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Aleene Jackson Craft Museum

 

 

Aleene & Tennessee Ernie Ford
Aleene & Tennessee Ernie Ford
It was after Aleene had been in the world of television for awhile that that she had enough "gumption" to approach Tennessee Ernie Ford, who at the time had one of the most popular shows on national TV (The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1962-1965).

She approached the show's producers with the idea of creating projects from egg cartons and they booked her for one show. At the time, she was heavily into promoting "junk crafts". Remember, there was no craft "industry" in the early 1960's.

After that one appearance on Tennessee Ernie Ford's show, the show's mailroom received over 100,000 letters from people who had enjoyed it and who had tried what Aleene had demonstrated. The producers invited her back and again, there was a flood of mail after her appearance.  Shortly after, she was invited to become a regular on the show. Since it was taped in San Francisco, she would fly once a week from Los Angels and stay overnight in a hotel. Then, she would spend the entire next day in the studio because Tennessee Ernie would tape five half-hour shows in one day. "I was a paid regular weekly guest on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show for two years. Two of my best years on television as Ernie was the nicest celebrity I had every met. And the other guests on the show were really interesting too!", recalls Aleene. It was an exciting two years for Aleene.

When Tennessee Ernie Ford went off the air, his producer moved over to the Gypsy Rose Lee show, she invited Aleene to make regular appearances on Gypsy Rose's national TV show. Gypsy Rose Lee was living in Beverly Hills at the time and on quite a few occasions, Aleene would go over to her "great big house". Aleene recalls, "It was messy, with clothes all over the place. She loved crafts and sewing. I guess she sewed her own costumes. It's funny, she wasn't terribly attractive in the conventional sense, but she had a wonderful personality, and she certainly appreciated the work I was doing."

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