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WELCOME to Phil Lea's website:


A Tribute to John Bean

(The REAL story of the REAL Leroy Mercer)

(aka: The REAL Story of the REAL Lee Roy Mercer)

John Bean 
(the REAL, the one, the only true Leroy Mercer)

L@@K: Now you get the NEW, 2008 John Bean CD that finally has C&C part 2 as well as Eddie's Auto part 2 !!

Eddie's Auto ("It's an Oilllllll Filter")
Eddie's Auto (part 2) (John calls back)
C&C Auto
C&C Auto (part 2)
(damn dogs)
Thom McCann's
("They's supposed to be damn gooduns.")
357 Shells
(The only time someone turned it around on John.)
Lt. Gentry
(He served under Gen. Lee!?!?!?)
Mrs. Galyon

(He and a friend were drunk and trying to find a friend's place in Atlanta)
(Touching song written by Johnny. You can hear how weak he is getting when he sings.)
John Signs Off

(I have a few The REAL LeRoy Mercer CD's left for sale at $34.99 + $6.01 S&H)

to purchase Leroy Mercer CDs and support this website.


Thom McCann Shoe Store call

WANTED Lost Episodes:

Here are two I can think of (if they are legit)


I put this website together to "set the record" straight.

I want to praise John Bean as the genius behind "Leroy Mercer" 
and complain about "Roy D. Mercer" and the "Jerky Boys". (and now "Lee Roy Mercer"?)
I believe John Bean preceded them by many years, his calls were real and the similarities are unmistakable.
I've heard that "Roy D. Mercer" is/are/may be Oklahoma's shock jocks 
who appear to have almost plagiarized one of John Bean's aliases, Lee Roy Mercer.
And, the Jerky Boys were just damn-yankee (we don't capitalize yankee down South!), carpetbagger, wannabe's.

The late John Bean

Here's the skinny, my opinion:

1. John Bean (Johnny to those who knew him) was a real person! When he was only 19 year old, around 1970, he was diagnosed with cancer and was given radiation treatments. He got better and everyone thought he was cured. But, about 10 years later he got sick again and his family believe he was over-radiated during his treatments, damaging his heart and lungs. He was given only weeks to live, but he lived three (3) more years. During this time he was usually stuck at home, unable to walk and bored. He made music, but he also made prank phone calls to people. (Lucky for us all he taped them.) His calls were real and the people he called were real. (In some of his calls, John called himself Sid Arnwine, Raleigh Arnwine, Roy Morgan, Roy Mullins, Leroy Mercer / Lee Roy Mercer and others. But, Leroy Morgan was the name that seemed to stick in the mind of those who heard his tapes before they knew who he was.) 

Not only were these calls hilariously funny, it was amazing that he was so quick with comebacks (and he never cracked up to give his pranks away). Fortunately, someone heard these tapes John left and made a copy. This guy copied them for someone, they made copies, they made copies, etc....... until they were all over the country. The sound quality was terrible because they had been copied so many times, but they were funny as hell! (My dad, a deacon who never curses, couldn't help but laugh at the tape.) It was like a secret society. You'd say "HUH-UH?" to a friend and they'd laugh. 
(Sorta like "CAN YOU HEAR ME ALRIGHT? TEST, TEST" by "Lester Roadhog Moran", but that's another story.)

2. I was told that some disc jockey heard these tapes then went into the studio, made FAKE prank calls, put them on the air and (when his audience liked them) started making more FAKES and selling them as "Roy D. Mercer".

3. Now, Roy D. Mercer is everywhere. (Even in Wal-Mart.) These copycats are making money while the real genius behind it all has been cold in the ground since 1988 and not receiving the credit (or money) he is due, in my opinion!

4. I've had a few lawyers contact me in the past wanting to sue the "Roy D's" and I forward them to John's sister, Betty. (I hope she can sue, win and collect a MILLION DOLLARS from all these grave-robbers.)

5. Latest UPDATE: I just learned there may be a new poser who's calling himself Lee Roy Mercer and is even offering to make personal appearances! I've been told that they are selling products online. I wonder if this is authorized by Johnny's heirs!?!?!?  The thing that pisses me off more that anything is "at skinny-lil-sombitch" is even selling autographs of "Lee Roy Mercer". If John's family ain't gettin' nothin' out of it.....that just ain't right. If these copy-cats are doing the right thing, I salute them. If not, I hope that when they're burning in hell, Satan "takes a 2x4 to their ass"! 

(I have a few LeRoy Mercer CD's left for sale at $34.99 + S&H)

to purchase Leroy Mercer CDs and support this website.

Eddie's Auto


"Yeah, this is Ed. This is Ed! Eddie Auto. This's Eddie Auto your talkin' to."

John Bean 'simulating' tampering with the Catoosa Sheriff's Trans Am

Are you the guy who's selling CDs and autographs using the name I created??

"Somebody's ass could git whupped for a-teasin' me!"

Have you seen this man??



Here are some places "The Real Leroy Mercer" CD has been shipped recently:

Posted from:

Ass-Whuppin' Time
With a new, improved CD release of John Bean's prank calls, the legend of LeRoy Mercer may finally eclipse his imitators' tall tales
By Coury Turczyn (Contact)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lee Roy Mercer has got a good thing going for himself. The self-described “infamous Tennessee prank call comedian” runs his own website and an online “Whoop Ass Store” with lots of merchandise: T-shirts with slogans like “It Ain’t Nothin’ For Me To Whoop A Man’s Ass!”; posters of his 1995 album cover for Huh! I’ll Whoop Yer A@*!; and even Lee Roy Mercer hot sauce (“It Ain’t Nothin’ For My Hot Sauce To Whoop A Man’s Ass!”). He’s got a new CD of crank calls to NASCAR drivers and Lee Roy Mercer ring tones for sale and something called A Whoop-Ass Movie—an animated feature with characters based on his “work.”

But then there’s Roy D. Mercer out of Tulsa, Okla.—and damned if his prank-call empire doesn’t look and sound a whole lot like Lee Roy’s. His website’s “Royisms” include oddly familiar declarations like, “It ain’t nothin’ for me to whup a man’s ass.” Although his own online “Whup-Ass Store” recently closed, you can still buy his CDs (the latest being More Greatest Fits on Capitol Records) at Wal-Mart and Plus, he’s got his own voice tones, he can be heard streaming live at each week, and he even has his own Roy D. Mercer slot machines at casinos around the country.

How is it that two redneck pranksters living over 900 miles apart could be so similar—using the same words, the same gags, the same identities? Are they twin brothers, or could it be a remarkable case of divine comedic coincidence?

Most likely, they both heard the same legendary prank-call tapes recorded by John Bean of Knoxville, Tenn., in the late ’70s and copied them all the way to the bank. But now, with a newly remastered CD release of the old “Whup Ass Tapes” coming Aug. 19 on Dualtone Records, the original LeRoy Mercer may finally get his due.

“So many people have gained notoriety, fame, and fortune based on John Bean and John Bean’s moniker of LeRoy Mercer that the credit was never really given to John himself,” says Dualtone’s head of production, Joey Luscinski. “So that was a big part of us becoming involved due to the fact that we wished to shed some light on John Bean and his family, and what he had done and how he had paved the way for so many people that have come behind him and capitalized on something he created.”

By now, the story behind those creations—the persona of LeRoy Mercer, his characteristic “Huh?”, and his absurd quests for retail justice—has become a matter of local legend. Bean was an unrepentant wiseacre of epic proportions, constantly formulating new ways of pulling the legs of people he had just met or had targeted with a call. He often recorded his exploits for the enjoyment of his friends, amassing a collection of elaborately devious crank calls to local shops, including the holy trinity of “Eddie’s Auto Parts,” “C&C Auto,” and “Thom McAn.” He would often time himself to see how quickly he could make someone reach their breaking point and start cussing.

“John was just the world’s worst or best—depending on how you looked at it—practical joker,” says his sister (and Metro Pulse contributor) Betty Bean. “And it wasn’t always practical jokes. John was just a very funny person, and he enjoyed getting reactions from other people. He was a pretty good armchair psychologist, and he could size up perfect strangers and almost magically find a way to push their hottest button and get the biggest reaction out of them.”

But unlike his current imitators, he didn’t get people’s goats by simply being abusive; Bean would instead create expansive backstories for his characters that were believable enough to snare his victims and exasperating enough to draw blood. Careful study of even the prototypical Eddie’s Auto recording, and Bean’s promises of ass-whuppings to owner Eddie Harvey, reveals a simple man just trying to get his motor replaced due to a bad oil filter. And who can’t relate to someone seeking restitution for damaged goods? But it’s his single-minded insistence that put many of his victims over the edge: How can this yokel be so damn thick-headed?

“Part of John’s shtick was that almost everybody he dealt with just assumed he was stupid,” says Betty. “He would lure them into that—they would always think they were smarter than he was. That was one of his secrets to how he would get people to do such ridiculous things—they all felt superior to whoever this person on the phone or in front of them was.”

Bean engaged in his shenanigans simply “because that’s what he did—that’s who he was,” says Betty. Thoughts of turning his hobby into commercial releases probably never even entered his mind. But after his death in 1984 at age 33 due to pulmonary fibrosis after radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s disease, his home recordings began an unlikely journey to a record label. First, his friend, local pianist Marcus Shirley, made cassette copies of the phone pranks for family and friends. Then they started to multiply. Country musicians like Roy Clark and Merle Haggard would hear the tapes at Dollywood, and would then get copies made for themselves.

“There’s no doubt that a lot of the old country and western stars had it playing on their tour buses and over the P.A.s before shows,” says Luscinski. “Waylon Jennings and all of the old-school country guys, who made Nashville what it is today, were familiar with the stuff. I think they’re responsible as much as anybody for getting it out there.”

And “out there” it certainly was, as just about anyone who got a cassette would soon dupe it for friends. Over the next decade, it became a renowned cult item across the country; local people mentioned on the tapes would get long-distance phone calls from strangers trying to track down the crazy guy who had made them. One such obsessed fan was Dave Lang, co-founder of Atomic Films in Chattanooga.

“All of our friends loved these tapes, but there was always a story associated with them—that this guy was in a mental institution, that he was in the FBI undercover,” Lang says. “So you heard all of these strange stories and you wondered, ‘What is the real deal?’”

In his quest for the truth in the late ’90s, Lang got ahold of Eddie Harvey, who referred him to Betty Bean. He wrangled an appointment with her and drove up to Knoxville.

“I met with her and just fell in love with Betty and the family, and she told me the whole story about John and about how tragic his death was,” Lang recalls. “And then I met all of his friends—we had a picnic around the Fourth of July and we sat around for probably 15 hours telling stories about John. And I sat there enamored. And the one underlying thing that everybody brought up was how John was their best friend. So I felt like I knew John through all of these friends who took us in, like we had been friends all of our lives.”

Lang proposed that Atomic Films produce a CD of the recordings, and received permission from the Bean family. This resulted in a 1999 CD release that finally brought the long-underground tapes out into the public—with a very pointed title: The Real Leroy Mercer Is John Bean. By this time, the tapes had inspired several new redneck pranksters named “Mercer”—only they weren’t quite as imaginative as Bean.

“It’s not just a guy making prank phone calls—he’s almost this comedic genius,” insists Lang. “I think that if somebody had realized what he was doing back then, he could have been Jeff Foxworthy or any of those Blue Collar comedians. He was just that smart and just that funny. You hear these other people that are trying to copy him, and they’re nowhere close. They don’t have the style, the intelligence, or the comedic presence whatsoever.”

There’s little doubt to Dualtone’s Luscinski that Bean is the true original—not just for creating LeRoy Mercer, but also in sparking a small industry of prank callers.

“The thing that really separates (Bean) from the pack is that he was such a pioneer of the concept,” Luscinski says. “Given the timeline of when his pranks occurred, there wasn’t a precursor. He was it. You think of some of those who have come after him, like the Jerky Boys or Crank Yankers on television, he was the precursor to all of that. So the originality is really what’s so amazing. For all intents and purposes, you can say he’s the grandfather of the prank call.”

Nevertheless, these new “Mercers” have made lucrative record deals for themselves, and one of them apparently does not appreciate the upcoming competition of the new Dualtone release, The Real LeRoy Mercer, which should be getting much better distribution and marketing than the first homespun CD. According to Betty, this Mercer has had his attorney send Dualtone a letter threatening legal action. (On, it states, “LEE ROY MERCER® Is A Registered Trademark Owned And Licensed For Use By WarHead™ Records.”) Luscinski says he can’t comment on the matter, but adds that the MySpace page used to promote Bean’s recordings “has been shut down and is currently under review.”

Lang says he wouldn’t mind confronting Bean’s imitators himself:

“There are people out there who are using parts of his actual recording. They have gotten a copy of a copy and have claimed it as their own. I would tell them: ‘Meet me wherever. I will stand up with Betty Bean and the family, I will look you in the eye, and call you a liar.’ John Bean did ‘Eddie’s Auto,’ ‘C&C,’ ‘Thom McAn’—everything on the CD that Dualtone’s putting out is from John Bean, and not from any of these other imitators.”

Until now, the Bean family has kept its distance from those who have been using John Bean’s signature routines and phrases; now that one of the Mercers is actively trying to stop the release of his source material, that may change.

“It doesn’t bother me that somebody else profits off of it,” Betty says, “but when they try to pretend that John didn’t exist, that’s what bothers me. They are no better than grave robbers. Or worse, actually. It feels, in my heart, like they are trying to claim John never existed. They are killing my brother all over again.”

How would the real LeRoy Mercer deal with a situation like this?

“I think he wouldn’t be amused at the notion of being ripped off somehow,” Betty says. “John was also a real tough guy—I mean, really, really tough. He lived a lot longer than he should have, he was just very physically strong. When he said, ‘It ain’t nothin’ to me to whup a man’s ass,’ he meant it. He was hard as iron. I imagine somebody would get their ass whupped. John would not put up with this if he were here.”




From: "Ron Lee"
To: Phil Lea
Subject: Re: A new 2008 "The REAL Leroy Mercer is John Bean" CD with "C&C part 2" and "Eddie's Auto part 2"
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 10:42:34 -0400


Thanks so much for the e-mail and I appreciate all that you do in this effort. Reading about a potential lawsuit makes my blood boil. I've been wanting the Bean family to sue those Oklahoma plagiarists for years and to have the tables possibly turned is enough for me to want to track those two & their lawyers down, look em in the eye, call them blatant plagiarists, and if they gave any lip, "Whup their damn asses!"

Again, thanks for linking your website. I'm forwarding it to as many as I can. Oh, and I'd love a copy of the new CD. I'll probably order a slew at Christmas time as I haven't found a better gift anywhere.

Ron Lee
Dawson, GA

06-01-2007 my SECOND (2nd) email to SPEED TV with NO RESPONSE (so far)

Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 20:46:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Phil Lea" <>
Subject: I received an email this evening from a man who said you had a "Lee Roy Mercer" on you TV show about NASCAR this evening.

Dear Sirs,

I received an email this evening from a man who said you had a "Lee Roy Mercer" on your TV show about NASCAR this evening.

Is this true?

If so, that really pisses me off.

What if some asshole dresses up as Dale "Earnheart" and starts selling autographs & CDs on a website?
Are you going to put HIM on your TV show???

The REAL "Lee Roy Mercer" was John Bean and he died in 1984!
He made prank calls and taped them.
One of his characters was "Leroy Mercer".

All these rip-off vultures are stealing his "intellectual property" and are making money while John lies cold in the ground.

John's heirs are getting nothing from these people.

Don't believe me?

Check out my website tribute to John,

Awaiting your reply.


Phil Lea
Benton TN

06-01-2007 email from Justin Calhoun

From: "justin calhoun" <>
Subject: Thanks
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2007 04:55:18 +0000

Thanks for the website that you made. I was on myspace and just happened to
type in Lee Roy Mercer and it pulled up this phony sumbitch. I was like, who
in the hell is this? The more I looked at it the more pissed I got. I knew
good and damned well that this was a bunch of bullsh*t. I was listening to
"Lee Roy Mercer" in the early 90's. I listened to my tape so much that it
broke. Some of the funniest shit I have ever heard in my life. I am getting
on Myspace and posting a comment saying go to your website and see the real
Lee Roy Mercer. Hopefully these people will see that is a bunch O' horse
shit. This guy should have his ass whooped for even thinking of this. It's a
damned shame. What a lousy bastard. The sad thing is that it looks like he
is making money from this. F*cking thief! Johnny Bean really would whoop his ass!!!

04-27-2007 email I sent to Speed TV (They never even replied to me.) (I liked this channel, but I am boycotting it until I hear back from them.)

Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 20:46:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Phil Lea"
Subject: I received an email this evening from a man who said you had a "Lee Roy Mercer" on you TV show about NASCAR this evening.

Dear Sirs,

I received an email this evening from a man who said you had a "Lee Roy Mercer" on you TV show about NASCAR this evening.

Is this true?

If so, that really pisses me off.

What if some asshole dresses up as Dale Earnhardt, Sr and starts selling autographs & CDs on a website?
Are you going to put HIM on your TV show???

The REAL "Leroy Mercer" was John Bean and he died in 1984!
He made prank calls and taped them.
One of his characters was "Leroy Mercer".

All these rip-off vultures are stealing his "intellectual property" and are making money while John lies cold in the ground.

John's heirs are getting nothing from these people.

Don't believe me?

Check out my website tribute to John,

Awaiting your reply.


Phil Lea
Benton TN

10-05-2005 email from musician, Scott Hogue

Subject: love the john bean article
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 19:15:08 -0500
From: "Scott Hogue" <>

Greetings from Nashville ,

This is just a quick note to express my appreciation for the John Bean article. I was one of those musicians that heard the tapes when out on the road. A friend of mine worked on the team that restored the original calls for CD release. I’ve never been able to find an article to explain to my Jerky Boys loving friend the story of John Bean.

Thanks for doing that for me.

Scott Hogue


10-05-2005 email from Terry Crawford, who used to party with John:

From: "Terry Crawford"
Subject: John Bean 
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 14:13:04 -0400 


I have listened to the phony Rod D Mercer for years and actually bought several tapes. I was listening to some LeRoy Mercer just now and knew that he was from the Knoxville area. I decided to look him up on Google and when I saw John Bean's picture I about fell over. In the 70's I used to party with these folks over at Jerry's (Woody's) house. I remember Sam (I assume he is referring to Sam Dunn) Jerry, Johnny, Marty, and the whole gang. A bunch of us used to work at the Almart on Clinton Hwy.

I lost track of this group of people after I got married in 1981 but heard years later that Johnny had died.

Do you have Jerry's e-mail address by chance. I'd like to drop him a note sometime.


Terry Crawford

04-19-2005 email from Dove Award Winner, Rodney Lay, Jr.

From: "Rodney Lay, Jr." <rodneylayjr@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: John Bean CD 
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 20:42:49 -0500 
Hi Phil,
Thank you so much for putting up this website. I have heard these tapes for years. Here in Nashville, the
rumor about the real identity of Roy Mullins was that he was one of Alan Jackson's fiddle players. It's great
to finally find out the true identity of the man who has brought many hours of laughter to band buses and artist entourages for the past 20 years or more.
Rodney Lay, Jr.

04-14-2005 email from one of John's former classmate, Kent Peters

From: "kent peters" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 15:03:32 -0500 
Subject: John Bean 

I went to high school and college with Johnny and he was a comedic genius. I'm glad you helped to set the record straight since there are LOTS of imitators. There were times in college when there were 8 or 10 of us standing around the phone in the hall listening to his prank calls. Boy, if we'd just taped some of them, it would be possible to make a trilogy or something.

He would be great on Blue Collar TV. He could put Jeff Foxworthy to shame. Too bad he died so young. He was definitely one of a kind that we will never see the likes of again. He just lived to "Pull a Fast One".

Thanks for setting the record straight!

Here's an 09-03-2004 email from Bettye Bean (John's sister-in-law):

From: "Bettye" xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: johnny bean stories 
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2004 17:00:23 -0400 

I married Johnny's brother David in 1977 so I did know Johnny for a while. When we first got married,
Johnny looked as healthy as could be. Even after Johnny got sick, he was still busy raising hell and I never realized how sick he was. I certainly never thought he would die.

I was very shy around David's family for a while so I always read the newspaper, Time or the National Enquirer while I was at my in-laws house. At some point, Johnny decided that he was going to gather up all of the things I normally read and keep them near him. He wouldn't leave any reading material around and at times, he would actually sit on the National Enquirers. I would politely ask Johnny for a magazine or the newspaper and he would tell me that he had all of the papers in order and didn't want to get them out of order because there were articles he wanted to read in them. I would say, "Well, you can't read them all at once. I promise I'll give it back to you." But Johnny would not give me any of them. He was doing it just to bother me but he never laughed or let on that he was teasing. I would ask my husband why Johnny wouldn't give me anything to read and David would say that Johnny was just that way so I never knew he was teasing me until my mother-in-law told me that she was always telling Johnny to leave me alone.

Another story is about my husband David's best friend, James. Johnny always called James "Jame"
because James was only one person. So anytime James came in, Johnny would holler out "Hey Jame!" and James would get mad every time. 

 I am going to sign off now. I will email you some more Johnny stories later.

Thanks for listening.

Bettye Bean (not Johnny and David's sister, who is Betty Bean, but John's sister-in-law)

Transcript of the famous EDDIE'S AUTO call:

Eddie's Auto
Hey, is this Eddie's Auto? 
Yeah, this is Ed. 
Well, who's this here? 
This is Ed. 
Eddie's Auto, this is Eddie Auto your talking to. 
Well, this is Bill Morgan up here just this side of Maynardsville. Uh, listen. I bought an oil filter off of ya here-whall-back and, uh, believe my damn car's blowed up now, and ah, well they told me to take it down there and that you'd pay for it. 
Pay fur what? 
Pay fur the damn motor. 
Bullshit, who told you that? 
Huh? They told me up in Maynardsville, by God. 
They did? 
They said, by God, if he don't, whip his damn ass. 
Well you tell him, I'm right here any damn time he wants to come. 
Well I'll tell you what, he was a big son of a bitch that said it. 
Well, I don't give a damn, the bigger they are the harder they fall. 
You ain't so smart your damn self. 
Okay, you forget it. 
Well, are you going to pay fur it? 
I ain't paying fer a damn thing, I don't even know what your talking about. 
It's a damn oilllllll filter. I bought it off of ya fair 'n square. You said it wuz a good un. 
I don't know what you bought, I didn't tear your motor up. 
Well, my boy did. 
Well who ever tore it up tore it up I didn't tear it up. 
Well, it seems to me a damn oil filter ought to hold up better than that. 
Well, I didn't make the oil filter, and I didn't tear your motor up. 
Well, shit-far you sold me the damn thing. 
That don't make a damn if I did I didn't tear your motor up. 
Well goddamn, shit, don't you stand behind what you sell? 
I don't, I didn't tear your motor up to start with. 
Well, it seems to me that a son of a bitch that don't stand behind what he sells..... 
Well, I'm not no son of a bitch and you might be calling me a son of a bitch over the phone but I don't think you'd do it, by God, standing in front of me. 
Huh, I'll whip your ass. 
Well, let's see you do it, there's been bigger son of a bitches than you tried it. 
Huh, I'll be down there before the damn day's over. 
Well, I'll be right here. 
You keep on, I'll be there. 
Well, you just come right on. 
You evidently don't know who I am....

Thom McCann, call:

Salesman: Thom McCann, West Town.
LeRoy: Ah, yeah let me talk to the, uh, manager over  'ere.
Salesman: You got him. 
LeRoy: This the manager?
Salesman: Yes sir.
LeRoy: Well listen I bought some damn boots over 'ere and the son of bitches got a little bit daimp and they folded up looks like a damn dogs’ be eatin' on em.
Salesman: What kind of boots are they?
LeRoy: They's supposed to be damn gooduns.
Salesman: (chuckles) Where did you buy em?
LeRoy: I bought um over there at your damn store, Tom McKee-un.
Salesman: When did you buy them?
LeRoy: Here while back, at's when!
Salesman: Well, you’ve got to be more specific than that.
LeRoy: HUH! well, well I’s just, all I’s wantin' to do was to get this thing settled and have you'nz to give me some new ones.
Salesman: You did?
LeRoy: Yeah.
Salesman: How did they get wet?
LeRoy: Well G*d damn, water, 'course
Salesman: (chuckles again) 
LeRoy: HUH HUH HELL!........I’m haft to have some new boots out of it though, I’ll tell you at right now
Salesman: Uh huh
..or somebody'll get their damned ass whupped over it.
Salesman: I see. I see. Well, I’ll tell you, it's a, it's a, what we normally do is the customer when they have a complaint they bring the shoe to the store and we look at the shoe, then we give them another pair of shoes. We are not used to people calling up and threatening us, we are used to the customer coming in here and bringing the shoes in here and we look at them, then we make the adjustment.
LeRoy: Well, I don’t give a damn. You're going to hafta change, or somebody’s ass is going to get whupped, ...................HELLO?
Salesman: Yeah I’m here.
LeRoy: Well,..............(I'm tard a talking to a chicken shit bastards) if a son of a bitch sells a pair of shoes he ought to back um up, is the way I look at it.
Salesman: We back them up, sir, all the way buddy, bring em in here.
LeRoy: You going to give me some damn new ones?
Salesman: Well it they, if the, if the shoes are torn up, sure we will.
LeRoy: Well I’ll tell ye, well they're tore up! There ain't no doubt about that! I’ve bought shoes long enough to know when a shoe's tore up. and uh...
Salesman: Well we’ll be happy to make 'em good.
LeRoy: Well, I live all the way over on the other side of damn Knoxville, ....Maynardsville. I can’t be running in there for this, that or 'tother. Seems to me like it wouldn’t be too much damn trouble for you'nz to mail me a set.
Salesman: No sir we can’t do that.
LeRoy: Can’t do what?
Salesman: We can’t mail you a pair unless, sir, we have the other pair of boots. You mail us your old boots we will mail you a pair.
LeRoy: Well how longs that gonna be I’m gonna be runnin' around here barefooted?
Salesman: Sir, the only thing we can do is you bring the shoe to me and we’ll give you another pair.
LeRoy: If I haft to come down there I’m bringing both my boys with me, and if my boys come, then somebody’s ass'll be whupped.
Salesman: Well what do you expect us to do?
LeRoy: I expect you to stand there and get your ass whupped !
Salesman: We can’t mail you a pair of shoes.
LeRoy: Why not? You'nz got postal service over there, ain’t ye? We got it up here, that's what its for.
Salesman: Well how am I going to get the old shoes back
back? What's your name and address sir?
LeRoy: LeRoy Mercer.      ............Ya got that?
Salesman: Yeah I’ve got it, go ahead.
LeRoy: Route 4...... Thompson School Road, ......... Corryton Tennessee.
Salesman: Where in Tennessee?
LeRoy: Corryton, I suppose you ain’t never heard of that neither.
Salesman: What’s the zip code?
LeRoy: Three seventy-nine, twenty-one.
Salesman: Uh huh. What’s your phone number sir?
LeRoy: Six, eight, seven, forty two, ninety one.
Salesman: Okay, now could you mail us those boots?
LeRoy: Well, I’ll mail um when I get my damn new ones. I ain’t going to just set them off in the mail, there I’ll be setting here with nothin'. You know what I mean.
Salesman: Yeah, and that's the only pair of shoes you’ve got?
LeRoy: Well it was my best pair. I’ve got some old boots. I don’t like to wear um all that much. ........ 
Salesman: Uh huh.
LeRoy: Don’t give me no damn run around or I’ll be down there. 
Salesman: I’m not trying to give you a run around, I’m being as patient as I can be for somebody that's talking to me the way you are sir.
LeRoy: Well G*d damn? What do you expect?
Salesman: I’m not sure what to expect.
LeRoy: Good thing. Well..
Salesman: It’s highly, highly unusual just to mail, of course you haven’t told me what kind of boots they are or what size or anything.
LeRoy: Well what's your name?
Salesman: My names not important, sir
LeRoy: HUH, I’d say at's asked for mine, seems like if a sumbitch asks for....
Salesman: Well if I’m going to mail you a pair of boots I need to know your name don’t I?
LeRoy: Yeah.
Salesman: Okay, but you haven’t told me what kind of boot it was or the size.
LeRoy: Well listen, if your going to get smart about it I’ll come down-nair now and whup ye ass, .
Salesman: (sighs)
LeRoy: It ain’t nothin' to me to whup a man’s ass, might a heard of me.
Salesman: No sir I haven’t heard of you.
LeRoy: Well you goin' too, by G*d, if I have to whup ye ass I know your going to.
Salesman: Sir I don’t believe that's necessary at all.
LeRoy: Well it sounds to me like I’m going to haf-to.
Salesman: I’ll be happy to give you a pair of shoes if you’ll tell me what kind to mail you, I’ll mail them TODAY!
LeRoy: There 'em boots that's got them eagles on the side of um.
Salesman: Sir I don’t carry any boots that have eagles on the side of um......this is Thom McCann's.
LeRoy: I know at ! They’ve got some kind a little design, it ain’t necessarily an eagle, its wings.
Salesman: No sir I’m afraid not.........I don’t carry that kind of shoe.
LeRoy: Well G*d damn, you're saying you don’t have em?
Salesman: Yes sir that's correct.
LeRoy: You down there in West town?
Salesman: That's correct
LeRoy: Down there in the mall?
Salesman: That's right, Thom McCann's shoe store.
LeRoy: Down there, ....what's you next to?, Which stores is around?
Salesman: Hanover shoe store.
LeRoy: Are they uh, are they a radio store there?
Salesman: Yes sir, that's right, Hanover has that boot that your talking about.
LeRoy: They do?
Salesman: Yes sir they sure do.
LeRoy: Well I’ll whip his damn ass just the same as I'll whup.......
Salesman: I believe that's where you got it, they’ve got a boot just like that in the window.
LeRoy: Well I’ll tell you what, you take that name and all over ere and give it to um, and have them to mail me some in a ten and a half ‘D’ wide.
Salesman: Ten and a half ‘D’?
LeRoy: Yeah.
Salesman: All right I’ll sure do it.
LeRoy: And have um to call me by G*d if they ain’t gonna do it.
Salesman: I’ll be happy to do it.
LeRoy: And I’ll whup somebody's’ damned ass if they don’t.
Salesman: Well, I’ll sure get it over there to um.
LeRoy: And listen if I find out you got um, I’ll be down there to whup your damn ass.
Salesman: Well I don’t have em.
LeRoy: Well it's a good thing, its good thing for you if you don’t.
Salesman: Yeah.
LeRoy: Well.
Salesman: I’ve got some customers if you don’t mind. Okay?
LeRoy: Huh.
Salesman: I’ll take it right over to them immediately.
LeRoy: Well okay, but, I’ll be out there to check, ya, I’m a, I’m a contractor out there I build a lot times out in West Knoxville I’ll check and see if you got um.
Salesman: Okay, fine, I know Hanover’s where you got the shoes.
LeRoy: Well I can whup their ass the same as I can whup yours.
Salesman: I’ll take it over there to them, I’ll sure do it.
LeRoy: Well, okay thank ye.
Salesman: Uh-huh.


[ This is the real story of LeRoy Mercer, aka: John Bean by his sister, Betty Bean. ]

You better read this story. Unlike a lot of the crap you waste time on, it contains useful information, Because one day you'll be sitting in the movies and some butthead will be talking, until somebody else cuts through and tells the talker that he's fixing to get his ass whupped, whereupon a third voice will join in: "Ain't nothin' for me to whup a man's ass."

And somebody else will ask: "You got those tapes?"

'Then there'll be a "HUH!" -- no question mark, two syllables, dripping with attitude --and a bunch more will pitch in, and snicker like they know what's going on. But most of them won't have a clue who they're quoting and that's where you'll come out ahead, if you read this story.

If you don't want to embarrass your future self, you'll read this for educational purposes. If you already know about the prank phone call tapes variously known as the "Whup Ass Man" or "Leroy Speaks," you'll want to find out the truth. If you flat don't care, skip this page and go listen to some Judy Garland albums.

Because it's pretty much a guy thing. An East Tennessee tush-hog, Prince Albert-in-the-can thing stretched so far over the top it's liable to snap back and take your head off. Or miss you altogether.

Just ask Eddie Harvey.

The 70-something Harvey is the proprietor of Eddie's Auto Parts, and it's nothing for him to whup a man's ass. He barely cracks a smile when you ask him what it's like to be a cult figure courtesy of the prank caller purporting to be "Bill Morgan just this side of Maynardville," who got him on the phone years ago and offered to whup his ass over a bad oil filter. "That is one of the most popular damn tapes in the country," Harvey says. "Every truck driver in the U.S.A. has one. I never knew who did it, but I did hear he'd died. I wish he hadn't of 'cause me and him.....(line is illegible)

Harvey, who's not real big but still plenty damn tough, dispatches a would-be customer who's trying to trade in some kind of grungy-looking rotor. ("That's your problem, buddy. Take it on out with you.") The edges of his mouth stretch the tiniest bit so you know for sure he's smiling, and he leans across the grimy counter.

He was good. I'll give him that. He never hesitated and he never backed up. He'd agitate a person so bad -- get 'em so mad they could kill him."

Harvey, an old race car driver who's pretty well known in his own right, says he's heard from people all over the country wanting to know if he's "the" Eddie Auto. His soldier nephew furloughed home from Desert Storm two years ago, couldn't rest until he got a Polaroid and five Eddie's Auto Parts T-shirts to take back to Saudi Arabia to rub in the faces of skeptics who doubted he was who he said he was. The tapes were a hot property, and the troops evidently talked a lot about whuppin' Saddam's ass.

The Middle East isn't the only exotic locale where the tapes have turned up. They're all over the place in Nashville, where musicians crank them up on the their tour buses, and house Speaker Jimmy .... (next line was illegible) ..sions of particularly tough budget sessions. They've spread to Charlotte and New York and Scandinavia and Los Angeles and Indianapolis, and a lot of people suspect they may have inspired the Jerky Boys, a couple of big city ghetto pranksters who've hit the Top 40 with their efforts on Atlantic Records. There are literally dozens of theories -- none of them true -- about who made the local tapes and how the came to be circulated. But you'll read the plain truth that can be backed up in court, as Cas Walker used to say, right here.

Local music legend Todd Steed says he first heard the tapes about six years ago when a customer brought a copy into Raven Records, Before long, Steed had memorized passages from the Eddie's Auto Parts tape and the Thom McCann's tape and the C&C Auto tape and the C&C Auto Parts tape, and he started trying to figure out who the voice was behind the Craziness. "I heard 30 completely falsified, fictionalized versions of who was on those tapes" ...
(Next line illegible.) ... somebody, it was an insane lawyer from Maryville, a convict. Everybody had a different theory. A lot of people think it's not a joke. They don't think it's a put-on. That's part of the artistry of the thing...

"I got so frustrated. I wanted to understand what made them so damn funny, and it got to the point where I wanted to know who this guy was more than anything. So I started asking questions. I called up people cold out of the phone book - put the word out - asked everybody I knew. I followed up all the leads I had."

Finally somebody called him up and told him "Betty Bean" would know something about those tapes."

I tried to figure a way around this point, but the story can't be told unless I step in and tell you how I know for sure who the guy is.

Eddie Auto is right. He did die. On Aug. 18, 1984 before the sun came up. His name was John Bean, he was 33 years old, and I know this because he was my brother. A lot of you knew him, and the rest of you probably wish you had. I know that because I'd be a lot richer than I am today if I had a dollar for every time somebody's called me up and wanted to know if he was really my brother and what was he like. They always say they wished they'd known him.

I tell them maybe they do and maybe they don't. Not everybody could stand up to the punishment. On the anniversary of his death, I went over to Woodlawn and sat down by his grave and talked to him about how it's a shame he couldn't have hung around long enough for the smartasses to take over the world, which evidently has happened, judging by his posthumous popularity. Somebody had been there before me and left a Budweiser and a daisy. After a while I walked back to my car and stuck a cassette into the player and drove through the graveyard listening to his voice.

"Sometimes death can be a blessing," the woman from Lynnhurst Cemetery cooed.

She made her living selling burial plots over the telephone, and she'd had the major bad luck of ringing up my brother John, who played her real slow, like the biggest bass in the pond.

"Don't see how," John said, his voice choked up with phony grief, "unless a fellow was a pest or something. Then he might as well go on and shove off." Sometimes when people ask why anyone would invest so much energy into heaping abuse on hapless purveyors of shoes and auto parts and cemetery plots, I wonder who they see in their mind's eye. A perverse hick with a switchblade tongue and a knack for mind control?

Pretty close. John was skinny, muscular, a natural athlete and musician who had the devil's own smile. He was tenacious, tough as pig iron, good at anything he turned his hand to, including cultivating his own strain of killer marijuana-- "Tennessee shorty." He played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis and practical jokes like nobody you ever want to know. One minute you wanted to kill him and the next you were laughing so hard you'd lose control of your bodily functions. He died at 33 of the radiation treatments that "cured" him of Hodgkin's Disease back when he was a college athlete. Fried his heart and lungs which shriveled up over a long period of time until respiratory failure killed him. But he never, ever gave up.

"He never held back," says Sam Anderson, who played football with John and remembers racing with him in a car race back to Knoxville from college in Cookeville long ago.

"We took the overland route, but John comes down the dirt road where they've had all the landslides, jumps the ditches, and when we got down the mountain, he was gone. I wouldn't have driven through there with an ATV.

"Because of his illness, he lived intensely. I think he told himself 'I'm going to live every year I've got, if there's one or 100 of them.' Knowing John was a good time."

Pianist Marcus Shirley put the tapes together a few years after John died. "I never had any idea it was going to be such a big thing," Shirley says. "I just thought they were hilarious and made them for those of us who'd known him. I never thought people would make copies down to the 20th generation." Shirley says the tapes got "out" through country players like Merle Haggard and Roy Clark, who heard them at Dollywood, where john's friend Burton Akers plays in a house band. The tapes were then circulated and multiplied without any effort on the part of John's family and friends - "This all happened in spite of itself," Shirley says.

That's because the tapes strike a primordial funny bone. John was a prism through which others were able to see the world in a new way.

He could see the humor in things that would just pass ordinary people by," Shirley says. "When you were around him, situations took on a new look. He had charisma. A certain kind of energy. I've never known in anybody else, and even though his condition was slowly killing him, he didn't complain about it, hardly at all, ever. I still miss John."

Woody Hutson was the recipient of John's last fast one -- the old dead skunk in the basement gambit, perpetrated just days before John turned up dead himself.

"He wasn't feeling good, and he had to crawl under the house to get it in there. He puked a couple of times in the process. That's dedication, Hutson says.

But he's tired of people telling him they wish they'd known John.

"I guess I'm a little defensive about it. This guy was absolutely, totally bizarre. Nuts. Most people wouldn't tolerate it. These were experiences we shared at the time and maybe I'd feel differently about it if he weren't dead. But now, since the world didn't know him, I'd like to just keep those experiences to myself."

It was another year or so after Steed found out who John was before he realized just how popular the tapes had become.

"I was working at Raven and a truck driver came in from Atlanta and said 'Hey, I'm looking for the redneck tapes. I heard a guy at a 7-11 in Knoxville had all of them.' "He'd gone to every 7-l1 in Knoxville until someone told him where I was," Steed says. "He heard about the tapes through truck drivers. Everybody sends people that want the tapes to me." He figures he's the Johnny Appleseed of the John Bean tapes, since he's dubbed hundreds of copies over the years, even sampling a signature' "hunh" for the Smokin' Dave and Premo Dopes CD "Huh?" Shirley says he's glad Steed has spread the tapes, but he hopes there aren't too many imitators out there.

"There's a big difference between John and some average dummy trying to pull a prank - John did it with such finesse... The important thing with him is, he wasn't doing it just to cause trouble. It was a much greater scheme, an art form to him.

"No one could ever even begin to do what he did. Somebody thinking it would be fun to call people like that, they'd just be fooling themselves. It's already been done."

A new friend (and fellow John Bean fan), Robert Dennis of DENI DESIGNS, sent me this cover he created by using his imagination as to what "Eddie" might have looked like. (I think John would have been proud.) 

Robert designs logo's for companies, creates pictures, catchy phrases and most anything else in art or graphic design. If any of you fellow "LeRoy Mercer" fans know of anyone that may need a his services, please send an E-Mail Robert's way!!! (Or, somebody's aiss could git whupped overiss!")

I Hate Atlanta
(Song written as a result of the "IKEY" trip, I guess.)


Phil Lea
868 Benton Station Road
Benton TN 37307


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