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Pat Boone and the New American Revolution

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Walking down memory lane with Pat Boone is more like competing in a marathon. This pop music icon has covered more ground in the past 50 years than most. Believe it or not, this Tennessee boy -- white shoes and all -- has maintained his clean cut image and even his marriage of 53 years to Shirley.

Scott Ross: You live in Hollywood?

Pat Boone: Beverly Hills, yes.

Ross: Somehow, you, Shirley, and your daughters have survived this thing. That’s absolutely amazing. Some marriages are lasting weeks.

Boone: -- Or weekends.

Ross: You have to say God did it.

Boone: Yeah, no question. No question.

Ross: It hasn’t always been happy times for you.

Boone: No. We’ve been in the briar patch. We’ve gotten scratched. We came through a time, and we’ve written about it very honestly. I made some compromises that nearly destroyed our marriage. But we made commitments to God, as well as each other. We looked at our four kids, and we said we can’t be another Hollywood statistic.

Ross [reporting]: Pat hit it really big in the '50s, but his music career was stunted by Elvis and the British Invasion. Not only has he continued to sing prolifically for years, he’s also an actor, motivational speaker, conservative political commentator and television personality.

Ross: You’ve walked a strange path.

Boone: I have, but I know I have inherited some of the DNA of my great, great, great grandfather, Daniel Boone. He liked to go where other people didn’t go, and he liked being alone. I have rarely in my life been lonely or lonesome. I’ve been alone. But there’s always been stuff to do. I’ve always had a sense of God’s presence. I've had a wife and kids who loved me. Of course I did something for seven years that no pop entertainer ever did -- that is I made my wife and my kids part of my show. You want to create a romantic fantasy and have the ladies in the audience say, "I wonder what it would be like to be married to Pat Boone." Well, out comes my wife and my four teenage daughters, and all that goes out the window.

Ross [reporting]: So the life and times of Pat Boone, illustrated beautifully in his autobiography, are more about this country, being an American, and living in these days and times.

Boone: That’s the main reason for writing the book. I wasn’t so interested in telling my story, my career, my family, even though it’s interesting to me and some, but the ground has shifted underneath us for the last 50 years. Our culture and our notions of being right and wrong have been riddled.

I call for a new American revolution. I just talked to the think tank, the Heritage Foundation. They’re printing up the speech, and CSPAN is making it available. I’ll probably be more persona non grata in Hollywood then I am now. They may tar and feather me and run me out of town on a rail.

Ross: Over the years, you’ve obviously taken the flack. But here you sit, all the various successes you’ve had, but you still take this flack...

Boone: I do, so much. Rolling Stone did a story on me. Jann Wenner, the editor, put me on the cover, and they called the lead article "The Great White Buck" (laughs).

Ross: That sounds like Rolling Stone.

Boone: They admitted that they sent a writer out to turn over the rocks and see what crawled out. They said, "We’ve got to give him credit. He’s on the cover, because in 25 years, at that point, a lot of things have changed. A lot of people have been inconsistent, gone by the wayside, but if you like him or not, he’s remained consistent. So, we tip our hat."

Ross: There’s so many different sides to you. It appears that you’re not quitting any time soon?

Boone: I’m promising Shirley that.

Ross: She wants you home.

Boone: Yes, and I owe her that. She says, "I guess I’m not going to have just the two of us living a semi-anonymous life, where you’re not running all over the world doing everything under the sun." I said, "I owe it to you. I’m going to cut out this travel. I am winding down." I tell my audiences these days I won’t be back.

Ross: So you’ll only have five albums instead of 10.

Boone: Cut down to only five in a year and a book, and for my country the ballad of the National Guard.

Ross: After all that free information folks, what is the legacy?

Boone: The legacy? I just hope people remember me as the guy in white shoes who pointed up.