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Medford Barbershop Quartet Adds Novelty to its Act

Mel and Glen Crocker ran the Crocker Brother’s Union Station on Central Avenue in Medford, Ore., in the early 1950's. But they were more than that.

Together with Don Keener and Charlie Carroll they formed The Novelaires, one of the earliest Barbershop quartets in Medford. They performed from Crescent City to Klamath Falls. The Union Oil Company sponsored the quartet’s own live show on Medford’s first television station, KBES TV.

The Novelaires were invited to Klamath Falls to perform at a big West Coast Barbershop Show. The first year, they were mediocre, but then they developed a novelty act. Invited back the next year, they sang Cool Water. Glen Crocker had sucked on a green Clorette, so when he sang “Waahter”, he would stick out his green tongue and gag. Don never cracked a smile and Mel looked mortified. The audience went wild, even falling off their chairs. They sang four encores before running out of material.

In 1955, they moved to Los Angeles for the big time. They sang for Douglas Aircraft employees and won the Rocket to Stardom TV show. That resulted in gigs, but not fame.


Source: Crocker, Gary. "Novelaires." Letter to Carol Harbison-Samuelson. 2 Sept. 1996. MS. Southern Oregon Historical Society Library, Medford, Oregon.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.