Don and Phil in Hollywood

Acting lessons at Warner Bros. Studios.

After signing with Warner Brothers Records in 1960 and leaving Cadence Records, Don and Phil left Nashville, TN for LA in sunny California. The brothers briefly toyed with acting careers, and took acting lessons through Warner Brothers Studio. They soon decided for themselves that acting was not one of their talents. But they stayed on in CA, recording Warner Bros. albums for 10 years, and for three years for RCA until their 1973 breakup concert, also in CA at Knotts Berry Farm.

Everlypedia, on the signing of The EBs to Warners Bros:

“In an uncharacteristically bold move, Herman Starr (of Warner Bros.) effectively gambled the future of the company by approving what was reputed to be the first million-dollar contract in music history, which guaranteed the Everly Brothers $525,000 against an escalating royalty rate of up to 7 per cent, well above the industry standard of the day. Luckily the Everlys’ first Warner Bros. single, “Cathy’s Clown” was a smash hit, going to #1 in the US and selling more than eight million copies, and their debut Warner Bros. album IT’S EVERLY TIME reached #9 on the album chart. It was numbered WB1 in the UK.”

“The Everly Brothers relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, after their move from Cadence to Warner Brothers. Initially it was to be for six months while they attended Warner Brothers acting school. However, as Phil put it, “Spend six months in California and you’ll never leave.” Indeed, they didn’t – Phil stayed the longest while Don moved back to Nashville in 1975. They worked under famous acting coach and radical thinker Paton Price. As for their acting careers - the only film that was ever shot was a screen test!

Phil: “Wesley [Rose] somehow managed to get a screen test through an agency – which cost him a lot of money. I think, at the time, it was about 25,000 dollars. They strapped guns on Don and I, and Donald was Black Bart and I was Kind Charlie, in brown. Anyway, I looked like the clean-cut, he looked like Lash La Rue! They had us in a real cabin and we had the director from Bonanza, I think, or Wagon Train, somebody like that. When things are going bad on a set it gets real quiet and it was so quiet there that you could hear everything, like squeaking shoes and so on. Donald is supposed to be a stranger and he comes by the cabin window. I’m sitting in the cabin and I’m saying, “These are the words of a frontier lad, who lost his love when he went bad.” And then we sing “Take A Message To Mary” together and he says, “Howdy stranger,” and I say, “‘Howdy stranger” – and we just sang this duet together! Then he asks me a bunch of things, and this flubs around for...oh I don’t know, five or ten times. Donald had a line but couldn’t remember it and it suddenly got so stiff and quiet – everything became very tense. The line is: “And bravely dare the danger that nature shrinks from.” Good line, huh? How’s that, do you like that one? They finally wound up writing it down on the table on a piece of paper and on about the eleventh take and Donald’s last line is, ‘“Well, I’ll be seeing you.’” And I said, “Not in the movies!” and that is the way it worked out. We weren’t that interested in a movie career anyway. Wesley tried to buy the film a couple of years later, and they said they had destroyed it. I said, ‘“Thank you!” “

Don agreed, “I never really wanted to be in the movies. Because you’re a great recording artist doesn’t make you a great movie actor. It’s not where my abilities lie but they kept pushing it as a natural progression. It was a lesson-learning experience which can’t be bad. I remember applying all that experience to the recitation on “Ebony Eyes.” It all had a value.” In another interview he said, “Everyone said, “Gotta put them in the movies” – well I didn’t want no part of the movies and I found that out right away! I mean, me being an actor! They were more successful putting actors into singing positions than putting singers into acting positions.” “We also had a good time in California,” Phil interjected. “Yeah, goofing off!” was Don’s view. Phil: “We went to that acting school for three months and we weren’t touring, so it was like a party to us.” They certainly made the most of this time and hung out with Snuff Garret and Lou Adler.

The majority of their 1960s Warner Brothers output, from circa 1963 onward, was recorded in Hollywood recording studios such as RCA Victor Studio B #4, Radio Recorders, United Recording Corporation studios A and B, Western Recorders, Wally Helder Recording Inc, Gold Star Recording Studios, Skyhill Studios (technically, located in Studio City) and Sunwest Studios. They worked with many of the legendary session men (and one woman: Carole Kaye!) later nicknamed The Wrecking Crew by Hal Blaine. They recorded the 1972 RCA album STORIES WE COULD TELL in Los Angeles, before returning to Nashville and Chet Atkins for their last pre-split 1973 album PASS THE CHICKEN AND LISTEN. Two tracks for 1988’s SOME HEARTS were laid down at Criterion Studios in Los Angeles.”

The proximity to Hollywood's promotional system meant Don and Phil were in the public's eye as they transitioned from Nashville to LA.

Last update on August 13, 4:48 pm by Mary.

Photos from this magazine spread -- some new to this site -- on The EBs in Hollywood. The photographer's contact sheets (note the same outfits on Don and Phil):

Last update on August 13, 4:49 pm by Mary.


At a Hollywood lawn party buffet with Venetia Stevenson.

Shot on movie sets, for "A Date with The Everly Brothers," 1960.

The EBs' move to Hollywood and CA also coincided with their U.S. Marines stint, stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA.
Last update on August 13, 4:42 pm by Mary.
Great new thread! I love the new photos you have found! You managed to get some good ones.

Seeing Don and Phil sitting on the stools make me wonder if they were at an IHOP (International House of Pancakes). Or could they have been sitting on stools provided by a food truck.

Food trucks were late to come to the Houston scene. Our City Council was opposed to them for a very long time due to food safety issues. But I think they finally buckled because they were besieged by food truck owners. Food trucks were used at some outlying business areas when I was still employed. A lot of the chemical plants in the southeast area of Houston have them on premises to cut down on employees leaving the grounds to eat lunch away from the premises. I guess that is one way to cut down on employees overextending their lunch hours. I have eaten many a lunch from a food truck. A lot of them have outstanding food.

Update: After looking at these photos again in this thread and in the Photos section, I am inclined to think that Don and Phil might have been sitting on stools in the Warner Bros. commissary having breakfast. It looks like Don is eating a bagel (looks like a bagel) or a huge donut. Smile
Last update on August 14, 10:24 am by Lenore.
Don must have liked that striped shirt. I think it is a good-looking shirt; love the white collar and white cuffs on that striped shirt.
Last update on September 13, 11:39 am by Lenore.
Two more from the same photo shoot in Hollywood:

Don and Phil and various actors with Warner Bros. Studio.

With Efram Zimbalist Jr.

With Robert Conrad.

Last update on October 11, 1:12 pm by Mary.
Interesting article on Rhino Records web site on Don and Phil's Warner Bros. signing and move to Hollywood.

More from the magazine photo shoot cited above.

Last update on December 20, 3:25 pm by Mary.
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