Pringle's eye was Smith. It was during one of the dances he was hosting that Pringle noticed Smith, a whirling dervish singing along to Elvis songs and mimicking his signature moves.
"I called him aside and said, 'Why don't you practice singing to the records? You can be Elvis on the TV show.' Every time we got a new Elvis record, he came on the show."
That Smith couldn't sing or play an instrument was irrelevant -- after all, this was TV in the '50s. His good looks and ability to replicate Elvis was enough to get the eye of local viewers.
Smith vividly remembers practicing along to the Elvis cut Poor Boy for a week in preparation for one of House Party spots when a thought came to him. "It never went away, people coming up to me saying how they saw me on TV," he said. "I became known as the Elvis guy. So I decided to see how far I could take it."
He travelled the
media alluded to the sexual aspect as well. When the Victoria Daily Times ran a
story on the teenager's success on
In the story, Smith talked of branching out on his own as a singer, which he did shortly after his stint as "Elvis of Victoria" began to wane in 1958.
on to play in a band in the '60s called Morningstar, before settling down to a
quieter life as a B.C. Transit driver in
Smith hasn't impersonated Elvis since those days, but during his final years as a bus driver Smith says he still drew the occasional look from former fans.
memories are still fresh, however, for both Smith and Pringle. They were among
the 26,000 fans who attended Elvis's 1957 concert at Empire Stadium in
But few were as lucky as Pringle. He was one of four members of the press to attend a private press conference after the show, during which Elvis sang Hank Snow songs. The event "has became a real collector's item," according to Pringle. "It's been dubbed, sold, re-dubbed, quoted and everything."
There have been many fond Elvis experiences since then for Pringle, from a chance meeting on the set of the film Kid Galahad to working as a sound editor for MGM Studios on the 1981 documentary, This Is Elvis.
had the same impact as the 1957 one when he talked to Elvis in