She’s 17. … I’m older than her father, can you believe that? I’m dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.
– Woody Allen, “Manhattan” (1979)
Jerry Lee Lewis had a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by the time he was 22, including two marriages, several hits, fame and fortune, and a future bright as a flashbulb. Then along came Myra Gale Brown and everything changed. Instead of being paid $10,000 per night for live performances, his fee dropped to $250, and instead of large crowds, he played obscure beer joints. A concert tour was canceled and most radio stations refused to play his records, including his current hit at the time, “High School Confidential.” That was irony at its tastiest, since Lewis’ fall from grace was because Ms. Brown, his third wife, was also his 13-year-old cousin. The press denounced him as a “cradle robber” and “baby snatcher.” Lewis was dumfounded, complaining to a reporter, “I plumb married the girl, didn’t I?” Elvis Presley, one of the few entertainers whose star burned brighter than Lewis’, said he had no problem with the marriage as long as Jerry Lee and Myra Gale were in love.
Presley had a unique perspective on relationships between adult males and juvenile females. He fell heavily for a 14-year-old military brat, Priscilla Beaulieu, when he was stationed in Germany in 1959. Most people know Priscilla by her married name: Priscilla Presley. She was not Presley’s only 14-year-old crush; a biography published in 2010 makes the case that “he preferred girls who were barely more than children” – just like no-longer-a-judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U. S. Senator from Alabama with a history of dating female children, including one who accuses him of sexually assaulting her when she was 14 and another who said he sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
© 2017 by Mike Tully