Come with me to Padre Island The Padre Island Story

The Padre Island Story

© Steve Hathcock 2012

A couple of weeks back I wrote about finding the history of Padre Island and I listed several books that would interest the serious historian.

Later, as I was sorting through past articles I found the following column that I penned several years back in response to an inquiry from one of my readers.

“Mr. Hathcock,” the email read, “My grandparents had a yard sale recently and I stumbled across a copy of a book titled, “The Padre Island Story” by Loraine Daly. I know that books about Texas history can be quite rare and I wonder if you can tell me a little about the author and the value of the book. Thanks, Billy.”
Sure Billy, let me tell you a little bit about the author first. Born Hidalgarde Weicklein and raised in Texas Hill Country, she got her first taste of the fame that would follow when she was selected as Miss Jefferson at San Antonio’s Jefferson High School in 1938.
Her singing career began when she took lessons from Mary Stuart Edwards and Sister Mary Lawrence at Incarnate College. After graduation, she took the stage name of Loraine Daly.

Herbie Kay with Loraine Daly 1942

Loraine Daly and the Herbie Kay Band 1942

The blonde, vivacious 21-year-old was already singing on a Dallas radio station when the famed Herbie Kay, whose band was playing all over the country at the time, asked her to audition for the position recently held by Dorothy Lamour, who was now a star on the silver screen. By the time she was 30, Loraine was an accomplished model and top female vocalist in one of the country’s hottest swing bands.
Her marriage to Jerry Joliff in 1948 was broadcast live on the Bride and Groom Radio Show where the newlyweds won a new refrigerator for their appearance. At the same time she was under contract as a model for the Aluminum Company of America and wore an aluminum swimming suit of golden lurex threads.
The song “Come with me to Padre Island” was written by Loraine Daly and Carl Johnson in 1953 and was first introduced by Ken Harris and his combo at the Driscoll Hotel in Corpus Christi with Loraine Daly as vocalist. The song was released as a 78 and a 45 on the Erin label by Circle Records of San Francisco, while the sheet music was released by Hammitt Music Company of Sacramento. Later, a novelty postcard featuring a 33 rpm recording of the song on a specially designed vinyl insert was released that could be played on any phonograph of the time. It sold for $1.95.
“Come with me to Padre Island” was an instant hit and quickly spread across the airwaves. During an interview held in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. in 1954, Daly told a reporter that “the song has been played and sung in cities from the East Coast to California and was also played over the radio network up and down the Pacific Coast.” The Ken Harris band continued to play the song in its radio, TV and newspaper contracts.
During a trip to the Texas shore in 1959, Loraine was voted Miss Padre Island. She was so inspired by the honor that she spent the next few years learning as much as she could about the Island’s history. “The Padre Island Story,” co-authored by Pat Reumert, a Houston school teacher and childhood friend, was released in 1962 by the Naylor Company of San Antonio. The book, which followed the history of Padre Island from the 1550s to the present, sold for $1 and was an instant success.
Over the next decade or so, “The Padre Island Story” was revised and reprinted eight times. Today, a good used copy in paperback form sells for around $18 while one of the more elusive hardbacks sells for around $30. A 1971 revised edition with a white cover commands a premium due to the low number of copies printed.
Steve Hathcock serves as chairmen of the South Padre Island Historical Preservation Committee, sits on the board of the Cameron County Historical Commission and is one of the founders of the South Padre Island Historical Foundation. E-mail



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