Sometimes you have to wonder what good it does you to pay a lawyer to write a will. Nearly 50 years after his death, the rights to the monetary legacy of Jim Reeves will be decided by a Nashville probate court judge.
The Reeves saga takes more twists and turns than the "Tail of the Dragon" in Deals Gap, North Carolina. According to interview tapes that the now-defunct Jim Reeves Museum sold, Mary Reeves claimed that Jim didn't believe in life insurance, stating that one time he pointed to a stack of demo tapes and proclaimed, "There's your insurance." And he was right. According to an article in the Nashville Tennessean, the annual royalties from the sales of Jim Reeves records runs somewhere in the $100,000 - $400,000 range. Yes, that's per year -- for a singer who died in 1964.
And, needless to say, when you're talking about that much money the leeches come out of the woodwork.
In 1969 Mary Reeves remarried, this time to a Baptist minister by the name of Terry Davis. Allegations of abuse have abounded since Mary died of Alzheimer's in November 1999. A handwritten will surfaced years after the original will was filed, giving Davis more of the estate money. Throw in over six million dollars owed the estate by Ed Gregory (he used to sponsor a number of carnival package tours for Opry stars) and it makes the old Battling Bickersons radio show look tame by comparison.
The probate court date is tentatively scheduled for January 23, 2012. It was originally scheduled for last month but was postponed.
Also in the Jim Reeves news department, Larry Jordan's book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story has finally been released. It is available on Amazon (and other places) and presents a far more detailed and balanced look at Reeves' life than the 1997 biography that was harshly criticized by many of Reeves' friends, co-workers and associates.