Stories from the 1981 Tennessee State Fair
By Spalding Gray


PT - 10


September 22. Randy was beginning to get anxious about not getting a photograph of Priscilla and Emmett before the fair was over. He had been tracking Priscilla and Emmett for years. He had even paid two visits to them at their home in Florida where they had given him a cordial welcome. They even picked kumquats together from Priscilla's prize tree. But because they had refused him a photograph in the past, he was reluctant to ask them again until he could approach them in a new and more compromising situation.

While at their home, he felt that he might get a family shot with Priscilla and Emmett and their adopted son, Tony, the ex-Marine. Randy said that the only time he ever saw Priscilla soften up and show affection was when she was around Tony. He felt if he could only get them together, then he'd have his picture.

Tony was expected at any time, so Randy hung out and talked about kumquats and show business. But Tony, who was having a love affair with his motorcycle, never showed, and Randy had to go home with an empty camera.

That was back in 1975. Now it was 1981, and Randy was determined to get a shot of them on the road. He walked right over, but it wasn't five minutes before he came back to tell me they had refused. They said they had something in the works. Someone was going to write their life story soon and they didn't want to give up any part of themselves before that came out. Randy said it was an old story. "You know," he said, "I think Priscilla's jealous of my beard." Randy has a full bushy beard, and, although Priscilla's was long, it was scraggly and not what one would call handsome.

I suggested that we give up on them. They had made up their minds to protect themselves. They were tired of being exploited and wanted privacy. Randy suggested that I might be the one to write their life story, and the only way to do that would be to become their manager and take them on the road. They had tried to get their adopted son, Tony, to do this, but even he refused. They couldn't find anyone to put up with them. 1 thought it might be the kind of thing I would like to do if I had twenty or thirty lives to live.


To be Continued


Special Thank to Kathleen Russo, the Estate of Spalding Gray and official website of Spalding Gray

All stories are re-printed with the permission of the Estate of Spalding Gray

All stories are copyrighted Spalding Gray & Spalding Gray Estate and posted here with their expressed permission,


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