I was lucky enough to see F&S many times in the 50's & 60's. There were
people who literally worshipped Earl.
During live performances, of course there were many banjo players in the
audience, and every now and again Earl, while playing a number that was
familiar - people knew the songs note-for-note, would play some minor
variation - something not exactly like on the record, and an audible gasp
would come from the crowd.
Earl smoked Pall Mall cigarettes, and of course so did all of his wannabees.
When approached between acts, he usually would not engage in conversation
related to the banjo, answering questions with a short answer, or maybe an
answer that didn't really respond to the question. But you could get him
talking on the subject of airplanes anytime.
What for anyone else would be an uproarious laugh was for Earl a slight
Thanks to Henry Horrocks for this trivia.