We want to make our own movies, my brother Robert and I. One of our
scripts  is about the first rock and roll  disc jockey, Dewey Phillips.
Below are a few photos of Dewey and his world, and a brief synopsis of our
version of his story.
Dewey Phillips

A synopsis
of
"Red Hot and Blue"
WGA # 1105426

Michael William Freeman
Robert Patrick Freeman
494 Garland Street
Memphis, TN 38104
901-481-3877


Dewey Phillips loved music, especially rhythm and blues. He wanted to sing for a living; instead he
broad casted the music he loved to his radio audience.  WHBQ Radio in Memphis, Tennessee created the
show
Red Hot and Blue to reach the black audience because no one else was listening to their programs.
Even though he could not enunciate properly, read copy well, or cue a record without scratching it,
Dewey was perfect for the job. And to him,
Red Hot and Blue was more than the perfect job; it became
his life. He had an uncanny knack for guessing which songs would become hits.  He had the knack, also,
to say the most foolish things on the air. He captured the black audience for his station, and much more.
A large, restless audience of white teenagers loved what Dewey played and hung on his every silly
word. Without realizing it Dewey was helping to create a new phenomenon, rock and roll. One of Dewey’
s white listeners would record rhythm and blues songs in a Memphis studio, and with Dewey’s help,
launch his career. His name was Elvis Presley.

In the story of rock and roll, and of the cultural change of the 1950’s; Dewey Phillips is the unsung hero.
His story is a “rags to riches” story. He scratched his way into his dream job at the same time a vast,
young audience was searching for new entertainment and a new identity.  But he would enjoy success
for only a few years. By the end of the 50’s, the entertainment business was changing again, and
Dewey would not be able to cope. He was then becoming one of the first casualties of drug addiction in
the rock and roll era.  So many of the music personalities from Memphis of that time would achieve
greater, lasting fame than Dewey Phillips. Yet, all owe a debt to him for relentlessly promoting their
creative work on his popular radio show. Dewey was more than an observer of cultural history, more
than an on-air “Forrest Gump;” he was a vital participant.

Dewey was also, as his biographer Louis Cantor, playfully showed, a filmmaker’s dream. Boyish, manic
and never quiet; Dewey created chaos wherever he was. Friends and family overlooked his faults and
treasured his good humor and kindness. Our story begins when he begins his career, and it ends just
beyond his peak. A note about language: Dewey and his friends in the music business did not speak
proper English. In our script we try to capture both the slang, and the Southern accent.  
Dewey Philips ca 1950 as his
He was young, brash and on  
ca 1950 as his
Dewey top of
the world.top of the world.
would play Elvis Presley's record
The Hotel Chisca is where Dewey
The Hotel Chisca is where Dewey
for the first time in July 1954.
photo.
Near the end of his career at
WHBQ Dewey also hosted a
television show. Dewey is shown
here looking at an image of
himself on the screen. He was not
comfortable with the new medium.
Recording Service Studio and then
operated a label, Sun Records, in
the same building. Sam and
Dewey were best friends. After
Sam recorded a song, he asked
Dewey to play it on the next show.
WHBQ had its office and
broadcast station on the
the lobby, of the hotel. Or
"magazine floor." Dewey
was loved by teenagers  
for his mis-use of the
language and for his choice
of music.
chance to They  won their pardon. Its sounds
improbable but this actually happened in
Tennessee.