Monday, October 29, 2012
Curly O'Brien and the Top Hands
The following text was taken from http://macmhome.org/hillbillyheaven.cfm
Curly O'Brien 1926-1990
Born Philip Nathan Boyce on January 4, 1926, in Milo Maine. He was the second of five sons to William A & Madeline M Boyce. He began his career at the early age of 15, when he became a member of the Ernie Lindell Band. At first he was billed as “Phil Boyd”, then later Mr. Lindell came up with the name “Curly O’Brien”, which has remained all these years.
Uncle Sam called him for his tour of duty during WWII, he served overseas, and returned home after his discharge. He once again took up his Guitar, this time, he was joined by a younger brother, Bob. Together they formed his first band, called “The Top Hands”, and hit the road.
Their first experience with television was on CHSJ in St John, N. B., Canada, this is where he met his long time friend and then Steel Guitar player, “Art Marr”. They traveled throughout Maine and Vermont, sometimes doing double shows with his other stage buddies, the late Hal Lone Pine, Betty Cody, Dick Curless and many others. They spent a short time on the Wheeling West Virginia Jamboree, but finally, Curly decided that Maine was definitely his “stompin’ grounds,” so they returned home.
In 1954, once again on their own soil, Curly was offered his own Radio Show on WLBZ. He got a break in television at WLBZ Channel 2, doing half-hour spots in different time segments and in 1955, was offered a two hour, morning show from 7-9 am, 6 days a week, and still keeping up with personal appearances.
In September of 1965, he made the change over to a newly formed WEMT channel 7, which has since changed it’s call letters to WVII. And after tying different time spots, they found that Sunday from 12:30 to 1:30 pm was the ideal time.
When Cable TV was introduced into the Nova Scotia, Canada area, the mail response was overwhelming.
In September of 1979, Curly celebrated his 24th year on TV and he had hopes to complete his 25th year before considering retiring.
Curly O’Brien was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame on April 29, 1979.
Curly left us on December 28, 1990
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