In late 1957 my fiancée, Clara, and I were planning our wedding for June, 1958. Our situation was somewhat unusual in that her father, a minister, was to perform the wedding ceremony. My father was the county clerk, and would thus issue our marriage license. So, both our fathers were to play a very important part in our wedding.
We became interested in a new television program, “Bride and Groom”, in which couples were brought to New York City by the program, all expenses paid, and the marriage ceremony televised. It seemed like a good idea to try and get on that program. So, I sent a letter to the director inquiring as to what needed be done to get selected . In early December, 1957 I received a letter from a Roger Gimble advising us to complete a detailed application.
As instructed, we completed the application and attached photos. Then the waiting began. I felt sure we would be selected due to the roles that our fathers would play. Just in case it did not, however, we continued our own plans for the wedding here in East Texas.
We were naïve and unaware that the show received 500 letters a day from young women eager to fit out the new home with such goodies as live chinchillas or gold from a mine in Montana. “Bride and Groom” had supervised the weddings of some 2,500 couples, among them a Douglas Aircraft executive, two Medal of Honor winners, All-American athletes, an atomic physicist, Phi Beta Kappas, a TV producer, and Jinx Falkerburg’s brother. To each of them went about $2,500 worth of loot. They were passing out mink coats and deep freezers long before politicians ever thought of it.
Our answer came rather suddenly. The program was cancelled in 1953 about a month after we had sent in our application. Murphy’s Law had struck again.
Our chance at a big wedding on national television vanished.
I then wrote a letter to a new motel that had been constructed in Lufkin, Texas, to see about reserving the “honeymoon suite”. I received a response on May 5, 1958 in which was reported that the motel indeed had a “honeymoon sweet”, and that it cost $10.00 per day. So, the “Sun & Pines Motel” is where we spent our first night as bride and groom.
I still have those two letters, and they make good reading. One letter about what might have been – the other about what actually was.