“It’s a thick book!” Many have received their copy of Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, and this has been one of the major responses. Wow, thick!
Yes, it ended up being thick—Flippo had a rich full life. There’s 592 pages (sixteen pages of front matter), more than 450 pages of memorable pictures and ten appendices. Also, there’s story galore: Flippo told stories about callers and cuers and then callers and cuers told stories about Flippo. Because I felt this was a history book, I included an Index of thirty-seven pages for cross-referencing.
Flippo worried about the size of this book and commented, “It won’t be as big as Bob Osgood’s.” So I worked hard to keep it smaller. Bob Osgood became the leader of square dancing for many years. He published a monthly magazine, Sets in Order, that kept dancers and callers abreast of square dance news in its heyday. This magazine influenced many callers’ careers with articles, advertisements and reviews of newly released songs. He helped Flippo’s career immensely. He also was the mastermind behind, CALLERLAB, the international organization for square dance callers that standardized square dance calls.
As I Saw It, Bob’s biography is 636 pages, so Flippo’s is smaller, by a few pages.
After readers received the book, the other comment I’ve heard with much scrutiny is about something special I added to the title page. Early on when people signed up to pre-order a book, someone asked that Flippo autograph her book. I agreed to do this, and I was certain many people would want his autograph, then he passed away before it was published.
That thought returned to me often as I was transcribing our interviews and putting the book together, then I had a brainstorm. I contacted his son and ex-wife and told them about my plan. I asked if they had a good signature we could use.
His ex-wife found a couple: one on their divorce decree that wasn’t as legible and another one from a card sent at an earlier time in their lives with a clear signature, so she sent it to me. I inserted it on the title page, and it actually looks like he autographed the book, saying, “Love Flip.”
So, no I didn’t forge his name as some have intimated which I would never do. I just thought it was a nice touch when the reader opens the book—a welcome from Flip!
I’d like to end this with a list of books written about square dancing. Some are thick; others aren’t. You can find this list in Appendix J, Additional References in Just Another Square Dance Caller:
- Betty Casey, Dance Across Texas, University of Texas Press (1985).
- $24.95 paperback; $7.49 hardback; $11.95 e-book on amazon.com
- Betty Casey, The Complete Book of Square Dancing [and Round Dancing], University of North Texas Press (2000).
- Bob Osgood, As I Saw It, Humbug Enterprises (2017).
- $21.95 paperback; $10.99 e-book on amazon.com
- Bob Sumrall, Do-Si-Do, (1949).
- $27.79 on ebay.com
- Jim Mayo, Step by Step Through Modern Square Dance History, (2003).
- $17.50 paperback; $28.95 hardback on amazon.com
- John W. Jones, Square Dance Fundamentals, Jones Street USA, LLC, (1970).
- $20.99 paperback on amazon.com
- Lloyd and Dorothy Shaw, Lloyd Shaw and the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, (2014).
- $15 paperback; $4.99 e-book on amazon.com
- Lloyd Shaw, Cowboy Dances, The Caxton Printers, Ltd. (1949).
- $10.77 hardback on amazon.com
- Richard Severance, A Step in Time: The American Square Dance, (2018).
- $19.99 paperback on amazon.com
The history of our activity fascinates me. I’m hopeful that Flippo’s biography will join these legendary tomes in your library. Yes, it’s thick but it’s worth it!
Are you a history buff? What history do you enjoy?
~ RELEASE PARTY of Flippo’s biography on Zoom on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm MST! Be ready to celebrate! Door Prizes, the inside story, Flippo song bytes & interview clips and more! The meeting ID number & the password will be posted on my website on Wednesday, July 28.
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