RIFFS 2011
February 1, 2011
A Pearl Of An Earl
Eldon Setterholm 1923 - 2011

It is sadly reported to Thee, Beloveds, that a gentle, vigorous and stalwart member of the Royal Court has taken his leave of us. Eldon Setterholm, dubbed the Earl of Eldon by His Lordship for his many efforts on behalf of the Royal Court, has died at the age of 87.

In an interview with LBC curator Michael Monteleone, Setterholm, described his first reluctant encounter in a bar with Lord Buckley. At the time Setterholm, a young Hollywood hipster working at the Technicolor lab, was far more interested in jazz music than hearing The Word.

“I didn't want to listen, you know. So, it wasn't my thing. It wasn't the type of stuff that - I wanted to hear good jazz players, you know. I was single minded about that. So, he wore on me gradually. And then I started hearing the wisdom, the greatness coming out and you have to go along with it, you know.”

The Earl also recalled an event he witnessed on the outskirts of Las Vegas in the Buckley family home known as “The Mattress Farm”. The story is rich in implication.

  “Another incident that is fresh in my mind was - he had this old Chrysler sedan - I mean a convertible. And living out there in, in the sand dunes, or rather, as I say, the sagebrush in that two bedroom house, dirt road and everything. He said, "Richard!" Junior. "Get in the car and drive and get the mail." So, then Richard would fire up the Chrysler and he'd, you know, he had to peer under the - he was too little to be driving a great big old car. He was eight or nine years old, you know, just a little kid. But, he still had guts, you know, the kid did. He - there was no fear. And it was country roads and so he'd take off in that big old Chrysler and he'd make the turn. And I recall this one instance where Buckley runs out to the front porch and says, "Give her the gas, Richard!" You'd think a father would say, "Slow down, son." But, no.”  

The Earl of Eldon had many adventures on this sphere. He was a good middleweight fighter on the Navy boxing team, a skilled surfer, a life guard and, for a time, Lord Buckley’s road manager. Though somewhat telling of the man, his adventures in the world only tell a bit of his story. The Earl was a philosopher without portfolio. He delved into the mysteries of the human wig with the same verve that took him confidently off the high platform on a beautiful  dive into the shiny, clear and refracting waters of his local swimming pool.