Cash and Carry a Sportatorium Memento

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So, the deadline's came and went yesterday, without a single soul bidding on Johnny Cash's signed contract to play the Big "D" Jamboree at the Sportatorium on April 19, 1956 -- for the whopping sum of $175. The Austin-based collector trying to part with the contract, which bears the signatures of both Cash and Big "D" Jamboree boss man Ed McLemore, insists it "may be the earliest original Johnny Cash signed performance contract ever offered on" eBay. Which would explain the enormous asking minimum bid: $15,000. (McLemore, for what it's worth, was also Gene Vincent's manager when Vincent lived in Dallas.)

Johnny Cash at the Big "D" Jamboree

There's little documentary evidence of Cash's performances at the Sportatorium in the 1950s: Seven years ago, David Dennard released The Big D Jamboree Live! Volumes 1 & 2, featuring Cash performing "So Doggone Lonesome," "I Walk The Line" and "Get Rhythm." Orville Couch, who played the Jamboree, told me in 2000 that the last time Cash played the Sportatorium "it was raining real hard -- it sounded like that tin building was gonna collapse -- and he came out and said, 'How high is the water, Mama?' He had them in the palms of his hands." And you could still have his contract in the palm of your hands, if you got Cash. --Robert Wilonsky

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